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Series: The Haunting Hour
aka: The Haunting Hour The Series
R. L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series is a horror series airing on The Hub (now called Discovery Family). 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 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 twisted 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 kids' show host who teaches his biggest fan's older brother a lesson in caring for his charge by escaping the television note .

The show was renewed for a fifth (or fourth, if you think the previous season is just "Season Three, Part Two") season that started on October 4, 2014, starting with a double feature of two new episodes: the adaptation of the Haunting Hour anthology story "I'm Not Martin" and an original episode called "Grandpa's Glasses." On December 6, 2014, R.L. Stine confirmed that Discovery Family removed the show from their schedule, making the last season the shortest one with only ten episodes. The last episode aired was the Christmas Episode "Goodwill Toward Men."

Clips of the latest episodes can be viewed on the show website. Also has a Recap page and 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.
    • "Mrs. Worthington" has Nate's mother, who sides with Molly whenever Nate tries to tell her that Molly's being a bully. Mrs. Worthington even tells Nate that his mom is worse than Molly, as she allows the bullying to happen and needs to be taught a lesson. Sadly, this doesn't happen, but given that the episode ended with Mrs. Worthington's disembodied hand sketching herself so she can be alive again, it's implied that both Nate's mom will get her comeuppance.
    • Sam's parents in "Argh V," who act like irresponsible teens, while Sam herself is the sane and mature one. Sam immediately figures out that something is wrong with the RV they buy, and repeatedly attempts to warn them that something is suspicious, but they are too busy planning a "life of adventure" to listen or care. What makes it even worse is that this ends up killing the family and dooming them to an eternity on the highway.
    • Notably averted in "Lotsa Luck," as Greg's mother and her side of the family have dealt with Seamus the leprechaun in the past and Greg's mother is afraid that Seamus will come for Greg because he caught him and already made two wishes with him (Seamus still gets Greg anyway, because Greg's mother's grandfather wished that his next male descendant would be targeted by Seamus instead of him).
    • Missy's parents in "Goodwill Toward Men". They make fun of their daughter (Missy) for showing kindness to the gardeners they hired, tell her that the hired help have no business mingling with the upper crust because it disrupts the "natural balance of things," they favor their son Henry over her (because Henry is just as selfish as his mom and dad), and, even when they're poor, cold, and starving, all they care about is contacting their former connections (lawyers, credit card companies, etc) so they can get their old lives back.
  • 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 , "Uncle Howee"note , and "My Old House"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.
  • 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 Just a Dream: "Sick" (though this was subverted when Alex sees the morning news show hosts telling him that he wasn't dreaming at all and he's about to die). Same thing with "I'm Not Martin," only the one thing that turned out to be true was Martin's roommate targeting him for his foot to replace the one that got removed.
  • All Part of the Show: Everything that went wrong during Hansel and Gretel: The Musical on Stage Fright
  • Alpha Bitch: Steffani in "Wrong Number", with the emphasis on "bitch." Even an old woman isn't spared her bad attitude.
    • Katie the homecoming queen in "Detention," though when Audrey, Halftime, and she discover that they're dead and their actions led to their early demise, she realizes how awful her behavior is and willingly goes to Hell to spare the lives of Audrey and Halftime.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: It's implied in "Golem" that Jeremy's family is of Russian-Jewish heritage (or are into the mystical 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)note , The Dead Body (turned into a ghost)note , 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), 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), My Old House (Alice is sucked into the house that comes to life and doesn't want her to leave and a girl who moves into her room finds her face embedded in the wall), Argh V (Sam and her parents didn't survive the truck crash that killed the previous owners of the RV and are doomed to aimlessly travel the roads forevernote ), and Spores (Melvin and his entire family are infected by the spore cloud and are turned into mindless zombies with mushrooms and other types of fungus growing out of their skin).
  • Arc Villain: Lilly D ("Really You" and "The Return of Lilly D"), Jake Skinner ("The Dead Body" and "Dead Bodies"), and Old Man Palmer and his pumpkinheads ("Pumpkinheads" and "The Return of the Pumpkinheads"), though for the last one, just the pumpkinheads appear, as Old Man Palmer was said to have died, but his monstrous creations live on in the pumpkin patch.
  • 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.
