Are You Afraid of the Dark S1E4 “The Tale of the Twisted Claw”

My favourite episodes of AYAOTD tent to be the ones that are a bit more original that the ones that heavily rely on using old stories. This episode, the Midnight Society seem to lack any sort of imagination. No one can tell a full story until David says he wants to share “one he’s been working on”.

But David is lazy and I’m going to call this plagiarism (or something – it’s probably not). “The Tale of the Twisted Claw” is really just a retelling of The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacob’s, but since he’s like a 12-year-old kid, I’ll give him a break.

It’s the night before Halloween in David’s tale. That’s mischief night, and two friends, Kevin and Dougie, are up to no good. They get up to the usual little boy shenanigans, but decide to take it one step further when Kevin has the idea to go to “the witch’s house”.

The boys approach the house of the witch, actually known as Miss Clove, and knock on her door. When she answers, they spray her in the face with shaving foam. The elderly lady tumbles backwards and knocks over a large vase. As the vase shatters, the two boys run.

But on Halloween, the boys actually have the balls to go back to Miss Clove’s house during trick or treating. She kindly invites them in and tells them she has a special gift for them. While she goes to retrieve her things, the boys notice that the vase is still smashed on the ground. Which, to be fair, is kind of weird.

Miss Clove’s gift, though, is much weirder. She gives them the claw of a vulture, which is swears is made from wood. She tells them that the claw will grant each of them three wishes. Not very convinced, nor not really wanting to hurt the lady’s feelings, the boys take the claw and get on their way.

While leaving the house, Kevin wishes to be home and lose his stupid trick or treating. Though his wish is accidental, the claw moves in Dougie’s hand. He drops the claw and tells Kevin that the wish will work. On their way home, the two boys are then chased by a group of ‘bad kids’ on bikes.

The next day, Kevin makes his second stupid wish when he says that he wants to beat their fellow classmate Bostick in the 600 metre race. Kevin does win the race, but only have Bostick trips over a massive dog and break his leg. But for some reason, Dougie is the only one who seems to have noticed the animal.

Then that night, Kevin goes over to Dougie’s house while Dougie’s parents are out for dinner. Dougie tells Kevin about Bostick’s broken leg, and begins to feel upset and guilty.

His friend’s conscience gets on his nerves and Kevin grabs the claw saying that he wished that Dougie would lose his folks. When the wish is made, the phone begins to ring. Dougie answers and the police on the other line tell him that his parents had been in a bad car accident. Before he can hear their actual status, he hangs up.

Panicked, Dougie wishes that his grandpa was back. Problem is, as Kevin points out, Dougie’s grandpa is dead. The boys rush to the window and see a car approaching – Dougie’s grandpa’s car. The two boys scuffle over the claw then the doorbell rings.

Quickly, Dougie apologises for what he did to Miss Clove and wishes that anything that happened because of the claw had happened. When the noise at the door continues, Dougie gets up to face his grandfather. But at the other side of the door are his parents, safe and sound but without house keys.

Then everything seems to be sorted. But the boys answer the door one more time and find the broken vase repaired on the doorstep with a note that reads “Tick or treat.”

This episode is the classic be careful what you wish for tale. It’s incredibly overdone, but AYFOTD does manage to make the best of it. Though the Midnight Society act like the story is a fucking revelation. But major points for the super gross set. It’s strangely mesmerising. Like Argento if he decided floral 90’s would be his thing.

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