Friday, September 07, 2018

'Are You Afraid of the Dark?' Movie to Feature the Return of the Midnight Society and the Campfire; All-New Original Story

It's been nearly two decades since the Midnight Society last met to tell scary stories around their iconic campfire, but the crackling flames won't be extinguished forever.


Paramount Pictures is currently working on a film adaptation of Nickelodeon's beloved '90s series Are You Afraid of the Dark? and the project's screenwriter Gary Dauberman (It: Chapter One, The Nun) has offered a little tease of what the movie will be about.

“It is a completely original story I came up with, but it still has the Midnight Society and it still has the campfire,” he told /Film. “It’s still a story being told.”

Running between 1990 and 2000 for a total of seven seasons and 91 episodes, Are You Afraid of the Dark? was a Twilight Zone-esqie anthology series (created by D. J. MacHale and Ned Kandel), where a group of kids (the aforementioned Midnight Society) told tales of supernatural horror around a fire in the dead of night.

Each episode was devoted to one story and usually closed with one of the members pouring water onto the fire to put it out. If you grew up in the '90s, you probably remember the show - and even its opening credits - scaring you silly. As a fan of the original, Dauberman didn't want to dilute the genuine creepiness of the show's content.

"That show is so important to me," he said. "I didn’t want to age it down too much because for it’s time, it had some really disturbing episodes and some really dark episodes. Not every story the Midnight Society told ended with happily ever after or a person learning their lesson and it will never happen again. I really embraced that side of things and I think it’s been a long time. I think fear is healthy for kids. I don’t think we have to always sand down the edges of things and that’s something I really wanted to do with Are You Afraid of the Dark? I think it is scary and I think kids will be scared watching it at times, and also they’ll laugh at times. I think it’s got a great message. I think it’s got a great heart to it but it is still scary. I think that’s great. I think it’s going to open it up to a wider audience."


“The show is about the shared experience of telling stories — especially scary ones. We’re going to celebrate that with this movie and honor the darker, scarier tone of the show, which was really groundbreaking for Nickelodeon at the time. I hope the Midnight Society approves,” Dauberman told THR in a separate interview recently.

Below is the full portion of /Film's interview with Gary Dauberman in which he talks about Paramount and Nickelodeon's upcoming Are You Afraid of the Dark? movie. To read the fantastic interview in full, in which also talks about the Annabelle and Swamp Thing franchises, here on slashfilm.com!:

Is Are You Afraid of the Dark more of a young horror like Gremlins and Monster Squad, pushing it but appropriate for young viewers?

I like your reference to Gremlins. I love Monster Squad. That show is so important to me. I didn’t want to age it down too much because for it’s time, it had some really disturbing episodes and some really dark episodes. Not every story the Midnight Society told ended with happily ever after or a person learning their lesson and it will never happen again. I really embraced that side of things and I think it’s been a long time. I think fear is healthy for kids. I don’t think we have to always sand down the edges of things and that’s something I really wanted to do with Are You Afraid of the Dark. I think it is scary and I think kids will be scared watching it at times, and also they’ll laugh at times. I think it’s got a great message. I think it’s got a great heart to it but it is still scary. I think that’s great. I think it’s going to open it up to a wider audience.

Is it a completely original story?

It is a completely original story I came up with, but it still has the Midnight Society and it still has the campfire. It’s still a story being told.

I think you’re right about kids. They want to face scary things and eventually survive them.

I absolutely agree. I have an eight-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter. It’s interesting watching them develop that sense of is it too scary for me or is it not? That’s a lesson that we need to apply to the real world. If kids can’t learn that in the safety of their own homes trying to push the boundaries of what’s scary, what isn’t, what’s safe, what isn’t, then it’s a lot more difficult out there in the real world. I think there are those lessons that are taught by horror movies. I think we got a lot more of that when I was growing up. Somewhere along the lines it started to become a little too sanitized.

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The Midnight Society will convene for the first time in almost 20 years when Are You Afraid of the Dark? opens in theaters Oct. 11, 2019.

Matt Kaplan is producing along with Dauberman. Paramount Players (Dora the Explorer), the division of Paramount that has a mandate to leverage Viacom-owned properties for the big screen treatment, is producing the film conjunction with Nickelodeon Movies. At the present time, there is no director attached to Are You Afraid of the Dark? Dauberman is gearing up to direct Annabelle 3, which marks his directorial debut, which pretty much takes him out of the running. We should be hearing word on who will end up in the director's chair soon enough.

Original source: SyFy Wire.

Also, from Screen Rant:

Are You Afraid of the Dark? Movie Won't Adapt TV Episodes

Paramount's upcoming film version of the classic Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark? won't adapt any of the TV episodes, says its writer. From the early days of TV all the way through the 90s, the genre anthology was a common feature of the programming landscape. While anthologies still technically exist today, most take the form of each season telling a single long-form story, instead of the old Twilight Zone style of telling a different story with different characters each week.