  • Badass Grandpa: Grandpa Montgomery in Grampires.
  • Bad Humor Truck: In Catching Cold, the ice cream truck that Marty tries to catch is run on the souls of those obsessed with ice cream and was behind the disappearance of a child who, like Marty, was obsessed with ice cream and tracking down the Kreamy Kold truck so he can get his fill.
  • Balancing Death's Books: Or "Balancing a Leprechaun's Books." In "Lotsa Luck," Greg's mother explains that whenever a mortal earns three wishes from a leprechaun, the cost of the final wish is always the soul of the wisher. Her great-great-grandfather Daniel is the only person who's ever escaped this fate, and ever since, Seamus (and, it is implied, the entire leprechaun race) has been attempting to gain a soul from his descendants to make up for his loss.
  • 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," "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), and "Mrs. Worthington." (another episode with a more-or-less happy ending as, while Nate and his sister begin to be more civil towards each other, they don't notice that Mrs. Worthington's hand is still in the attic and has drawn herself so she can come back to life).
    • "Lotsa Luck" is a variation: it's revealed from the very start that leprechaun wishes come at a hefty price (health, wealth, and soul, just like the spell on "My Sister, The Witch"), and that dealing with them inevitably goes badly.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Natalie in The Return of Lily D. She takes care of injured animals and fixes up the titular doll when she finds some boys dragging it around with their bikes. When Lily D. tries to drown the injured bird she found and pushes her wheelchair-bound grandfather down the stairs, she decides to kill her.
  • 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...
    • Molly from "Mrs. Worthington" is another Big Sister Bully, tormenting her little brother and deliberately getting him into trouble for no particular reason—that is, until the titular babysitter shows up...
  • 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, or she would have deleted that headshot long ago," 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. What's worse is that Phillip doesn't get any comeuppance for it.
  • Book Of Shadows: Used in Walls and Lotsa Luck.
  • 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.
    • Also Played for Drama in "Goodwill Toward Men," where Missy and her family are cursed to become poor and homeless thanks to the angel statue Missy received, even though, unlike her parents and older brother, Missy actually cares about the less fortunate (even when she herself is in the same boat as the homeless people) and ends up in a new reality where the gardener, his wife, and his son are the rich family (and have Missy as their daughter/sister) while Missy's family (the selfish, money-grubbing ones) are the hired help with no memory of ever having a daughter/sister.
  • 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 (even though most of what Ethan said were lies, though there could be some truth to it, given the fact that Mad Dog never cared about the lives he affected with his outlaw ways until Ethan said so. He most likely was stalling, but when he saw that Mad Dog McCoy was beginning to lose his nerve, he ran with it).
  • 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 "Nightmare Inn" was given to her by her father specifically to ward off other werewolves.
  • Christmas Episode: "A Creature Was Stirring" and "Goodwill Toward Men," making for a nice bookend for the series, as it started with a Christmas episode and ended with a Christmas episode ("Really You" was a pilot/series sneak peek, and doesn't count as an official episode).
  • Cold Open: Starting with seasons three and four, the episodes have a short scene before the opening sequence. The earlier episodes (seasons one and two) didn't have it, making for a case of Early Installment Weirdness if you're used to seeing the third and fourth season episodes and have never seen seasons one and two.
  • 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, though the ending isn't all that cruel when you realize that Jamie didn't pay for the dress and kept stalling in trying to give it back to the owner of The Raven's Chest.
    • "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 Jack getting clubbed in the head by Cheeky the zombie and taken back to his underground lair, where Cheeky begs his mom to let him keep his new human pet.
    • "Afraid of Clowns" ends with the main character being told by his parents that he's a 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 man in a cheesy monster 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).
    • "Argh V": Sam and her parents die when their RV hits an oncoming truck — though it looked as if the truck passed them— and they, along with the Applebaums—the previous owners of their RV—are reduced to slow-speaking, deathly zombies, doomed to drive the highways forever.
    • "Lotsa Luck": Greg uses his third wish to wish he had never met Seamus the leprechaun, thinking that this was the wish his great-grandfather Daniel made to save his soul. Seamus comes for Greg anyway and reveals that wishing for everything to turn back to normal wasn't the wish that defeated him; rather, Daniel wished to keep his own soul in exchange for that of his next-born male descendant.
