Are You Afraid of The Dark? The Tale of The Captured Soul

Hello Glancers! Today’s episode deals with spooky ghosts, spooky kids, and spooky cameras! But don’t worry, Sadako is nowhere in sight.

Back to the well with you!
Back to the well with you!

I know a little something about the capturing of souls – you think you’re reading this of your own free will!? If you are, you’re more damaged than I thought. Lets dispense with the insults, twatbag, and see what Amazon has to say about this one:

Danny and her parents are planning to stay at a rented house for the summer, which is rather run down and spooky. Even more mysterious is their host, a sickly young boy, Peter, who lives there without any sight of his parents. Danny becomes very suspicious when her parents seems to be aging by the day as Peter looks healthier.

Aah so. The blurb basically gives away the whole story – that a little weirdo somehow (photosynthesis?) sucks the life out of older people, giving strength to himself.

My beautiful baby number 2
Da fuck you staring at?

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, lets cover the Midnight Society antics first. In a startling revelation of psychic ability, Eric and Gary discuss ages and aging, before the tomboy Kiki causes some amusing startled revelations of her own by blinding them with an old school camera.

My eyes! It's so OLD. MY EYES!
My eyes! It’s so OLD. MY EYES!

We’ve already seen this running late followed by scare technique used in multiple episodes, so I don’t think anyone is falling for it anymore. After some further banter, Kiki introduces her tale, telling of how legends speak of the camera’s ability to steal a person’s soul. I don’t remember thinking about this sort of thing much when I was younger, but it seems like the sort of idea I would have found cool. Oh look! It’s not an all white guy show! Yes, Kiki’s story features an African-American family, a refreshing approach I guess. Danny, appears to be Kiki, her Mom, seems to be a generic TV Mom, and her Dad seems to be Little Richard.

A wop bam boom
A wop bam boom

But where’s the weirdo? Arrgh! There he is, uttering the immortally uncomfortable and ‘oooh Matron’esque ‘Well, Hello’. This delivery, and the whole performance will be discussed more later, just know that it is truly a sight to behold. As he leads the family around the house, a camp oddity wafting from room to room, they simply remark that he is a little odd. Later, we get some quality dad and daughter time as Danny and Little Richard throw a baseball around outside, leading to one of the most hilarious things ever filmed; the little pumpkin pie hair cutted freak failing to catch the ball, struggling to retrieve it from a bush, and then girl-throwing it back. Someone needs to loop that shit 50 times and upload it to YouTube, or at least gif it up. More laughs follow as he ducks the awesome blast from a camera as if he’s duck and covering from a nuke.

Besides hiding in a refrigerator, the only known way to survive a nuke
Besides hiding in a refrigerator, the only known way to survive a nuke

We inevitably end up in a creepy attic. What is it with this show and creepy attics? Mine was full of Lego, He-Men, Transformers – The only scary thing in it were the webs, dead spiders, and live spiders.

Unless you find this scary
Unless you find this scary

One thing is for sure – you don’t want to be left alone with the little creep – every word he utters has a salacious, sinister sexual undertone, his ghastly undressing eyes while he whispers charming odes like ‘I always admire a girl with great physical strength’. There’s an unfortunate peado vibe to the whole affair, the lines blurred because he may be a hundred years old, or still fourteen.

Next up we get an odd dialogue-free 2 minute sequence where it is revealed that Peter has cameras in every room and is watching the guests – a little like Sliver, but with less sex, and even more uncomfortable viewing. We see that he has some sort of contraption that messes with time and aging and SCIENCE which somehow prevents his aging by expediting the aging of others. It’s clearly too complex to explain or understand that has driven Peter mad, and he erupts into some of the worst laughing you’ll ever see.

After a brief interlude with the Campfire geeks, we return to the story. Peter has miraculously become good at baseball, but is still a complete weirdo. We can see that the group has aged, and Danny throws some water over her mirror, cock-blocking Peter. He emerges from his machine mid-flow, with some terrible, camp, flapping and coughing. This leads the intrepid Danny to investigate the local graveyard (obviously). This is where things get even more creepy and weird. It is suggested that peter is actually Peter III – born 1907 and still alive – why would you have a gravestone if you’re still alive? And who’s going to bury you there if you die in the body of a teenager?

Thanks Tmobstonebuilder.com!
Thanks Tombstonebuilder.com!

We then pan to the not-at-all-unsettling wooden grave markers of what appear to be children, which are presumably being used to tick off the number of corpses. By my count, this puts Peter into the upper echelons of US serial killers – as it seems that he has drained the life from at least 49 victims – a mass murdering maniac. Indeed, why don’t they just leave when it is clear they have aged 30 years in 2 days? Is it that they are trapped? They aren’t completely decrepid and would both surely have the physical and mental ability to realise something was wrong and leave, but they claim they are tired. Fair enough, they are older, but you don’t become so exhausted when you’re in your 60s or 70s that you can barely leave the house. Unless this is some unexplained byproduct of such rapid aging. Who knows. Aside from a few zits, the only effect the aging seems to have on Danny is that she becomes a worse actress.

She ain't no Lark Voorhies!
She ain’t no Lark Voorhies!

With only 6 minutes to spare, Danny stumbles upon the aging machine, sees Peter for who he really is, counts up the actual total kills in the graveyard (10 dogs!? the monster!), and James Bond’s the plot out of Peter. More laughable acting and flapping ensues, and Danny somehow manages to reverse the process by… flicking a switch? Why do cameras hurt him? Why can’t he look at his reflection? How is it reversed? Why does the house have a red roof? We end on a group shot of the Midnight Society.

A fun episode overall, with plenty of silly ideas and performances, this one isn’t particularly scary, but older viewers should pick up on all the creepy side antics. I don’t remember seeing any of this when I was younger, and aside from the performances, it isn’t a memorable episode. Speaking of performances, lets start with the big man – Peter – W….T…..F…. I honestly don’t know how I feel about Ethen Tobman’s performance. It is entirely camp, but veers improbably between absolutely superb and unbearably awful, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Working now as a Production Design, because of course he does, on such minor Hollywood films as Twelve, That Awkward Moment and a few TV series I don’t recognise, it looks like he has left acting for a more fulfilling career. Indeed, he only has 3 other acting credits to his name which aren’t worth mentioning, though he has directed and written a couple of shorts.

Likewise, with only 3 other acting credits to her name, Maria Taylor (Danny) has carved out a career in songwriting, performing, art, and voicework. Aside from being the host of some show called ‘What’s New In New York’ presumably detailing the antique dealerships of south Kansas, her other acting credits are minor. Her soundtrack work though has appeared in such movies and shows as xXx, Bones, The Devil Wears Prada and Grey’s Anatomy. Little Richard is played by Don Jordan, who you have likely heard either singing or providing other vocal work in many videogames (Assassin’s Creed IV, Far Cry 2). He did the singing for Homer Simpson in the Barbershop Quartet episode! He has acted in many movies and shows over the years, from Sirens to The Dead Zone (both TV series), and will pop up again in a later AYAOTD episode. Once again the performer with the least significant role has gone on to have the most successful acting career -Danny’s mum, played by Barbara Eve Harris. Harris has had recurring appearences in shows like Side Effects, Party Of Five, Prison Break, ER, and CSI.

Let us know what you thought about this episode in the comments. Next up, we’re sucking blood in The Tale Of The Nightly Neighbours. Sweet Dreams!

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