Thursday, September 6, 2012

DVD Review - R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series: Volume One

R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour: The Series: Volume One
Director: Neil Feranley
Starring: Bailee Madison, Neil Fearnley
Studio: Shout! Factory
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Running Time: 140 minutes
Rated: NR 
Bonus: A Look Behind the Screams and Original Promos

Do you remember the Goosebumps books and TV series from the 1990s from horror mastermind R.L. Stine? Well, his new series The Haunting Hour debuted in 2010 on The Hub cable channel based upon his The Haunting Hour book, a collection of short stories.

I've been a die-hard R.L. Stine fan since I was a kid, but I don't get The Hub channel, so I patiently waited for the DVDs to be released! The Haunting Hour follows the typical 22 minutes length per episode, but unlike the Goosebumps series, this series has a bigger budget and better acting. The special effects are much better this time around and the stories are much darker.

In the two-part premiere Really You, Lilly (played by Bailee Madison) is a spoiled girl, always getting what she wants from her parents, especially from her dear old dad. What she wants now is the Really You life-size doll, in which her parents give in and get it for her. Strange things begin happening and Lilly suspects her doll is responsible. Her mother starts acting strange and becomes obsessed with the doll. Lilly realizes that this doll may want to actually become her.

The Creature Was Stirring is set during Christmas and involves a family that is on the blink of destruction. The two older kids are greedy and are upset because they didn't get the right presents. Their parents are ready to divorce. Young Timmy sends a letter to Santa asking for help. Suddenly, a snow storm traps them inside the house and a strange gift is left for Timmy. The gift is a gremlin. The family must band together if they want to survive Christmas!

Will is bulled by two teenagers in The Dead Body, which makes the episode all too real. He meets a new student named Jake, who promises to help him get back at the bullies. One of the bullies drops out school because he is too scared to return. Will finds out that Jake may have actually died in the 1950s and has come back as a ghost.

After her father's recent death, Jillian's mother drags her away from her home and moves her to their new life - running an Inn. As soon as they arrive, Jillian begins having strange dreams and then the necklace that her father had gave her goes missing! The two young staffers at the Inn are acting odd and they may be creatures of the night.

I flew right through these five episodes. I was surprised that the acting wasn't that bad compared to the old Goosebumps television series. The production values were impressive for a kids show. Unlike Goosebumps, the parents of the kids actually have something to do with the plots. The stories are much darker, but not too dark. The DVD, along with Volume 2, is coming out just in time for the Halloween season.

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