Followers of the unique Nickelodeon sequence Are You Afraid of the Darkish? ought to put together themselves for one main format change within the reboot: As an alternative of simply sharing their fireplace tales of ghouls and lake monsters and different issues that go bump within the night time, the brand new members of the Midnight Society will really discover themselves contained in the story. And whereas the three episodes of the miniseries are all separate, they will all be centered across the group’s showdown on the Carnival of Doom, as one character’s chilling nightmare will come to life.
The choice to focus extra on the pint-sized storytellers and allow them to expertise the horror motion this time round was the results of creator BenDavid Grabsinki desirous to know what it will be prefer to be invited into the group and the way it will really feel to be underneath the stress of telling one of many tales across the campfire. However much more than that, he mentioned, it was concerning the characters themselves.
“The enjoyable of that concept is the Midnight Society are basically horror nerds who know every little thing about tales which are scary, and having them cope with that creates a unique dynamic as a result of they understand how these items play out,” he mentioned. “They’re detectives … they will interrupt folks and say, ‘Oh yeah, we perceive — we all know what is going on on right here,’ which may annoy a few of the characters as a result of they know the tropes.”
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The brand new Midnight Society is made up of a number of youngsters, and every of them has their very own story to inform. The important thing members embody Miya Cech as Akiko, whom the actress describes as an “aspiring director who loves horror” and could be very “no-nonsense and lays the details down.” Then there’s Jeremy Ray Taylor’s Graham, whom the actor says is each a classic horror fan and a “big germaphobe.” “He is frightened of every little thing, but additionally in terms of his buddies, he places that apart, he does every little thing for them,” Taylor defined.
Sam Ashe Arnold stars as Gavin, the “widespread child” who will get weak within the knees for the cool new lady Rachel, performed by Lyliana Wray. “He is a member of the Midnight Society, and he’s cool round just about everybody however Rachel. It is a weak spot for him. He turns right into a goofball,” Arnold defined.
Maybe Gavin’s response is about greater than only a schoolboy crush, although, as a result of it seems that Rachel’s the catalyst for all of their issues. “Considered one of her drawings will get seen — of Mr. Tophat — by Graham, and she or he will get to hitch the Midnight Society,” defined Wray, who described her character as shy and awkward, however a really gifted artist. “She tells her story about Mr. Tophat and the Carnival of Doom. And so they all get up the following day and uncover that the carnival is actual.”
Mr. Tophat, a personality created for Rafael Casal as an “evil Willy Wonka” kind, presides over all of the mayhem afoot on this loopy carnival journey. He is the grasp of ceremonies on the Carnival of Doom, in addition to the “protagonist” in all of Rachel’s goals (and nightmares). And though the selection to go for a Jack Skellington-type of persona would possibly’ve been dangerous, everybody knew immediately that Mr. Tophat was simply the joys the present wanted as quickly as they noticed the primary footage.
“Greater than scary, it was simply superior. It regarded actually, actually cool,” Casal mentioned of his well-documented response to the primary take. “The primary time you see the pictures you determine whether or not or not you purchase it, and we knew in that second that oh, yeah, that is working. This villain needs to be the polar finish of terror, so it has to promote. I used to be excited that it labored.”
“He is both a very superior dangerous man or he is David S. Pumpkins,” Grabinski added of his villainous creation. “He wasn’t David S. Pumpkins, so we knew we did a very good job.”
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Producer Matt Kaplan — who moved the undertaking from Paramount, the place it will’ve been a movie, over to Nickelodeon when Brian Robbins was named head of the community — mentioned that whereas the first problem was to pivot to the Midnight Society because the centerpiece of the story, sustaining the eerie essence of the unique, which had been his favourite present, was additionally important. “I believe we needed to make it possible for not solely can we lean into the Midnight Society and dive deeper into their characters … [but] how can we preserve that degree of scares,” Kaplan mentioned.
Along with plopping the characters in the midst of nowhere, in a creepy carnival set into the woods, producers additionally aimed to recapture the spirit of the classic model by Easter eggs, like an intro that honors the unique and a few acquainted baddies amongst Mr. Tophat’s kaleidoscope of carnival minions — amongst them, Zeebo the Clown and the Ghastly Grinner. Plus, some scenes borrow largely from the creators’ favourite episodes. Grabinski, for instance, pointed to “The Story of the Useless Man’s Float” because the episode that “traumatized” him in his youth, and since that section revolved round a skeleton and a pool, it seemingly impressed the miniseries’ use of a number of water sequences within the new iteration. “I simply needed to do a bunch of homages. There are a number of scary water moments of issues popping out of the water. And I do not need to spoil it, however I’ll inform you that they’re most likely the scariest stuff on the present,” he mentioned.
Whereas Are You Afraid of the Darkish? is presently being offered as a miniseries, Kaplan mentioned that there could possibly be extra the place that got here from. “I believe all of us went into this with the intention that there can be many, many, many extra,” he admitted, including that the structural shift of the Midnight Society changing into gamers in their very own tales is right here to remain. “I believe we’ll at all times lean into the Midnight Society, how that story unfolds, whether or not you go together with an anthology, whether or not you go prolong it into extra episodes, that is one thing we’ll react to after we see what folks suppose.”
Are You Afraid of the Darkish is a restricted, three-episode sequence that premieres on Nickelodeon on Friday, Oct. 11 at 7/6c. Elements two and three comply with on Friday, Oct. 18 and Friday, Oct. 25 at 7/6c.