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Series: The Haunting Hour
R. L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series is a new series airing on The Hub. Like the TV adaptation of Goosebumps and the short-lived series, The Nightmare Room, it is a horror Genre Anthology series featuring a different story every week filled with kids facing off against ghosts, monsters, and other supernatural beings. Unlike Goosebumps, the stories are darker, not all of them have happy endings, and not all of them are adapted from R.L. Stine's works.

A sneak preview of this show aired on Halloween, but the series didn't premiere until Christmas. Season two began on October 1, 2011. Shortly after its conclusion, Stine announced a third season had been ordered, but was cut short in America (ending on the Valentine's Day Episode, "Terrible Love"). On October 12, 2013, a fourth season aired, comprised of the season three episodes that didn't air in America, including the highly-anticipated conclusion to season one's "The Dead Body" and a very strange episode starring voice actor Tom Kenny as a strange kids' show host who teaches his biggest fan's older brother a lesson. Clips of the latest episodes can be viewed on the show website. It has now been renewed for a fifth (or fourth, if you think the previous season is just "Season Three, Part Two") season that will air on October 4, 2014, starting with the adaptation of the Haunting Hour anthology story "I'm Not Martin."

Has a Recap page. It also has a wiki.

Continuity-wise, it's unrelated to the made-for-TV movie The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It.

This show provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Justified: many of the stories are based off short stories.
  • Adoring the Pests: In the "Best Friends Forever" episode, Jack adopts a zombie as a pet.
  • Adults Are Useless/Not Now, Kiddo: In "Really You" the mother is more concerned with the fact that there was a camera in her room as opposed to the fact that someone sneaked into her room and took the video card at some point.
    • The adults in "Mascot" have this, too. The basketball coach is too busy working out to realize that several of the kids he's responsible for—including the team's manager and the previous mascot—have disappeared.
    • And the mother in Red Eye, who didn't notice or care that her daughter may be right about what's happening to Grace's father.
  • Adult Fear: A few episodes portray, in the most realistic fashion possible, the reactions parents might have to their children being influenced by supernatural events. Notable examples include "The Girl in the Painting"note  and "Uncle Howee"note 
  • Affectionate Parody: The film scenes in "Creature Feature" are these to 1950s sci-fi B-movies.
  • A God Am I: The eponymous protagonist of '"Swarmin' Norman'' becomes this when he realizes that he can control bugs, but it comes back to bite him when he crushes some bugs and the bugs eat him alive and start a revolution against humans.
  • Alien Among Us: Alien Candy (the Alien Club members), Sick (though this is debatable, as the creature that infected Alex is never shown and can be interpreted as a lot of things, like a living cold bacteria or flu virus that just looks alien in appearance), and Poof de Fromage (both Jean-Louis and the alien cheese puffs that attack the family).
  • All Part of the Show: Everything that went wrong during Hansel and Gretel: The Musical on Stage Fright
  • Ambiguously Jewish: It's implied in "Golem" that Jeremy's family is of Russian-Jewish heritage (or are into the mystic side of it), given how Jeremy's grandmother and a group of people from her village were the ones who created the Golem (a humanoid creature found in Jewish folklore and mysticism made of stone, dirt, or mud and brought to life by a Hebrew incantation used to protect villagers from invaders) to use against the Nazis (no signs of swastika armbands or Nazi regalia, but, you can tell it was them, given the time period) during World War II.
  • And I Must Scream: The fates of the protagonists in Pumpkinhead (decapitated and turned into a pumpkinheaded zombie), The Dead Body (turned into a ghost), Mascot (eaten and digested by Big Yellow), the alternate ending to Scarecrow (the one where Bobby is turned into a scarecrow and made to watch the world end with the creepy salesman, not the one where Bobby burns the scarecrow and walks off), Lovecraft's Woods (trapped in the forest and forced to make the same trip over and over again), and Uncle Howee (Jared is turned into a life-sized wooden marionette and forced to act on a show he hates because of how loud and annoying it is).
  • Arc Villain: Lilly D ("Really You" and "The Return of Lilly D") and Jake Skinner ("The Dead Body" and "Dead Bodies").
  • Autocannibalism: Afraid of Clowns has Chris dream about a clown serving him a piece of cake that was part of his hand. It's lessened by the fact that Chris's hand appeared to turn into cake (and that it was All Just a Dream) but it still has this vibe and is genuinely unsettling.
  • Baby-Doll Baby: In the episodes "Really You" and "Really You 2", Lily's mom starts treating Lily D (the doll) more like her daughter than the real Lily. Justified in part 2 because she just realizes that Lily D and Lily have switched places.
  • Badass Grandpa: Grandpa Montgomery (as played by Christopher Lloyd) in Grampires.
  • Bad Humor Truck: In Catching Cold, the ice cream truck is run on the souls of those obsessed with ice cream.