  • 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 (even though it takes place in the present), 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, are weak to iron, and do human sacrifices.
    • "Lotsa Luck," like "Intruders," is a more contemporary take on the dark fantasy, but still features a fantastic creature (a leprechaun) and the repercussions of meeting one.
  • Daylight Horror: Many intense scenes are set in broad daylight, a notable example being both endings of Scarecrow.
  • 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 homecoming voting scandal and the parade accident that killed all three of them never happened.
    • Sam and her family (along with the previous owners of the RV) at the end of "Argh V," although the time between the accident that Sam's family apparently avoided and The Reveal that they are actually dead after they pick up the family that turns out to be the previous owners of the RV (who also died when a truck ran them off the road) is very brief.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The title character in "Mrs. Worthington" (Her line "What a lovely greeting," spoken to the rude Molly, is an Establishing Character Moment).
    • Sam in "Argh V," especially since she has to deal with her parents who act more like children than she does.
    • Some of the fantastical creatures can be sarcastic (which is justified as they've dealt with foolish and selfish humans), such as Cupid in "Terrible Love," Uncle Howee and Loomis the rabbit on "Uncle Howee," and Seamus the leprechaun in "Lotsa Luck."
  • 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 warp their personalities 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 syndication), 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. His guilt-tripping to force her to do it—"Don't you love me?"—also sounds a lot like someone in an abusive relationship trying to convince their partner to stay.
    • Marty's behavior in "Catching Cold" is disturbingly similar to that of a drug addict: In one scene, he's shown repeating "Kreamy Kold" to himself like a Madness Mantra and a few scenes later, he casually sells off a bike that his dad got him for twenty bucks so he can buy ice cream. Exactly one scene later, he blatantly lies to his parents about where he's going so he can sneak out to buy ice cream. Cut to him repeating "Come on, come on, come on" as he waits for the truck to show.
    • Similarly, Chad's actions in "Funhouse" after he gets his taste of violence and revenge have drug parallels. He's shown rocking back and forth and shaking as he sits alone in the hallway, and eventually sneaks out to get his fix. He even tells the carnie "I need more!"
    • Alice's obsessive devotion to the titular building in "My Old House" seems rather like someone idealizing a romantic partner (who turns out to be abusive) and deciding to stay with them, despite protests from loved ones who realize that what looks like love is actually obsession.
  • 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," "Toy Train," "Grandpa's Glasses," and "Goodwill Toward Men")
  • 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."
  • Equivalent Exchange: This is how leprechaun magic works in "Lotsa Luck." Any wish that is granted comes at a price. For instance, protagonist Greg wishes to be lucky; Seamus, the leprechaun who he catches, gives him incredible luck, but gives Greg's father horrible luck as a trade (Greg's father gets fired from his job and breaks his hand while fixing his car).
  • 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 the carnie himself evilnote . 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 outright declares that he's trying to fix him (which seems to be why he is repairing the toys outside the attraction).
  • 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).
    • Uncle Howee (from the episode of the same name) seems to be a mix of Captain Kangaroo and Pee-Wee Herman if he dressed as an old-timey carnival barker.
  • 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 Fair Folk: Seamus the leprechaun in "Lotsa Luck."
    • Lyria and the forest fairies in "Intruders."
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: In-universe for "Uncle Howee". When Jared turns the TV off after telling Cynthia that The Uncle Howee Show is a sucky kids' show, Cynthia turns it on again, and Uncle Howee and Loomis the rabbit start talking directly to Cynthia, telling her how much they miss her and how they love her more than Jared. 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 (or at least Norman).
  • 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 game or a trading card game, like in most examples.
  • 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", "Dead Bodies", and "Return of the Pumpkinheads")
  • Genre Blind: Jamie from "The Red Dress" really would have benefited from checking out a couple of horror movies before she decided to steal the eponymous dress: If a mysterious shop you've never seen before suddenly appears in town and is run by a creepy proprietor, then you can be damn sure that you are going to pay for anything you take, one way or another.
    • Greg thinking that the "I wish everything turned back to normal" wish would work on a leprechaun, who (a) has probably heard that wish 1000 times before, (b) knew that that wasn't the wish his great-great grandfather used to defeat him, and (c) is said to be a Manipulative Bastard.
