Reviews: The Haunting Hour

Nostalgic, despite being fairly new

I've been a fan of the Goosebumps series my whole life. Coming back to is as an adult, it's rather apparent now that many of the plots were downright stupid, the villains were hard to take seriously, and the protagonist had a tendency to be an insufferable weenie... but I find it hard to care. These books got me into reading, filled my head with tales of suspense and adventure, and while I enjoy making fun of them, I'd kill for the chance to see something like them updated for today's audience.

The Haunting Hour is, essentially, just that.

Oh, the premises are weird! The villains are often somewhat goofy, and at times the setups are more bizarro than horror... but the characters are more developed, the villains are more menacing and the plots actually go somewhere. We have a wide variety of stories here, all of which seem to be trying to cover various types of story the original books covered. Some of them are suspenseful ghost stories, while others are classic tales of disproportionate retribution upon people who cross the supernatural. Still others are full blown surreal tales of monsters and mayhem, with two or three different concepts introduced at once.

People die, but there's rarely and blood. It's a kids show, so they settle for atmosphere and suspense - all for the better. The protagonists come in a variety of types, some younger, some older, some the target of bullies, some fairly popular, some neurotic, some well-adjusted. While I miss the classic platonic girl/boy friendships we got in every single book, they traded up in the end.

Perhaps these stories aren't quite as magical as the Goosebumps books were in my youth, but they're a welcome return to the spirit of the series.