  • Bald of Evil: Fear in "Fear Never Knocks"
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: "Best Friends Forever," "A Creature Was Stirring" (the first episode with this trope "that has a more-or-less happy ending as Timmy's parents decide not to divorce after losing their house to the Krampus as the children need love and support from both parents while they try to find a new place to live), "Headshot," "The Red Dress," "The Girl in the Painting," "Terrible Love," "Worry Dolls," and "Long Live Rock and Roll" (another episode that has a happy ending as Holden defeated Sir Maestro in the guitar duel and was able to save his friends).
  • Big Brother Bully: Jared in "Uncle Howee". This ranges from insulting his little sister and her favorite show, bossing her around so he can go sneak out of the house to see a movie, and taking the pizza money left by their mother and giving his sister two measly fish sticks for dinner. Is there any reason karma bit him in the ass at the end of the episode?
    • Naomi is a Big Sister Bully in "Sťance," arranging a fake sťance to bring out an Axe Crazy ghost just to scare her little sister when they're staying home alone. What she didn't realize was, the ghost she was bringing back "had a mean sister too" and is looking for a fresh new leg...
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In The Dead Body Jake turned out to be this when Will found out that he's really a ghost who only helped him with his bully problem to gain his trust, so he could trick Will into taking his place the day he was killed in 1961.
    • Bonnie and Greg in Alien Candy, also turned out to be this when it's revealed that they're real aliens who only wanted Walt to join their fake club so they could eat him. However, both Walt and his friend Tim managed to defeat them before it was too late.
    • In "Headshot," Cassandra tells Lexi that "Gracie has become what she's always been," meaning that, while Cassandra is the Devil (posing as a teen magazine modeling scout and photographer) who steals the souls of girls who want to be known for their beauty, she didn't drive Gracie to being evil, just captured her soul in a headshot photo and encouraged her to do what she could to make it so she'd be the winner, even if it meant hurting and alienating everyone she's ever known and loved. After all, it was Gracie who set up Dylan to get suspended for cheating on a math test, spiked Flynn's milkshake with Red Dye #3 (which makes Flynn break out in hives), and alienated Lexi (her true friend and the one who knew that Cassandra was evil and using Gracie for her own gain) by calling her a "butterface" and telling her that (paraphrased): "When good things happen, your friends are the first ones to bail."
    • Phillip in "My Robot," when it's revealed that his plans to electrocute the robot was really a plot to foist the robot on his friend Tim by making Tim the first thing the robot sees when he reboots.
  • Book Of Shadows: Used in Walls.
  • Break the Haughty: Played for Drama in Wrong Number when it kills Steffani, by zapping her into a video file on her cell phone and sending the file to Adriana, a Goth girl whom Steffani bullied, who promptly deletes it.
  • Break Them by Talking: This is how Ethan defeats Mad Dog McCoy in "Coat Rack Cowboy," by telling him of all the lives he ruined with his outlaw ways.
  • CallBack: In "Terrible Love," Cupid tells Maggie that she's not his only client when she summons him again to give Brendon another dosage. In the end, it's revealed that Stuart also summoned Cupid to make Maggie fall for him.
  • Car Fu: The ending to Really You Part 2.
  • Creepy Doll: Lilly D in "Really You."
    • The Worry Dolls, who seem to randomly appear whenever Jordanna worries about something or sees a problem that can be easily solved.
  • Changeling Tale: Intruders
  • Chekhov's Classroom: The science lessons on chemical reactions (and how human emotions are connected to it) prove to be the basis for the episode "Terrible Love"
  • Chekhov's Gun: The main character's silver necklace in "the Nightmare Inn" was given to her by her father specifically to ward off other werewolves.
  • Christmas Episode: "A Creature Was Stirring".
  • Cold Open: Starting with seasons three and four, the episodes have a short scene before the opening sequence.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: At least half of the episodes end in these.
    • "The Dead Body" ends with Will ending up dead in the 1961 explosion while Jake Skinner takes his life and his girlfriend. The sequel episode "Dead Bodies" (or "The Dead Body 2," as it's informally called) was created for thought the ending was too depressing.
    • "The Red Dress" ends with Jamie keeping the dress, but going blind when the shopkeeper steals her glasses, and, by proxy, her eyesight.
    • "Ghostly Stare" ends with the sister being replaced by a ghost after losing a staring contest with her brother.
    • "Game Over" ends with Kell-Raiser beating the game, but getting sucked into the game and made the new boss and taking in a new player.
    • "Best Friend Forever" ends with the main character becoming the pet to the zombie he found.
    • "Afraid of Clowns" ends with the main character being told by his parents that he's a monster clown and the circus was his rite of passage in growing up.
    • "Catching Cold" ends with Marty catching the mysterious ice cream truck and finding the missing boy — now a fat, insane man — who tells him that he's been waiting 30 years for someone to give his soul to the ice cream truck so he won't have to do it anymore.
    • "Mascot" has Willie and the kid in the wolf costume be eaten by Big Yellow, who turns out to be an actual monster that just looks like a costume, Drake later finds out that Willie was eaten by Big Yellow during the next game, via calling him on his cell phone, where we find out Willie is still alive inside Big Yellow and slowly being digested.