For kids growing up in the 90s with a taste for horror, two great shows existed to fill the weekly anthology void. On broadcast TV, FOX played host to Goosebumps, which adapted the popular book series by author R.L. Stine. On basic cable, Nickelodeon enchanted young audiences with Are You Afraid of the Dark?, which told original tales of terror. The format was simple, a group of friends called The Midnight Society gathered around a campfire each episode to tell a new story, with one member speaking while the others listened. Once the story began, viewers would see it in full, with a Midnight Society outro bringing things to a close.

Which of those series was better is up for debate, but either way, Are You Afraid of the Dark? will soon follow Goosebumps into the realm of feature films. The project was announced last fall, with Paramount hiring Gary Dauberman to write the script. Dauberman has become a go-to Hollywood horror writer, penning last year's wildly successful IT remake, and several entries in The Conjuring universe, including newly released spinoff The Nun. Unfortunately, fans looking to see their favorite Are You Afraid of the Dark? villains make the jump to the big screen will be disappointed. During a recent interview with Slash Film, Dauberman revealed that the movie won't adapt any TV episodes, and will instead tell a completely original story.


While Dauberman does confirm that The Midnight Society framing device and the campfire setting will remain intact, the fact that the Are You Afraid of the Dark? movie won't adapt any of of its most celebrated episodes is sure to be a let down to many who grew up loving the series. While targeted at kids, the Nickelodeon show featured lots of memorably creepy villains, including Zeebo the Clown, The Ghastly Grinner, the horrifying vampire found in "The Tale of the Night Shift," and the unsettling human-sized doll morphed into by the IT-esque shape-shifting antagonist of "The Tale of the Dark Music."

On the plus side, Dauberman stresses in the same interview that he tried not to "age [the story] down too much," and tried to honor the legacy of the original series by not going light on the scares. As Dauberman points out, Are You Afraid of the Dark? often told tales that didn't end with the characters living happily ever after. Sometimes the monsters won, and sometimes the protagonist ended up suffering a truly cruel fate. A good example of the latter is "The Tale of the Pinball Wizard," which ends with the suggestion that the lead is doomed to re-play the game forever, or "The Tale of the Super Specs," which ends with the main characters trapped for eternity in a parallel dimension. Hopefully, Dauberman's story measures up to those efforts, and brings enough scares to delight all ages.

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Also, from Coming Soon:

Are You Afraid of the Dark? Film Won’t Feature Stories From the TV Series

In an interview with Slash Film, IT co-writer Gary Dauberman (IT: Chapter 2, The Nun) has revealed that Paramount’s upcoming horror film Are You Afraid of the Dark?, based on Nickelodeon’s iconic 90s horror series of the same name, will not be adapting any episodes from the series but instead will feature a completely new original story that will still be told by the Midnight Society.

RELATED: Are You Afraid of the Dark Film Happening with IT Screenwriter

“It is a completely original story I came up with, but it still has the Midnight Society and it still has the campfire, It’s still a story being told.” Dauberman said.

“That show is so important to me. I didn’t want to age it down too much because for it’s time, it had some really disturbing episodes and some really dark episodes. Not every story the Midnight Society told ended with happily ever after or a person learning their lesson and it will never happen again. I really embraced that side of things and I think it’s been a long time. I think fear is healthy for kids. I don’t think we have to always sand down the edges of things and that’s something I really wanted to do with Are You Afraid of the Dark. I think it is scary and I think kids will be scared watching it at times, and also they’ll laugh at times. I think it’s got a great message. I think it’s got a great heart to it but it is still scary. I think that’s great. I think it’s going to open it up to a wider audience.”

RELATED:Are You Afraid of the Dark Movie Set for 2019, Game Night Moves Up

Are You Afraid of the Dark? film will be written by IT screenwriter Gary Dauberman and based on the Canadian horror anthology series that ran on Nickelodeon from 1992-1996. The series featured a group of teenagers who called themselves “The Midnight Society” who would gather around a campfire at the beginning of each episode to tell a scary story ranging from abandoned houses to vampires and killer clowns to witches.

Both series featured a group of teenagers who called themselves “The Midnight Society.” The group would gather around a campfire at the beginning of each episode and one of the teens would say, “Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story [name of episode].” Then they’d toss “midnight dust” on the campfire. The audience would then see the story unfold. The stories were all scary, from abandoned houses to vampires to witches.

Dauberman will also produce the film alongside Matt Kaplan. The horror film is slated to be release on October 11, 2019.

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More Nick: Paramount Teases 2019 Release for ‘Are You Afraid of the Dark?’ Movie With First-Look At Official Logo!

Additional source: MovieWeb.
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