Are You Afraid of the Dark S01 E04 – I wish for an all jean ensemble.

Previously: I think the moral of the story was reading is better than everything, but especially better than ghosts trapped in mirrors.

The Tale of the Twisted Claw

Lorraine: The camera zooms in on some dumb little kid sleeping. He wakes and we see the door behind him open. A shrouded figure, who apparently has his own fog machine for making his entrances awesome, comes in. The kid startles and wakes up. Again. “I hate that dream,” he says but when he looks to his left, the shrouded figure is there making weird monster noises. He screams, and those screams melt into the screams of several of the Midnight Society girls.

Is that a thing that could actually happen? Can someone ever tell you something so scary it would make you scream?

When the kids ask what happens next in the story, High Watered Pants Story Telling Boy says he doesn’t actually know, ’cause he hasn’t made it up yet. It’s a “cliffhanger.” That’s cool. I’m writing a novel, but I haven’t made it up yet either! I’m going to start calling it a cliffhanger. Anyways, the Midnight Society is unsatisfied because they want a full story. A smaller kid in a jean jacket and jeans combo says he has a story. TV!Cher says he hasn’t told a story in a long time and Jean-mazing says he’s been working on this one. This is especially cool because I’m pretty sure that this is the same kid who told a story in episode 3. I’d research if episodes were aired out of order, but that doesn’t really constitute as a Questionable Google Search, and thus, is beneath me.

A little potassium MAGIC on the fire and title: The Tale of the Twisted Claw.

It is fittingly the night before Halloween in this story because we planned it that way! (Not really.) (Seriously, we just do what we want and like 63% of the time it works out in our favor. True and actual statistic.) Apparently this night is called Mischief Night and we get a montage of a pack of hoodlums shaving creaming a car and teepee-ing a tree.

Two of the hoodlums stop at a house and they call the lady who lives inside a witch. The braver of the two, Kevin, encourages his chicken friend, Dougie, to destroy stuff and, uh, disrespect property rights or something. The boys sneak up to the house and just as Kevin is about to shaving cream the house, an older lady opens the door. She gets a face full of shaving cream, which causes her to stumble back inside and knock over a vase. The boys run away. The lady comes back out and gives them a laugh that says, “I’m going to enjoy inflicting pain on you little shits,” or possibly, “I might eat you with my dinner.” It’s an evil laugh, basically.

Cut to the next day. Dougie is fooling around in his goblin mask while his father expertly ignores him. Kevin shows up, and Dougie complains that he dresses up as a bum every year. I’d kindly point out that in addition to the goblin mask, Dougie is wearing a sheet. You shouldn’t costume judge, boyfriend.

Kevin decides he wants to stop at the Witch’s house to trick-or-treat. Dougie doesn’t think it’s a good idea, seeing as how they shaving creamed her face the night before and some people might find that offensive. Kevin is an idiot though, and he gives good peer pressure, meaning that the boys go knock on the Witch’s door. She opens and is all, “I thought no one would come,” and ushers them inside which is probably a bad sign. You can give me my candy while I stand on the porch, thanks so much.

Anyways, the Witch is so happy that kids came to see her that she’s going to give them a special gift: a wooden vulture’s claw.

She claims that it will grant the boys three wishes a piece. Dougie asks if they can just have some candy and go, because he still thinks there is candy. Cute, right? The Witch warns them to be careful what they wish for and insists they take her gift. The boys grab the claw and go.

Outside, Kevin is unbelieving and Dougie half-jokingly wishes for the trick or treating to be over. The claw moves in his hands, but nothing else happens. As the boys walk along, they find a group of teen-hoodlums. The kind that wear… BANDANAS.

They push the little kids around and steal some of their candy. The boys take off running and the teen-hoodlums chase after them on bikes, because apparently these are more specifically hoodlums-without-a-license. The boys hide in trashcans and wait until the teen-hoodlums are gone. As they climb out, Dougie calls this the worst Halloween ever, and Kevin snits that he got his “no more trick-or-treating” wish, because he’s leaving. SEE? DID YOU SEE THAT THERE?