  • 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 himselfnote 
  • Good Is Not Nice: The angel in "Goodwill Toward Men" has more in common with Old Testament depictions of angels than the cheery ones seen on greeting cards. She marks the bedroom doors of the wealthy, obnoxious Mr. and Mrs. Jordan and their son Henry with large swaths of fire, then puts the whole Jordan family (including Missy, who was the only one who showed any semblance of goodness) through hell by trapping them in a reality where they are homeless and poor.
    • The end of the episode is something of a subversion, though. After Missy pleads with the angel to make things right, the being creates a reality where Missy is a member of the Donaldson family—the gardeners in the old time stream. They are wealthy, kind, and generous, while the Jordans are their hired help, but much nicer and humbler than they were in their previous existence. The angel even lampshades this when she points out that some viewers probably wanted to see the Jordans suffer even more, but "even the rich deserve Christmas cheer too."
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The cursed forest creates this in "Lovecraft's Woods".
  • Halloween Episode: Pumpkinhead and the sequel episode "Return of the Pumpkinheads"note . For a horror TV show based on R.L. Stine's books (and given that Goosebumps and The Nightmare Room had more), it's surprising that there are only two Halloween episodes in this series.
  • Heel Realization: Molly goes through this when she discovers Nate's drawings of her suffering various tortures. She later asks him outright "Am I really that mean to you?" Happily, the end of the episode shows her beginning a Heel-Face Turn.
    • Same thing with Katie in "Detention," leading her to nearly go off in the hearse to Hell after Audrey and Halftime realize that they're dead and their underhanded actions led to their demise and the homecoming weekend being canceled.
  • 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 brainwash adults who come in with children into hating their children so they can sacrifice them to The Benefactor (a painting with a white void in the back of it).
  • 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, since they heard he killed him without shooting him.
    • "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.
    • "Mrs. Worthington": Nate is able to defeat his creation by ripping her picture to shreds, but doesn't realize that he didn't destroy her hand, which is now sketching herself back to life in the attic, meaning that Mrs. Worthington will be alive and able to wreak havoc on everyone in the family again.
  • 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).
    • Cassandra and Sir Maestro also comment on how people can be more evil than they are in their respective episodes. Cassandra in "Headshot" says that the girls who get their pictures taken with her and don't delete their headshots are "who [they] truly are on the inside" while Sir Maestro blames the mainstream music industry for making him a Jaded Washout and has been around for a long time, collecting the souls of anyone who wants power (not just musicians and creative people).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: The ghosts in Ghostly Stare are all so cold.
  • 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, if he's a ghost, or if the TV has a curse on it, but all of that is moot, as he uses his powers for good.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted in many episodes, including:
    • "The Dead Body": Will is tricked into dying in the boiler room explosion that claimed Jake's life.
    • "Wrong Number" (Steffani gets sucked into a cell phone video, sent to the Goth girl she bullied and deleted forever)
    • "Swarmin' Norman" (Norman's insect pals attack him after they find that they're being used for evil)
    • "Pumpkinhead" (the kids who trespassed on Old Man Palmer's farm get murdered and turned into zombies). Similarly, the Sequel Episode implies that Katie and her brother will die at the hands of her newly-transformed parents and the other pumpkinheads that just rose from the garden
    • "Sick" (Alex discovers too late that his "fever dream" of the government putting him in quarantine and preparing to blow up the house to control the infection is real)
    • "Mascot" (Willie is digested after finding out that Big Yellow is a monster that only looks like a man in a cheesy mascot costume)
    • "Ghostly Stare" (Lauren loses a staring contest against her brother and complains of feeling cold, meaning she fell into the open grave and is now dead)
    • "The Girl in the Painting" (Becky is eaten by a dragon while living her new life in the painting she found)
    • "Dreamcatcher": Meg gets trapped in the Dreamcatcher's spider web, and Lisa and Amelia are able to get out because they set their clock alarm. Meg, on the other hand, was asleep outside the cabin and couldn't hear the alarm, leaving her to be devoured by the Dreamcatcher and die in her sleep.
    • "Near Mint Condition": It's stated that Mangler (the robotic teddy bear) was recalled after a string of child deaths and mutilations at the hands of the bear.