    • "Headshot" combines this with Downer Ending: Gracie's friend, Lexi, learns that Cassandra is the Devil and that Gracie inadvertently sold her soul to her to make her wish of being the prettiest girl in the world come true, so Lexi decides to reverse the spell by deleting Gracie's headshot from her cell phone — which grows uglier as the real Gracie gets prettier. Sadly, Lexi didn't know that Gracie and only Gracie had the power to erase her own headshot and not go through with her Deal with the Devil. On top of that, she had already won Teen-Teen's "Most Beautiful Face" contest, so there would have been no way to reverse it. Because of this, Gracie's human face is on Cassandra's wall of other girls who sold their souls and their looks to her and now wanders the Earth, her pretty face replaced by the hideous headshot from her picture
    • "The Girl in the Painting" After Becky finally makes it to the world of The Girl in the Painting, the girl asks if she can stay with her forever. When Becky says yes, the clock strikes six, and Becky is fed to an unseen, but implied dragon-like creature. It's then revealed that the girl in the painting and her mother have planned this all along and use the painting as a trap to capture people who see their world as perfect and feed them to the dragon outside their window.
    • "Terrible Love"'s ending is kind of a gray area. If you believe Maggie is an Asshole Victim because her insecurity drove her to force Cupid to give Brendon another hit of the love arrow (which causes very obsessive and deranged behavior) then the ending in which Stuart summoned Cupid too and made a deal with him to hit Maggie with one of his love arrows doesn't count as a cruel twist, as she's getting what she deserved. However, if you think Maggie learned her lesson and has suffered enough, especially after wishing the love-crazed Brendon would leave her alone and seeing him fall down the stairs and be sent to the hospital, then it is cruel, as she's forced to love Stuart forever (it's heavily implied that, because Cupid's love arrows contain the human hormones of sertonin, dopamine, and adrenaline and because it was a direct hit with the proper balance of hormones, the feelings of love you have for whoever you see when you wake up are permanent).
  • Darker and Edgier: It's darker than Stine's earlier works Goosebumps and the short-lived series The Nightmare Room, and, while some episodes do have happy endings or come off as the kind of cheesy stories that R.L. Stine did in the 1990s, the majority of Haunting Hour episodes are darker and have endings that are either cruel or don't make any sense, no matter how many times you watch it.
  • Dark Fantasy: The two-part episode The Most Evil Sorcerer does a good job of capturing this feel. Magic users are capricious at best and outright evil at worst, the child protagonists are slaves in all but title to a corrupt sorcerer, and "Don't Go in the Woods" is very good advice. But that doesn't mean you can't Earn Your Happy Ending.
    • "Intruders" also counts, as it depicts The Fair Folk as they are in most fantasy works that haven't been toned down for children: as mischievous at best and evil at worst, who live in the woods and are weak to iron.
  • Defanged Horrors: The Klemit in "Walls," the zombie in "Best Friends Forever" (at least until he clubs Jack in the head and drags him home underground as his new pet) and the furry ostrich monster in "Bad Egg."
  • Dead All Along: Seth in "Night of the Mummy."
    • Audrey, Kate, and Halftime in "Detention" — until Audrey's apology to Kate reversed the events and made it so that way the parade accident that killed all three of them never happened.
  • Deal with the Devil: Heavily implied in the episode "Headshot" with Cassandra the photographer implied to be The Devil. Justified, as the episode is based on The Picture of Dorian Gray, which followed a similar story of a vain protagonist selling his/her soul to be beautiful forever, only for it to backfire, though subverted as, while Cassandra steals the souls of girls who want to be beautiful and be the face of Teen-Teen magazine, she doesn't encourage them to be evil, as the girls who take their offer are already shallow, vain, and cutthroat and the ones that delete the headshot are considered good.
    • "Long Live Rock and Roll" also has this, only instead of looks, a boy sells his soul for musical talent. The difference between this episode and "Headshot" in terms of story is that Sir Maestro told Holden that in exchange for the guitar, Sir Maestro gets his soul (or, as it's worded on the episode, "You get to play for me, forever.") and Holden was able to get out of it with The Power of Rock and his friends (who also signed away their souls to Sir Maestro) at his side.
  • Depraved Kids' Show Host: Uncle Howee, from the episode of the same name. Downplayed in that he's not a criminal or sexual deviant (or real, if you believe that Uncle Howee is an interdimensional being, a living cartoon character, Cynthia's imaginary friend, or the ghost of a long-dead children's entertainer whose show — and, by proxy, his spirit — lives on in reruns), he actually likes his kid fans (especially Cynthia, who truly believes that he's real and her friend), and he's more a Karmic Trickster who uses his powers for good.
  • Director's Cut: Two episodes have reran with alternate endings:
    • "Scarecrow": In the original version, the scarecrow salesman turns back to his true form and is burned at his stake by Bobby, who walks off into the empty world. In the director's cut version, the scarecrow salesman turns Bobby into a scarecrow and the two are the only things left in an empty world. The director's cut ending is the ending that now airs in reruns on TV, but, if you comb YouTube or any video site, you might find the original ending.
