Are You Afraid of the Dark Wiki
The Tale of the Midnight Madness
Season 2 , Episode 2
Air date June 26, 1993
Written by Chloe Brown
Directed by D.J. MacHale
Episode guide
The Tale of the Final Wish
The Tale of Locker 22

The Tale of the Midnight Madness is the Second episode of the Second season of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as well as the Fifteenth episode in total.


Midnight Society Cast[]

Story Cast[]


The episode begins with Gary and Betty Ann working to getting the campfire started. Then as Kristen walks over holding some firewood, Kiki and David run in full of excitement. The Reason Kiki and David were so excited is because that Friday night and at movie theater there was a triple feature monster movie marathon playing that night. The marathon was called Fright Night and she and David had gotten free passes to go. Frank then explains he's been to fright night before and he's never going back. Betty Ann asks hey why not and Kiki teasingly says because he's afraid of the dark remember?

Frank sits down on the storyteller's seat and then explains that he is not going back because you sit in that movie theater for so long, you start to forget that the real world even exists. The only thing that seems real is the horror movie playing up on the screen. Whenever one gets really scared, they can always tell themselves it's just a movie, but sometimes the movie seems so real that it's hard to tell the difference between what's make believe and what's really there. His friends are now all intrigued after hearing this and he throws the campfire dust into the fire and submits his approval for the midnight society, calling his story "The Tale of the Midnight Madness" and begin his story.


Frank tells the story. The story takes place inside a movie theater called "The Rialto". The Rialto is a very old-fashioned movie theater. It is known for playing classic black & white movies. Due to very poor business, the owners were deciding to close it down and sell the building. That night as the movie ends, it turns out that only one customer came to see the show. The customer is an elderly blonde woman in a red hat and she’s a frequent customer.

Then as the customer is on her way out, an employee named Pete Matt is sweeping the floor. He asks her if she enjoyed the show. The customer gives him a dissatisfied response and leaves. Pete's co-worker Katie Halloran tells him the place is depressing and tells them they should just go. Then Pete decides to go clean something first. The manager Mr. Kristoph wasn't too impressed to see that the theater did so poorly that night. All the profit that they made was on snack money. It was just six bucks and Pete bought one of the sodas.

Mr. Kristoph complains that Friday night is supposed to be a good night. Katie Jokes saying that six bucks is a good night. Pete then jokes mentioning that he had to pick up two drink cups that night. Mr. Kristoph sarcastically tells them to keep joking like that when the owners decide to close the theater. Hearing this, Pete refuses to believe it will close. He claims that the theater can’t close, since it is a landmark. Mr. Kristoph doesn't believe him and leaves in a huff when the cash register seems to be broken.

Katie mentions that when the old theater closes down, she's planned to take a job that she has applied for at a multiplex theater named the Quad. The Quad apparently is a very active and well established business. One that has lines of customers that go around the block. Katie is reluctant to leave the Rialto, but she really needs the job. Then as Katie is on her way out, Pete asks her is she wants to get something to eat. She tells Pete that she can't because she has homework to do, but she thanks him anyways.

Pete really loved the Rialto movie theater, and he really didn't want it to close. So he started his own campaign to try to keep it open. Pete did this by working outside in the freezing cold handing out flyers he made. This was to encourage people to come see a movie the old-fashioned way. He didn't just do this for himself, but for the theater because he loved classic movies. This proved to not be going so well. The only customer they continued to get was the same frequent customer: the elderly blonde woman in the red hat. The customer left one night handing them her empty popcorn cup looking very unsatisfied. It turned out, that unless a miracle was going to happen anytime soon, then the theater would be shut down.

Then one night later, Pete and Katie arrive for work preparing for the upcoming evening. Katie asks Pete how his campaign to keep it opened was going. He says he’s having no luck, but he’s still trying to have the theater be declared a historical landmark. So it can never be closed. Then they hear a knocking at the front door. Pete tries to tell whoever it is that they're not open for another hour, but the knocking continues. When Pete rudely yells for them to come back in an hour, suddenly the door opens itself and a strange old man in a tuxedo walks in.

The old man is none other than Dr. Vink! He lets himself in and introduces himself to Pete and Katie. After taking a quick look around, he’s delighted with the classic retro feeling and smell of the old lobby. Dr. Vink hands Pete a copy of his campaign flyer. So Pete asks him if he's come to help them save their theater, but he just walks away. Katie thinks he’s a nut bag, so she considers calling the police.

