Hello, Spongey here.
Well, for the last time (for now) we shall be discussing RL Stine’s The Haunting Hour. Just go read my list of its best episode, or my previous Retrospectives to know more.
So we enter the most recent Season, known as Season 3. Season always seem to divisive for most kid’s shows, for whatever reason. Danny Phantom, Avatar, Phineas and Ferb, you know. In all 3 cases, Season 3 was my favorite.
Yet, no one agrees with me, except on Spongebob. Anyway, this show is no exception, to a small extent. Most people are cool with it, but a small handful of people see it is weak due to just not being as good compared to “Season 2’s perfection”.
Which is dumb, since Season 1 and 2 had just as many weak/whelming episodes. But As you’ll see, i’ll praise them all. Well…almost all, but we’ll get to that one later.
The reason it may seem weaker is due to only having 12 episodes. And some were spaced out thanks to the Hub using the Disney art of scheduling. Why such a short season? No idea, all the hub shows did 13 episode season for some reason.
Well ,anyway, I don’t 3 was the BEST season due to being short, and having a couple episodes not as good as others. But most ended up being a B+, and there were less B’s this time around. But overall, it didn’t quite stick out as before.
But there were still many AMAZING gems, and I think I may like it just a bit more than Season 1. Yeah, haters gonna hate.
So, without further ado.
This, is the Haunting Hour Season 3 Retrospective
NOTE: All these Retrospectives have Spoilers but these episodes are very recent so I mean it. I spoil the fuck out of every episode so if you don’t want to know how it ends, either go watch the episode or skip that section.
Or as Chester A Bum might say: Reader Beware, you’re in for a-SPOILERS!
Director: Neil Fearnly
Writers: Erik Patterson & Jessica Scott
Mike and Christen (Chanelle Peloso) are visiting their grandpa (Christpher Lloyd) at his retirement home, as they have never really met him. soon, they find out that he is a vampire, and so is everyone else at the home. Thankfully, Grandpa is a nice guy. Sadly, the rest of the home is evil, and can’t control their vampire urges, especially Gladys. So now it’s up to the kids to stop the Grampires, before they become vampire chow
So I’ve been lucky for this section. Why? I’ve already reviewed this one…on tumblr. I was bored so I decided to review it when it came out. I’ll just go ahead and mostly copy/paste that review since my thoughts have not changed. But not this tumblr review is different in that it does not recap the plot like I do here:
This episode, in short, was really good. Is it scary? Nah, but that’s not the point. this is not a scary episode, but a fun one.They have done some non-scary episode before, such as Season 2’s Creature feature,. However, that one was mostly a wacky fun comedy. This isn’t much of a comedy.
Infact, it has decent suspense and tension. So I actually cared about these characters, and the story. I actually took it semi seriously. Weird, eh?The premise is dumb and it knows that. Hell, they even mock it a few times
“Well…I like the name”
The episode takes it seriously, and as a result, I liked it. I should also mention the acting. It’s damn good. The kids are good, as usual. When they crack jokes, I laughed, and when they had sweet moments, I really got into it. The villains were also a lot of fun. They were really cool, and often badass, for old people anyway. Mostly Gladys, as she is very delicious Not too hammy of course, but still fun.
Plus, the vampires were real. They drink blood, hate garlic, and burn in the sun. so yeas, a ederly vampire can kick Edward’s ass.
Oh, and Christopher Lloyd is great. He’s the shows first real star (EDIT: Again, my dumbass forgot micheal ironside) and he’s great. He really made me think he is a old vampire. He pulls it off great. His voice really gives his dialogue extra zest, and the badass moments are made even cooler, thanks to him. This really makes up for his list film venture…The Oogiloves.
Anyway, great performance. But now for the real good part of this episode: the characters themselves. I didn’t expect so many heartwarming/awesome moments, but this episode has them,.
Lloyd is VERY protective of his grandchildren. He spends the entire episode focused on saving them, and when all is said done, the kids return the favor, and share the love. At the start, they don’t wanna visit him, but this adventure brings them together. I just love the family stuff, sort of like in Season 1’s “A creature was stirring”
Course, it’s not cheesy or anything. But those moments are well done. Plus, Grandpa is BADASS! Seriously, at one point he’s like “no one bites my grandson” and it’s awesome. Hell, he even burns some of the grampires to protect the kids!
Now that is amazing. Heck, even Cristen gets a great moment. See, early on this is kidnapped and…bound and gagged. Yeah, this episode is creepy…but not in the way they meant.
Anyway, she got her ass beat early on, so near the end, she stops the vampire by herself and gives a great one-liner. AwesomeThese characters work, and their acting helps this fact. They have real chemistry, and that helped me get into the story.
It’s a simple episode in comparison to others, but the chemistry with the characters more than makes up for that. This episode gets by with charm, suspense, and some badass moments.
To sum it up, this was a fun premiere. Good characters, nice tension, and some awesome vampires.
That was my old review, and I stick by it. It’s the weakest 2 part episode, but it’s still very good. Oh, and one thing I must mention: When they enter the retirment home, the sign says “For the Twilight of your life”
Hardy har har.
Director: Ken Friss
Writers: Craig S. Phillips & Harold Hayes Jr.
Rowley, I mean Lex is out with two punk kids he’s trying to impress, and joins them into throwing eggs at the crazy cat lady’s house. The other guys don’t want to do this, but he goes through with it as he’s the most interested in the mayhem .When the cat lady comes out to scold the boys, Lex breaks his arm when he tries to escape. He tells the cops that the two punks threw the eggs and he was trying to stop them and he is praised as a hero
However, the guilt start’s to get him as cast starts to itch, and he finds some nasty surprises waiting in there..
First off, I already joked about how this is 2nd out of 3 times a Robert Capron character has broken his arm, but this one is interesting. In Diary of a wimpy kid, Greg does a bad thing, and Rowely takes for it.
And now literally the same thing Is happening here, only with Rowely doing it. Creepy. Only here, he does it out of dick-ness Now, we’ve seen a story like this where a dude does something bad, lets someone take the heat, and ends up being hailed as hero for that.
We’ll seen the former and later apart, but I have seen them together. This however, does it pretty well by making it scary, and it’s very well done. To an extent, you can see that Lex was jut trying to fit it with two dick kids and he got caught up in the moment.
I do like that they had him start the egg thing, so he wasn’t completely innocent to start with. It adds layers to his characters, making him both nice and a dick. As the episode goes on, he starts to see RATS in his case, and it gets itchier and itchier.
And of course, he gets praised more and more. He even joins the Junior Watch league, much to his chagrin. He doesn’t WANT to be a hero, he just wants to get all this crap behind him. So now he’s back to likable, and he stays that way.
Seeing him have to deal with his guilt AND get invaded by itchiness and rats, is really cool. It isn’t super scary, but it’s decently spooky in site of the goofy idea of the scary thing being RATS.
They took a non-horror story and made it scary. That’s what I call good writing. I really like the pacing sand how Lex slowly goes crazy as he thinks the old lady is after him. He thinks she could have put the rats in there to torture.
Cats even start to show up and claw and the cast. So yeah, scary thing is now cats. Still good. Anyway, the buildup is very good and you certainty feel for Lex.
But let’s get to the ending. While the nice fat mom who doesn’t know her kid is spoiled is out, the old lady shows up with her cats. She has brought the cats the feed on the rats. This is all revenge for what Lex did.
Lex really wants to get his cast off to get rid of the rats. So of course, he tries to get it off with a hacksaw, and he saws it a lot and it comes off, but when the mom gets there, the cast if off and he’s still sawing at his arm in a panic.
And that’ not even it! An Ambulance shows up and takes Lex. While there, he tells some dude the whole truth. But while he did get the cast off, the rats are still there, watching him. Possibly forever.
The dude didn’t notice it…for some reason until Lex pointed it out. And…even then he doesn’t react as the episode ends. Wikipedia gives a theory that lex is seeing things, and has gone crazy.
