Haunting Hour Season 5 Retrospective

Hello, Spongey here.

Well guys, it’s time once again to finally talk about the previous Season of R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour….for the final time. Yeah, I figured I’d get it out of the way. First off, sorry for the extreme long delay. I got caught up with other projects.

Right around the airing of the final episode, Stine himself said on Twitter Discovery Family has no plans to renew the series and the show would be ending. It’s been confirmed in other places so it’s 100 percent true.

I can’t say I’m hugely shocked. After all, when The Hub became Discovery Family, I knew they would phase out the less successful shows. They had to keep stuff like MLP and Transformers Rescue Bots since they are directly based on Hasbro products and thus make money.

Stuff like this is somewhat original so there we no reason for them to keep it around and it doesn’t exactly have the fan base other shows have. Thus, it was canned. While I have another reason to dislike this new channel, I can’t be too pissed.

After all, it had a good run and it’s better to end when it’s good and let it go on until it sucks. I think the thing that bugs me is how the short the Seasons got. Seasons 3 and 4 were only 12 episodes and this Season is just 10. Even if you combined 3 and 4 to just make 3, this Season is still too short.

If the full Season 3 aired at once, and this Season was about 20 or so episodes, it would be fine. A nice 4 Season run, but instead it feels like 2 complete Season, then 3 Mini Season. We have around 70 or so episodes, I think which is a decent amount in the end.

But did they have to take it off the channel completely? There are no more reruns which means I need to watch it online now. Season 2 finally got added to Netflix, so I’m hoping the rest ends up on there soon so people can watch it. The DVDS only made it to early Season 2 and I don’t think more will be made.

It sucks the show had to end, and I think it would have gone out on a better note with bigger Season, but all good things must come to an end. I’ll give my epic ending speech…at the end, but for now we gotta get this show on the road. As long as another show that featured Vincent Martella that i like doesn’t end-OH WAIT.

…So, How does the final Season of a great show pan out? Is the series finale any good? Let’s take our final plunge into the insane world of R.L. Stine television. …Well, not literally, I gotta cover Eye Candy at some point, but you know what I mean!

This, is the Haunting Hour Season 5 Retrospective

I’m Not Martin

Director: Neill Fearnley

Writer: Mitch Watson

Oh hey a new writer, who wrote an episode of Spooksville that is…about a hospital too. No comment. And we begin with a short story episode!

Sean Daily (played by Jeff from Clarence) is at a hospital to have his tonsils out and at night, he is visited by a boy missing a foot and told that the hospital is evil. After somehow being transported back in time, he must figure out what to do…before he loses his foot.

So you may remember my review of the short story this was based on. And…well I liked it but thought it made no sense with it’s ending. With this episode coming up, I was hoping they would expand on it and actually have the story make sens

And from that summary, you know I got my wish. But how is it on it’s own? It’s pretty solid! While it’s not the most tightly scripted episode ever, it’s still quite good.

But first, how do they expand on the story? Well, Sean’s brother tells him a story of this ghost kid. He had to get his tonsils out on Halloween, and he was next to a kid named Martin. He didn’t want his foot cut off, so we switched the clipboards, so that they take the other kid instead.

And it was in the 50’s, and it was at night, so it makes sense that they would make this mistake. This more or less took the basic story of the …well story, and had it make sense! Was it that hard?

Speaking of the story, this episode is certainly focused on atmosphere. That boy basically tells him the hospital is evil and doesn’t really go into detail. Sean randomly finds himself in the 50’s, with people thinking he’s Martin.

There’s no explanation for this, and in the end, it turns out to be a dream …But the foot kid shows up in the car, wanting his foot, and it ends. Yeah, the story here isn’t the strongest. While it’s better than the short story, they don’t go into enough detail and the ending is kind of cheap.

I know leaving things ambiguous is usually scarier but come on. Someone is gonna cut off his foot. That’s scary no matter what the reason is. Although it is a bit weak. The big scary thing is….something most people can recover thing. Did that boy die from having his foot cut off, or did he just die later and decide to haunt the place?

