R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: Volume 5 (DVD)

“Five More Bone-Chilling Tales!”

The Haunting Hour: Volume 5 offers two Season 1 and three Season 2 episodes of the series.

“Scary Mary, Parts 1 and 2”
A group of teens call upon the spirit of a girl who was burned alive and is now trapped in a mirror world. But they don’t know what they’re getting into.

“Swarmin’ Norman”
Norman (Bobby Coleman, Snowmen) has been bullied for long enough. He uses his unusual connection to bugs to stop his tormentor. But the story doesn’t end there.

“Flight”
A young tween (Dakota Goyo, Rise of the Guardians) travels alone on a plane. But when he strikes up a conversation with the man next to him he sets something unexpected into motion.

“Pumpkinhead”
Ever since a group of kids went missing, Halloween has been dullsville. But Scott (Liam James, The Killing) wants to change that so he convinces big sister Allie (Kacey Rohl, Hannibal) and little brother Dave (Frankie Jonas, Jonas) to go to a nearby pumpkin farm. Problem is they’re trespassing and the owner has a special punishment in store.

The Haunting Hour: Volume 5 is hit and miss in terms of the offerings. “Swarmin’ Norman” will strike the strongest note with kids, especially those who are bullied and wish for a way to turn the tables. “Scary Mary” is a rip-off of “Bloody Mary” but could be a good introduction to the urban myth. “Flight” may well convince kids never to travel alone while “Pumpkinhead” is the definite wildcard of the bunch. I didn’t see it as being that scary for the younger set but I could be completely wrong. The best part of the set is the willingness to show kids getting unhappy endings. Paired with situations they can imagine themselves in, it means this will be where the scares come from.

The video transfer is a standard 1.78:1 aspect ratio and the issues it has are deliberate editing choices designed to enhance the stories. The black levels are the biggest culprit with some scenes bordering on a complete loss of visuals. However that’s a purposeful move to disguise the method of the scares as well as to enhance the atmosphere of the pieces. The audio track suffers a bit with only a Dolby 2.0 which is not sufficient for a truly broad soundscape full of stingers and strikes. However the target audience will not notice.

There are no special features this time around.

While I do enjoy The Haunting Hour: Volume 5, I’m not sure I recommend it. The stories were hit or miss and the lack of special features doesn’t help any. If you have a budding horror fan who’s between 7 and 11 this may be right for them, any older and they’re likely too jaded already.

THE VERDICT

Guilty of not being strong enough in all aspects.

85
Here are the top ten things we know: 1) She lives in Ohio 2) She is MWOC unless you count her two dogs 3) Believes Avatar was NOT the greatest movie ever made 4) Operates on a primarily nocturnal basis 5) Wants to write the screenplay for the movie adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle 6) Watches a variety of shows on television including, but not limited to: Castle, @midnight, Face Off, Sherlock and Whose Line is it Anyway? 7) Does not believe anyone will actually read this besides the editor (hello, Editor!) 8) Has attended more than one N*SYNC concert in her lifetime but only one NKOTB concert 9) Was in a car crash that would have killed her had she not been wearing her seat belt 10) Is in the process of catching up on Supernatural (incidentally would possibly leave her husband for either of the Winchester Brothers depending on the episode in question) and the bonus! 11) Enjoys reading, writing, laying on the beach (long walks tire her out) and assorted snack foods like frozen M&M's.
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