Well, that adds an extra layer of awesome to this ending. It’s not the most…normal horror story, but it’s super spooky by the end, and it’s a very good comeuppance story.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this episode, but I ended up getting a good story with strong direction and some very spooky stuff. It has complex issues and an awesome ending.
I should stop being shocked but this show comes up with new ways to be amazing! It’s a bit simple of a section this time, but my reasons are simpler.
It’s a good story, made scary by the direction and a good ending. What else is there to say?
The Weeping Woman
Director: Neil Fearnly
Writers: Craig S. Phillips & Harold Hayes Jr.
Chi (Rico Rodriguez) is staying with the neighbor lady Mrs. Nelson while his parents help at a quinceanera He hits it off with her son and daughter, but after sees that Nelson has an old statue of an ancient spirit known as La Llorona, that spirit may make a surprise visit…
There are two things I left out the basic summary that makes this episode as a good as it is. First, Nelson’s deal. As the story starts, her husband is off on an extend businessmen trip, and has been making a lot of surprise long trips. When she learns he’s going to be gone longer, she gets more than a little pissed.
Before I comment, here’s the other thing: The legend of The Weeping woman, that Chi tells. La Laorna is an actually legend, but this The haunting hour’s version of it:
She was a lovely woman in an old village, but she turned down a lot of marriage offers. But then a handsome cowboy came and swept her off her feet, and it was great. But he soon got bored, of her and started making longer and longer trips out of town.
Eventually, this got to be too much for her so she did the only logical thing: Take her two kids out to the river and drown them. After doing so, she instantly regretted it and started crying. Then she drowned herself.
Legends say you can hear her spirit crying down by the river. And if you bump into her, don’t look her in the eyes and show her sympathy. You’ll be under her spell, and she will drown you.
Okay first off: Yep, that’s a kid murder and suicide in a kid’s show. Christ, this show finds new ways to shock me in a good way. Anyway, when part of this tale is being told by the kid, we see Mrs Nelson looking a wedding pic of her and hubby, and stumbling around.
Yep, we’re touching on some issues. Some surprisingly complex issues for an RL stine show. And I like the parallel with her and the weeping woman, it’s quite clever.
And of course, that’s why this episode is good. It’s sweet, dark and scary. I like how it builds to the point where the story told, and how Chic stumbles around thinking that statue is doing some shit. At one point it even cries. Stuff like that is great.
Sadly, there isn’t a ton of story for most of it. It’s mostly pal-ing around and minor spooky stuff before the story is told. Once it’s told, it’s back to small stuff before the 3rd act. It’s more well done than I am letting on, but that’s one thing that prevents this episode from being A worthy.
It just has pacing issues and the story is’ eventful, so it’s not as GREAT as it could have been, or as some people say. However, even before the end it’s still scary and has those great elements.
But now for the climax. As you would guess, the weeping woman shows up and takes Chi’s two friends here. They end under her spell cuz of the sympathy hing. By the way, I love that too. She is very sympathetic, but shes uses that to her advantage. So it’s a neat double edged sword.
Anyway, she takes them to the lake to drown them. Again, DAMN. Also, Chi previously said he never learned how to swim, but now he has to confront his swimming fear to get the kid’s. That’s cool.
He then confronts the ghostly woman, without looking her in the eyes and stuff, and tells her that these are not her kids. She then sinks back in the lake. The kids come out of her spell.
That’s your climax? WEAK!
Anyway, they get home and find out that Mr Nelson is here! Yep, he came back early and even took the week off. Mrs. Nelson gets home from a thing at they same time, and it seems like he’s into her again. They hit it off and are happy.
That’s sweet I guess.
So the next, Chi heads home with his mom, but before he gets in the car, he sees the weeping woman statue in a box marked free stuff. He gets in the car, and the statue cries.
Why is it crying? No idea. Not much of an ending, but it’s a happy ending, and it hits perfectly with the rest. Anyway, I’m a little disappointed that they didn’t dig further into Nelson’s plight.
Is it just a parallel or are they implying IS the weeping woman somehow? I don’t know, so it feels kind of weird. But the fact that this shows up at all is awesome. I like how dark and deep this episode goes.
But it doesn’t quite go all the way. Plus, it has a weak climax and other issues. This could usually mean a B, but I REALLY like the scary parts and the daring story elements. So much so that i’d call this a very good episode.
I just think it needed more to be a GREAT episode. It’s not one of the scariest of the season, or one of the best, but it’s one of the most daring. Also, Mexicans got their turn after Hawaiians and the Chinese. So that’s nice.
I like the characters and all that. I like most of it. I just wish it was better. However, it’s good enough that I think I can forgive that. My only actually issue is the climax but eh, watcha gonna do?
It’s not the best, but it’s scary and even daring.
Director: Ken Friss
Writer: Jack Monaco
Primrose- I mean Eve has been unhappy ever since the birth of her baby brother. One night she sees lights in the forest behind her house, and meets a hot fairy named Lyria who tells her that she’s a changeling who possesses fairy powers. The fairy says she can keep the powers forever…if she gives up her baby Brother.
If you remember, in my original top 11, I was a bit wary of the idea of a fairy episode. But once again, I ate my crunchy-
-…I mean delicious words because this episode is great. Mostly due to the fact that these aren’t fairies per say. Nope, they are…the fay. Same thing, but less girly. They do act like playful and stuff, but you can tell they are a powerful people, and as I’ll mention later, they can be vengeful. I don’t usually mention the music, but the composers did a very good job here. It really feels otherworldly, and the atmosphere is great.
Now, this episode isn’t exactly scary for reasons explained later. It’s more on the story/sweet side so there isn’t room for scares. But it still manages to have a foreboding atmosphere.
It’s like The Dead Body in that way but that had darker stuff in its story, but I find this one spookier since the atmosphere off seats the fairy thing perfectly.
Anyway, the thing that makes this episode great is the sweet moment, and the story. As it starts out, we see that Eve’s brother is getting the attention, and she’s being a grumpy guss about it. She’s snarky and just not a good sport.
Her parents are not cool with this and want her to calm down. Now, this could have been just annoyng Daughter/parents fight crap but it’s not. This is another case where we see both sides fine. The parents are giving too much attention to the new kid and Eve is right to be unhappy.
But she’s also handling it the wrong way and being quite the troubled child. Hell, we even get implications that she has had issues before the start, as she has recently changed therapist So she’s no stranger to behavioral issues, and we see that she could handle this better.
But she’s still likable so don’t worry. Eventually, she bumps into the lead fairy and finds out she’s actually one of the fay folk and that her parents are not her real parents.
Later, Eve asks Mom about the day she was brought home but Mom is vague. They never reveal exactly how Eve came to be living with the humans or anything. Boo. Anyway, Eve has magic fairy powers and ends up playing pranks around the house.
So Eve now knows why she doesn’t fit in and she’s having fun, but the parents are still a bit wary of her attitude. Later, Even is told by Lydia (I think that’s the name) that to prove her loyalty, she must give up the baby brother.
She doesn’t say what they do with him. Some babies they keep, some they…get rid of. If that implies what I think it is HOT FUCKING DAMN. Well, anyway Eve has no idea what to do. On one hand, she doesn’t like her brother and she wants this power forever.
But on the other hand, her parents would be pissed and she’d be betraying the people who raised her. She mulls this over at home, and Dad comes in..
“I’m sad. Sad that you’re so far away from me, from your mother… Eve, I want you to know that, no matter what you say, no matter what you do, we will always be your family. This will always be your home. You’ll always be welcomed with love… I miss you, that’s all. I love you kiddo”
…Damn. That’s…pretty sweet stuff. It helps that the parents are actually good people instead of idiots. They’ve really been trying to make an effort with Eve despite attitude. So again, we see both sides fine and both are refreshing and likable.
That scene just gets me. And as you would expect, it gets to Eve too as she eventually tells the hot fairy to fuck off. She says that while her parents didn’t give birth to her, they DID raise her, and they are her true family.
As a fairy, she is obligated to grant her wish but she says the fae are no longer part of her life, and they will get revenge.
