Are you afraid of the dark: the curse of the shadows’ Jeff Wadlow delves into fear

Jeff Wadlow, one of the main voices behind the new season of Are You Afraid of the Dark ?, delved into the horrors (and the heart) of the series.

Following the stories of a group of horror lovers called the Midnight Society, Are you afraid of the dark? was a historical anthology series for the then young Nickelodeon network in 1991, with numerous fans of the original now creating their own horror stories on film and television. During an exclusive interview with CBR, Jeff Wadlow, executive producer and director of Are You Afraid Of The Dark?: Curse of the Shadows, spoke about how the series honors the original Nickelodeon series.

The legacy of the original series did not go unnoticed by Wadlow, who revealed what struck him the most about the show and the impact it had, saying, “It’s super exciting … it was truly a groundbreaking show because it said kids can handle really scary stories on TV, and for that reason, I was excited to be a part of it. The producers told me from the beginning: ‘Make it as scary as you can, but don’t do what you want. We know the fans They want to be afraid of this franchise. They want to be told that they must be very afraid of the dark, so make them afraid. ‘

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The next season of the anthology series introduces an entirely new Midnight Society, which quickly becomes embroiled in its own horror tale when the mysterious local curse of the Shadowman threatens them. Finding the right balance for the character dynamics was difficult at first, according to Wadlow. But Wadlow was quick to point out “JT Billings, who wrote almost every episode … I’m here to tell you he’s so talented. It’s been an amazing partnership working with him on this show because it wasn’t like someone handed the script to me. The scripts were being written while we were filming. I was taking notes on the script, he was on set with me as if it were a true partnership. I would like to say that we worked it out together, but the truth is that he figured it out and I was the benefactor. of his incredible talent. “

Revealing that Billings is a huge fan of the original series, Wadlow explained, “JT led the charge and I followed suit in the sense that we wanted to honor the original franchise. So there are a lot of Easter eggs in our shows, so many references to the original show that people will be able to watch. Sarto is back. Even in the first episode, there is a little nod to Ghastly Grinner. There are many, many things on our show that I think fans of the classic franchise will be happy. But, you know, if you didn’t watch the classic show or you’re a younger horror fan, you don’t need to know anything about it to understand and appreciate what we’re doing on our show. “

What wasn’t so difficult for the veteran horror director was finding the perfect tone for Are you afraid of the dark?. “It was not [difficult]To be completely honest, for a couple of reasons, “Wadlow explained.” First of all, the kind of horror that I love, that I’ve been doing with Jason Blum at Blumhouse, is ‘Active Horror’. That is what I call. It is not passive. It’s the kind of horror where the audience is asked to participate in the story, that you really lean into. It is not, for lack of a better term, torture porn, where we are like overwhelming you with hideous images. We’re trying to hook him up and get him emotionally involved in the story and caring about the characters. “

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“Much of the horror comes from what is implied, what is off the screen, the psychological element,” Wadlow continued. “There is that kind of horror genre, horror subgenre, that I always like and I tried to lead to, that allows you to be as scary as you want. It’s not about overwhelming your audience with images, which is more of an experience of passive terror. ” Wadlow also revealed that this approach was not only accepted by Nickelodeon, but fully accepted by the network. “The second reason it wasn’t that difficult was that the network said, ‘Make this as scary as you can.’ They learned from the first season that their fans wanted it to be intense, to scare them, so they said go for it. “

Reflecting on what he hopes fans young and old will take away Are you afraid of the dark?Said Wadlow: “You have a great time and they remind you why the dark can be a very scary thing. That’s something I worked closely with JT on was to make the dark the antagonist in this story. As you mentioned earlier, What’s exciting about this is that it’s a standalone story over the course of the miniseries, I think that’s how we’re following the lead from the original show, where they did kind of standalone episodes, we’re doing standalone seasons.

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“Honestly, it’s how they got me to do it, because they said, this is not just season 2 of a show that was already running. This is an opportunity to make your own movie with season 2 and give it your own look and feel and vibrate. That aspect for me was also very exciting. I hope the fans of the franchise and the newer fans have a great time, because we had a great time doing it. “

Are you afraid of the dark? The Curse of Shadows stars Bryce Gheisar, Arjun Athalye, Beatrice Kitsos, Malia Baker, Dominic Mariche, and Parker Queenan. The new episodes air on Fridays on Nickelodeon.

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