Are You Afraid of the Dark? Ep #12 - The Tale of the Prom Queen

Fun fact – this is the first episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark I ever saw. It came on after another show I had watched and I figured what the hell, may as well check this out. I don’t remember anything about my thoughts on the episode but I guess I must have enjoyed it well enough as I continued to watch the show. Strangely enough I think I remember a lot about the actual plot of the episode, including how it ends. So this could be interesting.

We open with a figure in a white dress and veil making their way through the woods. It’s clearly a member of the Midnight Society and I already judge everyone else in the group for inevitably being scared by this. They all acknowledge Kristen is late, confirming she is the only one of them not present. Nonetheless, she emerges in the dress and scares the shit out of everyone, even prompting a frightened asking of “who are you” even though you can make out Kristen’s face beneath the veil. She gives her intro and it cuts to a shot of Gary who has his head on his hand and looks fucking bored. Isn’t this supposed to be when everyone shares that look of dread because the story sounds so terrifying? Was this shot a mistake? The dude looks ready to fall asleep.

Anyway, story begins.

We see a girl at a grave site and my god, Kristen telling the whole story in this wispy, dreamlike voice must get really really irritating for the people who have to hear her tell the whole story herself. Thank god we the audience get visual accompaniment. This girl then proceeds to wander the graveyard for a while. Like, a couple of minutes at least. Soooo yeah. Finally some dude jumps out and scares the shit out of her while another guy assures her “we’re not ghosts, relax.” Then the first guy responds in a douchey tone “Or maybe we are. Ever seen Night of the Living Dead?” Yeah idiot I have which is why I know it was about zombies, not ghosts. Have you fucking seen Night of the Living Dead?

What’s kind of nuts is that these aren’t her friends which would be the reasonable assumption. No these two are literally meeting this girl for the first time right now. So before they were just dicks but now this revelation makes them huge assholes. I can’t believe after they introduce themselves to her (their names are Greg and, no lie, Jam) she doesn’t tell them to fuck off and eat a dick before unloading a full canister of pepper spray on them, but instead she says her name is Dede and they all become buddies.

Continuing to use his fucking douche spooky voice, Jam tells the legend of the prom queen. Seems many years ago a girl was waiting by the cemetery gates on a foggy night for her date to pick her up and got hit by a drunk driver. Then every year on prom night the ghost waits to be picked up. That’s it. Jam takes like 2 minutes to tell the story and adds in lots of pauses and unnecessary details (“they found her body………then…………….they buried her……………”) but that’s the gist of it. Standard ghost story shit really.

Turns out Greg and Jam are there to find her grave and Dede is weirdly into it. Jam says “boys and ghouls” in case we dared to forget he’s a fucking douchebag. We are thankfully spared the search for the gravestone and it cuts to them eating lunch later in the day. They couldn’t find the grave and Greg wants to be sure there really was a car accident in case this is all a big waste of time. Even though this is the pre-Internet days where info like that was harder to find, it still takes them just a little too long to realize “Oh shit! Newspaper report on things that happen! Why don’t we check those?!” Even then, Dede asks “newspapers?” and Greg actually proceeds to explain how fucking newspapers work. I…why was that needed?! Did they think the audience wouldn’t know? How dumb do they think kids are? They didn’t have to explain the term “bombed” which they use to say the driver was drunk, why did they have to explain “newspapers kids are items where you find stories about the news.” Christ show, give us some credit.

They hit the library and find an article about the crash from 1956, detailing it exactly the way Jam told the story earlier. We also find out the victim’s name was Judy Larson and her boyfriend’s name was Ricky, who drove his Chevy off the bridge and killed himself when he found out what happened. Are you going to explain suicide to the kids watching or just the concept of newspapers? Just newspapers huh? Well you have to have your priorities.

This scene tries to create some suspense out of three people reading a newspaper article so it keeps cutting to the door behind them as the knob slowly turns and the door creaks open. A shadowy figure approaches them annnnnd it’s an old lady bringing them tea. Weeeeee.

Later on, Judy says they should help Judy by communicating with the spirit of Ricky and telling him to go pick her up at the graveyard as he didn’t get the message originally. Also Judy uses the word “keen” and a big deal is made that it’s a weird choice of words, confirming that I do indeed remember how this episode ends.

That night the three of them take a boat out into the water where Ricky’s car crashed after going off the bridge. Dede seems to know way too much about séances and leads them all through it. I guess I misunderstood what they were saying earlier as she goes through the events of what happened and says Ricky actually just lost control of his car as he was angry and driving too fast. Around the time you’re wondering why the hell this scene has been going on for so long, some bubbles hit the surface of the water. Dede yells at them to keep concentrating and scolds Greg for opening his eyes which is creepy because she never opened her eyes to confirm that he did. Then the bubbles chase them so they row to shore. The bubbles stop but not before letting out this weird mechanical grunt that is probably the creepiest part of the scene. Greg is appropriately freaked out but Jam seems incapable of turning off his douchiness, continuing to talk as though he’s narrating a 70’s horror movie trailer.

Later they are back at the graveyard and we open on a close-up shot of Judy Larsen’s grave, which looks like someone stencilled the name on a sheet of cardboard. It looks terrible. It’s made even worse when they cut to a wide shot of the three of them standing by an actual headstone and it looks completely different from the close-up! Wait, did I miss something? How come this time they were able to find the grave? Did they just not look hard enough before? Is the cemetery really that gigantic?

Some time passes and we see the three of them sitting together. The fact their heads are at the bottom of the frame and we can see almost the whole cemetery behind them is a way too obvious give away that something is going to walk around behind them. Sure enough, after Dede hears some rustling, Jam points out that a figure is walking around. The figure is clearly wearing a robe and not a prom dress, is clearly a dude, and is clearly carrying wind chimes, so I have a hunch this may not be for real. Sure enough, Greg goes to investigate, grabs the “ghost” by the shoulder, and sees it’s actually Jam’s cousin Chuck. It’s weird because Jam makes fun of Greg for being scared but Greg was a total badass, immediately marching over to grab the ghost and see if it was bullshit. It seems like this prank really didn’t work but Jam still seems pleased with himself because he’s a piece of garbage.

Somehow they all missed a ton of fog that rolled in as they look over and see a Chevy slowly pull up with 50’s music playing. Then a plot twist happens! Dede is really June! She couldn’t leave the cemetery unless someone brought her with them and then from there they were able to crack the mystery together as to why Ricky never came and got her. Also Ricky appears to be played by the same dude from the Sorceror’s Apprentice episode which taints this a little as I immediately don’t trust that fuckin’ guy. I also feel really bad for Greg as he clearly had the hots for Dede and now just looks all sad when she drives away with her ghost boyfriend in their ghost Chevy. It’s kind of funny to think that cousin Chuck doesn’t have any of the back story so that guy must be fuckin’ lost right now. Anyway the two of them drive through the cemetery gate on their way to heaven I guess and that’s the end!

Strangely there’s no bullshitting around back at the campfire. We cut back, Kristen says the end, Gary puts out the fire, and then credits.

That episode is not the best and I’m a little surprised it hooked me enough to keep watching all that time ago. The story is ok but pretty standard ghost story stuff and the Sixth Sense twist is pretty obvious. Plus fuck Jam, fuckin’ asshole. Talk normal! Prick.