Then she goes away. Weak…but it works in a way. It does bug me that we didn’t’ get a real climax, and instead this fairy got herself in a loophole. But …eh, it makes sense and it was sweet enough that I can sit with it.
Eve gets home and is now okay with her brother. She apologies, makes up with dad, and even helps the baby get to sleep. D’aww. And it ends with a POV shot and whispering, and a zoom shot on the house. Credits.
Yep, they imply the fae (fay?) will strike back. So at least there’s that. Perhaps it could been scarier but the atmosphere is there and the ideas are interesting enough to carry it.
It’s just really sweet, and the fairy thing is really interesting, and it ends up being creepy at times in spite of not being that scary. I really got into for it’s ideas and sweet moments. It’s classic haunting hour at its BEST.
Is it flawed? Sure. Could the story have moved better? Does it need a bigger climax? Scarier stuff? Yes. But the great stuff stomps on the okay stuff.
This is another short review, but this is a case where that’s all I need to say. This will be the smallest section on a great episode, okay?
Director: Neil Fearnly
Writer: John Esposito
Aaron is a lonely boy who is given a toy space helmet by a neighborhood woman. The helmet begins receiving calls (despite not having batteries in it) and Aaron thinks it’s an alien trying to make contact with him.
This episode is…interesting. Why? I can’t explain until AFTER the main review. But right now, I review the episode as it originally aired. As the episode starts, we see that Aaron is a bit of a loner, and that he mostly just sits in room, fantasizing about Space travel.
His mom makes him go outside and hang with the neighbors. But since his first question to some kid is “Do you like space travel?”, he is not very popular. Right off the bat, we have some interesting stuff regarding our main character and his upcoming development.
He’s likable, but also a little cuckoo as you can tell. This was an interesting start, and it gets even more interesting once the lady gives him the space helmet. Most of the episode after that is him hearing voices from it and being shocked when it stops when he shows it to his parents.
As far as scares go, it’s alright. There’s cool stuff with the voice and how he seems to be going crazy. But something seems to be a bit…off. Like, things seem weirdly light hearted, and not in a comedic way. It’s hard to describe, but it feels sort of weird. Like when the lady gives him the helmet, there is happy fanfare. No other episode, regardless of tone, would have happy music.
But I’ll get into that later. Aaron tells the lady about the voice, but she just makes him go away. Then she goes inside, and talks to some unknown dude. She says he has breached protocol, and that “the space program has been canceled”
Dun dun dun? Anyway, long story short, Aaron gives in and listens to the voice when he puts the helmet on. The voice says “Space commander 1 to Space commander 2” and tells Aaron that he is stranded on a dark planet. Aaron accepts the mission.
Then…what happens next is hard to describe. The voice tells hm to “pilot his ship” to the dark planet. He simply walks using his introductions and ends up at the lady’s house. He makes spaceship noises a few times, and walks throughout the house which is full of space stuff. When he is asked to trail a comet, he seems some comet cutout..paper thingy on the wall, he touches and walks alongside it.
And that’s when it hits you…This is really stupid. We are seeing a 10 year old kid playing a childish game with a creepy voice. It’s a bit less dumb than I make I sound admittedly, but it feels so weird. But maybe they make for it with the ending?
He follows the voices instructions and makes it to his room, where the being belong to the voice awaits. The being…is a skeleton, cuz he’s been talking to a dead guy. Oh fuck yeah, that’s what I’m talking about!
And to top it off, the voice is the son of the lady! She shows up and she explains she he died years ago but she kept him here and played with him. However, recently she decided to let hm go and move on with her life. Thus, she “canceled the space program” and wanted him to fuck off.
He wasn’t happy with that. They even argue a bit about it in an amusing manner. Then…Aaron tells them to calm down. He says he will play with the boy and the lady can leave him alone. She walks away, pleased. Aaron sits down with the boy and they blast off to the credits.
…Oh my, where do I begin? For one, the lady was clearly trying to let go but some kid hanging with him fixes that? And finding out a crazy lady’s dead son wants to play with you doesn’t make you freak out? And that’s just the logic flaws.
Remember my complaint about the episode being light hearted? Yeah, this ending takes it to diabetes levels. The idea itself is complex and sweet, but the tone is way too sweet for my tastes. It’s a lot more syrup-y than I’m making it sound, though.
I don’t know, the whole thing ended up being weirdly kiddie in spite of it’s subject matter. But, it’s not bad. Infact…it works in it’s own way1 If you accept the fact that it’s meant to be more light hearted, it works (mostly) and the creepy scenes work. The light hearted stuff early on doesn’t clash too much. But sadly, the stuff at the end does.
But even the ending isn’t bad. To an extent, it’s kind of sweet, but it’s more sweet on paper than on screen. As a whole, this one is…decent. Just, decent enough to be good.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Wanna know why this one is so interesting? Well…like Scarecow, there’s a director’s cut with an ALTERNATE ENDING .Really. It came out a couple months after the original airing.
In this new ending, Aaron grows a brain cell and sees the crazy lady as crazy and denies the boy’s suggestion to play with him. But the crazy lady locks Aaron in with him. The dead son says blast off and…credits. It’s the same “blast off” the original version ends on, which makes this even better.
Now THAT is an ending. Dark, smart, and even cooler than I make it sound. Why wasn’t this in the original airing? And why didn’t they do what they did with Scarecrow and air both versions back to back? Anyway , I wonder how this ending came about. Did they see my original twitter rant and went back and made a new ending?
Or did they shoot them both around the same time cuz they didn’t know exactly how to end it? Either way, this new ending is much better. Now the episode is very good. They pull us in with good character stuff, keep us with good scary stuff, almost ward us off with cheesy sutff, then slap us in the face with a scary ending. It’s mood whiplash done right!
Not much else to say. The original version is decent in it’s own right, but the director’s cut is very good in a how it mixes styles and throws us for many loops. I must stress that both versions are worth watching. That is, the if the hub ever airs version 2 again, as their recent airing had the weak ending.
Either way, enjoy,
Original Version: B
Director’s Cut: B+
Director: Ken Friss
Writers: Natalie Lapointe & Greg Yolen
Georgia enjoys getting mail from her father when he’s traveling. But then she receives a picture with a dark shadow on it and every picture after that seems to show some weird spirit. Now she thinks that when her dad returns he’ll bring something evil with him…
This is one of those really simple episodes. There isn’t a ton of plot and not a ton happens in it. I don’t mind that in a bad way, as they always do that to great effect. It’s slow moving until the end, which we’ll get to later.
This is actually the first episode these writers did and to an extent it shows. However, they pull some creepy stuff.
As it starts out, we see that Bella’s daughter here doesn’t like being away from her father for so long, but she respects that he has to travel for his work. Much better than her moping about it. Anyway, this is why she loves getting postcards and pictures from him.
But of course things heat up when she sees a weird spirit in the photos. I should mention that while this one is mostly scary, it actually pulls off decent comedy. There’s a mailman character who has fun interaction with Georgia.
Instead of being forced, it makes for decent levity. There is less comedy as it goes on. Most of the episode is her seeing the creepy photos and being paranoid about the stuff going on. It’s pretty simple, but it mostly works.
It’s decently creepy and the fact that this is her beloved Dad that is being stalked by some spirit makes it even creepier. The tension is high through most of it, even if the plot is minimal. Granted, the photopshop effects on the pictures make it seem like the spirit is being BEST BUDZ with the dad which could make it less scary.
But that’s really a nitpick. It’s simple scary stuff that works in a basic, but good way. Georgia ends up finding out that this spirit is real and it’s an Alp, a spirit from German folklore that can posses objects. Like with The Weeping woman, the alp is an actual legend, though again, this ep’s version is a bit different…or maybe the same. I’ll explain at the end.
I’ll just get to the end, cuz honestly most of it her running around and being creepy and tense. Eventually, Dad arrives home and she is really worried that the Alp may be there. There seems to be no sign, but Dad has given her a weird doll as a present.
