This is a review of Volumes One and Two of Season One, each sold separately.
From the mind of R.L. Stine, the creator of Goosebumps, comes this anthology of scary stories as shown on the HUB TV network. Volume One covers the first five episodes of Season One, and Volume Two covers episodes six through ten of Season One.
I don’t know how R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour managed to stay off my TV-watching radar, but I’m glad this DVD release has introduced me to this outstanding suspense series. Each episode features an excellent story and high production values, which resulted in the show garnering seven 2012 Daytime Emmy nominations. It is aimed at pre-teens, but I found the episodes highly entertaining, and at times, creepy and atmospheric. The stories are self-contained, so viewers can come in at any time and enjoy the series.
Volume One (Episodes 1-5) includes the following episodes:
“Really You (Parts 1 and 2).” A haunted doll torments a family.
“The Dead Body.” A bullied kid gets more than he bargained for in his quest for revenge.
“A Creature Was Stirring.” Christmas will never be the same when a monster comes calling.
“Nightmare Inn.” A widow and her daughter consider buying a remote country inn, that harbors a deadly secret.
Volume One gets going with a bang, as the series pilot is a two-part episode about a haunted doll. It’s highly entertaining, and like every good suspense story, the viewer is constantly frustrated by parents who are clueless to what is going on. The other episodes are also quite good, and although the acting quality varies at times, the production quality for all episodes is high.
Volume Two (Episodes 6-10) includes the following episodes:
“The Red Dress.” A red dress carries a curse for the girl that steals it.
“Ghostly Stare.” A trip to a cemetary has disastrous consequences.
“The Walls.” A young boy finds the walls of his new house holds an unwanted presence.
“Game Over.” A video game becomes all too real for two gamers.
“Alien Candy.” A UFO obsessed kid gets a little too close to his hobby.
Episodes six through ten hit some horror staples: ghosts, monsters, zombies, and aliens. All five episodes are excellent, even when some of the acting is not up to par. I also love the fact that some of the tales do not have a happy ending. It isn’t afraid to go dark, which is a big plus.
The Haunting Hour is a scary, entertaining ride that kids and parents will love. Each episode is entertaining and holds up to multiple viewings, and is perfect for family-friendly Halloween parties. I personally can’t wait to see the rest of the episodes. Few TV DVD sets win me over enough to want to see more, but this one did.
VIDEO AND AUDIO
The standard DVD sports a nice video transfer through all episodes. Colors are bright and natural, and includes decent sharpness. The audio is a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix and sounds excellent, with a heavy dose of bass used to heighten the tension and suspense. If you have a good sound system, your chairs will rattle.
Both volumes feature some standard extras. Each volume features “Behind the Screams” featurettes, with short looks behind the scenes at a few episodes. They are fun to watch, but do not provide too much insight. Original promos for each episode are included on both volumes.
THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?
Ratings (1-10 scale)
Overall Grade: 7.5
The Haunting Hour is a fantastic show for young teens and even adults, providing some fun thrills without the blood and gore. You get a very good video and audio presentation, and the extras, though scarce, are decent. With a retail price of $14.97, one could easily find it a lower price, and it is well worth it. We highly recommend a “BUY” for this entertaining series.
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Running Time: 140 minutes (per volume); five episodes each
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 (anamorphic)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 surround
Special Features: “Behind the Screams” featurettes, Original Promos (per volume)