Hello, Spongey here
Since dreamworks-a thon failed, i’ve been thinking of doing a marathon I had an idea for. I wasn’t sure if I could do, but since I have passion for it, I decided to do it.
This, is Haunting hour a thon!
That’s right, i’m doing a tv show. RL Stine’s The Haunting Hour: the series! You already know how much I love, it, so go look at my top 11 episode list for more info. But every episode (almost every but we’ll get to those) gives me a lot to talk abut, so another best episode list won’t cut it.
No, I will be reviewing every episode that wasn’t on my first list, except for two to elaborate . However, I will do a AUDIO review on youtube for the listed episodes and link them here cuz I don’t want to type all that again
With that said, let’s start.
This, is Really You
Director: Neil Fearnly
Writers: Billy Brown and Dan Angel
So this is the first episode. When it comes to a show like this, you need to pull no punches with your first episode. You need to establish the tone of the show as well as the kind of stories you will see.
This episode does that in spades. But I must admit…maybe they pulled their trump card too early. Here’s what I mean:
with this show, most of the first half of season 1, is safe. Not bad, infact it’s very good. I mean it’s mostly just normal scary good stuff, and not that epic stuff we see later on they are meant to simply ease into the good stuff like any show
but this episode is on par with the multi layer epic-ness of later episodes, as I am about to explain. So it sort of makes your expectations too high for the rest of the season
but it didn’t do that for me…cuz when I first saw it,. I knew nothing, so I had no idea what was going on until part 2 of this 2 parter. So I had no expectations. But for those who did know what was going on, …yeah
BUT that’s not a problem. Oh, and how did I find this show? I think in September/october 2010, RL Stine announced on twitter that he was getting a new show…called the haunting hour
I was hyped, because I wanted to see a more serious Stine show with a modern day style. And taking it’s episodes from Stine’s best short story collection? That’s a bargin!
Of course, I looked at the early episodes announced and saw episodes from the nightmare hour…it took until SEASON 3 to get a haunting hour episode.
Anyway, it’s by this that I learned more about The Hub, formly known as discorvy kids. At that point, that channel had little to offer other than time warp trio and tutenstien re-runs..which went bye-bye meaning I couldn’t watch those shows again.
This isn’t a Hub tribute, so i’ll just say Hasbro got it, and they created the Hub, a channel for …everyone, really. Modern kids? You got shows like this. Nostalgia-fans? You get batman the animated series!
While the lack of time warp trio pissed me off, I loved having a new channel to check out, and this was my first show. I came for the haunting and, of course, stayed for dan vs. It was exciting to have a serious stine show, but man, I had no idea how great it would be
so, let’s actually talk about this episode. It’s about a girl named Lilly, who is sort of…spoiled, by her parents. Her snarky brother doesn’t like this, but he has to suck it up. One day, she gets a doll form “Really You” which makes dolls that look like you. With that comes oddles of accessories and other expensive crap. At first, it’s all good, even if Lilly is a bit…too protective of “Lilly D”
but of course, thing’s go and lilly Is blamed for it. But the mother seems to be acting rather…odd, like when she gives the doll breakfast and treats it like a real person..so with all this tension, it’s up to the brother to find out what’s up.
First off, I love that they went the extra mile to make it as complex as possible. This could have easily been a slappy-ish story with the doll doing bad shit and the cliché stuff. But nope, that’s only part of it! That’s a lot of layers to this story, and in the end, it’s about more than a doll doing bad shit
At the start, Lilly is rather spoiled. We see that she is just sort of bitch-y but not too much. So after all this trouble, lilly sees what her actions do to others, and she learns a lesson. But you can also say the doll did more to her, as there is a scene where her friends, with their lame normal dolls, are over, and one says that her doll was told that lilly d hates illy.
Lilly tears that girl’s doll. Ouch. We can infer that maybe the doll did a little control there, but this could be part of how Lilly started out, thus making her change at the end even better.
At the start, their family was already in a odd state, but once this doll comes in, things get worse. The parents start hating Lilly, Lilly starts hating the parents, and this boy is in the middle, not being noticed.
It’s everyone’s story, but I like how the brother ends up being the hero in a way, and not just being ..the brother. He does care for his family, even if they drives him nuts. So this happening makes him crazy and he wants to stop this.
But I haven’t even gotten to the mother. She starts to treat Lilly like a bad person, and the doll like the real lilly. It’s more than just her think Lilly is doing bad stuff, the doll is doing something to her. They don’t fully explain this, but I can infer it without pointless exposition, thank you.
The doll is creepy enough, but the mom loving it more than her real doll is not only creepy, but sad. Which sums up a lot of this episode.