    • "Argh V": Sam discovers that the family her parents picked up during their RV trip were the same ones who died in the crash that she read about online, and now she and her parents met the same fate as them.
      • It should be noted, however, that for every time they do show kids dying on this show, there are a few times where this is subverted and the kids are saved. Cases in point: "Detention" (Audrey, Katie, and Halftime do discover that they're dead, but when Katie and Audrey atone for the events that led to their death, they get their lives back and the voting scandal and parade accident are erased), "The Black Mask" (the three kids discover that the mask that showed the colonial kids dying in the past was actually a prediction of their own deaths and they stop it before it can happen), "A Creature Was Stirring" (Timmy and his family escape the house before the Krampus can blow it up), and "The Weeping Woman" (Chi saves his friend and his friend's sister from being lured into the lake and drowned by La Llorona).
  • 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).
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: In The Return of Lily D., Natalie starts referring to Lily D. as "it" when she starts suspecting the latter of being alive and evil.
  • Jackass Genie: Seamus the leprechaun in "Lotsa Luck." The episode even references the trope, with Greg's mother pointing out that The Fair Folk are tricksters.
  • 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.
    • Missy's parents and brother in "Goodwill Toward Men," only they're more jerkass than victim. With Missy herself, it's the other way around (more victim than jerkass).
    • "Spores" has a similar breakdown of victims. Melvin and his mother are nice people who end up in a horrible situation, while Jack, Jack Jr., and Jacqueline are more a "Well Done, Son!" Guy and Big Brother/Sister Bully combo, respectively (although the latter are somewhat redeemed by their desire to save their parents rather than abandon them).
  • 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.
    • Played straight with "The Raven's Chest" in "The Red Dress" and Sir Maestro's music shop in "Long Live Rock and Roll."
  • Living Toy: Really You, The Return of Lilly D, Toy Train, Worry Dolls, My Robot (if you want to include electronics as toys), and Near Mint Condition (which has a blue, cyborg teddy bear named Mangler who was recalled for hurting and killing children).
  • 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.
    • "Terrible Love" explains that attraction is chemical and the potion in Cupid's love arrows are a balanced mixture of serotonin, adrenaline, and dopamine (common human hormones associated with strong emotions), which is why one hit is enough. Any more, and the target will go insane from love.
  • 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.
    • Nate, in "Mrs. Worthington," who realizes that his imaginary punishments for her sister and desire to have the titular babysitter enact them are too extreme.
  • My Car Hates Me: In "Return Of The Pumpkin Heads", Karen and Zach try to escape using a car, but it fails to start. And, to make matters worse, their parents (now transformed into Pumpkinheads) are sitting in the backseat...
  • My Little Panzer: Mangler the robot teddy bear from "Near Mint Condition." In the 1980s, the Mangler bear was part of a toy line from a Merchandise-Driven action cartoon, but parents complained that the toy was causing accidents and deaths and public pressure led to the toy being recalled. There are seven left in the world and are considered high-priced collector's items.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted in "Stage Fright." Sam tells the witch not to kill them.
    • Also averted in "Terrible Love" when Maggie tells Cupid that Brendon (who has been driven mad with a hyperdose of the hormones associated with feeling love) is going to kill her after her botched attempt at breaking up with him. She probably didn't mean it literally, but considering his Yandere behavior, it's safe to say that she did mean it literally.
    • The show wasn't afraid of showing or mentioning kids dying. To name a few examples, "The Black Mask" had the visions of the three main characters dying allegedly at the hands of the handyman trying to fix the basement, the twist in "Detention" revealed that Audrey killed Katie the homecoming queen and Halftime the star football player by throwing a smoke bomb under a parade float, but also killed herself because the float was out of control and she was in its path when it swerved off the roadnote , Alex in "Sick" was obliterated in a house explosion to get rid of the creature that made him sick, and Will was killed by Jake in "The Dead Body."
    • Season four is even more explicit with this trope: "Near Mint Condition" notes that several children have been killed by Mangler the Robo-Bear (including the original owner of one of the few remaining Mangler bears left in the world after the recall, as mentioned by the owner's mentally disturbed mother, who was obviously affected by his death and the fact that he was a toy-collecting geek who wasted his life), while "Argh V" goes a step further by actually showing the Applebaum children — who look about eight and six at the oldest — as zombies.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The slimy creature in the episode Sick is hardly seen in-view, which makes it seem scarier.