But none of that matters, because this episode isn’t focused on the story. It’s very heavy on atmosphere. It mostly has Sean running around, trying to get away from the hospital people. While this could have been boring, they manage to make it pretty intense.

While the danger is mundane compared to most episodes, they make you just as worried for his fate as you would if it was worse. There’s some creepy and intense moments, and the director gets major points for that.

The doctors make this even creepier. Instead of just being laughing villains, they act like everything’s totally normal. They crack jokes like this is no big deal, and act like Sean is just being silly.

It makes this all creepier because of how amusing they act. Their scenes certaintly add more tension to the episode. The last scene before he wakes up is pretty creepy, and you do wonder what will happen.

So while this episode isn’t the best written, it’s one of the more intense episodes. I wouldn’t say it’s the scariest, but they make a more mundane scary pretty damn interesting. That’s cool.

The story does subtract a bit. I think I would like it more if we got more explanton for what’s going on, or the ending was changed. The dream thing is bad enough without that confusing bit.

I’m just saying, they could have done something a bit better.

But overall, this is an improvement over the short story. While it doesn’t explain anything, it at least makes more sense. The story isn’t that deeper, and the script maybe needed a re-write, but it makes up for it by being very intense and creepy.

It’s an improvement over the last few season openers, as it’s scary and has some good concepts. Not the best episode ever, but quite the intense one. Oh, and since I know him from Clarence more than anything else, some of his lines because funnier than intended.

Doesn’t help that Clarence does have a hospital episode, and Jeff is scared through most of it. Yeah.

Grade: B+

Grandpa’s Glasses

Director: James Head

Writers: Craig S Phillips and Billy Brown

Bo finds a pair of his grandfather’s glasses and begins seeing strange things and hearing someone screaming to be let out.

Hey, this odd. Typically it’s Billy Brown and Dan Angle, or Craig S Phillips and Hayold Hayes Jr, but it’s …the opposite! Does this cool mix up result in a good episode?

YES.

This is going by the review where I just gush about how amazing it is, as this is the Detetion of the Season. Funny how it’s also the 2nd episode.

Where do I even begin with this? Oh wait. How about the fact that it’s the best of both worlds?

I love Sweet episodes as much as the next guy, but they don’t tend to be scary. Itense? Sure, but the scary ones are saved for episodes like Lights Scary. With a couple exceptions such as Really You, Sweet episodes and Scary episodes to be seperate.

And that’s where this one comes in. If you want a scary episode, you’ve got it. If you want a Sweet episode, then you also got it. This episode has a lot on both ends.

The first episode is pretty damn intense, even for this show. The concept is pretty simple: A boy sees freaky things through some glasses. But they manage make it work because of the mystery.

You have no idea whats going on, and because these monsters don’t just rampage all over the place, you wonder what these things are. They build up the atmosphere perfectly and you are given enough info to care about what is going on, and wonder what will happen next.

It’s hard to describe, but this episode manages to pretty damn scary, despite the fact that not much quite happens for a bit. Most of it is Bo walking around dealing the images the glasses given him.

But they manage to make it interesting due to the atmosphere. So this episode has scary down pretty well, but what about the Sweet part?

Oh, that’s the fun part. See, Bo never actually know his Grandfather even existed until he died, and they just plan to clean out the house and sell it. Long story out, he finds out his Grandfather is trapped into a room by a monster and he can’t move on.

And the reason is where things get interesting. See, Mom did not like Grandpa and would not like him see Bo. Grandpa was a pretty bad father, not really caring about his family. He was more interested in traveling the world and looking for riches.

And now he’s dead and he can’t move on.

…Yeah, and that’s not even the best part. Let’s think about this for a minute. We’ve had serious subjects on this show, and this episode takes it up another level. We have someone dealing with a neglectful father, and a kid not allowed to his Grandfather due to all this.

This some heavy stuff and they handle it really well. Sure, they could have done more with it but for what we got, it’s amazing. We get to see how this effects all parties involved. Grandpa really regrets his actions, Bo wants everything to be resolved so Grandpa can move on, and Mom..seems pretty obvious.