    • "Spaceman": In the original version, Aaron volunteers to play Spaceman with Ms. Hollinger's dead son as he felt sorry for her loss and Aaron finally had a friend who liked space travel. In the director's cut, the spirit of Ms. Hollinger's son forces his mother to make Aaron his new friend. Aaron tries to escape, but ends up locked in his room. Ms. Hollinger's line, "I'll leave you two spacemen alone" goes from being sweet and part of the game to being bitter and spiteful. "Spaceman" also has an extra scene where the voice over the helmet explains to Aaron that his helmet has advanced technology, which is why he can hear him, despite the helmet not having batteries in it.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Lilly has a mole on the back of her neck which helps identify her as the real Lilly rather than the doll just as the mom was about to dump her in the trash.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Phillip's visible terror at his robot doing "what's good for him" in "My Robot" is strongly reminiscent of a child with an abusive, controlling parent (or someone with an abusive, controlling spouse).
    • Jake forcing Anna to shake his hand so he can steal her life is very akin to rape.
  • The Doll Episode: "Really You," "The Return of Lilly D.," and "Worry Dolls."
  • Don't Fear The Reaper: In "Flight" The Grim Reaper takes the form of a nice old lady and is good-natured, but still has a job to do and will kill everyone on-board an airplane if the spirit doesn't come with her.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: If an episode has a happy ending, chances are the main characters are going to have to go through hell to get it (cf. "Really You," "Game Over"note  "Bad Feng Shui," "Flight," the original cut of "Spaceman," "Creature Feature," "The Golem," "Grampires," "The Weeping Woman," "Checking Out," "Detention," "Funhouse," "Coat Rack Cowboy," "Dead Bodies," and "Toy Train")
  • Dragged Off to Hell: The fate of Jake Skinner in Dead Bodies. The end of the episode implies he broke out — but only to get his comb back.
  • Eaten Alive: The fate of the main characters in "Mascot" and "The Girl in the Painting".
  • Elderly Immortal: Grampires features an entire neighborhood of vampire senior citizens.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The alien-monster creature from "Sick," though it's hard to tell since he's rarely shown (all we see of him are tentacles, and it's implied that he's not of this Earth and that blowing up the house is the only way that he can be destroyed).
  • Episode on a Plane: "Flight"
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Sir Maestro (from "Long Live Rock and Roll") may steal the souls of anyone who wants to be a music star, but he feels that the mainstream music industry is worse than he is in exploiting musical talent (he calls them "the real evil" and blames them for his bitterness, cynicism, and the competitive streak that would be his downfall when Holden challenges him to a guitar duel).
    • Cassandra in "Headshot" is similar. She may be a devil-like entity who steals the souls of girls who want to be pretty, but she doesn't warp their personalities, as the girls who take up her offer are already shallow, cutthroat, and competitive, even if they don't show it while the ones who have second thoughts and delete the headshot are considered good.
    • The carnie on "Funhouse" may have a sideshow attraction that warps people into bringing out the evil inside them, but his funhouse isn't to scare people or turn them into monsters nor is he evil. The whole idea of his funhouse to help people get over their inner demons. When Chad's sister, Kelly, confronts the carnie about Chad, the carnie is genuinely concerned about Chad, tells Kelly that he didn't do anything (and meant it), and tries to fix the funhouse so Chad can be human again.
  • Evil Feels Good: In "Funhouse," Chad is encouraged to let out his anger by taking a mallet to a display featuring an arguing mannequin family. Initially, Chad feels great that he's unleashing his anger, but soon he gets hooked on it, and the anger begins warping his personality and his appearance, and the only way out is to destroy the mirror that reflects what he's become.
  • Expy: As obvious as it sounds, the title character in Fear Never Knocks seems to be one for Freddy Krueger (it would explain the whole "worst fears coming to life" premise of the story).
    • Sir Maestro from "Long Live Rock 'n Roll" looks and sounds like Keith Richards from The Rolling Stones, though the top hat is more on par with either Tom Petty back in the 1970s or Slash from Guns 'n Roses.
    • Alan Miller from "Brush with Madness" is a mash-up of real-life graphic novelists Alan Moore (best known for V for Vendetta, Watchmen, and From Hell) and Frank Miller (best known for Sin City, 300, and The Dark Knight Returns).
  • Eye Scream: In "The Most Evil Sorcerer, Part 2," the sorceress performs a spell to pull out Ned's eyes and then places them in a jar.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In-universe for "Uncle Howee". When Jared turns the TV off, and then his sister Cynthia turns it on, instead of the Uncle Howee show continuing its broadcast, Uncle Howee starts talking directly to Cynthia, telling her how much he and Loomis the rabbit missed her and says he considers her his friend. Then it goes downhill for Jared, when Uncle Howee begins talking to him and moving his piano from the TV to the real world.
  • Friend to Bugs: Norman in "Swarmin' Norman"...until he abuses them and they fight back against all mankind.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Grandpa Walt Montgomery in Grampires, who refuses to feed off people (especially his grandchildren, whom he loves, despite being a vampire) and instead eats rats.