    • The same goes for the monster in The Girl in the Painting.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: For starters, Big Yellow from Mascot. He only looks like someone dressed 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) in "Red Eye," the Krampus (from Bavarian German, Austrian, and Eastern European folklore) from "A Creature Was Stirring," the Nanaue (from Hawaiian and Polynesian folklore) in "Pool Shark," La Llorona (from Hispanic folklore, particularly Mexican) in "The Weeping Woman," the Golem (from Jewish folklore) in "The Golem," and a leprechaun (from Celtic/Irish folklore) in "Lotsa Luck."
  • 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.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Scary Mary got Hoist By Her Own Petard because of this: Her plan to trick Eric into taking her out of her world by making him think she was Hanna would have worked if she hadn't demanded that Eric tell her how beautiful and perfect she was.
  • 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.
  • The Power of Love: Works in both directions in "Bad Feng Shui." After Jessica's mother is kidnapped by an evil Chinese demon, she is able to use her love for her daughter to temporarily connect with her and give her a clue about warding off the beast with music. Similarly, it is Jessica's realization that her mother loves her (despite being harsh and urging Jessica to embrace her Chinese heritage) and subsequent playing of her violin—something her mother loves—that allows her to rescue her. In a bit of Genius Bonus, the piece Jessica plays to do this is Bach's "Lover's Concerto."
  • 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 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 ).
    • "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, a Fear Street story about unrequited love driving someone into insanity, and add a sarcastic, middle-aged man as Cupid).
    • The season four episode "Mrs. Worthington" is pretty much a Darker and Edgier take on the season three episode "Uncle Howee," only Cynthia doesn't realize (or care) that Uncle Howee's powers can harm Jared (in fact, the episode makes it clear that Cynthia cares more about Uncle Howee than her own brother), while in "Mrs. Worthington," Nate does realize that Mrs. Worthington's black magic and sadistic punishments (which he actually drew himself) may be going too far, especially when Mrs. Worthington decides to go after Nate's mom for not disciplining Molly.
    • "Spores" is best described as Invasion of the Body Snatchers meets a "Dont Go Into The Woods"-style horror flick.
  • 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.
    • The trope is also played with in the two episodes. "Long Live Rock 'n Roll"'s protagonist, Holden, is outright told this by Maestro ("I've had many names over the span of many years, but, lately, I go by, 'Sir Maestro'"), and later confirms it when he tells Holden that he's been collecting the souls of anyone who wanted power, not just musicians or even creative people. In "Headshot," it's Lexi, not Gracie, who discovers that Cassandra is the Devil (only, it's implied, as Cassandra answers Lexi's question of "What are you?" with "Haven't you already guessed?" before her face transforms into a screeching demon and Cassandra tells Lexi that, while she does steal souls and offer encouragement to be evil, she doesn't warp them to be evil, as the girls who don't get rid of their headshots have already proven their true nature). Unfortunately, that means that only Gracie can reverse the effects of her deal with her—when Lexi tries to save her friend, it's already too late as Gracie needed to make the choice herself.
  • 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" ("Really You"), "Dead Bodies" ("The Dead Body"), and "Return of the Pumpkinheads" ("Pumpkinheads").
  • Serious Business: To most of the elderly vampires in Grampires, bingo.
    • Sir Maestro takes contract deals very seriously. Justified in that he's actually Satan, or some kind of soul-stealing demon. In this particular form, he was once a talented rock guitarist who signed on (or, as he put it, "sold out") to a record company, and became a bitter, overly-competitive Jaded Washout after seeing (and falling victim to) the manipulative nature of the mainstream music industry. He takes revenge against those who pursue fame in that industry by tricking them into signing contracts (in blood) before buying any of his instruments (which are ridiculously overpriced, but he always accepts whatever the customer has in cash along with signing his contracts), even though he tells Holden that he also collects the souls of anyone who wants power (not just musicians or even people in the creative/entertainment industry, though that's where most of his targets come from).
  • 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.