On top of that, Lilly D is awesome. She’s the most popular villain for a reason. As the episode goes on, she actually sort of takes over lilly’s life, by not only making her mom love her more, but also slowly turning Lilly into a doll…and making herself human.
It adds a scary sense of urgency, which just adds to how complex this episode is. Oh, and it’s SCARY. Like, it actually made me jump a little bit. Only a little…CUZ I AM A MAN!
it’s not like super scary, but it has VERY tense atmosphere, and a few moments that are quite creepy. One such example, is a scene where the brother tries to prove Lilly D can’t move, by putting a camera in the parents room, where the doll is
we get a Paranormal Activity esque view of it, but unalike PA, it’s quick, to the point, and scary. We see the doll in bed. It gets up, walks off…then appears again in front of the camera, and it goes out. It doesn’t seem like much, but due to quick it happens, BRICKS WERE SHAT
there are a lot of jumpy moments like that, but tons of atmosphere happens along with it, so it’s not just a monster jumping, it’s TENSION and SUSPENSE. We have this coupled with characters in bad situations, which makes us tense cuz we have no idea if they will get out of this.
THAT is how horror works.
Anyway, there is humor, but subtle jokes, and the humor actually flows with the rest. It never becomes overblown, though at points some of the lines…
DAD: if I can get this deal, we can all afford get life size dolls!
BROTHER; cool, make mine look like megan fox
you read that right. …someone asked stine on twitter if he ever got his megan fox. He never answered.
Anyway, I should also praise the acting. Mostly the mom. You sense power in her, like she means business. You really get to hate her due to how awful she is, but of course you do get why cuz A. Lilly IS spoiled. B. the doll is making her do this. She’s quite scary due to how much attention she gives to Lilly d, which really helps you side with the brother even more
the pacing is great, as it slowly gets to the end where shit gets real. See, brother and his friend head to the really you place, and find an old doll maker. She explains that her dolls have souls, but they all are okay with being dolls. However, her husband (now dead..) suggested selling out to Really you, and boom, shit hit fan.
She begged them not to use Lilly D, as she was NOT happy with being a doll. The company said they’d trash the doll…they didn’t. Thus, brother must stop Lilly D from taking over.
Near the end, Lilly D reveals herself to Lilly, fully human. Seeing Lilly scramble to find mom, while slowly becoming a doll is /freaky/ dude.
“a mother can like a doll. But she can’t love it. And a mother will always love her child. But she can stop liking it. She’ll already love me. Then, all I need to do, is make her like me”
DAMN. Ballie maddison’s performance is solid too, playing eivl here, but spoiled early, and even vulnerable When she cries, you are sad right then and there.
The way she closes new doll lilly’s eye is creepy too. Oh, and later, new real Lilly D hugs mom and asks if she likes her. She says yes…and new doll lilly sheds a tear
Long story short, they throw the doll out, but thanks to a birthmark, the brother finds out what happened. And, then when the mom figures it out, and digs doll lilly out of the trash, she realizes how awful she has been, and hugs her daughter…and she raises her doll arm to hug mom.
…then she becomes human, and Lilly D becomes a doll again. Yes, it is implied that she was stopped…by the power of love.
Corny, but it’s still sweet, and a good cap to their development. It also sort of makes sense, as Lilly D clearly wants love, due to her little speech. I’d go into that more…but that’s for another day.
Oh, and lilly D gets up..only to be hit by a truck. …hah.
and then it sort of wraps up abruptly. But, like I said in the ramona and beezus review, a great abrupt ending, is better than a bad long one. Oh, and there is a sequel hook that shows Lilly D is alive…we’ll get to that when we get to it
To sum it, this is a great episode, and a good start to the series. It’s very tense and relies on characters that have complex layers, and makes atmosphere of that, and has good psychological horror, while also having a creepy outward threat.. All the characters are interesting, in a way and we see just how everything it effects them.
The story is fascinating as it combines two types of typical plots and makes them both work. It’s more than a doll story, it’s complex, creepy, and great
I kick myself not putting it in my top 11. if I had seen it recently at that point, it would EASILY be in the top 5.
It’s hard to believe these writers did most of the Goosebumps show, right? Though I must thank them. Stine was skeptical about this show until he hard they were doing it. so..thanks guys
We’re off to a very good start with this well paced, tense, and complex episode.
Granted, the following episodes won’t reach that high but they are still quite good, of course.
That closes our first installment. I’ll try to keep these short, and I actually went on longer than I planned due to what I had to say.
As a fair warning, these will not come out often. Some may come in rapid succession, but didn’t shocked if you have to wait a week between them a I am busy with other reviews, and april will be DCOM month, so as a result, it may take a backseat
But, i’ll try to make sure to do these when I can. So, be prepared for more haunting-good ness!
Reader beware…you’re in for a REAL scare!