  • The Game Come to Life: Game Over, only it's a video game, not a board or card game.
  • Genre Anthology: In the same vein as the 1990s adaptation of Goosebumps, in which every episode is a different story (including the episodes that are sequels to earlier ones, like "The Return of Lilly D." and "Dead Bodies")
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel and Fridge Brilliance: The twist ending in "My Imaginary Friend" makes more sense when you rethink Dave and Travis as Shawn's conscience trying to help him out, and Shawn's decision to get rid of his imaginary friends is really his decision to Take a Third Option and think for himself. It still doesn't make the ending where Shawn tearfully watches his imaginary brother fade away any more sad, though.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The cursed forest creates this in "Lovecraft's Woods".
  • Halloween Episode: Pumpkinhead. For a horror show, it's surprising that there's only one Halloween episode (Goosebumps had more than that and it lasted about the same amount of time as this show), though there may be more when the show comes back in October 2014.
  • Hell Hotel: Subverted. The Nightmare Inn isn't awful the werewolves running it, however, are.
    • "Checking Out" plays it straight with a hotel run by a cult of adults who are brainwashed into despising their children and sacrificing them to a white void hidden behind a large painting of the hotel's founder.
  • Here We Go Again: The Hole ends with the dad possessed by the man who went nuts in the video after he wears the Hawaiian shirt that the man in the video wore.
    • "Game Over": "Kell-Raiser" is the new video game master and he drags a new player into the video game world.
    • Implied to be the ending in "The Weeping Woman." Yes, Chi saved his friends from being drowned and the negative energy that brought the statue to life disappeared when Chi's friend's parents reunited, but the last image of the episode was the La Llorona statue being put in a yard sale (and no one, except for Chi and his friends, know who La Llorona is and what her powers are). Who knows who will buy it, thinking that it's just a harmless statue of a woman to have around the house?
    • "Terrible Love": Maggie finding out too late that Stuart made a deal with Cupid to make her his girlfriend and gets hit with a love arrow.
    • "Worry Dolls": One of the worry dolls Jordanna set fire to in the fireplace regroups and comes back to haunt her, as her worrying over the dolls actually being burned is what brings one back to life.
    • "Lovecraft's Woods": Erica, who has been scratched by an unknown creature in Lovecraft's Woods, is cursed to live in a cabin while the rest of her friends are doomed to repeat their ill-fated journey.
    • "Coat Rack Cowboy" is a minor example. Yes, Ethan does defeat Mad Dog McCoy and returns to the present, but two of the outlaws Ethan mentioned before look over Ethan's bed and comment that, now that Ethan defeated Mad Dog McCoy, they want to challenge him to a shoot-out as well.
    • "My Robot": After the robot is rebooted, it imprints on Tim, which was Philip's plan the whole time so he would finally be rid of it.
  • Humanoid Abomination: The scarecrow salesman definitely looked human when he is not in his scarecrow form.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Many of the stories' antagonists (and protagonists, in the cases of "Headshot" and "Funhouse") are really messed-up people whose inner demons are scarier than any monster, ghost, vampire, or legendary creature you can name.
    • Cupid on "Terrible Love" even says as such when Maggie begs him to give Brendon another love arrow (cf. his speech on how he's sick of humans always asking for more love and more power, as it always leads to destruction and disaster and him [and other gods] getting blamed for it).
  • Ignored Epiphany: Gracie in "Headshots" immediately regrets calling her best friend Lexi a "butterface". As she holds the strip of photos of her and Lexi taken during happier times, she briefly considers backing out of her deal with Cassandra by deleting her headshot. After another pep talk from Cassandra encouraging her to follow her shallow dreams of fame, Gracie promptly crumples up the photos and leaves the headshot on her phone.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: In Creature Feature, the Mad Scientist is prone to these. The protagonist enjoys provoking them.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Uncle Howee and his strange powers. It's not known whether Uncle Howee has powers, if Cynthia's love for the show gave him powers, or if the TV has a curse on it, but all of that is moot, as he uses his powers for good.
  • In Name Only: This series has no connection whatsoever with the movie The Haunting Hour: Don't Think About It. Instead, it's based on The Nightmare Hour and The Haunting Hour anthology books written by R.L. Stine (though most of the stories aren't based on the short stories from either books).
  • Imaginary Friend: Travis and Dave to Ryan on My Imaginary Friend.
    • To some extent, Uncle Howee from the episode of the same name could be, as, prior to Jared seeing Uncle Howee, Loomis, and Mr. Clock escape from the TV, Cynthia was the only one who could see and interact with Uncle Howee, whether he was on TV or in the bathroom mirror, meaning that Uncle Howee and his show could be the product of Cynthia's imagination.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The witch in "Stage Fright" who cursed the "Hansel and Gretel" musical because no one was able to tell her story right. She didn't eat the kids — she made meals out of their parents.
  • Jerkass Victim: As nightmarish and utterly disproportionate as their punishment was, the victims in "Checking Out" are heavily implied to have been bratty kids who don't appreciate what their parents do for them.
