There are some things which are assumed false memories or are just too plain weird or bizarre to acknowledge as being based in reality however I’ve started to really rack the old noggin to find some of the more strange creations which were present during my childhood and teen years. These things can be anything from old bands which slowly faded into obscurity, video games which you remember fondly however friends never had heard of them or even TV shows which seemingly never existed basically RAM.
As a kid growing up I was always very reluctant to watch horror films and even now I need some solid arm twisting before I’ll watch many horrors because the idea of me having a borderline heart attack everytime a scary beast jumps out from behind the shadows is not really my idea of fun. However since growing up the concept of horror for me has changed, what I used to find scary as a kid is now a totally different threshold to what I find terrifying now and many things based in reality became more frightening than necessarily things within the realms of the supernatural. The first horror I watched if you can classify it as that was Freddy vs Jason which I ended up begging my father to let me watch and lo and behold within 5 minutes I was crying and ended up being terrified of going to sleep, fast forward a few years and eventually I could handle watching a few spooky films without getting too overtly traumatised.
Television was always a very big part of my weekend routine for me as sad as it sounds I would usually get up or stay in bed watching cartoons and then go about the days business which to be honest was usually doing bugger all except for practising drums or playing video games.
Now a show which seemingly always crept up on Saturday mornings back in my yesteryears back in New Zealand and brought some genuine terror towards the usually peaceful weekends was a wee show by Nickelodeon by the name of Scaredy Camp.
After speaking with many of my friends very few of them had even seen the show or knew of its existence claiming this so called show was obviously a figment of my imagination and it wasn’t till I remembered the shows name quite recently that I managed to reaffirm this crazed concept was a thing.
So in a nutshell Scaredy Camp was a game show hosted by Emma Wilson none other than the daughter of the Iron Lady of British game shows Anne Robinson which in itself was strange ..however the shows concept is two teams of children are tasked with uncovering the mysteries of a supposedly “true” ghost story which takes place within a campsite to determine what happened and how the ghostly legend was birthed. The teams of.. and I emphasise children were given 4 days and 5 nights to solve the mystery and in return they would get some sort of prize with physical challenges in a similar vein to Survivor taking place during the day whilst at night they would go hunting for clues around the campsite or other varied locations in the dark to solve the mystery.
Now this all sounds based off my description like it was probably going to be a show which was extremely age appropriate and the content of said show due to the fact it was on the Nickelodeon network would have to be reasonably PG but boy oh boy was this not the case. Scaredy Camp was extremely not only terrifying but traumatising due to the shows underlying storylines being extremely morbid and very macabre but also the challenges which the children had to complete seemed more like torture than a fun filled game show.
The show funnily enough after doing some more research myself was only commissioned for a measly 2 seasons (I weirdly managed to catch both of these) which were 5 episodes long each but the main factor a lot of people have speculated that led to its untimely demise was due to parental complaints about how graphic the content of the show was and how adult the themes seemed.
So let’s dive into some of the great tidbits Scaredy Camp offered so the storyline / ‘legend’ that was investigated in season one was that of young twin brothers David and Dennis ..obviously very well thought out names. David and Dennis attended Camp Lindenwood however during one of the nights at camp one of the twins was found dead, having drowned within a water tank now this alone is already sounding like something which is far too dark for children’s programming but trust me the storylines get darker.
For season 2 Nickelodeon really pulled out all the stops with the storyline taking place at another location called Camp Silverlake with a camp counselor named Sally being the main character behind this spooky story. Sally became a kitchen hand after being demoted from her job and as a result of being reckless cut off her own hand which was then replaced with a hook, she was engaged at the time of her accident to a fellow counsellor and it’s heavily implied throughout the show that she may have committed suicide as a result of her thinking her fiance wanted to separate…esssh.
So aside from the obviously concerning premise, the show itself wasn’t actually too badly produced with the actual challenges being not only interesting but also challenging and it was rather hilarious watching some of the children absolutely lose the plot over even the slightest sound in the darkness but I think being in their shoes I wouldn’t have been much better. One of the most disgraceful things about this show though was the absolute cop out of a prize which was gifted to the winning team.. it was literally a party within the same cabins they were forcefully staying in for the duration of the show and these same cabins were used to also scare the living daylights out of the unsuspecting young ones. Wow just wow.
Also definitely worth noting a lot of the children were led to areas in the middle of nowhere within the campsites but were blindfolded until they reached their destination, like seriously how did parents give permission for their children to go through this madness!!
Then again this show really brought something unique ideas to the table in the way of game show concepts especially for kids and they really made what could of been a lame and cheesy attempt at horror a truly terrifying experience so kudos to you Nickelodeon but maybe next time simmer down on the slightly more graphic deaths attributed to the ghost stories.