Pete and Katie now find Dr. Vink looking around in the old-fashioned theater room. He is so pleased with how nicely built and old-fashioned it is. Then the manager Mr. Kristoph hears them talking. So he goes over to see what's going on. First he thinks Dr. Vink has come to sell him something. So he makes it clear to him, that he is not interested in buying anything. Dr. Vink tells Mr. Kristoph that he's come to save his theater and it won't even cost a dime. Then he tells Katie he is NOT a nut bag.

Then Dr. Vink (formerly a mad scientist), now explains that many years ago he used to be a filmmaker. It was way back when classic black & white silent films were all the rage. He claims that his films were quite popular, and they always had a certain magic to them. Then as Dr. Vink said magic, he pulled away his long hanging coat, and a very old-fashioned octagon film canister appeared. Pete is very impressed with that trick but Dr. Vink doesn't explain how he did it. Dr. Vink just explains that it's a horror movie he made many years ago. It is a vampire movie and the plot is that the vampire wins. Dr. Vink promises to the manager that if his film is shown in the theater, then people will flock to see it. Then their fortunes will turn and make far more than six bucks a night.

Mr. Kristoph isn’t convinced that a silent black & white film can save the theater from closing. Then he tells Dr. Vink that it would be a miracle. The only thing Dr. Vink wants in return, is one night a week to show more of his old movies. Mr. Kristoph (not seriously meaning it), tells Dr. Vink that if it could do that, then he would give him three nights a week. Plus some profit money off the snacks. Dr. Vink claims he's not interested in popcorn he just wants one night a week to play his movies. They make the deal and shake hands. Then as the heavy film canister is about to drop, Pete and Katie catch it. Then a moment or so later, Mr. Kristoph turns to speak to him again. Now Dr. Vink has mysteriously vanished.

Pete takes the film canister to the projection room and forgets all about it. Then he continued on with his Save "The Rialto" campaign. This still wasn’t working out as planned. The tickets sales went down even more and bills were piling up. In not time at all, the owners were going to close the place down. Then one night things changed, that night was a lucky night about ten people came to see the show, not just the frequent regular customer. Also that night Mr. Kristoph with a heavy heart, told Pete and Katie that the owners have decided to close the theater down in two weeks.

Then in the projection room, Dr. Vink's film canister is slowly opening by itself. And it is emitting a red glow. This causes the nearby projector to overload, smoke and short out. When realizing what happened, Katie is about to hand out the customers refunds. Then Pete remembers Dr. Vink's movie and decides to show it instead. The displeased customers are prepared to leave. Then Katie announces that too make up for the technical difficulties they were going to play a classic silent black & white film. So if they still didn't like it, refunds would still be given after it. The frequent elderly customer tells her it'd better be good and sits down. The film begins to play. It is titled: Nosferatu: The Demon Vampire The vampire looks vicious and everyone intriguingly begins watching. Later after the show is over, some of customers claim that it will give them nightmares for weeks. Even the frequent elderly customer really enjoyed it. She suggested for them to play more classics like it, so more people will come. Then she smiles at him and says she'll come back the next night. Everyone loved the show and no one wanted a refund. Pete and Katie hug and dance around celebrating their success for the night. Now they remember it was exactly what Dr. Vink said would happen. Then as they leave the films own canister slightly opens again, once again glowing in a sinister red.

Back at the Clearing[]

Frank explains to his friends who are eating popcorn, that The Nosferatu movie proved to be a real hit and it was doing so well for business that the owners decided to no longer sell.

Back to the Story[]

Frank continues the story. Next we see the movie playing as it is about to end. The hero of the movie Harker is trying to pull Nosferatu's coffin into the sunlight to burn it (as a way to defeat Nosferatu). The room in the theater is just full now, and the crowd is watching with excitement. Then Nosferatu intercepts him, biting him on the neck. Then the movie ends with all the customers clapping. The successful night ends with a visit from Dr. Vink. Dr. Vink is pleased to hear that his film has been a real success and has done wonders for the theater's business.

Mr. Kristoph, now happily greets Dr. Vink and shakes his hand. Dr. Vink has come to see to it that Mr. Kristoph will keep his promise to show more of Dr. Vink's films once a week. Mr. Kristoph has gotten greedy and decides to not show them. With all the newfound success, he is getting top movies playing in the theater now. So he would prefer to play them instead. Mr. Kristoph offers to write Dr. Vink a payment check, but Dr. Vink now mad doesn't want any money. He just wants the movie theater and tells him that "One shouldn't make a bargain, if they can't honor their commitments". Mr. Kristoph then rudely yells to him that he is not getting the theater. Dr. Vink just laughs and tells him "That's where you're wrong my friend". Next on his way out, he tells them all "This story is far far from over, in fact it's only just beginning".

