R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour is a modern-day teen horror show that started in 2010 and plays on YTV (and I’m sure some other channels). It was extremely hard to pick a top ten for several reasons- I had no emotional childhood attachments to any of these episodes, there are a lot of creative ideas, and none of them are really scary, but they’re all pretty much Goosebumps-style twisty-ended. They all have teenage cheese and they’re all watchable. Here are my top ten most memorable episodes from seasons 1 and 2 of The Haunting Hour!
Let’s start off with my honorable mention:
Really You, The Return of Lilly D
season 1 episode 1 & 2, season 2 episode 18
So, as you should know by now, doll stuff really doesn’t scare me (dummies are a totally different story), and although I found the doll-scares lame as usual, I know that these are probably the “stand out” episodes for most people watching the show, just like the dummy series in Goosebumps. The episodes do, however, have some fine ingredients: the actors playing the bratty girl as well as the poor, innocent girl are both fantastic, and the doll itself is very well done and lifelike.
season 2 episode 8
This episode about a tired, old basketball mascot is silly but creepy and strange at the same time. As an adult, I kind of pictured the person underneath the yellow monster as being a lurky pedophile, dying to stay in high school forever. That is, until its head popped off.
9. Afraid of Clowns
season 1 episode 14
This kid’s paranoia got to me, and I felt pretty bad for him, having to deal with his fear head-on. I mean, if I had to be stalked by a bunch of giant spiders and then chill out in their web, I’d be horrified. The end kind of caught me off-guard, but it made me chuckle a little, which I guess is the intention of clowns anyway.
8. Creature Feature
season 2 episodes 1 & 2
A kid with a love for retro horror flicks gets trapped in a film himself with an ant-like monster. This was a really solid story with the right amounts of campy and tension. There are a few double-episode features in the series, but I didn’t really like any of them as much as this one.
7. Dream Catcher
season 2 episode 12
Tween girls stay at a camp they’ve been having nightmares about. While some try to stay awake, others encounter an evil, black spider-creep that traps them in his dream web. A Nightmare on Elm Street meets Coraline meets Babadook in this episode centered around gal pals.
6. The Walls
season 1 episode 8
A (hilariously over-acting) kid moves into a house where something sinister lurks behind the walls. This slimy creature also likes to be constantly fed syrup. Strangely adult, sickly yet playful, and perfectly intriguing with the usual surprise ending.
5. Catching Cold
season 1 episode 17
A chubby kid longs for the perfect ice cream which rides in an evil ice cream truck. But the lure of the Kreamy Cold treat is too delicious to resist and the obsession gets more intense with each bite. I love a mix of horror and food, and I’ve never really seen an episode quite like this. Pass the neapolitan.
4. Perfect Brother
season 1 episode 20
Two ridiculously good-looking teen brothers uncover a horrible secret- the perfect brother is perfect for a reason! One will do anything to save the other, and the end is full of fun sci-fi twists. There have been many a kids horror novel about this particular robot-featuring story, but not many TV shows or films aside from Artificial Intelligence.
season 2 episode 4
A boy gets on a plane with the reaper and learns a lesson about love and family. Suspicious looks from sinister old ladies make me uneasy and story was going great until the “magical lesson learned” part. My favorite line from the episode was “Do something totally unselfish and way cool”. Obviously written by a dad.
2. Fear Never Knocks
season 1 episode 11
A brother and sister (Alex from Modern Family) play with their psychiatrist grandpa’s fear machine and unleash their biggest fears. This is the only one I actually found scary, and I had no previous fears of a makeuppy lady with a nylon over her head hiding in the closet. I now have that fear, thanks to this episode.
1. Pool Shark
season 1 episode 18
Okay, this isn’t scary or amazingly well-acted or anything, and my favoritism for it might have something to do with the fact that I was planning for a trip to Hawai’i when I first watched it. Nevertheless, I was so into the episode, I didn’t really expect the ending for some reason. I liked that this one was about native Hawai’ian history, and similar to the Fear of Clowns episode, family secrets. (Oh, you’re afraid of something?? Well now you are that something.)
*side note: I find it odd that I’ve been watching this on YTV, and they’re really pushing the dating sites and adult diapers during the commercial breaks.