There are two things that defined who I was growing up. One: An obsession with the paranormal. Two: A heightened sense of anxiety inside elevators.
And there is one show to blame for these two things, Freaky. Freaky was a kids’ horror anthology show which was an underrated feature of early 2000s TV. Each episode had three vignettes all hosted by a baby Dan Costello prior to his Erin Simpson Show days. These were the days of Charmed, Buffy and Big Wolf on Campus, where paranormal themes were the dominant wave on TV. If R.L. Stine can do it for kids, why not NZ media?
Re-watching the series now, I realise that, yes, the graphics and child ‘actors’ do make bargain bin B-movies at Harvey Norman commercials look Oscar worthy, but every episode carries some surrealism which can only be matched by those strange and unexplained dreams. What if the walls of an elevator would fall away whilst you were inside? What if you were convinced that the people around you were purposefully trapping you? What if a home video revealed there was someone watching you in the background? These and many more make up the typical plot of a Freaky episode. And perhaps it is these subconscious fears that make me remember the plots so well. And make me press the mute button to avoid nightmares.
Whether you watch it to screenshot into meme templates, or to spot Taika Waititi’s cameo, Freaky is one show that you won’t forget, for better or worse.