In del Toro’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, a remake of a 1973 made-for-TV movie of the same name, a young girl named Sally (Bailee Madison) moves to Blackwood Manor, a gothic, old mansion that her architect dad (Guy Pearce) and his interior designer girlfriend (Katie Holmes) are restoring. Their new home is “lovely, in a foreboding, you-will-probably-die-here kind of way,” as the Los Angeles Times noted.
If the collecting dust is any indication, the haunted house trope is seriously old. Nearly 20 years ago, in late 1992, Nickelodeon premiered its hit horror anthology series Are You Afraid of the Dark? as a part of SNICK, the children’s network’s Saturday night lineup. Its third episode, “The Tale of the Lonely Ghost,” brought viewers the story of Amanda Cameron, who was sent to stay with her Aunt Dottie and her bratty daughter, Beth, who had massive mall bangs (more on that later). In order for Amanda to gain the favor of her cousin and her friends, Beth tells Amanda to spend the night in the abandoned house next door, which is haunted by a little girl who was tormented by her peers.