IMDB tells me that this episode of “Are You Afraid of the Dark,” which is called ‘The Tale of Badge,’ premiered on April 20, 1996. This means two things: 1) that I was only 8 when I saw it for the first time and was resultantly scarred for life, and 2) that some teenager was stoned out of his gourd when HE watched it for the first time and is probably still in a sanatorium somewhere freaking out.
Honestly, I still count ‘The Tale of Badge’ as the second scariest thing I’ve ever seen (“The Sixth Sense” is number 1; I literally trained myself to sleep with my eyes open after watching that fucking movie). I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is about Badge that terrifies me so much. The voice, maybe? The fact that he kidnaps our protagonist’s little brother and takes him back to a cave filled with skeletons? Or maybe it’s that he is an EVIL FOX-LIKE GOBLIN WHO WEARS A HAT MADE OUT OF SKINS AND SPEAKS LIKE YODA. I don’t know.
Perhaps most unsettling is the fact that Badge was apparently played by a guy named Roland Smith, and apparently Roland Smith hasn’t been in anything since he played Badge. Obviously, this leaves room for the possibility that Roland Smith actually turned into Badge and now lives inside a wooden box in some witch’s house. Great.
There is ONE thing about “Are You Afraid of the Dark” that makes every episode a lot less scary: the show was made in French Canada and all the actors have broad French Canadian accents. I’m glad I know this, because if Roland Smith-Badge ever shows up at my door, I’ll just make him a plate of Poutine and then he’ll be so stuffed that he’ll be like, “Take nap for 400 years, Badge wants to. Fuck the Setterwinds.”