Halloween Review: The Tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice


Featuring not just fun seasonal podcasts, but also articles, because I totally write those!  Like this one!

As is tradition, we’ll be starting out with an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, this episode coming for way back in season one.  Here is your link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnIylvq427s


We start out with the Midnight Society examining a grave they’ve found in the woods.  Such wholesome kids.  A skeleton bursts out of the ground and they all run away terrified, only to later learn it was a prank planned by Kiki and Frank.  They use this as a really poor way to transition into this week’s story, told by Betty Anne.  She tosses some instant coffee on the fire and begins.  Submitted for the approval of The Midnight Society, she calls this story…

Our story begins in 1966, late at night at a high school.  We see someone slinking around the school, eventually ending up in what I can only assume is the basement.  The person places a stone in a bucket and drops the bucket into a pit filled with water, but not before rolling up their sleeves to show off their sweet snake tattoos.


Security guards make a sweep of the area, and our mystery person scurries away, as we fade back to 1992, or as it’s referred to here “Today.”  We meet Dean Burkham, social outcast.  Don’t blame me for the title; Betty Anne goes to great lengths to describe him as such.    He didn’t have many friends, he didn’t do sports, and he never joined anything, he just kind of…was.  Wow Betty Anne, did he stand you up for a date or something?  Oh, he’s also terrible at school work too.

Here we see Dean, too stupid to realize school has ended for the day.

Here we see Dean, too stupid to realize school has ended for the day.

Dean’s teacher informs him that he is “sinking to perdition” but I’m willing to bet poor, stupid Dean has no idea what those words mean.  We learn Dean does have one friend, Alex, a girl who is his complete opposite, which means she’s great at everything, and Dean no doubt resents her in secret.   Later that day, Dean and Alex are in World Cultures class, where a famous archeologist, who sadly isn’t Indiana Jones, is a guest speaker.

Here we see Dean, trying to figure out what exactly an archaeologist does.

Here we see Dean, trying to figure out what exactly an archaeologist does.

The archaeologist shows the class many different objects, all while seeming a bit too enthused about salt, but the piece she’s most proud of is a recently discovered staff.  She claims it belonged to an ancient Babylonian sorcerer named Goth (because no one understands his pain) who terrorized people with his magic.  Looking at the staff though, it’s pretty obvious who it really belonged to.

vlcsnap-2013-09-30-22h15m14s11 Jafar

After class lets out, Dean returns to talk to the archaeologist.  Or because he got lost, the kid is as dumb as a post.  She allows Dean to look through all her artifacts, and encourages him to touch them, which means he’s probably going to end up choking on one.  Dean is of course drawn to Jafar’s staff, which seems to entrance him.

Is there chocolate in you?

Is there chocolate in you?

Soon we see Dean venturing down to the same basement we visited at the start of the episode.  Again though, it’s entirely possible he just got lost.  Dean pulls the bucket out of watery grave and retrieves the stone, appearing to be quite pleased with himself.  He’s most likely pleased with himself because the stone is shiny, and shiny things bring a simple joy to people like Dean.


The next day at class, Dean has a new, cocky attitude and undeserved sense of entitlement.  He’s so confident that he refuses to take his chemistry test, and still gets an A+, just by leering at the teacher.  Alex confronts him afterwards, and he asks her if she thinks he’s too stupid to ace a test.  Remember Alex, lies are okay when they spare people’s feelings.  Dean and Alex stop talking, and Dean begins to hang out with new, strange friends.  He also begins wearing a leather jacket, and damaging school property.  Uh oh, I know how this is going to turn out.  SOMEONE WARN MR. TURNER ABOUT HIS BIKE!

vlcsnap-2013-09-30-22h43m51s40 hunter

Dean was actually stealing some acid in that screen cap, so I imagine he’ll be without a hand soon.  Alex saw him do it, and decides to investigate, following him down into the basement.   There she finds Dean and his friends performing a ritual with Jafar’s staff, hoping to bring Goth back to life.  Dean is meant to look all creepy and sinister in this scene, but to me, he just looks like a live action version of Nicholas from Care Bears: The Movie.

vlcsnap-2013-09-30-22h49m36s167 nicholascarebear

Alex is discovered and Dean sends his minions after her, but she easily outsmarts them because these are people who have chosen to follow Dean.  A lot of paste eaters in that crowd, I imagine.  She returns to watch Dean finish the ritual, and summon Goth’s spirit.  It’s a great effect for 1992, but once again, all I can see is Care Bears: The Movie.

vlcsnap-2013-09-30-22h53m27s149 CareBears

Goth informs Dean that in order for him to be released, Dean must prepare a cauldron full of night shade and let loose some mystic vapors.  This will grant Dean anything he desires, and give Goth the power to rule the universe.  Sounds like a pretty important job Goth, are you sure you want to leave it to Dean to carry out?



I’ll take that as a no.

Inevitably, Alex confronts Dean and tries to get him to go back to normal, but she fails.  Dean is nice enough to let her go, a gift Alex promptly throws back in his face by following him and his crew to their secret lair.  In their lair they’ve stashed barrels of acid that they’ve somehow stolen, and are preparing to bring it back to the school for the final ritual.   Along the way they catch Alex spying on them, and this time Dean decides against letting her go, a decision that is far beyond his normal intelligence level.  Good for you Dean, gold star!  Back at the school, Dean reveals that they’ll make their cauldron in a secret room that the school had sealed off years ago.  The room contains a pool, and if you follow Are You Afraid of the Dark?, you know abandoned pools are never a good thing.

Remarkably enough, Dean manages to pull off the ritual correctly and Goth rises from the deep end of the pool, all set to rule the world.  Unfortunately for him, Alex breaks part of his staff, which causes him to lose control over Dean.  Dean informs Alex that a conveniently placed barrel of chlorine is the key to stopping Goth, and he is quickly destroyed,  or just sent back to his day job of being an Oscar.


Once everyone, now back to normal, leaves the pool area, the archaeologist pops up and restores Jafar’s staff.  She comments that she planted jewels to help summon Goth in high schools all over the country, so Goth will rise again.  She also shows off her snake tattoos, revealing that she was the shadowy figure in the beginning of the episode.


Hey Goth, here’s some advice:  Do a better job screening your apprentices.  Shall we review the choices you made in this episode?  First, there’s Dean, the school’s resident idiot.  I know small minds are easy to control, but you might want to dream a little bigger.  It’s really no surprise he revived you a scant 10 feet away from a substance that can kill you.

You’ve also got a woman who crafts the kind of ridiculously circuitous plans you’d expect to see from a second tier Batman villain.  Yes, lets plant jewels all over the country, then masquerade around as an archaeologist, hoping to entice some wayward kid into carrying out Goth’s rituals without getting caught.  That sure is a better plan than simply carrying out the goddamn ritual yourself!

In closing, screw you Goth, you got what you deserved for stealing Jafar’s staff.


This article is part of the Countdown to Halloween blogathon, a month-long blogging marathon dedicated to honoring the Halloween season. For more information and a full list of participating sites, please visit http://www.countdowntohalloween.com


3 thoughts on “Halloween Review: The Tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice

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