    • Jared on "Uncle Howee," if you believe that he's only being a jerk to Cynthia because his mom forced him to babysit, which cut into his plans to see a movie with his friends, and not the theory that Jared is a bully who doesn't like his sister because she's annoying and constantly watches The Uncle Howee Show.
  • Karmic Twist Ending: In Wrong Number (in which a mean girl gets trapped in her cell phone, sent as a video message to the Goth girl whom she bullied, and ends up getting deleted). Unlike the Cruel Twist Endings listed above, the main character of this episode deserved what happened to her, since the old woman she harrassed was the grandmother of the Goth girl they bullied.
    • "Swarmin' Norman," too. The main character is relentlessly picked on by bullies, and when he discovers he has godlike powers over bugs, he uses his new power to get his revenge. Fair enough, but when Norman now proclaims he could crush the bully "like a bug" whenever he wanted to, he actually crushes several bugs just to make that point. The other kids seem afraid of him the next day, suggesting that they're afraid he'll sic the bugs on them too, and he becomes verbally abusive to the bugs he once loved. The bugs turn on him in response and swarm him, and it's implied that, because of what the protagonist did to the bugs, the world is going to be overrun by them.
    • The Walls: The main character's parents get their good luck monster, but have to put up with the perpetual annoyance that comes with it, while their son takes their room and the big-screen TV in it.
    • Dreamcatcher: One girl at summer camp gets jealous of her friend befriending another girl. As a result leaves their cabin to sleep by herself out of spite. When the friend gets trapped by a dream lurking monster, said girl leaves the new friend to deal with it, pretends to come help in dreamland to help only to ditch the new friend out of spite, shows up when the rescue fails to gloat a bit and leave them to die at the hands of the spider creature, then trips and falls into a trap herself. Karma strikes hard when one of the girls' alarm clocks goes off, waking them up and saving them, leaving the jealous girl to get eaten by the spider creature (she couldn't wake up because she slept outside and couldn't hear the alarm).
    • Terrible Love: After Cupid grants Maggie's wish to have Brendon leave her alone (resulting in Brendon getting knocked out and having to go to the hospital after falling down the stairs), Maggie meets up with class nerd Stuart, and tells him that she's glad to see him after everything that's happened — and Stuart reassures her she'll find love again...just as Cupid draws his arrow and hits Maggie, making her fall for Stuart. In a way, it is a karmic ending, as Maggie didn't listen to Cupid's warning about what happens when someone gets hit twice with one of his love arrow, and is now paying the price for what she did to Brendon.
    • Uncle Howee: Jared, who has been a bully to his little sister throughout the episode, loses a bizarre game of hide and seek (called "Find Your Sister Before Mom Gets Home and Grounds You For the Rest of Your Life" by Uncle Howee) to Uncle Howee and, after Jared chews Uncle Howee for tormenting him for fun, Uncle Howee offers the chance to give Jared Cynthia back if he'll be his friend. Jared relents and gets transformed into a full-size marionette and is seen hours later on the very show he hated by Cynthia and his mom.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Inverted. The titular funhouse in Funhouse is shown arriving to town in the Cold Open but vanishes, owner and all, without a trace once Chad destroys his pent-up anger.
  • Living Toy: Really You, The Return of Lilly D, Toy Train Story, and Worry Dolls. My Robot also counts if you want to stretch the definition of "toy" to include electronics.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: What happens when Cupid hits the same target twice, as seen in "Terrible Love." See the next entry as to why that happens.
  • Love Potion: Played with, as the "potion" Cupid used in "Terrible Love" is a mix of serotonin, adrenaline, and dopamine, which are common hormones in the human body (as opposed to a magical potion with unexplained ingredients, like in so many other Cupid story variations) and associated with strong human emotions, like joy, anger or, in this case, love.
  • Magic Versus Science: "My Sister The Witch" sets its plot up to be this, only to subvert it slightly when the main antagonist reveals that the scientific revolution allowed all magic users to thrive while the rest of the world was preoccupied. The conflict ends up being resolved with magic beating magic.
  • Monster Clown: A whole group of them in Afraid of Clowns, including the main character and his family. Arguably subverted as while some of them are definitely creepy, they're never shown actually doing anything bad, though the main character is cuolrophobic and thinks all clowns are scary, making this a case of You Are What You Hate.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In the second part of Really You, the mother states how she wishes Lilly D was her daughter instead of her real one (who is now the doll at this point) and is about to throw her away. Just as she puts her in the trash bin, she notices that the doll has a mole on the back of her neck, just like her real daughter, and she realizes that no doll — especially not an evil one — can take her flesh-and-blood daughter's place.
    • Maggie in "Terrible Love" after she explains to Brendon that his attraction to her was brought on by a hyperdose of chemicals from Cupid's arrow.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The slimy creature in the episode Sick is hardly seen in-view, which makes it seem scarier.
    • A few episodes combine this with Fridge Horror as well, especially when the creatures/supernatural events are completely unexplained, leaving viewers to wonder about what the protagonists are up against. In "Mascot," it's never revealed just what Big Yellow is—we know he's a monster, but how he came to live in the school and be considered its mascot are totally unknown.