After the last time she delft with a doll, she is afraid it carries the evil Alp. Her dad has no idea why she is all scared is stuff, so he just leaves it in the living room. That night, Georgia decides she’s had enough and heads down and smashes the doll thingy with a bat.
Then Dad comes in from the shadows. She has her best oh shot face but…something’s wrong.
“Nice try…but I’m not in the doll”
Dad steps out of the shadows, and he has red glow-y eyes.
“Daddy’s not here”
Cut to black. Girl screams. Roll Credits.
I should stop being surprised at thee endings but Christ. This ending is so good it actually bumped the episode up a grade. It was pretty solid before but not too amazing. Then comes this ending.
It’s pretty simple but it’s so well done. The build up to the moment is great and the tension is high. You feel bad for the girl even before he jumps out there. And it’s so creepy how it just cuts to black and you hear her screams. What did he do to her? We’ll never know.
It’s very well done. And…that’s all I have to say. This may be my shortest section since Swarmin’ Norman. Though unlike that one, there isn’t a complex element to anazle. But it’s still very good.
It has a sympathetic main character, decent pacing, spooky atmosphere, a cute element and a great scary ending. It’s simple but it works very well. Perhaps it belongs in Season 1 due to this, but it’s still pretty damn good.
But you know what I found out what the Alp? The alp is known to an incubus. As in a demon dude that rapes women. Wait…incubus…alp…he’s in the dad…going after the daughter…
My Imaginary Friend
NOTE: I already did the spoiler warning, but that goes double for this episode. SPOILERS!
Director: James Head
Writers: Melody Fox
After 3 season, they FINALLY made an episode based off a story from The Haunting Hour. I’dc go into the stories plot, but involves this episodes ending and how they changed it, so i’ll compare it AFTER the main review.
Shawn has just moved to a new house and his only friends are his brother David and his imaginary friend Travis , who ho is a bad influence). And when Travis starts to act very bad, he has to get David to believe hm or this imaginary friend may become a real enemy..
I’ve you’ve read the short story, or my review of it, you will notice one different right away. But again, I’ll only discuss the differences at the end. As the episode starts, we see that Shawn has trouble being very social, but he’s still best friends with this tough looking dude known as travis. After the opening scene where they get in trouble thank to Travis, we find out Travis is made up.
But somehow, he seems to be getting some weird life of his own. During a bit with Dad, he mentions that they moved to a new place recently, and that Mom has had to do a bunch of stuff that means she can’t be around much. Shawn has a lot of problems but Dad says it’s no excuse for acting out this much.
Of course he doesn’t know the real problem. David knows about Travis, but he think he’s imaginary and that Shawn is just insane. So long story short, Shawn gets David to let Travis into his mind, and boom he can see hm.
Things go fine after that, except Travis keeps trying to get Shawn to be a douche. Shawn sees nothing wrong as Travis is cool but David is of course not happy. So now Travis wants David out of the picture for good.
So before we get to the ending, this episode is insanely good. In some ways, it is even better than the short story, but again, that’s for later. We can tell Shawn has plenty of problem ,as stated before. Those issues he’s facing has messed him up, and he thinks he’s not strong enough, so he’s made up someone who is very strong and can do all the crazy stuff he’s never wanted to do.
But his need to be brave and strong has clearly gone out of hand. So already we have great character development going on, and this is mixed in very well with the spooky stuff with Travis. While Shawn seems to be our main early on, David gets the focus like he did in the short story.
This works pretty well as we see more that Shawn is having issues since we see how this guy feels about. It’s very well done in ways I didn’t even imagine. Oh, and Travis is a great villain. I don’t know the actor he plays him but he is GREAT. He’s not only good at being cool but he’s also really scary when he wants to be.
There’s a scene where he threatens David by almost drowning him and damn, does it work. He just feels so threatening and scary and it really heightens the drama. He’s not just some punk ass making Shawn be a dick. He’s a MONSTER and he’s awesome.
He even threatens David with a monster under the bed that Shawn imagined. It’s so awesome. So now the whole ending. Travis drags him to the neighbor’s barn and says they can be friends if David will burn down the barn. He refuses so the gloves are off.
Travis sets it up so that he makes David really hit this post, this falling hook thing will come and knock him out. Then I suppose he would do worse things from there. Shawn has danger seeing powers I guess, since he knows that Travis is being evil.
He shows up and David says he has to get rid of Travis rid with his mind. He says that he IS brave, since he came up with Travis. He uses his mind powers to get him to back off, but after some stuff, that falling hook thing knocks him out.
Cut to later, as everything is okay and his Dad is comforting him. He’s not off the hook for the neighbor’s barn thing, but things are cool. The climax may be a little weak, but in context it works pretty well. Shawn finally let go of his evil imaginary friend and he talks with David. David congratulates Shawn and says he’s old enough to be without imaginary friends. Shawn agrees. He needs to mature and get rid of all of his imaginary friends.
Wait…all? Yeah, David cries out in protest but Shawn says he needs to do this .David say he…doesn’t want to go. Shawn clearly isn’t up for this, but he must. David continues to cry out as he starts to fade away.
WHAT A TWEEST!
I think that’s the first ep in awhile to have an actual shocking twist, and damn is it great. For one, it’s actually quite the tear jerker. It didn’t quite get me but it almost did. I mean, damn it’s sad. I mean David agreeing to do this is one thing. But here, he clearly doesn’t want to go!
It’s just depressed to see Shawn watch him fade away as his last words are “I don’t wanna go!”. Damn. But we know Shawn must do this, in order to grow up. It’s a great bittersweet ending.
But on to the short story aspect. In the story, it was all about David as Shawn’s friend Travis causes him trouble. David always seemed be the one getting in trouble rather than Shawn though. At the end, the twist is that SHAWN is imaginary and so was the MOM. Mom and Dad discovered awhile ago, so he has this imaginary mom to help cope with that.
So yeah, the differences are evident. They pretty much changed the twist so that David was made up, not Shawn. And the story revolves around Shawn, even if David gets the POV a lot of the time. Also the Mom is very much with the Dad, just not around much.
When I first saw the ep, and Shawn clearly talked to Dad, I pretty much knew they switched it so it was David. So it wasn’t shocking as I knew the short story. But either way, it’s the most epic way to be spared by the adaptation.
Adaption wise, it’s close in spirit, but obviously very different. The twist is kind of the same to an extent, but the execution is different. The story already had complex stuff but the episode adds even more. The story was very good but this is even BETTER.
A perfect way to adapt the story if you ask. Infact, it may be the best short story aside from maybe The Most Evil Sorcerer. Shawn makes for a fascinating character, the story is interesting, it’s complex, Travis is a great villain, and the ending is very depressing.
It’s just a really great episode. One of the best of the season.
Poof De Formage
Director: Ken Friss
Writers: Erik Patterson, and Jessica Scott.
Bobby and his family are housing a French exchange student named Jean-Louis for a year, but a chain of strange happenings make Bobby suspect that his French exchange student may be an alien.
Now, The Haunting Hour has over 40 episodes, so they all can’t be gems. I panned Pool Shark before, saying it was cliché ridden and weak.
But this…however….is the absolute worst episode of the sarees. But like Pool Shark, it’s not…BAD. It’s just…average. And not good.
The main reason? It’s stupid. And not in a good way. It’s another comedy episode, which you could tell from the title and the incredibly fake french accent from alien boy. In the first quarter, it’s not that bad.
It mostly has Alien boy being really awkward and not french-y. It’s a tad comedic, and it’s mostly just weird rather than funny. But it gets worse. Long story short, Jean Louie reveals that he isn’t the real Jean louie…no, he got tied up at the airport. This is shown in a short cutaway. The best joke in the episode.
Alien boy is actually an alien from an weirdly named planet, and he came disguised as a french exchange student. If he’s not really a french guy, why does he never drop the accent while talking to Bobby? Whatever.
As it turns out, Alien boy’s planet has been invaded by some evil dudes, and he came to Earth as a scout to either get help, or find a new home for his kind. He came to Bobby’s place, cuz he thinks bad guy central is here.