At school, whenever later, it’s Kevin’s turn for an ill-advised wish. He wants to beat some kid named Bostick in the 600m race. If your name is Bostick, though, I think everyone has beaten you. The Twisted Claw moves around and the boys still think this is totally cool and normal.

Cut to the race. They aren’t actually on a track, but running through a grassy field, which I find hilarious for some reason. Anyways, the kids start running and Bostick is in the lead for 95% of the race. Dougie is watching from the sidelines and he suddenly hears some growling. As Bostick approaches the finish line, a dog COMES OUT OF NOWHERE and runs in Bostick’s path, taking him out of the running.

I KID YOU NOT. I cannot even begin to describe the giggles this gave me. ALL OF THE GIGGLES. I even giggle harder when we learn that rolling over twice has broken Bostick’s leg.

Kevin wins the race and he’s air punching, as one does. Dougie rushes over and is the buzzkill that tells him that he only won thanks to the Puppy O’ Contrivance, which no one else saw.

That night Kevin comes over to Dougie’s house and doesn’t really think anything magical is going on. Dougie is nervous and scared his parents will find out what they did on Mischief Night. He suggests apologizing to the Witch and coming clean to his folks but Kevin thinks that is a horrible idea. “I wish you would just lose your folks!” he says while holding the claw because he is a horrible friend and a terrible human being. Who the hell would say something like that?

Just then, Dougie gets a call informing him that his parents have been in a car accident and are in the hospital. His solution to this is to rip the phone off the line. Kevin suggests wishing them better but Dougie has caught on: every time they wish for something, something bad happens. He’s caught on but he still has the IQ of a moist towelette, because the next words out of his mouth are, “I wish my grandfather were here. He’d know what to do.”

Does this mean his G-pa is going to hop on a magical airplane and show up at his doorstep? NOPE. BECAUSE HIS G-PA IS DEAD. But he’s here now and ringing the doorbell, mostly because what this story was missing was a zombie elder.

Kevin is really not up for meeting any zombie members of the family and tries to use the claw to wish the g-pa away. Dougie knows that would be bad and the boys wrestle a bit. Dougie eventually reaches the claw first and makes the wish they should’ve made from the beginning. He says he’s sorry they broke the Witch’s vase and he wishes it never happened. The claw disappears but the doorbell rings again. Kevin hides and Dougie goes to answer it. It’s the Dougie parents. They forgot their keys.

The kids put together that Dougie made the right wish when they see the phone back on the hook and find that Kevin’s gold race medal has disappeared. None of the wishes happened. The doorbell rings again and when the kids go to answer it, they find the Witch’s vase in one piece on the porch with a note that says, “trick or treat.”

And really, if the vase meant so much to the witch that she was willing to torture minors for it, why would she give it away at the end?

So this episode was light on the creepy and the funny. I’m pretty glad that it at least gave me the opportunity to spend 15 minutes making that dog running out of nowhere gif though.

Good times.


Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.


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  • Melbourne on my Mind

    1. If someone told me that there was a giant moth/butterfly behind me or on my head or ANYWHERE WITHIN ABOUT FIVE METRES OF ME, you can pretty much guarantee that I would scream and run away/flail in terror. So…yeah. That’s a thing that can happen.
    2. When will fictional characters learn to stop making wishes??? It NEVER ends well!!

  • anona

    I remember watching this series in its original airing! Anyways, in the US, this episode did air on Halloween 1991 before Nickelodeon picked up the series. It was a Halloween special kind of thing. But David does tell “The Tale of the Lonely Ghost,” which is the episode RIGHT BEFORE chronologically. Are we to assume that a long time has passed between meetings? For the US audience, who saw thus ep first, maybe that makes sense, but in the larger chronology, this is silly! I don’t know the airing order in Canada, either, so I can’t compare.

    Also, IMDB says that the witch from this ep married the guy who played Dr. Vink — weird!

    Love you guys, as always! Happy Halloween!

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