      • Similarly, in "Uncle Howee," the home audience never finds out the truth behind the titular kiddie-show host. We know he has powers including teleportation, directly interacting with his audience, the ability to slip from the TV to reality and back again, and transforming people into cast members of his show, but what exactly is he? A wizard? A human who was literally cursed with TV magic? Cynthia's imaginary friend who can communicate with her through reflective surfaces, like the TV and the bathroom mirror? Some kind of monster or otherworldly creature posing as a human kids' show host? Is the television under some kind of curse? Has Cynthia's love and devotion to the show somehow make Uncle Howee and his friends real? The answers are never even hinted at, making him all the more frightening.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: For starters, Big Yellow from Mascot. He only looks like a man in a crappy costume and can remove his head just like one.
    • And some of which are based on actual monsters from different world mythologies, such as the Alp (from German folklore), the Krampus (from Bavarian German, Austrian, and Eastern European folklore), the Nanaue (from Hawaiian and Polynesian folklore), La Llorona (from Hispanic folklore, particularly Mexican), and the Golem (from Jewish folklore).
  • Orphean Rescue: "Scary Mary (Part Two)" has Eric going into Mary's world to rescue Hannah. Curiously enough, Mary seems to be invoking this trope as a means for her to escape. Essentially, she kidnaps pretty girls hoping that a boy will be willing to pull this rescue, whereby she can use the girl's stolen face to impersonate her and escape the mirror world.
  • Painful Transformation: The main character's transformation into a tick monster in Creature Feature Part 2.
  • Playing with Syringes: Dr. Sturgess in Light's Out was fond of this back when the asylum was open and he was alive. Death has not changed this.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: The ending to "Funhouse" has Chad shatter a mirror that reads, "The only way out is to face yourself" which helps him destroy his anger against his family problems.
  • Reality Warper: Corey when he uses Allan Miller's brushes on "Brush with Madness," even though the end of the episode reveals that the entire story was just an unpublished work Allan Miller did as "therapy" after being hounded by fanboys at a comic book convention.
    • Uncle Howee does have some reality warping powers, like making Cynthia disappear, appearing in many places at once, crossing over from the TV to the real world and taking people to and from there with ease (which explains how Loomis the rabbit and Mr. Clock also appeared in the real world and how Jared ended up on the show at the end), and making the real world as loud and cartoonish as his show.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: The episode Pool Sharknote  can best be described as Twilight if Jacob was the main character and he was a half-man, half-shark creature.
    • The series itself is Goosebumps if the stories were darker, more twisted, and a little less Narmy (though "Le Poof de Fromage" played out like something R.L. Stine would have written in his Goosebumps and Ghosts of Fear Street daysnote ).
    • "The Hole" is a more-or-less G-rated version of The Amityville Horror and Paranormal Activity.
    • "Terrible Love" is what happens when you mix a toned-down version of Fatal Attraction with Be Careful What You Wish For from the original Goosebumps book series (or what happens when you take a Fear Street story about unrequited love driving someone into insanity, write it for the preteen crowd, and add a sarcastic, middle-aged man as Cupid).
    • Scarecrow is The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight (number #20 of the original Goosebumps book series), only scarier and with a Downer Ending (both the original one where Bobby burns the scarecrow salesman [who turned back into his true form after everyone else vanished] and the alternate ending where Bobby is turned into a scarecrow too and made to watch the world end with the salesman).
  • Satan: Cassandra (the photographer from "Headshot") and Sir Maestro (the rocker-turned-music store owner from "Long Live Rock and Roll"). Justified, as both of these stories are Deal with the Devil stories, as well as commentary on how easily people give up what really matters to them in the name of fame (though "Long Live Rock 'n Roll"'s protagonist, Holden, actually realized this when he saw his bandmates be forced to play for Sir Maestro forever after they bought his drum kit and bass guitar. In "Headshot," Lexi learned too late that Gracie had the power all along to reject Satan and ends up losing her soul and her looks forever).
  • School Club Front: The episode "Alien Candy" features the alien club, which is for actual aliens planning to take over the school instead of sci-fi fans, as the club advertised.
  • Sequel Episode: "Return of Lily D" is a sequel to "Really You," and "Dead Bodies" is a sequel to "The Dead Body".
  • Serious Business: To most of the elderly vampires in Grampires, bingo.
    • Sir Maestro takes contract deals very seriously. Justified in that he was once a rock star who signed on to a record company and can now use the evil of the music industry to trap young talent into buying his instruments and signing their souls to him.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The basic plot of Black Mask. Subverted when it turns out the mask was actually showing the future and the apparent Obviously Evil villain was an innocent worker they had to save.
  • Sick Episode and Fever Dream Episode: The episode "Sick," though the "fever dream" side to this is debatable, as it's implied that Alex wasn't dreaming and that the government really was planning to kill him and his mom. See the YMMV page for more discussion.
  • Something Completely Different: The Most Evil Sorcerer, in which the entire plot (except for the last scene of the evil sorceress waking up in the modern day after a jogger thinks she needs medical attention) takes place in medieval Europe.
