“The Tale of the Full Moon” has to be one of the more unusual episodes of Are You Afraid of the Dark? For one, it’s not really scary. It’s actually really funny. And the episode has this over-the-top 1950’s feel reminiscent of John Waters and classic drive-in monster movies.
It’s the one-year anniversary of Frank joining the Midnight Society and telling his first story. By tradition, that means it’s his turn to tell a tale. Inspired by the full moon, Frank says that his tale is about the ways that a full moon can change people.
In his tale, Jed and Hughie are pet detectives. Jed, a particular dog love, isn’t allowed to have any pets of his own, so he helps others find their lost ones. The friends are on a case to find their neighbour’s cat, Misty. If found, the boys will get $20, allowing Jed to buy the dog he wants from the pet store.
They conduct their search throughout the neighbourhood, and Jed has a breakthrough when he finds the tags from Misty’s collar. He calls Hughie on the walkie-talkie, say he found the clue in front of the house across from his that has just been sold.
When during a survey around the house, Jed finds a large pile of pet collars. When he looks in the windows of the house, he sees a man preparing some raw meat. The man gets called away and leaves the kitchen, allowing Jed to sneak in and have a peek inside the fridge. The boy finds that the fridge is packed full of tupperware containers full of more raw meat.
Putting the clues together, Jed begins to believe that the ground meat is actually the missing pets. That night, Jed sets up his video camera and points it at the neighbour’s window. While watching the footage, he sees the man walking past the window. The man suddenly hunches over and falls to the ground, out of the camera’s frame. But when the man returns – he’s a werewolf!
Jed jumps back in surprise and calls out, altering his mom. Though when Jed tries to go back to the footage to find proof for his mom, he finds nothing.
The next day, Jed and Hughie begin researching together. They learn that much of what they know about werewolves is false, though they can’t stand silver and change under the moon. Rather, being a werewolf is like a disease.
When Jed returns home, he finds his mom setting the table and humming to herself. After spotting Jed, she explains that she’s having a date over. The date, surprise surprise, is the man that lives across the street.
Over dinner, Jed tries to catch the man out. He stabs him with silver. Shows the man the moon. But nothing works. Jed’s mom sends him to his room. She and the neighbour go out together for a coffee after their meal.
With the adults out of the house, Jed calls Hughie to join him to search the neighbour’s house. Hughie reluctantly joins (he was in his bath), and the detectives dig through the house’s contents. But they soon realise they’ve made a mistake when they uncover a photograph of two men: identical twins. One man is Jed’s mom’s date. The other the werewolf.
Before the boys have a chance to flee, the werewolf discovers them and chases them throughout the house. They become cornered in the werewolf’s bedroom, and it looks like the end. But they’re swiftly saved by Jed’s mom’s date – and Jed’s mom. The werewolf instantly begins to behave himself, seemingly enjoying a nice head scratch.
Jed’s mom explains that she already knew about the werewolf brother, and was already ‘adjusting’ to the idea. The date insists that the werewolf doesn’t actually eat kids, and everything seems to be okay again.
A year later, Jed’s mom has married the neighbour. And Jed finally had the dog to play fetch with that he always wanted.
“The Tale of the Full Moon” would really just be another typical werewolf story, but the style is what makes it something special. It’s kooky, kitsch, and really enjoyable. If you’re looking for scares – it’s really not here. The werewolf mask is laughably bad (I’m assuming on purpose). But it was one episode of AYAOTD? that made me smile.