Top Ten R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour Episodes (Seasons 3 & 4)

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 3 and 4 of The Haunting Hour!

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10. Grampires

Cute, creepy, and the season’s two-parter, this episode is about siblings who go to visit their grandparents in a retirement village. Unfortunately, soon enough, the kids learn the elderly folk are actually vampires, and rely on their grandfather to keep them safe. Normally, old people tend to be horrific in a frail and fragile way, but these grampires are more reminiscent of The Bailey School Kids book characters-comical.

 

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9. The Girl in the Painting

A young girl dreaming of a life of luxury finds a painting in the trash of a girl in a beautiful pink room. She becomes obsessed with living in the fantasy world of the posh painting. After the paining changes scenes and a voice is heard advising the way in is through the closet, the girl finds herself in the world she dreamed of. I think most little girls imagine themselves going into another land through the closet, all Chronicles of Narnia-style. The end is twisty of course, and unexpected, and laughable.

 

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8. The Cast

While playing a prank on and old lady, a group of boys get caught, and one falls, breaking his arm. He ends up with a cast, but the cast turns out to be a lot worse than just a cradle for shattered bones. I’ve never broken anything major, but the fear of the unknown comes into play here, and paranoia, and all of the possibilities of what could be lurking underneath all that plaster and bandage. In this case it’s rats, and while the guilt feeds delusions, in the end, everyone gets their just desserts. The moral of the story is: don’t lie or karma will get you.

 

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7. I’m Not Martin

A helpless boy in a hopeless horror- Martin is set for surgery, the only issue is he’s not Martin and no one believes him. As a kid, it would be pretty terrifying to be mistaken for someone else at a hospital, especially if that person is set to have their leg taken off. This episode is fairly nonsensical, but the desperation and fear of being trapped in a situation without having any control over it is pretty scary for a kid.

 

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6. Detention

This isn’t just a ditzy episode about high school stereotypes stuck in detention, it’s about three teenagers who take ownership of their mistakes and learn a valuable lesson. Obviously written by a dad, but not too cheesy. The setting of the decoration-trashed school with no one around sets a terrific atmosphere, and the possible consequences of the unassuming kids ups the scare factor. In true horror way, however, I wish it would have ended with the prom princess going her own way.

 

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5. Seance

A younger sister wants to fit in with her big sister and her friend, and while following them around mercilessly, annoys the friends. Little sis, who also stars as a little sister in The Conjuring is the victim of a prank, but ups the ante she gets her revenge. Seances are fun and spooky, and I bet every younger sibling got a few ideas of revenge after watching this episode.

 

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4. My Imaginary Friend

Another twisty story that ends kind of sad because you don’t really see it coming. It’s about a boy with an invisible friend who’s kind of a bad-ass, and is very much a negative influence. The boy’s good-natured brother doesn’t get along with his sibling’s imaginary friend and the conflict between the two goes from bad to worse. There are a lot of interesting ideas in this episode such as listening to your conscience and being able to control what you’d created with your own mind.

 

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3. Terrible Love

A Valentine’s Day episode where a girl wishes for cupid to make the popular boy like her… but she goes too far, and their love turns sour. This is another example of a mature episode that discusses jealousy and obsession in love. It’s creepy in a very real way and I appreciate how it’s guessable but still likable it can be. There’s a spotlight on awkwardness and desperation, and isn’t that every teenager’s nightmare?

 

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2. Lovecraft’s Woods

Time loops (in my opinion) are not used enough in movies, and I’ve definitely never seen it be used in a kid’s show, so this is all sorts of awesome. It’s about three friends who are trapped in the woods. One of the kids gets bitten and turns into a horrible creature who tries to warn her friends. Werewolves aren’t my usual horror cup of tea, but I fancy a spooky stroll in the forest, mind you.

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1. Le Poof de Fromage

The kid painfully trying to have a funny french accent may be hard to sit through, and the plot may be… ahem… cheesy, but it’s silly and fun and original. It’s simply ridiculous and I like that about it. This episode is about a foreign exchange student who moves in with a family to hunt down the alien cheese puffs that are trying to invade Earth. It kind of reminds me of 10 Cloverfield Lane because of the paranoia and flip-flop beliefs. Must be eaten with the puffy Cheesies, not the crunchy ones.