The rest of the episode has Alien Boy and Bobby trying to find the bad guys and all that jazz. I’ll get to the ending in a second. I’ll show you the caliber of humor to be found here:
Alien boy reveals he can read minds, which he proves to Bobby.
“Does he know that I just farted?”’
Then when the parents here the boys fooling around the bathroom…not like that.
“I’m…draining fluid, from my fluid sack’”
Fart joke. Nutsack joke. Wow.
The rest of the jokes…just aren’t funny. I just don’t know what happened. It should be funny to see alien boy take this so seriously, but it just comes across as awkward. Add in some dumb jokes like that, and we got something un-funny.
It has it’s moments, which puts it above most Adam Sandler comedies at any rate. But still, compared to Creature Feature, it’s kind of lame. But the guy playing Jean Louie certainty scores a few laughs/.
Who plays him? Phineas himself, Vincent Martella. Yep, they put two of my favorite things (Phineas and Ferb and Haunting hour) in one episode…and it’s still not good. That is CRIMINAL.
He still does a good job with that stupid accent, even with…the twist. Oh, you want to hear the twist? Okay, …I warned you.
Long story short, Alien boy uses some machine to find the elusive evil aliens. He leads Bobby to the kitchen and opens the pantry to reveal…Cheese Puffs.’ Alien Boy says these are the aliens: Cheese Puffs. He’s not kidding.
Allow me to repeat that:
I’m not kidding. This is a thing. Bobby thinks Alien boy is insane, but as we see…he’s telling the truth.
This is the stupidest thing ever. CHEESE PUFF AIIENS?! Are you KIDDING?! I know ,its’ a comedy. But that’s not funny. It’s just stupid. And as far as the story goes, it just doesn’t worl.
But I have to say, it’s the perfect disguise for invading alines…but it’s still stupid. When I first saw this, I was not happy. I mean…wow.
Well anyway, Bobby thinks it’s dumb and even thinks Alien boy made up the alien thing. I guess he forgot the part where he read his mind. But he does with it anyway, and smashes some cheese puffs.
The parents see this and they get in trouble. Bobby now thinks Alien boy is insane, and so do the parents. But Alien boy is trying to convince them the “poof de formage” is a huge threat.
No one buys it. Then suddenly, a bunch of Cheese puff aliens push through the door and flood the room. They try to push them out, but it’s no use.
The cheese puff aliens surround the three.
“You were right! They are real!”
Fin. No seriously, there’s a card saying fin, and the credits roll from there. Dumbest Downer ending ever.
So yeah, this episode just isn’t good. How did this come from the director of SCARECROW and the writers of Wrong number?! I don’t get it. It’s stupid, it;s not funny, and just not that interesting.
HOWEVER, it’s not BAD as it’s mostly trying to be funny, and shouldn’t be taken seriously. It has it’s moments, and it’s a tiny bit funny to see Vincent trying to take cheese puff aliens seriously.
This review seems more negative than it actually is. My last viewing of it just left me bored instead of angry. I get that is MEANT to kind of dumb but I just couldn’t get into it. So I guess that could make it better then Pool shark, but that didn’t have cheese puff aliens.
I don’t know. Maybe you will find it funny, but the humor is mostly sort of dumb. I can sit with the cheese puff thing to an extent, but I can’t sit with the fart jokes.
Creature Feature cleverly spoofed movies, and something Stage Fright used the characters to have fun interactions. So this kind of fails in compassion. In my opinion, this was weak un-funny…but harmless.
I suppose this was meant to harken back to Goosebumps, and …it’s better than Monster Blood 4. But even the dumber Goosebumps books are fun. This was not. If you like it, that’s cool. It has it’s moments, and I am okay with these types of episodes.
I just thought it was a waste of two great writers, a great director and a great actor. It’s…meh.
Director: Neill Fearnley
Writer: Jack Monaco
Jeremy and Bonnie are saddened to learn of the passing of their great-grandmother Nadia and travel to her homeland of Russia to spread her ashes. But soon after they arrive, Jeremy learns of a secret evil Nadia created and now they must some Nadia’s horrifying secret..
This is a case where I have to go over the first 5 minutes in detail before I even cover the plot and dig into the review. You’ll see in a sec. As the episode starts, Nadia is at their house, incredibly weak and sick. Jeremy tries to confront her, but ends up having to listen one of her stories. Only this is much scarier than most old people stories.
She talks about some thing she did back in “The war” as part of “dark necessity”. She says she was able keep “it” quiet but now she is weak. She says Jeremy must “take her back to her village” after she…passes.
But Jeremy can find out what “it” is…Nadia dies right there. How many times can I say DAAAAAM in one post?
First off…this is the first time the show actually made me cry. Even Flight didn’t accomplish this on the first viewing. There’s a lot more to this scene like how we saw Jeremy’s connection to her and such as well as the atmosphere of the story.
In context, this an incredibly awesome and tear jerking scene, capped off by the death. In spite of how dark this show is, this may our first on screen dearth. Wow. When I first read the plot, I thought it would start AFTER she died.
But nope, we see the whole thing. Anyway, we see her story in flashback form, as during the war she helped create some unknown creature which scared off some German soldiers. Yep, we got World war shit up in here.
The flashback itself is in black and white, and it’s incredibly well shot. It ends up feeling quite dramatic, and somewhat authentic. The actrss playing Nadia really sells this story, as vauge as it is. I actually almost forget I watching hautning hour, and I mean that in the BEST posible way.
So we have a great dramatic flashback and a sad death scene. So this is like Up, where the first few minutes overshadowing the rest. But again like up, the rest is good too. In her will, he gives Jeremy her ashes, and requests he scatter them in her village in Russia.
His older sister Bonnie, who had to come here from college cuz of this Nana stuff, offers to take Jeremy up to Russia by herself to do this. They bump into the villagers who tell them the “Creature” has shown up again even though it supposedly died years ago.
At first, they think Bonnie IS Nadia, and that she is a witch who kept herself young and that is why The creature is back. It’s at this point where it resembles an old monster movie with the villagers going crazy even though Bonnie poses no threat.
Eventually, they realize she isn’t Nadia but they think she has her evil, and thus she must be killed. Yep, they will kill a young woman. SOME SCENES MAY BE UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN UNDER 7.
But before they decide that, the kid’s end up staying overnight at the local tavern. Then one of the tavern guys shows up and it turns out he’s the nice out, so he’s gonna tell us the full story. Things were tough during the war, so they decided to create a Golem to fight back. A powerful guy gave Nadia the power to bring it to life, as she already a powerful woman deep down.
She brought it to life and it did it’s job. Then she put it to sleep with some magic words and she kept it quiet. But she when she died, it came back to life and started wreaking havoc again. Soon after the Golem attacks, Bonnie is captured by the villagers who want to kill her to get rid of the creature she unleashed.
So the rest is Jeremy and the good villager guy trying to find a way to get rid of the golem. This is a 2 part episode, but in spite of that short plot they fill it up fine. When you watch it in full you won’t be thinking the plot is too short or anything like that.
This episode is incredibly well done as it ends up being sweet and scary, like the best episodes do. The scare factor is high as we never see the golem in full until the end. He shows a few times but they use some nice stuff to make him seem scary without having to show his full body.
We do see his full self and he’s not too bad. He looks kind of cheap but for this budget they could have done worse. If I really recall the actor in this suit is the same guy who Big Yellow in Mascot, which explains a lot. Though to be honest, some shots from the back early on make him look like the stay Puft marshmallow man…
Anyway near the end Jeremy figures out he can control the Golem with the vase containing Nadia’s ashes. This after some climatic fighting and word chanting and stuff. Now that he can control the Golem he takes it back to the villagers to tell them how awful they are being.
He talks about Nadia was really cool to them and tries to protect them with this thing in the first place and they repaid her by accusing her great granddaughter of bringing the thing back instead of helping to stop the beast like Jeremy was doing. It’s all a big thing and they all end realzing their mistakes and they make up and there’s some creepy shots to close us out. I don’t know, I just watched this the night before I typed this, and I forgot exactly how the ending goes.
