If you’re a horror fan and you grew up in the ’90s, most likely you found yourself glued to the TV on Saturday night waiting for SNICK to drop the newest episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?. The beloved ’90s classic returned in 2018 as an all-new re-imagining for a new generation of horror fans and now the long-awaited second season is here with, ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?: CURSE OF THE SHADOWS.
Recently, Nightmarish Conjurings was lucky enough to talk with the new Midnight Society in preparation for the Season 2 premiere. In part two of our two-part interview series (you can read part one here), we spoke with actors Beatrice Kitsos, Dominic Mariche, and Parker Queenan about being part of this iconic series, their love (or dislike) for horror movies, and their terrifying encounters with the Shadowman.
Thank you so much for speaking with me today! To start off, can you tell us all a little bit about the characters you’re playing in ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?: CURSE OF SHADOWS?
Beatrice Kitsos: My character is Hannah and she is definitely like a fearless, bold woman and she cares about a lot of ongoing issues, like climate change. She has a younger brother, who Dominic plays, named Seth. She’s part of the Midnight Society – she’s part of this cool group that likes to tell scary stories after dark.
Dominic Mariche: My character is Seth and he has an older sister, Hannah (played by Beatrice). He loves magic and he really wants to be a part of the Midnight Society with all of his older sister’s friends.
Parker Queenan: Connor, maybe it’s just cause I play him, but I like to think of him as the glue of the group, the one that holds them all together. Connor’s a go-getter, he’s like the figurative cat in “curiosity killed the cat” but did curiosity kill the cat?
What has excited you the most about being part of a revitalization of a beloved 90s horror series?
Parker Queenan: I think what’s so interesting about this one is instead of 30-minute anthology episodes, it’s a six-hour-long whole series where you pursue a singular objective, but along the way, you begin to realize that the origins and the world just expands more and more and more and more and as soon as you think you know what’s going on, it takes another turn and you realize everything you thought isn’t true and it just gets deeper and deeper and deeper. I think that’s a whole lot of fun.
Beatrice Kitsos: Yeah, it’s a longer time period than the other ones were so the storyline is more, I think, in-depth. There’s a lot that you learn about…each character kind of overcomes their own issues and learns something. We all bonded closer together through this whole crazy story. I think that it’s honestly a great show. Like what Parker said, I’d have to agree with him.
Dominic Mariche: I couldn’t say it any better.
Would you consider yourself horror fans?
Parker Queenan: I’m like a self-sabotage. I love the films but I’m such a scaredy-cat, I can’t do them but I love getting scared. It’s like going on a roller coaster, like you get to go in the seat and you get to go up and down and all around and twists and turns, but you know you’re safe the whole time but it’s still ughhhhh. I love horror films (laughs).
Beatrice Kitsos: I would say I do not like horror (laughs). A lot of the stuff I’ve done is scary so it’s kind of weird to think about that but I’ve been doing a lot of scary or horror-themed stuff but I can’t sit through anything. I was doing ADR for a series yesterday and there’s this one scene and I literally had to look away even though I had filmed the scene and I knew everyone around, like, it was all safe and good. I’m such a wimp with scary stuff and I’m not a fan of horror, personally (laughs).
Dominic Mariche: Too spooky for me. I can’t do horror. I can work within horror because I know that it’s not real, but when all the editing’s done, yeah, too spooky for me. I can’t.
Since we are on the topic of spooky stuff, how was it interacting with the Shadowman?
Dominic Mariche: The Shadowman, when you’re filming it, it’s not all scary because Kyle Strauts, who plays the Shadowman, he was so funny. There was like no tension in the air when Kyle was around. Absolutely none. He made us laugh. He made us feel confident that we could do the scene and he was just a really nice person in general.
Beatrice Kitsos: Yeah, I have to agree with Dominic, I think because Kyle played the Shadowman, out of anyone else he brought such a warm, kind sense to the Shadowman, where you felt comfortable being around him. But at the same time, when it’s dark in the forest and he’s in a suit, there are definitely a couple unsettling moments where you have to look around and then you’re like, okay, Kyle’s in a suit, it’s okay (laughs). But I think just being in the presence of this totally….like the suit was crazy, the details and everything, so much effort put into creating this art piece really. And I think that still, a little part of me didn’t completely trust him when he was in the suit, just because of his appearance in that whole way. But overall, I think that Kyle was a great person to play him because it made us feel a lot more comfortable being around the Shadowman.
Parker Queenan: I always think he’s scary, it’s a scary guy, ya know? And it’s not always that he’s even there, I wouldn’t even always know what was going to happen in the scenes that we were shooting and I would be surprised, sincerely surprised, along the way. And half the time on the show you don’t even actually see the monster. You feel the presence. It lurks in the shadows. It’s near you. Sometimes it’s right in plain sight and it’s terrifying to think of that. I think because of that, you know, really delving into the story. I think it’s really scary.
Is there a favorite scene that you filmed that you can’t wait to see on the screen?
Dominic Mariche: There is a favorite scene. I’m not going to give too many details just for the sake of being vague and not spoiling the whole show, but I was in a room with my sister, one of her friends, Bryce, and a really funny interaction between us…
Beatrice Kitsos: …There’s a little snippet of that scene in the trailer. I think it’s when my mom comes into my room and she’s like “Leave the door open” or something like…
Dominic Mariche: …I’m also later in that scene and it’s a really funny interaction. That’s probably my favorite scene, that was so great to film.
Beatrice Kitsos: That was so great to film, I think everyone was like doing a lot of improv. Both of our directors were really open to that and especially Mathias, [who] was filming episode 3 and 4, he kind of let us do a lot of improv, and for that scene, he was like, you can just do whatever you want, it was so great to film. I love that scene, too.
Parker Queenan: They get the funny parts, I don’t get those things. I have to deal with Kyle a lot (laughs). I think my favorite parts to shoot in the show [are]…all of my favorite parts you’ll find as it gets deeper and deeper into the show. I think we can sort of all agree on that, but there’s a lot of heart and sensitivity and vulnerability to the show on top of just being scary. I think when you combine those aspects, it’s just effective and it’s just really, really fun to shoot.
ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?: CURSE OF THE SHADOWS‘ premiere episode is available on Nickelodeon, with additional episodes each Friday at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). For more on the show, check out our review here.