Paramount Players have set a release date for their movie adaptation of the classic Nickelodeon horror series Are You Afraid of the Dark? The project was unveiled last month, with IT writer Gary Dauberman writing the script and producing alongside Matt Kaplan. We can expect this latest attempt to tap into ‘90s nostalgia to drop in October 2019 – just in time for next Halloween.
Green-lighting the original series was a daring and bold move by Nickelodeon. Horror anthologies were not unheard of at the time – Tales from the Crypt was very popular and we can’t forget that The Twilight Zone was the series that started it all. However, no one had ever attempted to bring such a genre to a family-friendly network that targeted adolescents and pre-teens. Are You Afraid was a lot tamer than anything that had come before it, but what it lacked in terror it made up for in comedy and charm.
The idea proved to be a massive hit; the series ran from 1992 to 1996 before being revived in 1999 with new writers for two more seasons. The original run coincided with the publication of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps novels, which had a similar blend of terror and humour – horror for kids was big. Each episode began with a group of teenagers who called themselves the Midnight Society meeting at a secret location in the woods to tell a scary story.
It is unclear at this point if Are You Afraid will be in an anthology format, perhaps with different members of the Midnight Society telling various tales, or whether it will follow a similar path as the Goosebumps adaption did in 2015.
Paramount Players is a new division at Paramount Pictures. It focuses on contemporary talent and properties for young audiences while drawing upon the vast resources of the Viacom brands – including Nickelodeon.