THE MIDNIGHT CLUB At Mid-Life

Midnight Club
Image via Netflix.

Whether or not you read the book back-in-the-day,* Mike Flanagan’s latest Netflix offering, The Midnight Club, is a must-watch event, especially for younger people. It’s about some very brave teenagers dealing with life, death, sickness, health, and multiple things that go bump-in-the-night with a grace and maturity exceeding that of many adults. It’s first episode has already been tagged by the Guiness Book of World Records for “the most scripted jump scares in a single television episode.” That’s not too bad for a show about kids swapping stories with one another as they wait to die in a haunted hospice.

But this review isn’t for the people of today, young or old, discovering Christopher Pike for the first time, nor is it really about how us 90’s kids (those of us with good taste, at least) devoured Christopher Pike books by the dozen. It’s about us now, we middle-aged folks coming back to the story for the first time in 28 years.

And I have a feeling that I’m not the only one who’s terrified.

Mortality is something that all of us must face, and the middle ages are notorious for the resulting crises. “All things must die.” We knew that as kids, but we feel it as adults. Are you someone who has gotten bad health news since you were 16? Did your life change with that one phone call, that one email? Mine did. And I wish I had the courage to face it like the Midnight Club kids.

Of all the Christopher Pike books, and I think I read almost all of them, The Midnight Club was always the one that I remembered most clearly, particularly the epilogue, which I will not ruin here. I do want to say, though, that both the book and the series leave us with hope of an afterlife, one where we do not dissolve into the great beyond, but retain individuality and agency, though our memories of this specific life may fade.

Did I remember this book so well because I knew that, somehow, it would be so relevant to me one day?

Yeah, possibly.

Buyer beware that there are several key differences between the television series and the original book (they are listed well here.), but these adaptations work, so long as Flanigan is greenlit for at least one more season. If he is not, and we are left hanging, expect frustrations galore.

I know I’m already afraid of what the next Midnight Club will reveal to me, but as it is a horror story, that’s probably the whole point.

*And it’s worth a read. The Midnight Club by Christopher Pike. 1994. Reprinted by Simon & Schuster in September 2022.

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About Irma Salt 3 Articles
Irma Salt is a recovering academic and arts critic. She likes night hikes and cats.
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