It’s worth noting that Mom is actually there for most of the plot, and while she is sketpial, she tries to believe his claims. It doesn’t even take much for her to figure out he may be telling the truth.

Man, this episode gets almost everything right!

Naturally she figures out what is going on, but she has no idea Grandpa is there. Yeah, as it turns out, the monster holding him back is her inner anger coming out. It’s a bit cheesy but it works.

Mom seems to know danger is happening, since Bo is trapped with Grandpa with no one out. And Bo tells her she has to forgive Grandpa, and she has no idea he’s even there at all.

That makes the big scene even better. We don’t exactly see her thought process but we almost get it just from her expressions. It’s an incredibly tear jerker moment as she wonders if she should forgive him.

The moment itself is tense due to the scary situation, as while as the deeper reasons. It’s about on par with something like Flight, for being intense AND tear jerking.

Of course there’s a happy ending, but it works a bit better than something like The Golem. It pretty much ends as soon as things end up happy, but it works since there wasn’t a lot to wrap up.

This episode hits new highs, using old tricks. It’s more or less Flight meets Detention, at least with it’s atmosphere and story. This episode tells a story about a bad father trying to be forgiven because she just won’t let him.

That’s almost up there with Detention for how heavy it is for a kids show. It’s incredibly sweet and tearjerking, and they deserve a lot of credit for pulling it off so well. On top of that, it’s also incredibly intense and scary.

I suppose the only flaw is that the story doesn’t go too deep into certain elements. They could have showed Mom’s thought process about forgiving him a bit more or something like that.

But I understand you don’t have time to go into everything, and what we have is so good I can forgive all of that.

This episode is just amazing. It has everything I want in an episode. It’s scary, it’s intense, it has a likable main character, and a very deep story with some heavy and sweet stuff.

It’s excellent all the way through, and clear proof this only somehow only gets better, even with it’s flaws.

We’re 2 episodes and we’ve hit a new high, so that’s a great sign. You won’t see me gush this much later on, but let’s how how good it can get from here. For now, this episode is just awesome, being scary AND sweet.

Grade: A-

My Old House

Director: Neill Fearnley

Writer: Natile Lapointe and Greg Yolen

Alice moves to a new house, but she’s still very much attached to her old house…and maybe the house shares those feelings…a bit too much.

Hey, remember how I made a big deal about Michelle Creber aka Applebloom appearing in Dreamcatcher? Well, a casting director out must have wanted to up the ante, because the Mom in this episode is played none other than Celestia herself, Nicole Oliver.

Yes. But for now, let’s focus on the episode itself. It’s pretty good, mostly it’s rather unique. The main concept is a tad sillly but they manage to make it creepy and even slightly sweet.

I mean, we have a girl so attached to her old house that she treats it like a person and tries to visit it often. It’s a lot like Catching Cold, where it should be silly but it ends up being scary.

Mostly because it’s pretty releatable. When we live in a place for a awhile, it sucks t have to move. I moved not too long before this episode aired, and while I wasn’t hugely attached, it was weird to move away from a home I had for at least 9 years.

So I can see where she’s coming from, at least./ On top of that, the house is personified pretty well. It doesn’t have any big expressions but just from how it acts and the way certain shots are framed, you can tell how it is feeling.

Just wit minor changes the house can be happy, sad, or angry. The context of the scene also helps. The only time it gets silly is near the end where it’s eyes finally move around with this …stalk things.

The Bad CGI doesn’t help at all.

Otherwise, I took most of this seriously. And like I said, there’s a sweet side to it. As silly as it is, you can see why she has this connection with this house as she goes into some of her memories.

Then later on after she runs back to the house, she overhears her parents basically puring their hearts out, and she starts about how silly she is being. It’s not the deepest thing ever, but it’s pretty nice.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, Nicole Oliver does a good job. She has a few big scenes she does pretty well, especially when she’s telling Alice about how it’s okay to feel this way and stuff. She feels very Celestia-like there.

There, i’m done with that joke.

Then we have the ending, which is another scary one. These are the writers of Red eye and Terrible Love, so a horrifying ending is to be expected. Alice decides to leave and the house gets angry.