I know the golem is stopped and there’s a heartwarming ending. Typing it out, I realize it could be seen as syrupy-y, like in Spaceman. But unlike Spaceman, it’s a lot more genuine. It actually fits in with the rest of the episode and makes it better.
The connection with Jeremy and Nadia is pretty cool and I like how he feels he needs to carry out her final wishes to finally get over her death AND stop this evil thing she was talking about. This show has been complex/dark before but this is a whole new league.
This show seems to impress more just by doing the stuff it’s been doing before. This episode mixes sweet and scary very well. It’s sweet, it’s complex and has the best first 5 minutes of any episode ever.
When it comes to 2 parters, you may feel that some are better because this one doesn’t have as much story. But I think it makes up for that with excellent everything. Though I’ll say it’ funny that part 1 has little action but it has the best scene in the whole thing.
This is another classic case of Haunting hour at it’s best. Not a whole lot of story, but it’s scary, well placed, has complex stuff, has the first on screen death, and it actually made me cry.
It’s incredibly sweet and enjoyable and it’s one of the best of the season. It more than makes up for Poof De Formage.
The Girl in the Painting
Director: Ken Friss
Writer: Jack Monaco
Becky (Bailee Madison) is dreaming of her perfect room, which her mother can’t afford, when she finds a painting put out in the trash. She becomes obsessed with the image and seems set on having a perfect world, like the girl…
It seems like Baliee Madison strikes gold with every episode she stars in. Really You and Scarecrow were the best episodes of their seasons. Does this follow suit? Yes….kind of.
Right off the bat, we see Becky isn’t happy with the way her life is. Her family isn’t the most rich but her friend has everything she could want. She wants HER life. But her Mom tells her that that the friends life probably isn’t as great as it looks.
It’s a “grass is always greener/” type deal. But Becky doesn’t really listen and wants a better life. She then finds that painting by the trash, which has a lovely girl in a lovely room. It seems to call to her. She puts it up and falls in love with it
She thinks it’s awesome and really wants a perfect room like the girl in the painting. She assumes the girl’s life is perfect and she has servants and stuff. Then it gets to the point where she moves the stuff in her room to match the girls. Stuff like that.
Right away, this episode was awesome. It presented some interesting themes with Becky wanting a better life and this painting playing with her wants/. It was really scary seeing Becky get lost in the painting. She pretty much cares about nothing else.
She just wants the perfect life, like the girl in the painting. Since Becky and her mom are the only characters until the end, Baliee has to carry this episode, and she does that with gusto. She’s good at making Becky look really into this painting, and really obsessed.
She just gets lost in the role and she helps make this stuff even scarier. She’s also good at bring scared near the end. Man, she’s good at playing scared. Check out Scarecrow for proof of that. Most of the stuff I’ve seen her in has her being very good…except Just go with it, but that’s an Adam Sandler movie so I wasn’t shocked.
The pacing is pretty good with how Becky slowly gets obsessed with the painting. The mom starts to get worried that Becky is forgetting her duties like homework in favor of obsessing over the girl. This adds an interesting layer, with Mom getting worried by Becky not caring.
She even tries to get rid of the painting but Becky makes Mom let her keep it. Becky also notices odd things with the painting that Mom doesn’t notice cuz she didn’t look at that much. The girl goes from sitting to standing up and the clock in the picture goes from one time to another.’
This may seem a little pointless of a tidbit but it shows how obssed Becky is compared to Mom. Her mom is convinced it always the same but Becky’s madness has made her notice weird stuff.
And it all builds up the ending. Oh yay. Eventually the girl calls out to her and Becky gives in and buy it right away. The voice tells her to enter the closet. Instead of entering Narnia, she ends up in the painting, with the girl.
She wanders around the room in wonderment and hangs with the girl. Everything seems perfect. Becky is in awe. The girt acts suspicious but Becky doesn’t quite care. She notices it’;s almost 6 am and if she isn’t there for school, her Mom will flip. But now she doesn’t care her old life.
She wants the new life. Then it becomes 6. She hears some big booms. She tries to run but The girl keeps her there. The celing opens, and a monster creature pops in, quickly eats a screaming Becky and leaves.
But wait, there’s more! The girl’s mom enters to make sure Becky was eaten. Mom reveals that they lure people in to get eaten by the monster so it won’t eat them. The girl says she actually feels bad for the people lure in. But Mom says it’s their fault. They don’t realize everything is not what it seems.
They aren’t happy with their comfy life and always want more. They’ll grab onto anything that looks better, not knowing the bad things this “Better” life could have. It was Becky’s fault, and they just took advantage of her.
The girl stays quiet. Mom reminds them that it’s them or us. Mom leaves.
Jesus christ, these ENDINGS. They get better and better! Where do I even start? First off, the twist with the creature was unexpected and awesome. It was interesting to see someone actually DIE once again. She doesn’t improve from her contitation. She just makes a really bad mistake and faces the conqueses. Like any good horror story, there’s no happy ending. Shit happens.
Seconded, the thing with the girl is great. They could have ended with Becky being eaten but they actually make The girl really sympathetic. She feels bad for doing this, but they HAVE to do or they get eaten. They have to take advantages of someones natural flaw to keep them alive.
Mom isn’t very sympathetic to anyone but herself, but the girl shows regret. However, she has no choice. It’s them or us.
Jesus christ, these are HEAVY themes they throw at us. This episode gets better the more I write about it! This is simply but, a brilliant episode.
It’s not the scariest but it kind of is with it’s paced and acted. It’s really spooky seeing how Becky goes through this. The themes are REALLY interesting and complex and there are some surprising twists. The supposed villain is really sympathetic, and they play around with fantastic things here.
A lot of episodes explore interesting themes, but this talks about how we always want a better life but we never realize that better life has it’s own faults. And they also have these villains worrying so much for their own life that they have to sacrice someone eles and explose their flaws to save themselves.
It’s very heavy and the way they do it s very scary. I think it may be the best of the season for this reason. It’s really well written, and scary.
Pretty much a perfect episode. Ken Friss, you are officially forgiven for Poof de formage.
Director: James Head
Writer: Melody Fox
Bratty teens Jeremy (two jeremy’s in one season?) and Chelsea are on a family vacation, which gets delayed when the family car gets a flat tire, then a mysterious hotel appears out of a fog. At first the parents are told there are no vacancies, until the kids come in, and the parents receive an opulent room and an invitation to an adults-only party by fellow guest Mrs. Baker. Soon the parents start to neglect the kid’s and the kid’s soon find out this hotel’s evil plan..
This one of those episodes that was even better on a 2nd viewing. I realized how interesting and somewhat depressing it really is. As it starts, we see that the kid’s are pretty spoiled and don’t want to be here. There’s a lot of arguing and stuff. So when Mrs Baker says the party that night is adults only, they jump at the chance.
So we can see from the start that there is a lot of family tension. It’s like A Creature was a stirring…only it goes a bit differently. The kid’s don’t end being completely unlikable, even early on, but we do sympathize with the parents. The kid’s are brats and they don’t appreciate what the parents do for them.
Early on, when they have car trouble, Jeremy says he wants to drive even though he only has his permit, since his friend can drive fine.
“If he jumped off a bride, would you?”
“If I could drive to it!”
Yeah, stuff like that happens. Then things heat once horror strikes. Jeremy sneaks out and spies on the parents at that party, as hotel manger dude is leading all the hotel patron, who all happen to be parents, in smashing a pinata that looks like a kid.
It’s much less silly than it sounds. Soon after Jeremy bumps into a guy named Todd. The kid the pinata looks like. A trouble maker who got bad grades in school and always brushed off his Mom when she gave him flack. But as soon as they came to this place, she doesn’t even seem to notice him.
“We’re here for a week. It’s been a month”
I think now you get why this episode is great. But wait, let me tell you more. Jeremy and Chelsea’s parents start doing stuff without them and flat out ignoring them. They even forget about that loge they were supposed to go to.
