Are You Afraid of the Dark? S1E11 “The Tale of the Dark Music”

“The Tale of the Dark Music” or Don’t go in the Basement….ALONE! One story that was seared into my brain as a child but is also awesomely hilarious in just the right ways.

As I mentioned last week, this is Eric’s last on-screen tale with the Midnight Society. And it’s a good one.

The Midnight Society think it’s hilarious that Frank is afraid of the dark (well, at least the question has been answered). Eric left without Frank, who lost his flashlight, and made the boy try to find his own way to the clearing.

To really rub salt into the wound, Eric’s story is about a boy named Andy, who also happens to be afraid of the dark basement of his new house.

In “The Tale of the Dark Music”, Andy, his mom and his younger sister move into a house that his mother has inherited from a dead uncle. The family had their share of struggles before the move, and the new home seems like a true stroke of luck.

But the house makes Andy uncomfortable, especially since his mom doesn’t remember almost anything about her deceased uncle. During the move, the boy is sent into the basement with some boxes. To cheer himself up in the creepy basement, he plugs in an old radio. And as the music plays – an old door in the room begins to rattle.

The door opens and Andy finds a pair of red eyes staring at him telling the boy to “come in”. Andy flees up the stairs, accidentally taking out the radio with him. But when he brings back his mother, she only finds an empty root cellar on the other side of the door. His little sister ridicules him for being afraid of the dark.

When Andy asks his mother about her dead uncle, she says that she can’t tell him much. Her uncle was incredibly wealthy, but apparently never left the house. When they found his body, it was at the bottom of the stairs in the basement.

Andy has more problems to deal with than just a demonic room, and it comes in the shape of metal-loving meathead Koda. While delivering his paper route, he accidentally knocks Koda’s bucket of water over and onto the metalhead. Andy eventually escapes after ducking into the cellar doors.

The boy returns to the cellar again when he’s asked to do the laundry. He turns on a more contemporary radio, and again the door opens. This time, something comes out of the room. A big-ass creepy-as-fuck life-sized doll. It asks Andy to play with it, and the boy becomes hypnotised. But before he’s sucked into the room, his mother cuts the power to the basement, which turns off the music. But unlike the first incident, Andy doesn’t remember anything about what he saw.

But the second time he’s stuck with the laundry, he does remember. Beyond the door, Andy sees a carny who invites him in. But before Andy can be lured, the carny turns into a skeleton. Andy tries to leave, and is nearly sucked into the room by a strong wind, but the radio becomes unplugged. Andy finally makes the connection between the evil beyond the door and the music from the radio.

The following day, Koda catches up with Andy. The metalhead punches Andy and throws his bike into the road, where it is crushed by a dump truck. The boy is all (figuratively) crushed by the loss of his bicycle, knowing that his family won’t have the money to replace it. But Andy is struck by a sudden, evil idea.

He sets up the basement with a large sound system, and lures Koda into the basement where the loud metal music plays from the speakers. Andy slams the basement doors shut before Koda can escape. He sits and waits a moment before finally cutting the power.

When Andy returns to the basement, he finds that Koda is actually gone. Despite just wanting to scare the bully, the room actually had time to “eat” Koda. In his place is a brand new bicycle for Andy.

The boy is actually pretty chuffed with his gift from the demonic room. A voice from within the basement tells Andy that he can receive whatever he wants, just like his uncle, as long as the boy brings people to feed the room. When he hears his sister yelling at him from somewhere in the house, an evil grin cuts across Andy’s face.

The Midnight Society are a bit perturbed that a boy might feed his sister to a demon, but Eric reassures them that Andy is just enough of an asshole to only scare his sister with the room (because that worked out so well the first time). Frank eventually gets his revenge as well when he scares the crap out of Eric when they’re left alone in the dark.

So, moral of the story? Scare people, get what you want!

This episode scared me so much as a kid. We had a rather large basement in our house. Before it was renovated, it was just a large open space – one perfect for EVIL (and for dancing to Aquarium but that’s probably irrelevant). Every time I had to go back upstairs I bolted like that creepy doll or those red eyes were waiting for me at the bottom.

AYFOTD? nails the imagery in the episode and perfectly taps into children’s fears in these 20 minutes. It’s truly one of the classic tales.

Highlight quotes of the episode:

“It said “Come in, and I will suck your blood”, or something like that.” – Andy the Drama Queen

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