Those stalk things come after her and we cut to black with a scream. If that isn’t scary enough, see what happens next. We cut to later as another family has bought the house. The daughter says she sees a face in the wall…but not the one we’ve seen for most of the episode.

No, it’s Alice face which is now stuck in the wall. Despite a wonky looking effect, it’s just as creepy as it sounds. Now that’s a good ending.

Overall, this is another really good atmosphere. It’s releatable and uses a silly concept to make a creepy and sometimes even sweet story. My only problem is that maybe the script could have had more to it.

We could have seen some flashbacks of the happy times, or maybe the move could have happened later in the episode. I mean we maybe needed more time to know Alice before she goes crazy.

That’s something Catching Cold did a lot better. But despite that, this episode works really well. It’s creepy and sweet despite an odd concept and it makes a lot of weird things work.

Grade: B+

We’re 3 for 3 with creepy episodes, but there’s no way it can get freakier…right?

Mrs. Worthington

Director: James Head

Writer: Melody Fox

Nate is bullied by his older sister Molly and deals with by drawing pictures of his sister being punished by a woman he calls Mrs. Worthington. One night when the two are left alone, Mrs Worthington somehow shows up to babysit them and punish Molly.

The bar for disturbing-ness has been set fairly high this Season. What could beat an evil hospital? Well, this episode manages to do it. Even before Supernatural stuff happens.

At the start, we see Molly being a pretty horrible bitch, then we see Nate doing some drawings and we see that he has come with some…ideas of how to punish them. He talks about how she needs to be “punished real good” and all of Mrs. Worthington’s sadistic ideas come straight from Nate.

…Yeah, this kid has …issues. Quite frankly he’s the scariest part. Thankfully, that seems to be the point.

They do a pretty good job at making you want to see her punished. She acts like a terrible bitch and she more or less gets away with it because…reasons. And the episode actually does point how bad the parents away for letting this happen, but more on that in a bit.

This episode is interesting in that they make you want to see her punished…but once she is, you feel a bit sorry for her. Mostly for what they do with it. Being a kids show, they can’t go too far but it’s still very sadistic.

Oh, that’s the word of the day folks. That sums up this whole episode…in a good way. By magic, Mrs. Worthington is brought to life and wants to punish Molly. She is played by Morgot Kidder and she follows in the footsteps of people like Micheal Ironside.

In that she’s a notable guest star who does a great job. I noticed that episodes with this writer tend to have sadistic villains and this is a new high for the show. Not only does she want to do these horrible things, but she thinks she’s in the right and tonally okay with this.

She’s even kind of cheery at first. She doesn’t anything horrible, (nothing past PG, anyway) but just her attitude is enough to chill you. She mostly just brings up some rather graphic ideas.

The main thing she does is create this mummy looking voodoo doll, and wraps Molly up In that materiel, and zips her mouth shut. This sounds tame but that way it’s done is pretty horrifying.

Also, yes, this is very similar to The Bad Babysitter. It has a similar conclusion too, with them using a doll on her in the end. Well, I got my wish for an adaptation, and it’s even better.

The episode doesn’t directly state and it’s morals and themes, and that’s part of why it works. You can kind of tell what they are saying here. While Molly is bad, she doesn’t deserve such extreme treatment.

It’s certainly not healthy to daydream of killing your sister. …I mean jesus, this episode kind of glosses how freaky that is. While there’s nothing wrong with escapism, there is a line that is easy to cross.

There’s another theme that came through a certain line, that made this episode even better. When Molly is being tortured, Nate says she is sorry.

She’s sorry because she’s punished, not because she actually feels bad for what did’

And that’s where things got while. For a while now, I’ve wanted to see a kids Tv show tackle this theme. In real life, a lot of people say their sorry only because someone is angry or they are being punished.

I’ve seen it in TV shows a lot. If the problem isn’t erasing the nice moment, it’s making it unconvincing. It so cool to see it being brought up here. Sure, they don’t go any deeper, but it’s food for thought.

