Top 5 THE HAUNTING HOUR Episodes You Can Watch Right Now
The Haunting Hour
So… In case you haven’t looked out your window lately there’s kind of… a lot going on right now. The best thing to do now is to wash your hands for 20 seconds, hunker down and stay home. Only leave for absolute essentials, practice social distancing and stay out for as little time as possible.
With all of that said, you are going to need something to do to stave off the boredom, particularly to your kids, and not all of us have Netflix, but luckily there’s a good way to waste a few hours without having to pay a penny: R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour
The Haunting Hour was a TV Show that ran from 2010 to 2014 and it’s a sort of spiritual successor to shows like “Goosebumps” (also created by Stine) or “Are you Afraid of the Dark?” in that it’s a horror anthology show meant for kids. However, those shows had a tendency to be very campy and shy away from some of the darker endings for the stories… Not so with The Haunting Hour. Yeah, the warning at the beginning of the episodes says that it’s 7 and up, but I say wait until they’re like 10 or something because this show is dark and, depending on how your kid is, quite scary.
A lot of them are morality tales, trying to teach a lesson, and some of them exist seemingly just to torment people who didn’t really do anything wrong. There are very real consequences for people’s actions and very freaky and creative stories to be seen. Best part? The entire show is available on YouTube! So, in case you’re curious and looking for something to do, here are (in no particular order) five episodes of The Haunting Hour you can watch, either alone, or maybe with your kids
1. Really You (Parts 1 & 2)
This is the very first story of the show, a two parter, and it’s one of the more well known bits of the show. A bratty little girl called Lilly gets a life sized doll (apropriately named Lilly D) that looks just like her and soon accidents start happening around the house, with all the blame for them falling on Lilly, who mantains she didn’t do it.
You can probably guess where this is going, but this story still serves as a good template of the show going forward. It gives you an idea of the lower production values for the settings, the careful attention to the supernatural effects and the all-around feel for the show. Specifically, some of the freaky and scary imagery this show conjures up. Let’s just say that some of the stuff that happens between Lilly and her doll is very “How in the name of God did THAT get the ok for kids TV?”
2. The Dead Body
Will gets bullied by a couple of guys at school, so he enlists the help of the “New Kid”, Jake, to prank his bullies back.
I haven’t seen every Haunting Hour episode, but this might just be one of the most unfairly cruel to its main character. I guess the lesson is that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind… But it’s like the most aggressive way to do that.
This episode also deserves props for the chemistry between all the actors. Will has this romance going on with this girl and the way they play it is actually very sweet. Considering how awkward some kid romances I’ve seen come across, this was actually done pretty well.
3. The Red Dress
A girl named Jamie steals a red dress from a second hand shop because she’s too poor to pay for it, to try to impress a guy from the rich clique.
This is a very simple morality tale, but what I like about it is that it’s very clean and very efficient. You understand the motivations of the characters, you understand the moral and you understand the punishment.
This is also a good showcase of the show’s “Go Hard or Go Home” mentality because, like in most stories of this show, the Punishment WAY outweighs the crime.
A kid is sick in bed and suspects something may be lurking around his house.
This episode is basically a YouTube horror short dropped into the middle of this show. The directing is really fun, finding creative ways to shoot the house, and the lighting really adds a lot of atmosphere. I’ve always had a thing for stories set entirely inside a house and this one really plays with the kind of fantasies most of us had when we were kids and had insane fever dreams.
4 kids get stuck in detention together and weird things start happening.
I realise that’s the vaguest possible description of the plot, but I really advise you to go into this one knowing as little as you can. It might be The Haunting Hour’s most mature episode and it touches on some themes I really wasn’t expecting.
Plus, it is very well directed, getting some creative coverage of the school and building a really good surreal atmosphere (although I wish it had pressed on that angle even more, maybe with some colorful, aggressive lighting).
The Haunting Hour has many more episodes, all of them available on YouTube, and I hope this list encourages to check out a few more of them. It’s a charming and creative slice of soft horror and if your kids are into that, it’s just about perfect.