Horror maestro Mike Flanagan has delivered adaptations of works from genre legends such as Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, and Henry James, and his newest Netflix series The Midnight Club is no different, drawing from the works of teen horror icon Christopher Pike. Not everyone will be familiar with the source material, of course, and even those who've read Pike’s work may not be entirely clear on how the Haunting of Hill House creator is handling this adaptation, alongside co-creator Leah Fong.
That’s what we’re here to dive into, so let’s all gather in the Briarcliffe library to discuss what everyone needs to know before watching Netflix’s The Midnight Club.
The Midnight Club Is The Latest Horror Series From Mike Flanagan, Who Co-Created The Series With Leah Fong
Horror series have been a big draw for anyone with a Netflix subscription, as the streaming service has consistently delivered some big genre hits, and those definitely include the prior efforts from Midnight Club’s Mike Flanagan, who co-created the series with collaborator Leah Fong.
Just on Netflix alone, Flanagan has delivered (in sequential order): 2016’s Hush and Before I Wake, 2017’s Gerald’s Game, 2018’s The Haunting of Hill House, 2020’s The Haunting of Bly Manor, and 2021’s Midnight Mass, with 2023 bringing his Edgar Allen Poe-geared The Fall of the House of Usher.
Prior to The Midnight Club, Leah Fong has a writing credit on The Haunting of Bly Manor. She's also written for Once Upon a Time, and The Magicians.
The Midnight Club is rated TV-MA
While its core cast members are teenagers, The Midnight Club centers on characters coping with their impending deaths within a teen hospice, bonding together in a search for proof of life after death. As such, it's arguably better suited for older viewers, and is rated TV-MA for a variety of reasons, including disturbing violence, gory elements, language, and drug and alcohol use. Sensitive viewers should also be aware of triggering elements such as self-harm and suicide.
It’s The First TV Series To Adapt Author Christopher Pike’s Teen Horror Novels
Despite horror adaptations being so prevalent in the decades since Christopher Pike (real name: Kevin McFadden) kicked off his career, only one of his books had been tapped for live-action prior to The Midnight Club: NBC’s very lackluster 1996 TV movie Fall Into Darkness, which starred Fresh Prince vet Tatyana M. Ali. Beyond The Midnight Club, Mike Flanagan is also set to turn Pike’s adult novel The Season of Passage into a feature film.
While The Midnight Club is obviously the biggest hook here, the narrative's conceit — the teens meet each night at midnight to share spooky tales they've been conjuring — allows a handful of Pike's other novels to be brought to life (or death), including Gimme a Kiss, Witch, The Wicked Heart, The Eternal Enemy, See You Later, and Road to Nowhere.
The Midnight Club Season 1 Consists Of 10 Episodes
The Midnight Club's first season comprises ten episodes. By and large, they all last right around 50 minutes, give or take a few minutes, without any of them lasting longer than an hour.
The Tone Is A Unique One For The Horror Genre
Given the story-within-a-story structure that the bulk of the episodes adhere to, TMC sometimes feels like an anthology, or even a horror procedural. That said, viewers can watch with the comfort of knowing that everything is thematically connected, with Christopher Pike's story details reworked to fit these characters. Despite its horror nature, The Midnight Club is also filled with humor and emotional trauma, so expect to laugh and cry as much as shiver in fear.
The Cast Mixes Fresh Faces With Mike Flanagan Regulars, Plus Elm Street Icon Heather Langenkamp
Mike Flanagan is known for collaborating with a rotating stable of on-screen talent, and The Midnight Club's cast continues that trend, though while adding several up-and-coming actors into the mix.
- Familiar Faces For Mike Flanagan Fans: Annarah Cymone, Igby Rigney, Samantha Sloyan, Zach Gilford, Matt Biedel, Rahul Kohli, Henry Thomas, Robert Longstreet, Jamie Flanagan
- New Faces For Flanagan Fans: Adia, Ruth Codd, Aya Furukawa, William Chris Sumpter, Sauriyan Sapkota
Arguably the biggest highlight amongst the newbies, as it were, was the casting of Heather Langenkamp, the iconic scream queen best known to horror fans as Nancy Thompson from the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, where she also played herself for Wes Craven's New Nightmare. TV fans haven't seen this much of Langenkamp since her series regular role in Just the Ten of Us, which aired before The Midnight Club's timeline.
The Midnight Club Goes All In On ‘80s And ‘90s Pop Culture References, From Nirvana To Timecop
Given that it takes place in the mid-’90s or so, and that so much time is spent in teenagers’ bedrooms, The Midnight Club is rife with '90s music, movie posters, video games, concert posters, references and more. Though the bulk of the pop culture love comes from that decade, the ‘80s certainly weren’t ignored, and viewers should keep their eyes and ears peeled throughout.
Check out The Midnight Club Season 1 streaming now on Netflix, and once that itch is scratched, check out all the big upcoming horror movies still on the way, as well as our 2022 TV premiere schedule for some less intense small screen debuts.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper. Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.