Also read: Seasons 1/2 Top Ten

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Goosebumps (2015)

Score: 5/10

Length: 103

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, 3D, recent, almost-horror, horror comedy, zombie, ghost, clown, monster, vampire, werewolf, animal, Stephen Kingy

I went to see this reincarnation of a gem of sorts from my childhood, expecting a cheesy, pun-filled, Jumanji-esque feature. I wasn’t so looking forward to Jack Black, but he did a pretty great job of toning himself down. The only thing I didn’t find amusing was his slight cartoony voice. Though, as Slappy he was dead-on. I recognized the other characters from The Haunting Hour and The Giver, and they all did and okay job. Packed with monsters from Goosebumps books you’ll remember: The Blob That Ate Everyone, killer bees, a vampire dog, The Shocker on Shock Street‘s praying mantis, the ghost from Ghost Beach, the aliens with their freeze-ray guns, the werewolf from Fever Swamp, and a whole bunch more. It even has some folks you might not quite remember, such as the zombies and the horrific clown. Either way, it left out two of my favorites. Monster Blood would have been overkill with the blob already a main character, but I really missed seeing the sponge from It Came Beneath the Sink. Seeing the pointed-toothed dish scrubber would have been a hilarious twist ending. The story- (a few friends and R. L. Stine try to save the town from the monsters in his books that have come to life)- isn’t too overdone nor too inventive. I know it’s a kids movie and you don’t have to try hard when overcoming the plot holes, but there were so many and they were incredibly easy to find story fixes for. An example: the kids open a book and unleash a snowy monster. When they leave the room, we see another book’s lock snap open (although it was untouched). Later, the teens come back to find the book on the floor, where it opens and Slappy emerges. Now, if the book had just been shown knocked down on the floor, that would have made more sense, as at any time, if any of the books could just open and caused havoc… wouldn’t they!? Or the dummy in the bus scenario. There’s no way that they had the time to make a dummy, put it in the bus, and then the dummy drives the bus?! They could have easily asked someone- anyone- to drive the bus. I loved the teeny cameo of R. L. as the drama teacher, and surprisingly, the nostalgic end credits scene was my favorite part of the movie. It was totally unnecessary for this to be in 3D, as it was just what I like to call “3D effects” and not really 3D with shit flying in your face. Overall, it’s nice to see my favorite retro things come back all fresh and new, but I had low expectations and it didn’t exceed them.

photo credit: http://cdn.hitfix.com

Top Ten R. L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour Episodes (Seasons 1 & 2)

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:

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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.

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10. Mascot

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.

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9.  Afraid of Clowns

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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3. Flight

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.

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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.

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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.

The Stuff (1985)

Score: 6.5/10

Length: 87

Language: English

Categories: 80s, sci-fi, horror-comedy, murderer, almost horror, good bad

I was saving this little gem for when I was able to get some good, white yogurt that resembled “the stuff”. I picked out some banana caramel (surprisingly not yellowy) Greek yogurt and spoon fed myself this fun little eighties bite of magic. Michael Moriarty is our likable 007 hero, but you also get to see a younger “Earl” from 2 Broke Girls, whose name in the movie is… Chocolate Chip.This film is about an alien goop that is marketed as dessert, but becomes addictive and then kills you from the inside. It features a few lame kill-scenes of awesomeness and charming characters. It’s also probably the inspiration for Goosebumps’ Monster Blood series and Scary Movie. The only thing that makes absolutely no sense to me is why they keep trying to burn the Jet Puffed. Are they trying to make s’mores?

photo credit: http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/627490/18057296/1336344574933/the+stuff.jpg

Poltergeist (2015)

Score: 4.5/10* (+1 for being in 3D)

Length: 93

Language: English

Categories: recent. 2000s, remake, ghost, haunted house

This was the best Goosebumps episode I’ve ever seen! I mean… it was okay for a horror movie. It was super fun and entertaining to watch, but they missed a few of the best parts of the original and it all seemed to happen too quickly. It unfortunately had one of my most hated movie flaws- characters under-reacting to an insane situation. I also didn’t love how the very very end of the movie was put together- it was just lazy with excess film. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the effects and the imagination behind how the “otherworld closet”  was done. The acting wasn’t too painful, excusing the ho-hum reactions issue. You really have to go into this wanting to have a good time at the movies as opposed to wanting to be actually scared. The tension is short-lived, and this remake of a classic poltergeist story is just like the original in many ways- it’s cheesy, a great time, and when you watch it again years later, it won’t be as good as you remembered it.

