We’re dropping back to Season 2 for this one, here are the links:
Tonight the Midnight Society is in a rush because Kiki and Emo David, have passes to a horror movie marathon called Fright Fest. Frank, however says he’ll never go to Fright Fest again, as sitting in that movie theater for some long makes him forget the real world exists. This coming from a guy who’s part of a club that spends all their time coming up with scary stories, usually based on what’s happening in their lives, why hello there irony.
Anywho, he’s got a story about what happens when movies seem too real. He tosses some of that sugar that’s always left over at the bottom of a bag of Sour Patch Kids on to the fire and begins. Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, he calls this story…
We open on a theater showing a black and white film. As you can see, it’s a packed house.
We soon meet Pete, who according to the credits has the last name Matt. Pete Matt, well that’s just terrible. He works at the theater with his friend Katie and their perpetually angry boss, Mr. Kristoff.
Their theater is in danger of being shut down, I have no idea why, and Katie is apply for a job at the Multiplex. She also shoots down Pete’s attempts to ask her out. Stupid name, girl you like possibly leaving and getting shot down, it’s a bad life for Mr. Matt. In an effort to save the theater, Pete begins handing out flyers, because that always works.
He also attempts to get the theater landmark status. Pete clearly doesn’t understand that landmark status would only keep the theater from being demolished, it wouldn’t keep it open. Fortunately for Pete, salvation may soon becoming, and salvation’s name is…Dr. Vink
Apparently the good doctor has changed careers since the last time we saw him. No longer a nature scientist, and presumably no longer trapping kids in his house while he makes them answer riddles, he’s now in show biz. Vink saw one of Pete’s flyers and he’s arrived to save the day. How you ask? By having the theater show one of his films, of course.
Vink promises that his film will make people flock to the theater and save the business. In exchange, all he asks is that if the film is successful, he gets one night a week to show his other films. They can call Vinkapalooza. Vinkfest. Vink-o-vision. Mr. Kristoff, seemingly mesmerized by the good doctor, or my fantastic suggestions for names, agrees.
Of course once Vink magically disappears, Mr. Kristoff decides he’s a nutbag, which he is not, and tells Pete to forget about showing the film. A few weeks later, ticket sales haven’t improved and Mr. Kristoff is hitting the sauce pretty hard, because he just got word the theater is closing.
To add to his problems, the film their showing burns out in the projector. Pete decides the best course of action is to throw on Dr. Vink’s film in it’s place. Dr. Vink’s film turns out to be a blatant rip off of the film Nosferatu. See?
Turns out, everyone loves the films and no one wants a refund, which I find to be completely unrealistic. Pete is thrilled and he and Katie hug, only for Pete to creep up the moment by squeeling “Lets hug again!”
Vink soon resurfaces to get his end of the bargain, but Mr. Kristoff no longer wants to honor their deal. It seems they can now get A-List movies to show in the theater, and he has no room for old silent films. This, despite the fact that the theater was saved by an old silent film, that is selling out every showing. Business is not Mr. Kristoff’s strong suit, apparently. Leisure suits are apparently his strong suit. Or his only suit.
Kristoff tells Vink that their deal isn’t happening, end of story. Vink insists that it’s not the end of the story, and the story is in fact, just beginning. This, despite the fact that there’s less than 8 minutes left in the episode. Damn it Frank, stop cramming everything in at the end, it’s called pacing.
The theater continues to do well, all because of Vink’s move, making Kristoff seem like an even bigger idiot. Alright, that’s might not be possible, Kristoff wears leisure suits, he can’t seem like a bigger idiot. Pete, meanwhile, has begun to study the movie in an effort to figure out why it’s so popular. Instead he falls asleep and thinks he dreams that Nosferatu comes out of the screen.
Pete and Katie have a heartfelt discussion regarding how they feel about each other. You see, Pete kind of likes Katie and…Katie kind of likes Pete too. It’s very complex. They’re about to share an awkward kiss when they hear Kristoff screaming upstairs. They find him in his office, looking like he got stabbed in the neck with a barbeque fork.
Pete and Katie try to call for help, but the telephone is dead. They try to run to get help, but they can’t get the theater doors to open. They do however find this guy, but judging by the fact that they run away from him screaming, they must not think he can be that big of a help.
Pete has Katie start showing the film, a move which seems to seriously annoy Nosferatu.
The vampire stops harassing Katie and goes to follow Pete, who has…stepped into the film.
Nosferatu follows him, and Pete, ruining a perfectly good film, opens some curtains, exposes the vampire to sunlight, and kills him. When will Hollywood learn to leave classic films alone!?
Pete steps out of the film, and we learn that Kristoff is alive and writing the whole getting bit by a vampire thing off as just a dream. Dr. Vink reappears, and Kristoff tells him that he accepts their deal. Vink refuses however, informing them that he’s purchased the theater, and that he’ll be showing his movies whenever he wants.
So I guess the theater is staying open…yay?
Frank’s story has scared Kiki and David so much that they decide not to go to Fright Fest, giving their tickets to Frank. Turns out Frank doesn’t believe the stuff he said at the beginning of the episode, and is now gleeful that he has free tickets to Fright Fest. God, is everyone on this show a dick?
Midnight Madness is a solid episode, which ends up making this a really not so solid review. It’s hard for me to complain when an episode is well done enough to not have that much to make fun of, but it just makes my job more difficult. Oh well, Are You Afraid of the Dark? was never supposed to be so-bad-its-good, and episodes like this show why. It doesn’t feel dated, despite being made in 1992 and it remains engaging despite nothing remotely creepy happening for the first three quarters of the episode. My criticism of Frank’s pacing is no joke though, more Nosferatu would have made this episode better, instead he’s just crammed in for a few minutes at the end. Another appearance of Dr. Vink is always a good thing, even though this may be his weakest episode.
Again, I apologize if this review doesn’t put you in stitches, I promise to make it up to you the rest of the week, with reviews including ghosts who are really cold, a jail for people who make prank calls and a shiny red bicycle.