R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: The Series, Volume 2 (DVD)

Is the Haunting Hour affected by daylight savings?

“You can’t blame a ghoul for trying.”—Actual dialogue from this show.

Inspired by the writings of prolific kidlit author R.L. Stine, The Haunting Hour offers horror-lite for younger viewers. This Volume Two disc contains another five episodes from the first season.

• “The Red Dress”
A not well-to-do girl wishes to party with the rich kids. A mysterious red dress makes all her wishes come true, but the dress comes with a terrible price.

• “Ghostly Stare”
A girl and her little brother spend an afternoon hanging out at a nearby cemetery. All is not right after they return home that evening.

• “The Walls”
A kid learns an old man died in his family’s new house. Then, he starts hearing strange sounds coming from inside the walls.

• “Game Over”
A teen obsessed with video games gets a message from an online stranger asking to meet in person. He goes to the address and finds an opportunity to play the ultimate game. But maybe it’s more than a game.

• “Alien Candy”
A nerdy kid who’s obsessed with UFOs is contacted by two strange-acting older kids, who say they’ve started a secret “extraterrestrial club.” See if you can guess where this is going.

Although there are few attempts at jump scares, the actual horror aspects of the show are fairly tepid. The “something in the dark is following me” scenes are nothing horror fans haven’t seen done better dozens (hundreds?) of other times. For kids, I suppose the biggest scares are really the “what if?” ideas presented, rather than any attempts at visceral fright.

The plots, and even the plot twists, are predictable. The atmosphere and effects are mostly middle of the road, with some nice occasional moments of dark stylishness. Acting fluctuates from wooden to wildly hammy. Finally, can we please have a moratorium on stories about video games using “Game Over” as a title?

Dolby 2.0 Stereo audio and standard definition 1.33:1 full frame video are perfectly fine, free of any defects. Extras are a promotional “Behind the Screams” featurette, and some of the show’s original TV spots.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this show, it’s just that so many other shows and movies have done this same thing so much better.

The Verdict

The guilty hour.

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