  • Show Within a Show: The Uncle Howee Show on the episode "Uncle Howee."
    • "Near Mint Condition" also mentions a 1980s cartoon called Robo-Bears that introduced the Mangler character in the show's second season, but the only evidence viewers see of the show is the toy commercial for Mangler.
  • 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.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: The cause of Greg's unfortunate fate at the end of "Lotsa Luck." Specifically, his great-great-grandfather wished that, in exchange for getting to keep his soul, Seamus the leprechaun would take the soul of his next male descendant.
  • Slain In Their Sleep: "Dreamcatcher"; the Dreamcatcher can only get you while you sleep.
  • 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 and is more like a Dark Fantasy than a horror story.
    • "Le Poof de Fromage," "Best Friends Forever," "Bad Egg," "Terrible Love," "Uncle Howee," and "Near Mint Condition" are more comedy-horror than straight horrornote 
    • "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). It's been described as an homage to The Telltale Heart (only instead of a beating heart under the floorboards, it's rats making a nest in a boy's arm cast).
    • "Goodwill Toward Men": While there is a supernatural character (the Christmas angel statue), it's more of a morality tale (akin to what The Twilight Zone puts out) and the scares are more based in reality than fiction (Missy and her family are poor, their gardener and his family are as rich and selfish as Missy's family used to be, and Missy's family is forced to live on the streets).
  • Space Whale Aesop: "The Wrong Number" has one: Don't be mean to people...otherwise the ghost of one of your victims might trap you in an internet video and send it to your other victim, who will delete it and you.
  • 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.
  • 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 members are equally surprised.
  • Title Drop: "Near Mint Condition" ends with Ted putting up the Mangler up for auction, with the last shot being him labeling it as such (due to having decapitated it with his katana and duct-taped the head back on prior).
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Twin Telepathy: Jack Jr. and Jacqueline claim to possess this in "Spores." At first, it seems like they're just pretending to tease their brother Melvin—but in the end of the episode, Jacqueline is hit by the mutating spores of the title, and their link is somehow able to begin the process with Jack Jr. as well.
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • Wishplosion: Greg uses the classic "I wish I had never met you" to undo the effect of Seamus the leprechaun's magic in "Lotsa Luck." Unfortunately, while this does save his parents and undo the magic of the episode, it's not enough to save him, as his soul was forfeited by his great-grandfather's selfish final wish decades ago.
  • Would Harm A Child: Many of the villains, especially those from Really You (Lilly D), The Dead Body (Jake Skinner), Pumpkinhead ( Farmer Palmer)note , 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 the stories are deeper than that), Checking Out (the cult of child-hating adults who live in the hotel), Coat Rack Cowboy (Mad Dog McCoy challenging Ethan — who doesn't know how to handle a gun — to a shoot-out at high noon), and Mrs. Worthington (the title character).
    • 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 because of how much she loves The Uncle Howee Show. On the other hand, he has no trouble going after Jared, because of how poorly he treats Cynthia.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: As an Entertainment Weekly review pointed out, it takes Melvin and his family at least three days to reach the top of Lookout Point in "Spores." Yet in the ending, Melvin (who's stated in the episode to be the slowest member of the family) somehow manages to make it back to the beginning of the trail in what seems like less than an hour.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: Nate's drawing of Mrs. Worthington comes to life after he wishes she were real so Molly (his bullying older sister) would be put in her place.
    • An argument can be made that that's how Uncle Howee and his friends came to life in the episode "Uncle Howee," since Cynthia truly believes that Uncle Howee is her friend, it seems very odd that The Uncle Howee Show would come on any time Cynthia wants it to, and there's no other concrete reason why any of what transpired on the episode would happen without some kind of supernatural activity involved (including, but not limited to, a cursed TV, a case of Lightning Can Do Anythingnote , Uncle Howee being the ghost of a children's TV show host who didn't want his show to die just because he did, or Uncle Howee and his show being a portal into another reality).
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Greg the BunnyCreator/Shout! FactoryHeathcliff and the Catillac Cats
Half Moon InvestigationsCreator/ABC 3 Horrible Histories
A HauntingAmerican SeriesHaven
Hallmark Hall of FameGenre AnthologyHora Marcada

alternative title(s): The Haunting Hour The Series
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