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Traumafessions :: Reader Ariel on Are You Afraid of the Dark? ep. “The Tale of the Crimson Clown”

October 21st, 2010 by aunt john · 11 Comments

Okay, so I have a fear of clown dolls. Not clowns (I respect that some of them may actually be funny), but clown DOLLS. I blame ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?

I never watched this show as a kid, but my older brother did. One evening, I thought I’d be brave and watch an episode with him. Turns out I should have went to bed instead. The episode in question is called “The Tale of the Crimson Clown,” and it has terrified me ever since I saw it as a child.

The episode starts with two brothers trying to find a present for their mom’s birthday. The younger brother (Sam) is a snot-nosed brat who bumps into people without apologizing and steals money from his older brother (Mike) to spend on a video game. In the store, they both see a creepy clown doll. Mike tells Sam to smarten up or…or…or the Crimson Clown will come get him! He just scoffs and heads out to get into more trouble.

When they get home, Sam goes up to his room to find the creepy clown doll sitting on his desk! He calls Mike in, but the clown has disappeared. As they head down to dinner, and with the strings section screeching in the background, the camera pans under the bed to see the clown doll there, complete with glowing eyes and maniacal laughter.

I just about wet my pants.

I screamed and my brother being the kind soul he is, switched the channel. After that, I never watched another episode of that show. I had a clown doll that I used to love and think it was so pretty. I chucked it in my closet and closed the door (because monsters are trapped in closets if the door is closed) determined never to look at it again. Years later I was able to display it in my room, but it definitely was NOT my favourite doll.

Just recently, I watched that episode again just to find out what happens in the end. Well lo and behold, there is a terrifying dream sequence in which the clown ties Sam up, moves around under his covers, and disappears when Sam gets free and pulls back the sheets. Sam tries to get away and warn his brother, but instead of Mike being in the bed, it’s the clown and his head blows up like a balloon and explodes scattering glitter everywhere. The clown is at the window and the door, and Sam can’t get away, so he cowers in bed. Then he wakes up and he’s learned his lesson and the mom gets a wonderful present for her birthday.

Years later (and knowing what to expect) I still freaked out when the camera panned under the bed… I am so going to have nightmares tonight.



Tags: Traumafessions

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 unkle lanciferNo Gravatar // Oct 21, 2010 at 9:19 am

    For those interested here is the episode!…

  • 2 Andre DumasNo Gravatar // Oct 21, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I LOVE this episode! My whole experience with Are You Afraid of the Dark is one gigantic trauma fession.

    I think the best clown episode of the show however is Laughing in the Dark. Zeebo the clown takes terrifying to a whole new level when it combines funhouse trauma, with escaped clown in your house trauma. Jesus, that episode still gives me the willies!

  • 3 Spooky SeanNo Gravatar // Oct 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    This was one of the first shows that scared the piss out of me, and the clown episode was the scariest.  Also, how creepy is the intro to AUAOTD?  Usually, it was creepier then the episode.  Also, what parents let their kids hang out in the middle of the woods, at midnight, on school nights?

  • 4 bdwilcoxNo Gravatar // Oct 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Pffft.  Evilest clown STILL goes to the clown doll with razor teeth from Poltergeist that wraps his arm around the kid’s neck and pulls him under the bed.
    I think that would be a good Kindetrauma poll:  What movie clown do you consider the most evil?

  • 5 jamisingsNo Gravatar // Oct 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I’ve never been afraid of clowns, mimes, or dolls of them. I guess that’s because as a singer I know they’re just entertainers looking to bring joy and they work every bit as hard at their craft as say – Morgan Freeman or Neil Diamond work at their’s.

    I still get the willies when I think of the Twilight Zone episode, To Serve Man, however.

  • 6 bdwilcoxNo Gravatar // Oct 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Yes, entertainers…like John Wayne Gacy:

  • 7 Spooky SeanNo Gravatar // Oct 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    You know, I was actually thinking of Laughing in the Dark.  But Crimson Clown was a fun one.
    I really love the one with Gilbert Gottfried, The Tale of Station 109.1.  I still like to watch them some times, they’re really funny.

  • 8 jamisingsNo Gravatar // Oct 21, 2010 at 10:08 pm

    Gacy was a sick in the head monster – just like child rapist Roman Polanski and pedophile Victor Salva – only they didn’t kill their victims. But he certainly doesn’t represent all clowns and mimes. You never heard of Marcel Marceau killing anyone, after all.

    Speaking of which, I was trying to find his clip from Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie today. He’d suppose to be the only person in the entire movie who actually speaks, but no one’s uploaded it, apparently. *sniffles*

  • 9 bdwilcoxNo Gravatar // Oct 22, 2010 at 12:03 am

    “You never heard of Marcel Marceau killing anyone, after all.”
    Of course you never heard of him killing anyone; he was known as “the master of silence.”  I wonder: when mimes kill, do they use silencers?  I guess you could call them silent but deadly.

  • 10 LaDraculNo Gravatar // Oct 23, 2010 at 8:43 am

    jamisings-Well, when you take into account the fact Polanski saw his mother executed and later took a LOT of drugs, it makes perfect sense he was very messed up and thought he could do that…although he really should face the music for that.
    Anyway, the thing that sticks in my mind is that kid is probably the ugliest kid to ever grace TV. Maybe because in addition to his attitude, you definitely wouldn’t really feel any sympathy for him when that clown starts to terrorize him…

  • 11 Ron OliverNo Gravatar // Jan 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    well…as the guy who directed this episode of AYAOTD, lemme just say I am thrilled and delighted to have contributed to your childhood trauma! I think i’ve had more mail over the years about that particular show than anything else I’ve ever done! Thanks for the nice words!

    yours in nightmares,
    Ron Oliver

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