Business at the theater continued to do well because of Dr. Vink's movie. Pete on his breaks was trying to study it and find out what made it so magical. Little did Pete know he was about to find out. When Pete fell asleep while watching the movie, Nosferatu stared at him from inside the screen. Suddenly he comes through the screen, into full color, entering the real world! Pete faintly saw this thinking he was dreaming, and he runs over to tell Katie what he believes he just saw. She think he is just seeing things, from working at the place too long. He agrees and shakes it off. Pete and Katie tell each other how much they really do like each other. Then as they are about to have their first kiss, they suddenly hear Mr. Kristoph scream and they run off to go check on him

They find Mr. Kristoph has passed out and now he has two bite marks on his neck. Katie asks Pete to call an ambulance but the phone line is dead. Then suddenly the door swings open and they are approached by Nosferatu! Then they run for their lives screaming. Then they hide in another room and bolt it shut with a wooden plank. Pete explains that was what he just saw: it came out of the movie! Katie still claims that movies aren't real. Suddenly the door opens itself and they run off to hide again.

They figure out that The vampire has come to get them. As possible part of Dr. Vink's revenge and then Pete has an idea. The idea is for Katie to roll the reel of the last part of the movie. While waiting for the film to start up, Nosferatu slowly closes in on him in the theater room, but for some reason he leaves Pete alone. Next Nosferatu goes to the projection room and is about to close in on Katie and bite her. Then she turns on the switch and starts playing the last part of the movie.

Pete walks into the black and white world of Nosferatu's movie. When the film started playing Nosferatu is compelled to return to it. Nosferatu comes back in before Pete can move the coffin into the sun. Katie becomes terrified. So calls out to Pete, telling him that she is thinking about turning off the movie. Hearing this, Pete tells her not to because he would get trapped inside it. Then just as Nosferatu is closing in on him Pete opens the curtains on the window and the sunlight comes in. Nosferatu begins to scream, then he starts smoking and burns to ashes. Pete has defeated him!

Pete returns and he and Katie hug in relief. Mr. Kristoph (now back to normal) doesn't remember what has happened to him. All he claims is that he just had a bad dream. Then Dr. Vink is shown watching the ending of the movie and he is quite pleased claiming he couldn't have written it better himself. Mr. Kristoph tells Dr. Vink that he's reconsidered. So he will give him his one night a week. Dr. Vink then happily tells them the deal will no longer be necessary because he's just purchased their movie theater. Pete and Katie are shocked when they hear this. Dr. Vink now in a sinister tone tells them he can now show his movies every night. Also that he has many more movies far better than this one! Then he breaks off into evil laughter as the story ends.


When the story ends the group is finishing their popcorn, when Frank asks them who is going to Fright Night. Kiki says it's getting late. David says he's kind of tired. Gary puts out the fire with water from the red bucket, then David and Kiki give Frank their tickets and say goodnight and leave. Turns out Frank loves Fright Night because it's just a movie and Gary asks to go with him since they now have two free passes. So they happily agree and go together.

  • This is the last episode to show a scene with the Midnight Society discussing the story partway through the telling (and the first to do so since "The Tale of the Prom Queen"). Afterwards, only the narrator could be heard speaking in the background, but only infrequently, briefly, and not for very many episodes afterward.
  • Dr. Vink's movie was based on the 1922 silent movie Nosferatu, but was not the actual film, in the real movie the vampire was named Count Orlok and in the movie the vampire didn't win.
  • Nathaniel Moreau's older sister Marsha Moreau portrayed the role of Anna Irmgard von Schlotterstein in the short lived Canadian-German children's show The Little Vampire.
  • Chris Heyerdahl would soon reappear two episodes later in "The Tale of the Thirteenth Floor" as Leonid.
  • Harry Standjofski who portrayed Mr. Kristoph would later reappear years later in the episode "The Tale of the Wisdom Glass" as Phil.
  • Dr. Vink's second appearance. His next appearance would be in "The Tale of the Dangerous Soup".
  • The name of the vampire, Nosferatu, is an anagram of "FEAR US NOT".
  • A Nosferatu: The Demon Vampire poster hangs in Luke's bedroom in "The Tale of the Haunted Woods".
  • According to Dj MacHale, this story was inspired by the legend of The Pied Piper of Hamelin. Both stories have someone helping someone and retaliating when they refuse to keep up their end of the bargain.
  • From this point on, Aron Tager wore a fake beard as Dr. Vink, as he shaved it for his appearance in The Tale of Laughing in the Dark.
  • Creator DJ MacHale has stated this is his favorite episode.
  • DJ MacHale has said the setting was inspired by a movie theater he went to often as a kid.