Chelsa thinks nothing weird is going. But Jeremy puts out that Dad put a big deposit on that lodge is they don’t show up, they will have wasted money.
“That doesn’t sound like Dad at all”
Haw. But here’s my final kicker before I go on. They end up seeing Mrs Baker, Todd’s mom, with a bunch of parents in front of a painting of “The benefactor”. They have Todd captured. The hotel manager guy talks about how Todd was a bad kid but Todd says he should have cared more about his issues and he shouldn’t been a dick.
“I’m your son!”
Todd is thrown into the portrait and is sucked up some big white light. No more todd. …Yeah, DAY-UM right there.
Before I get to the ending, I’ll comment on how damn heavy this episode is. We see how bad these kid’s are, and how badly their parents want them to behave. This hotel messes with their minds and makes them want to flat out get rid of them.
The hotel is doing bad in the name of good…but it’s still pretty bad. It’s pretty mufti layered in that way. It’s incredibly depressing and tragic when we see Todd’s fate, AND how this is starting to happen to our main characters.
It’s at this point when they get more likable, as they realize how much they do love their parents and they seriously need to fix this so they can start acting better. It’s some of the most fascinating stuff the show has ever done.
Now for the ending. The hotel dude puts his spells all over the parents and the kid’s get captured and taken to the painting place, ready to be thrown in. The dude again talks about the how parents need to get rid of the kid and how “The Benefactor” needs kids.
The parents just sort of stand there, and don’t seem to too close to pushing them or anything, but they may be thinking about it. Manager guy tries to keep them to push them in like everyone has at some point. But..
JEREMY: If they all jumped off a bridge would you?
This snaps them out, as they realize what they were about to do. Nice brick joke. They realize that these kids are cool and that they shouldn’t do this. But clearly the manager guy needs kids for that benefactor, so he’s not okay when the family tries to escape.
Jeremy throws a big candle thingy at the wall and the place starts to catch phrase. They run out to the car, Which Jeremy is allowed to drive. They all get in and drive away as the hotel completely burns down.
Roll credits. …Yeah, this is my only problem with the episode. There’s really no cimax, and it ends up abruptly. I did like it better on my 2nd viewing, as a liked the bit with Jeremy and the car. But still, but this does bug me.
The like of huge climax is fine, but how about an actually ending where the bad guys fight back or a big emotional wrap up. It’s as sweet as it can be with the abrupt ending. If they had a bigger ending like say, The golem had, this could have been an A.
But still, it’s extremely good. In the end, the kid’s realize how awful they were and that they should respect their parents or shit like this will happen .It’s a very nice moral that is pulled off very well.
It’s tragic, has scary pacing, interesting ideas, and of course, it’s incredibly complex. This has some of the most interesting concepts in the whole show, and it really makes this episode fascinating to watch. Even with a weak ending, it’s incredibly strong in every way.
Scary and sweet, this is another winner.
And with that, we reach the end of this short season. It’s not a big epic two parter, but a normal episode. Though it’s…interesting.
Director: Ken Friss
Writers: Natalie Lapointe & Greg Yolen
Maggie hopelessly infatuated with Brendon, but he doesn’t even notice her. When she meets Cupid (David DeLuise), she commissions him to shoot an arrow at Brendon to make him fall for her, but soon she realizes that there is such thing as too much love…
This is a very …weirdly unique episode. It’s not a comedy (sort of) but it’s not a hugely scary episode. At least not in the traditional sense. It’s lighthearted, but also kind of complex and scary. I don’t know, it’s very different.
I suppose it’s best compared to Spaceman, only it’s not kiddie and it’s better. So nothing like Spaceman. I suppose the only way to sum up the episode is start with the story.
Right off the bat, we see that Maggie is in love with Brendan, to the point where she messes up a science experiment cuz she staring at him. The mess up causes some smoke and when hse comes to, Cupid is right there.
Jerry Russo here is a dude in a white suit (the popular image is an old photo) and he explains that he can help here with her problem. Yep, the action starts right away. Cupid just kind of shows up without explanation. Why did he randomly go after her instead of anyone else? I have a theory, but we’ll get to that later.
Of course she thinks she’s just having a dream or something and brushes him off. Cupid is like “K, but if you need me, I’m here” and he vanishes. She wakes up and goes on with her life. But she really notices how Brendan is hang with some girl, and never notices her.
It gets to her to the point where Cupid shows up again, and says his offer again. Maggie decides she buys into it and Cupid shoots Brendan with his …lawn dart, arrow thingy. He is knocked up and when he wakes up, he is in love.
So far, it’s a bit more comedic possible more overtly than Poof De formage. But the story is actually there and it’s good comedy. It’s a little “quirky’ but some of the stuff Maggie and cupid say are amusing and their performances are good.
But it is certainly light hearted. It doesn’t fully stop when the love kicks in. Brendan is in love. Not to creepy levels but to “um, okay lovebirds” levels. It’s not quite sickening though maybe a tad. Maggie is okay with it though.
Then she notices him hanging out with that chick, who is his scene partner as they are doing Romeo and Juliet for Theater class. They seem Innocent but Maggie thinks the dosage is wearing off. She thinks Brendan is actually getting into this chick.
She talks to Cupid and he says he got the normal dosage, and it’s still in effect. Maggie begs him to shoot Brendan again. Cupid flips his lid./
“You humans are all alike! You are NEVER satisfied with what you have. Do you have any idea how much destruction I’ve seen? All caused by jealously and greed”
After a bit, he calms down As an ancient god, he is obligated to do what Maggie wants (It’s Intruders all over again) and he will shoot Brendan. But he says he warned her. Her explained why this is a very bad idea. She goes through with it.
Brendan is shot again and now he’s in love more than ever. Okay, let’s stop here. Now it’s more interesting. The love section was a bit awkward but it worked and that cupid scene was awesome. We do a get “never happy with what you have” thing again but this time it’s a different side of it.
He’s talking about how people wanting more out of jealously causes trouble for everyone. He’s seen lots of death and destruction, all caused by love or jealously. He’s sick of it and this is pissing him off. And he’s a 5000 year old god, so he’s seen a lot.
It’s an interesting sort of theme, and like in Girl in the painting, her mistake will have some consequences. As soon as Brendan comes to, he says he missed her so much. “So much/” I said in his best Gollum voice.
Then he gets creepy obsessed. He hangs out with her all the time and gets very stalker-ish. At one point he gets her a furry creature…a tarantula which bits her. He gets so creepy that eventually Maggie has to break it to him.
She used cupid to make him fall in love with her. Brendan eventually buys this and jumps to the conclusion that she never loved him. He never loved her. Cupid MADE him love her. And she’s stopped loving him. For good.
He flips his shit and starts chasing her like a slasher villain, yelling her name. Okay, now it’s gotten very scary. We got a guy getting too much in love to the point where it’s horryifing, and now that he knows it was all fake, he’s obbsed more than ever.
He needs her love more than anything. He wants her love for REAL. Her jealously and greed has lead to this, by using this poof boy. Now she may be killed, or worse, loved to death.
She begs Cupid to stop this. Of course he does “I thought that’s what you wanted thing” but she just wants Brendan to love her alone. So Cupid helps with that.
Brendan as the top of the stairs but cupid does his magic…and Brendan falls down.
“You wanted to be left alone. You got it”
When I saw this, I thought he was Dead. I was awed by this awesome dark twist. It moves to the next scene in class as Maggie is sad and cupid’s words are echoing. So that reinfocred my idea.
…Then a bit later they say Brendan is healing while in the hospital. Wait, huh? He just fell and he lives? But then hwy did Cupid say she is “alone”? Why did he say it so creepy-like if he was fine!?
I think they wanted to kill him but they deemed it too dark so they slapped that line on. It’s the only way. I usually cover my thoughts more before the actual ending, but this is an episode where I must go through the ending first.