    • "Le Poof de Fromage," "Best Friends Forever," "Bad Egg," "Terrible Love," and "Uncle Howee" are more comedy-horror than straight horror, with "Terrible Love" playing out more like a supernatural, romantic Black Comedy, "Best Friends Forever" and "Bad Egg" parodying the sitcom story of "Kid keeps a pet in the house under wraps from his parents, who just forbid him to bring in a pet," "Le Poof de Fromage" being so ridiculous in his premise that it's just best to see it as a parody on all of R.L. Stine's alien horror stories because it just doesn't work as straight horror, and "Uncle Howee," like "Terrible Love," is more of a Black Comedy with scary elements and social commentary about how television is too often used as a babysitter and what happens when the electronic babysitter (Uncle Howee and his show) replaces the flesh-and-blood one (Jared).
    • "Headshot": It's The Picture of Dorian Gray set in the world of teen modeling. Much like "Terrible Love," the fears are more based in reality (in "Headshot"'s case, it's the promises of fame and glamor bringing out a person's worst qualities, how the famous often have to sacrifice what really matters to them in order to succeed only to lose everything when their star fades, and how evil lives in all mankind and only comes out if a person chooses to surround themselves with evil influences).
      • "Funhouse" is similar to "Headshot," as the traveling carnie isn't the evil one; he merely encourages Chad to vent his anger over his family. Chad's anger and frustration over his father never being around (and his mother not doing anything about it) turns Chad into a monster. Unlike "Headshot," Chad breaks the spell his anger has over him by smashing the mirror that reads, "To Get Out, You Must Face Yourself" and distorted his face.
    • "The Cast": Gives more psychological scares, despite having a crazy cat lady who may or may not be a witch or have godlike powers over her cats. Lex's guilt over not telling the truth about what he did to the cat lady's house is what drives him crazy (as symbolized by the rats making a nest in his cast).
  • Spared by the Adaptation: The original ending to Black Mask had the kids finding out too late that they were seeing the future and getting killed by the falling roof; the TV version had them alive and able to save the handyman (thought to be the villain) who was about to die.
  • To Serve Man: The aliens in "Alien Candy".
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Josh and Matt in "The Perfect Brother".
    • Chris in "Afraid of Clowns."
    • David in "My Imaginary Friend."
  • The Unreveal: A few hints are laid about the identity of the Wicked Witch in Stage Fright. It turns out to be... none of the cast. It's a lady who has never appeared before. The cast are equally surprised.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Lilly in "Lilly D." According to her brother, "[she] used to be cute," until her father's constant showering of gifts made her a Spoiled Brat. The ending, however, implies that she'll get better.
  • Trapped In B-Movie Land: Creature Feature.
  • Trapped in TV Land: Jared's fate at the end of "Uncle Howee." After Jared admits defeat and gives into Uncle Howee's demand to be his friend, Jared is found hours later on TV as a life-sized wooden puppet welcoming his new kiddie fans, including his sister, Cynthia.
  • Trying to Catch Me Fighting Dirty: The Tick Monster in Creature Feature.
  • Valentine's Day Episode: "Terrible Love," which takes a lot of Valentine's Day elements and makes them scary and/or funny in a sick way (cf. the part where Brendon gives Maggie a tarantula that wasn't defanged for Valentine's Day because he wanted to have something cute and fuzzy as a gift, Cupid being a sarcastic middle-aged man who tries to teach Maggie that she should trust herself and not pursue Brendon because he's not interested in her, and the end where Stuart hires Cupid to make Maggie his girlfriend).
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Grandpa Walt Montgomery in Grampires only preys on rats. Justified in that he's a grandfather first and a vampire second, so, despite being a bloodsucker, he's very protective of his grandkids. On top of that, if Grandpa Walt also thirsted for the blood of his grandkids, it would bring about a lot of unfortunate sexual molestation undertones note 
  • Would Harm A Child: Many of the villains, especially those from Really You (Lilly D), The Dead Body (Jake Skinner), Pumpkinhead ( Farmer Palmer), The Girl in the Painting (The mother of the titular girl who is fine with feeding whoever loves their painting enough to go inside their world to a dragon/dinosaur outside their window, as well as the monster itself), Grampires (the elderly vampires, except for Grampa Montgomery), Brush With Madness (Allan Miller, if you believe that he trapped his biggest fan and his friend in his comic and shredded it and not that Allan Miller made them up as therapy for being hounded by fans who only like his work because it's "edgy" and "dark" and not because it has something to say), Checking Out (the cult of child-hating adults who live in the hotel), and "Coat Rack Cowboy" (Mad Dog McCoy challenging Ethan — who doesn't know how to handle a gun — to a shoot-out at high noon).
    • The titular character on "Uncle Howee" is a gray area. On the one hand, he wouldn't hurt Cynthia (who's somewhere between five and seven years old) as he considers her his friend. On the other hand, he has no trouble going after Jared, because of how poorly he treats Cynthia.
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alternative title(s): The Haunting Hour The Series
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