Mike Flanagan‘s new Netflix series may seem like it might be lighter fare than he previous hard-hitting horror series which deal with serious themes such as depression and grief. The Midnight Club is set in the 1990s and features a group of teens, but it’s not the cheesy horror you might expect, as the kids are terminally ill. One thing it does come packed with though, is jump scares – so many that it’s set a world record for them.
After 2018’s The Haunting of Hill House, 2020’s The Haunting of Bly Manor, and 2021’s Midnight Mass, Flanagan is back with another book adaptation. Christopher Pike’s 1994 novel is the source material this time around. And Flanagan has been awarded the record for the most scripted jump scares in a single episode of television – 21 scares, to be exact.
A group of eight terminally ill young adults reside in a hospice run by an enigmatic doctor. They meet at midnight every night to tell each other scary stories. One night they make a pact that the first one to succumb to their disease is responsible for communicating with the others from beyond the grave.
Ironically, Flanagan isn’t actually a big fan of jump scares. “I thought, ‘We’re going to do all of them at once, and then if we do it right, a jump scare will be rendered meaningless for the rest of the series.’ It’ll just destroy it. Kill it finally until it’s dead. But that didn’t happen. They were like, ‘Great! More [scares]!'”
“My whole career I completely shat on jump scares as a concept, and I wanted to make sure it was pinned to me, too, as much as it is to the show, to Netflix, and all of us who have inflicted this on everyone,” Flanagan said. “Now, I have my name in the Guinness Book of World Records for jump scares, which means next time I get the note, I can say, ‘You know, as the current world record holder for jump scares, I don’t think we need one here.'”
If you watch The Midnight Club and are in the mood for more frights, check out our guide to the best Netflix horror movies.