Judge Dawn Hunt considers The Haunting Hour her weekly session of playing with her Ouija board.
Our reviews of R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: Volume 5 (published October 19th, 2013), R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: Volume 6 (published October 19th, 2013), R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series, Volume Four (published February 1st, 2013), R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series, Volume One (published September 6th, 2012), and R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series, Volume Two (published September 22nd, 2012) are also available.
R.L. Stine is the author of over 350 books, most notably the very popular Goosebumps series. In fact, that series produced a TV show of the same name which ran for three years. In 2002, he wrote a book called The Haunting Hour: Chills in the Dead of Night. It was followed in 2007 by a movie The Haunting Hour: Don't Even Think About It. Those were successful enough to prompt another series, R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour, which debuted in 2010.
R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series, Volume Three features five episodes from the latter half of the first season.
"Fear Never Knocks"—Siblings Jenny (Ariel Winter, Modern Family) and Jack (Quinn Lord, 3-2-1 Penguins!) sneak into their grandpa's (Matthew Walker, Stargate: The Ark of Truth) office. But what they find summons more than they bargained for.
"Best Friend Forever"—Jack (Nolan Gould, Ghoul) unwittingly resurrects a man he decides to keep as his zombie pet. Pet "Cheeky" (Chris Cochrane, A Bride for Christmas) has his own ideas, however.
"The Black Mask"—Friends Julie, (Madison Pettis, Jake and the Neverland Pirates) Bill, (Ricardo Hoyos, Degrassi: The Next Generation) and Robb (Ian Robb Crane) break into a seemingly deserted house. They find a black mask which shows them something unbelievable.
"My Sister the Witch"—Pete (Uriah Shelton, The Glades) is excited for his sister Alice's (Jodelle Ferland, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) return from boarding school. But his joy soon turns to apprehension when she begins exhibiting witchy behavior.
"Catching Cold"—Marty (Robert Capron, Diary of a Wimpy Kid) becomes obsessed with an ice cream truck no one else can see.
Aimed at the 14 and under crowd, The Haunting Hour relies less on gross out or ghoulish scares and instead utilizes "boos" and jumps. It's hard to imagine kids these days being into a scare-light series like this. My 12-year-old-nephew has already seen My Bloody Valentine 3D for crying out loud. But then again he's a budding horror enthusiast, and so The Haunting Hour might be good for kids just looking to get into something scary. The most frightening things they're likely to encounter here are the characters so close to their own age in situations they can relate to. I'll give credit where credit's due: The Haunting Hour has no problem leaving stories without a traditional happy ending. These tales are meant to serve as warnings, and the lack of a pleasant resolution will upset younger viewers.
Video is standard broadcast but the black levels are occasionally lowered for atmosphere's sake (and to hide the science behind the scares.) Audio is better, with a full Dolby 5.1 to flesh out the layers.
The extras are a collection of old promos and a behind-the-scenes interview with the stars from "The Black Mask."
It's difficult to imagine this generation of jaded youngsters being drawn to R.L. Stein's The Haunting Hour but it's plausible for those new to the genre. Not gory or gross, it's a scary show parents can watch with youngsters, although those trending on the younger end of the scale will likely be truly scared.
Let the kid in your life persuade you to get this, not the other way around.
Guilty of giving me mild Goosebumps.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
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