We discuss the new “Are You Afraid of the Dark?” series with staff writer Jared Rivet and what it was like bringing the beloved show to a new generation.
Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society…
For a lot of us, hearing this phrase brings back countless memories of sitting in the dark on a Saturday night with the glow of our TV dimly lighting the room, much like the campfire that the Midnight Society gathered around, to watch the latest scary tale being told that week.
While the adults of the early 1990s had their Tales From the Crypt on HBO, us kids at the time had our Are You Afraid of the Dark? on Nickelodeon. It was ours then, and it’s still ours today as adults — because the show has become more than just a memory. The experience of Are You Afraid of the Dark? grew with us and shaped a lot of our love for horror. We are all members of the Midnight Society.
Mentioning Are You Afraid of the Dark? to the kids of today will most likely elicit a quizzical raised eyebrow (if they even look up from their phone). This is where us members of the Midnight Society come in. This Halloween season, we get to have our treats and eat them too by experiencing Are You Afraid of the Dark? all over again thanks to the upcoming revival series. And we get to introduce our kids and younger generation to the new Midnight Society!
Let’s give them the joy that we had as the fire flared up and the latest tale being told appeared on the TV screen. Let’s give our kids memories. Let’s give them nightmares.
It was a great honor to discuss the details and creation of the new Are You Afraid of the Dark? with series staff writer and horror lover Jared Rivet. Jared has been working in the genre for a long time, and his passion for this new series as well as the original is evident. Fans should feel confident that the right people are running the show.
I want to thank Jared for taking the time to talk with us about this very cool project! Now let’s get to the interview and talk some Are You Afraid of the Dark? And be sure to tune in to the new episodes airing on Nickelodeon this October!
INTERVIEW WITH JARED RIVET
1. Tell us about the work you’ve done in the horror genre and what it is about horror that you love so much?
You didn’t start off with an easy one! Let’s see. I wrote the screenplay for a horror movie called Jackals that was released in 2017 by Scream Factory. It starred Stephen Dorff and Johnathon Schaech and was directed by Kevin Greutert (Saw VI). It finally became available to stream on Amazon Prime last month, and I’m hoping a lot more people will check it out (though it is definitely not appropriate for Are You Afraid of the Dark’s target audience). I originally wrote that script on spec in 2007 for Tobe Hooper to direct.
I continue to write/produce/direct/act in episodes of the Earbud Theater podcast, which is a scripted anthology series in the Twilight Zone/Tales from the Crypt mode. Working on those puts me in my happy place. They are fully dramatized audio dramas with top-notch people in every facet – actors, sound design, composers…it’s my favorite creative outlet.
And I have been co-hosting Dead Right Horror Trivia, a monthly horror trivia event in Burbank, California since 2015. My co-host is Dr. Rebekah McKendry, an accomplished writer-producer-director in her own right. Your readers might know her from her years co-hosting the Shock Waves podcast. The trivia event was started in 2013 by Bekah and Ryan Turek, who is now the DVP of development at Blumhouse. When Ryan left to focus on his gig at Blumhouse, they pulled me out of my team to replace him, and also so that we would stop winning all the time.
2. How did you get involved with writing for the upcoming Are You Afraid of the Dark? revival series, and what details can you tell fans about the show?
I have known Are You Afraid of the Dark? writer-producer-show runner BenDavid Grabinski for many years now. And I should make it clear that BenDavid did all of the actual writing of the scripts for the show. His energy and commitment to this project blew me away. Back in December 2018, when it was announced in the trades that he had been hired to write the feature film version of Are You Afraid of the Dark? for Paramount, I sent him a text to congratulate him.
He proceeded to tell me that he was actually no longer involved with the movie (which has long since been put into turnaround) but that he was about to start developing a revival of the TV series for Nickelodeon. I rolled the dice and texted back to him that if he ever needed a staff writer for the new show, I would love to be involved. It’s the kind of thing you say to folks in the industry all the time. Rarely does anything come of it.
You know, you can’t catch a fish unless you put your line in the water, so you throw it out there even though you might go home with an empty bucket. But BenDavid actually said that we should talk! So we did. He got that I sincerely meant what I said. And before I knew it, I was working for him as a staff writer on the show.
3. Did you watch any of the original Are You Afraid of the Dark? episodes when they first aired in the early nineties? Did you re-watch any to prepare for the revival? If so, what were some of your favorite episodes and moments from the series?
Unlike BenDavid, who grew up watching the show and was a hardcore, lifetime fan, I was in my early 20s when the show premiered. In fact, I was already living in L.A. and struggling to become a working screenwriter while the show was at the height of its popularity, so I had aged out of the demographic. I know I will probably be crucified by the fans for admitting that, but I hadn’t actually watched any episodes of the original show until a few years ago.
I was pitching an unrelated horror TV project and a network executive mentioned during a meeting