Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Season 1 Episode 1 The Tale of the Phantom Cab

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Frank tells a story about two brothers who get lost in the woods and must answer a riddle.

Series Index

Are You Afraid of the Dark? (1990-2000)


Denny - Jason Tremblay

Buzz - Sean Ryan

Flynn - Brian Dooley

Doctor Vink - Aron Tager

Ranger - T.O. Dillon

Wailing Shrub

The Midnight Society

Frank - Jason Alisharan

Kristen - Rachel Blanchard

Gary - Ross Hull

David - Nathaniel Moreau

Betty Ann - Raine Pare-Coull

Kiki - Jodie Resther

Eric - Jacob Tierney

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

Gary introduces the Midnight Society and its other members, Kristen, David, Betty Ann, Kiki, and Eric, to Frank. He mentions that they go to different schools and have different friends, but an interest in the dark brings them together one day each week to gather together and tell a scary tales. David walks a blindfolded Frank to the center of the campfire and Gary asks who Frank's sponsor is. David tells him that he is his sponsor and Gary tells Frank to become a member, Frank will have to tell a scary tale and if the Society votes him in, then he is a member. Gary hands David a sack and after David throws a handful of powdery material on the campfire, Frank starts his tale.

Two brothers, Denny and Buzz are hiking in the forest. Denny asks Buzz where they are and then realizes that Buzz has got them lost. While staring down at his compass, Buzz almost falls off a cliff, but is saved by Denny. As it gets closer to night, the temperature drops, and they are still lost. Buzz keeps on mentioning how they should be in town by now based on his compass readings and Denny notices Buzz has been holding it near his belt buckle every time he used it. Denny angrily calls Buzz worthless, and Buzz says he knows where they are and starts running in the dark through the woods. Buzz finds a trail and Denny catches up too him. They see a flashlight beam coming towards them and Flynn walks up to them and introduces himself as a traveler, like them. Flynn then offers to lead them to someone who can help them. As they walk, Flynn asks them how good they are at solving riddles.

They come to the cottage of Doctor Vink and Flynn warns them that before they ask Doctor Vink for help, to make sure they really need it as the price he charges is steep. Flynn then disappears and as Denny and Buzz walk towards the cottage the shrubs seemingly shake and wail. Denny and Buzz bang on the door to Doctor Vink's cottage and he opens it and tells them they made a grave mistake. Doctor Vink brings them into his cottage which is full of bubbling potions and introduces himself. He makes some tea and shows them the brain of a wild boar and tells them that he has discovered that long after the body had died, the brain still gives off electric impulses which then might be harnessed.

Doctor Vink asks them if they are good at solving riddles. He asks them a riddle, "how far can you walk into the woods"? Buzz answers half-way, because after that a person would be walking out of the woods. Denny goes to use the telephone, but Doctor Vink threatens to cut the phone line unless they answer another riddle. He tells them that if they answer another riddle, he will let them call their parents, and if they can't answer it, they can simply leave. They agree and Doctor Vink asks them "what is it that has no weight, can be seen by the naked eye and if you put it in a barrel, would make the barrel lighter"? Buzz tells Doctor Vink, he doesn't know the answer and Doctor Vink tells them goodbye. He tells them how to get to a road where a taxicab will come to pick them up. They ask him if they can use his phone and he tells them they can use it if they leave him a piece of themselves as a specimen, like their hand. They scream and run out of his cottage.

The Midnight Society members debate if the riddle can even be solved, and Frank tells them to let him finish the story.

Denny and Buzz make it to the road and a taxicab pulls up next to them. They get in and tell the driver to take them into town. The driver adjusts the rearview mirror and they see it is Flynn driving the taxi. He tells them that he knows they couldn't answer the riddle and says that he gives rides to people who can't answer Doctor Vink's riddle, which he also failed to answer forty years ago after he gave a ride to Doctor Vink. He tells them that the shrubs they heard where the spirits of all those who failed to answer Doctor Vink's riddles and he was hoping Denny and Buzz could answer the riddle and free him and the other spirits from Doctor Vink's spell. Flynn tells them that they still have a chance if they can solve the riddle before he crashes the taxi into a tree. Denny guesses helium, but Buzz says you can't see helium and Buzz guesses the answer is a hole. Flynn drives the cab directly into a tree and suddenly Denny and Buzz are still alive in front of the same tree. Denny realizes they broke the curse and they celebrate and then admits that it was Buzz who broke the curse. A jeep drives up to them and Ranger asks them if they are the Crocker boys and then says their parents and the town have been going crazy looking for them. They jump into the Ranger's jeep, and he drives towards town.

Frank finishes the story and says no one ever saw the phantom cab again and when Denny and Buzz brought the police to Doctor Vink's cottage, all that was left was an old stone foundation covered in weeds. The Midnight Society members take a vote, and they all vote to let Frank into the group.