* 10/10 if it was a Goosebumps episode

photo credit: http://cdn3-www.comingsoon.net/assets/uploads/2015/02/Poltergeist.jpg

The Woods (2006)

Score: 3/10

Length: 91

Language: English

Categories: 2000s, supernatural, girly, woods

A girl gets dropped off by her parents at a boarding school for gifted girls where she fights, has nightmares, and generally pisses off the witch-mistresses of the school. This is kind of like a grown-up children’s movie. A mix of Suspiria, Girl Interrupted, and The Craft. I’m sorry I got you all excited, because although it is a fantasy film about a coven, it is unfortunately, super boring. There is no build-up really, and it just feels like a bunch of events strung together until the ending which is guessable and flat. Some day there will be another good witch-horror. Today is not that day.

photo credit: http://www.fangirlmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/the-woods1.jpg

Top Ten Goosebumps Episodes/ Books

In anticipation for the upcoming Goosebumps movie (or the film of the summer as I like to call it), I will be reviewing the most memorable Goosebumps books (and accompanying television episodes).

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Night of the Living Dummy, Night of the Living Dummy 2, Night of the Living Dummy 3, Bride of the Living Dummy, Slappy’s Nightmare, Revenge of the Living Dummy

Slappy is by far the most famous character from the Goosebumps book, which spawned a slew of sequels that were each magnificent in their own horrific way.

Most memorable: Every time Slappy gets “angry eyebrows”.

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Be Careful What You Wish For

A nerdy girl called Byrd meets a strange woman who gives her three wishes, which, of course, all go badly. Not original in the least, but a really fun episode when you’re a kid.

Most memorable: When the most popular girl in school becomes an obsessive stalker.

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The Haunted Mask

The duck costume, Mary-Beth’s annoying whiny innocence, and the mask you were just dying to have for Halloween but which probably would have cost about $200 makes this episode one of the best.

Most memorable: When Mary-Beth gets her own human-looking mask.

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Say Cheese and Die

Kids missing from pictures go missing in real life. The lasting image is the skeletons at the family barbecue (from the book cover).

Most memorable: When you watch this ten years later and see the camera like it’s the first time.

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Stay Out of the Basement

You better listen to plant-dad and stay the hell out of the basement. Kids, they never listen.

Most memorable: The typical “which one is the real one” scene where one dad has to be hosed.

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Welcome to Camp Nightmare

A two-parter with lots of page-turning suspense and a fun, supernatural twist on the last day of camp.

Most memorable: There aren’t any super memorable scenes but you tend to remember the ending and Larry’s teeth.

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More Monster Blood, Monster Blood, Monster Blood II, Monster Blood III

When I think about Goosebumps, I immediately picture lime green slime… turning into a giant blob monster… on a plane.. trying to get a kid with a mushroom cut.

Most memorable: The throbbing, growing, green blob of goop.

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It Came From Under the Sink

The classic tale of an evil kitchen sponge with teeth. Bonus! An evil potato with teeth.

Most memorable: I think it’s pretty obvious.

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Piano Lessons Can Be Murder

A kid doesn’t want to go to his piano lessons. It’s easy to see why as everyone in the piano business is insane.

Most memorable: The scene with all of the unattached floating hands playing the pianos are what nightmares are made of.

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One Day in Horrorland

A family accidentally ends up in Horrorland on the way to their family vacation. They go on the rides which turn out to be too scary for their liking and soon meet the amusement park’s employees- a bunch of monsters who run a horrible game show where humans are the victims.

Most memorable: The monsters.

photo credits:

http://www.cinemablend.com

http://www.teenidols4you.com

http://www.geeksohard.com

http://images.tvrage.com

http://bummertimes.com

http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net

https://spongey444.files.wordpress.com

http://i.ytimg.com

http://41.media.tumblr.com

https://bloggiusmaximus.files.wordpress.com

http://80sand90srevival.weebly.com/