See early on we saw a nerd kid named Statuary who obviously had some thing for Maggie. ?He made some jokes but as soon the plot kicked in, he only made background appearances and stared a lot.
He pops up and is shocked that Maggie knows he exists. He’s had a thing for her and they share classes, but she never acknowledged him. And once Brendan came in,…yeah. He sort of asks her out, but before she says anything, Brendan looks to someone behind and says, “Do it!”
Cupid pops up and shoots her with his arrow-dart-thing. She wakes up, in love with Stuart.
Roll credits. Even the credits have more quirky music. So that’s the sort of a downer, but mostly funny ending.
This ending is some great “haw haw” stuff that got a laugh out of me. Maggie payed the price twice for her stuff though this was a bit too much. But it’s funny and great unfair comeuppance.
Given that Cupid earlier said he has other clients and how Staurt seemed to know cupid, I have a theory. He planned this from the start. He found out about Cupid and asked him to make her make him shoot Brendan. He assumed she would get sick of his love right away though she ended up digging her own grave, which was even better. Then Staurt asked Cupid to take him down when Maggie asked to be alone.
But Cupid can’t kill, so he only made Maggie think he was hurt worse than he really was. Then with Maggie out of love, he went in for the kill.
Or maybe between Brendan’s fall and now, Cupid showed and had Stuart request this as comeuppance. But I like my theory, as it puts a cool layer to things.
So this was an odd one. The idea of love and how far it can go is certainty the usual complex haunting hour stuff, but the first half alone feels like a (good) supernatural type comedy. But at the same time, I can see a stine/horror doing what the 2nd half does with the “horror” stuff?
Hell, Fear Street has done it a couple this. But that’s a review for another time.
But the horror elements are done so…differently. It’s not a monster, or some transformation going on. It’s just cupid making someone love Maggie a lot. …Scary?
That’s what makes this episode unique. It’s not traditionally horror, but it’s done in a scary manner. And to an extent, it is as scary as it should have been. Brendan going insane over Maggie is creepy especially near the end.
And to be honest, this kind of thing scares me anyway. Someone being super obsessed with something or someone to the point where it’s all they care about. That’s hwy the fear street book “Final Grade” kind of got to me when I first read it.
Of course Fear street took it a less kid friendly route, and that’s my next point. This episode shows the horrors of someone loving someone too much but it doesn’t go all the way. Inb the real world, this get to even scarier heights. The aforementioned FS book has someone being so in love that he’s willing to KILL people to make her happy.
And the less said about what they do with the people they are obsessed with, the better. Haunting Hour usually shows the biggest extreme they can go to in a kid’s show. It’s kind of the same here.
But this is all a compliment. For once they have a horrific subject that’s actually SCARIER in real life. They even hint at that with Cupid’s statement here. So in a way, this one of the most interesting and complex ones they’ve done.
And it’s all in the guise of comedy and the ending is one the “wah wah” variety. That was an interesting choice that I think worked. The ending works since it fits the tone and doing a scary ending would be a bit odd in this case.
But the thing, the subject matter isn’t traditional haunting hour scares and the cause is a “quirky” kind of supernatural. You could make Cupid scary in a adult show, but not this show. So they had to make it comedic or else the scares might be unintentionally comedic. So now it’s intentionally comedic until the 3rd act.
In other critiques, the performances are good. The main chick was in Ghostly stare, and she played intentionally bad in Creature Feature. Here she’s pretty good and she makes Maggie likable. She has funny lines and stuff that prevent her lovey-ness from being sickening and whatever. I normally wouldn’t bring her up, but she did impress me at points.
Brendan is a weird bag. He plays his lovey dovey stuff a bit over the top to the point where some may not like it. While I think he could have turned it down, he ended up being pretty good. The tarantula scene is even cooler since he makes it seem so…romanitc.
Dosage 2 Brendan is scary and funny. His acting does threaten to make it more narmy but he keeps it in check. That Gollum voice bit was freaky as hell. Though when he goes crazy at the very end, he can be a bit odd. But overall he pulls it off.
David Deuise is good as Cupid. I usually see him in comedic stuff like Wizards of Waverly place (which ironically did an episode with cupid) so he seemed like an odd choice for this episode. However, he pulls it off. He has a few comedic lines which he pulls off very well, but he’s really impressive at being serious.
He seriously pulled off that speech and he’s actually kind of threatening near the end. Yes,. Cupid is threatening. Those are words I never thought I’d type. Anyway, he was good.
And finally, that’s it for this one. It’s a mixed bag to an extent due to how weird it is in writing and execution. However, it gets down to some surprisingly scary things for a comedy episode. It talks about interesting things, even more so than other simple episodes.
It’s an experiment to mix in every haunting hour episode style. It worked due to the writing but some bits are certainly awkwardly handled. Thankfully, I’ve only seen one guy had issues with it…and he was an asshole on the haunting hour wiki who hated me and Like poof de formage.
I switched grades certainty but I decided to go a bit higher. It’s a little odd but it explores interesting themes and it was fascinating experiment. Not the best ep to close up, but whatever.
I’ll go ahead and put my top 5 lists before I wrap things. Here’s my Top 5 Season 3 Episodes
HONORABLE MENTION: Terrible Love
5. The Cast
3. My Imaginary Friend
2. The Golem
1. The Girl In The Painting
So that was Season 3. A Mixed bag, to an extent. On the good side, almost every episode got a B+ or higher. With 12 episodes 10 of them were a B+. Hell, 11 if you count rhe DIRECTOR’S CUT of Spaceman. Only Poof De formage dropped below and stayed there.
But on the other hand, the ones that are B+ or more aren’t as amazing as in the first couple season. I can say some of them are up there with the perfect brother, or worng number. But most of the normal good ones (the B+ ones) weren’t nearly as good as the B+ ones from the previous season.
In other words, The Cast and The Weeping Woman are not Dreamcatcher or Creature Feature. I had a hard time finding a number 5 spot up there because none were just good enough for that spot. I picked The Cast cuz…why not?
Perhaps only the 3 best of the season are among the series best. So that could make it weaker than 2 even though it had more B episodes. Though 2 also didn’t have Poof de formage.
But I don’t like to compare or focus on the negative. The top 3 alone are good enough to save the season. Plus even the B+ episodes had great stuff that upped the anty. As a whole, this was still a very good season that did new and scary things.
It was still dark, it was still emotional and it was still awesome. Plus, we FINALLY got an ep based on a story from the collection the show is NAMED AFTER. That alone, is awesome.
So what’s next for the haunting hour. Season 4 premieres October 12th with two normal episodes. Sadly, they will not open with a two parter this time/ But I can live with that.
The episodes are “Seance” and “Detention”. I won’t say the plot as I’ll save for the Retrospective come February or so when the season ends. But I’ll say the latter reminds me of The Nightmare Room episode “School spirit”.
Also the latter be the 50th overall episode, if you count two parter as one episode, unlike the DVD’s.
We know nothing about the season otherwise. Since Season 3 had a couple announced episodes The Dead Body 2 that didn’t air, I guess those will be here.
And now we are done, and you know my thoughts on every single episode. Overall, in spite of a few off episodes, this is a fantastic series. It took everything great about Goosebumps, Nightmare room, and even similar series like Are you afraid of the dark and made it even BETTER.
We’ve gotten scary ideas, fantastic writing, and some great scares. All from a RL Stine kid’s show. Nothing, not even a few weak episodes can change that. Hell, I’d take Poof de formage over My Best friend is invisible any day.
What’s next for my RL Stine coverage? Well, I have Horrorland to review, as well as the next two sub series. I got Fear Street reviews, and I need to do the Mostly Ghostly movie soon as well.
But there is one thing I must discuss…
COMING SOON: The Nightmare room TV Series Retrospective
Before I go, here’s an UPDATED version of my original Top 11 List.
RUNNER UP: A Creature Was Stirring
11. Wrong Number
10. The Girl in The Painting
9. The Black Mask
7. The Most Evil Sorcerer
6. Catching Cold
5. Fear Never Knocks
4. The Perfect Brother
- Really you