Series: The Haunting Hour aka: The Haunting Hour The Series
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. The latest episodes can be view on the show website.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: As many of the stories are based off short stories, this tends to happen a lot.
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. Inverted in "Creature Feature: Part 1" A policeman investigates the movie theater, gets sucked in the movie- the Teen Tick Monster ate him.
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.
A God Am I: The titular 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 start a revolution against humans.
Apocalypse How: The Scarecrow man brings about a class three in order to the protagonist the world's slow decay.
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), and Lovecraft's Woods (trapped in the forest and forced to make the same trip over and over again).
Arc Villain: Lilly D ("Really You" and "The Return of Lilly D") and Jake Skinner ("The Dead Body" and "The Dead Body, Part 2")
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.
Bad Humor Truck: In Catching Cold, the ice cream truck is run on the souls of those obsessed with ice cream.
Be Careful What You Wish For: "Best Friends Forever," "A Creature Was Stirring" (probably the only 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."
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 encouraged her to follow her shallow dreams. 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."
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.
"The Dead Body" ends with Will ending up dead in the 1961 explosion while Jake Skinner takes his life and his girlfriend.
"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.
"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 demon 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 to be digested soon.
"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 (never mind that another hit 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).
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.
"Long Live Rock and Roll" also has this, only instead of looks, a boy sells his soul for musical talent. Whether or not this is a commentary on how the music industry works in the real world is up for debate.
"Scarecrow": In the original version, the scarecrow salesman turns back to his true form and is burned at his stake by Bobby. Bobby then 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 a lifeless world. The director's cut ending is the ending that now airs in reruns, but X-Finity's On-Demand program carries the version with 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 bin.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: Phillip's visible terror at the titular robot doing "what's good for him" in "My Robot" is strongly reminiscent of a child with an abusive, controlling parent.
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 in that Kell-Raiser learns that his friends are worth more than being the best at a video game. Sadly, he doesn't return to the real world with them, as he won the video game and is forced to be the new game master until another player defeats him, which could take forever, depending on how good the next player is "Bad Feng Shui," "Flight," the original cut of "Spaceman," "Creature Feature," "The Golem," "Grampires," "The Weeping Woman," "Checking Out," "Detention," "Funhouse," and "Coat Rack Cowboy")
Dragged Off to Hell: The fate of Jake Skinner in Dead Bodies. But the end of the episode implies he broke out.
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).
Halloween Episode: Pumpkinhead. For a horror show, it's surprising that there's only one Halloween episode.
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 one 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
"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
"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. Even if the robot is set back to its original program, it ia implied that it's going to be just as overprotective with Tim as it was with Philip.
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.
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).
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.
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. When he discovers 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.
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. Presumably, it arrives to those who are in desperate need of its power.
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.
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 scarier.
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).
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.
Recycled IN SPACE!: The episode Pool Sharknote about a Hawaiian boy who thinks a shark is haunting the school pool, only to learn that it's his estranged father, who is a mythical Hawaiian creature called a Nanaue, a man who turns into a shark when exposed to water 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 which he did in the form of the Ghost of Fear Street book, "Body Switchers from Outer Space").
"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") is heavily implied to be him in the form of a woman.
The rocker from "Long Live Rock and Roll" as well.
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 the upcoming "The Dead Body 2."
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 off 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," "Terrible Love," and "Uncle Howee" are more comedy-horror than straight horror, with "Terrible Love" playing out more like a supernatural, romanticBlack Comedy (if such a genre exists beyond that example), "Best Friends Forever" 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" puts a sinister spin on high-energy live-action kids' show hosts.
"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.
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.
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. Vampirism is already used as a metaphor for sex and rape, after all...
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).