Of course, Nate and Molly eventually do bond, as they realize how silly they are. It’s a bit rushed when compared to other episodes that do this, but it’s still pretty nice. Molly turning good isn’t too believable, but I liked seeing them make up. It’s just sweet.

There’s not much to say about the ending. They defeat Mrs. Worthington and make up. The twist is that her hand survived and she is drawing herself back to life. Typical ending.

But the rest is not typical. Overall, this is another great episode. It’s very sadistic with how it portrays it’s villain and it dives into some interesting themes, even for this show.

While they could have gone deeper, it’s still very interesting for what it is. It gives you a lot to chew on, and that’s what I like about it. It’s also incredibly intense, just like other episode this Season so far.

Grade: A-

Since we’d have 4 notably good episodes in a row, I’m assuming the next one will be just good, right?

Return of the Pumpkinheads

Director: Joe Rosenbaum

Writers: Erik Patterson and Jessica Scott

Farmer Palmer has died and the family of Karen and Zach have moved into his old, rundown house. And of course the Pumpkin creatures start to rear their ugly heads once again.

Well, I was kind of right.

Yep, we have our 3rd sequel episode. Because…someone asked for it, I guess. Of course, this is follow up to Pumpkin Head. I skimed out that review, so I guess I can make up for it now.

I re-watched it before going into this, and I like it a lot more this time. Its’ still nothing special but the ending makes up for any flaws I have. However, I was not interested in this one because….why make a sequel?

The story was pretty self contained and it didn’t seem to have much room for a sequel. Besides, the short story didn’t have a sequel….then again, neither did The Dead Body. Infact, I didn’t’ want a sequel to that either and I loved Dead Bodies.

I gave this a shot and…while it is a good, I still don’t think it needed to exist. They only made it so they could have a Halloween episode without having to think of an original idea. And it’s popular.

And yes Really you and Dead Bodies were popular, but they were way more popular and had more potential for a sequel. I wish they made an original Halloween episode, really. I like both episodes but I wish the Halloween episodes of THIS show were a lot more fitting.

But onto the actual review. As you can tell, they just did the Living Dummy thing where technically it’s connected but it’s mostly just In Name Only. You can watch just this one nad get the story fine.

Again adding to why this didn’t need to exist. Okay, I’m done. The actual episode is actually pretty good, despite some flaw. Let’s go over them quickly.

First, Karen quips way too much at the start. She doesn’t like the house and every line she has in the first quarter in some dumb joke about the house. It’s funny at first but gets annoying.

Thankully, they drop it quickly. Since these are Comedy writers, I can’t be shocked. Plus, the director has mosly done Disney Sitcom stuff, so it’s surprising this episode is scary at all.

Besides the stuff I already bitced about, the other flaw is that it doesn’t quite break new ground, at least in terms of plot. Besides the moving to a creepy house stuff, one plot point is lifted from Checking Out. The ending is actual complete this time and it adds to the episode, but it’s still from another episode.

The episode mostly works due to the atmosphere. They use the location of a creepy farm very well and create some intense scenes out of it. They are careful not to show too much of the Pumpkin Heads, so they serve as real threats and they are quite creepy.

When we do see them, they are well designed. A far cry from the Pumpkin guys in Attack of the Jack o Lanterns. Later on they start picking off the parents, like a horror movie and it’s pretty effective stuff.

I’d say this is actually scarier than the first one when it’s at it’s best. The first one had it’s moments, but was mostly creepy at the end. This had moments all the way through. I’d say they are about equal, although this is a bit better in some ways.

The plot of the first one was better, and the main characters are a bit equal. The bitchy sister in the first one was more tolerable, while the main kid was annoying because he couldn’t act. When a Jonas brother does a better job than you, you better just pack it in.

The good parts of this one are better than the good parts, and the flaws are about equal. The first one had the aforementioned bad acting gag, and the plot was nothing special. Also, Zombie Justin Beiber.

But onto the ending. What’s the Checking Out element I mentioned earlier? Well, the kids are basically being jerks to their parents, and in the end they really start to see the error of their ways and regret it.

Like I said, this adds to this plot and while it’s not a huge rip off, it did remind me of that episode. It does work to elevate this episode because it makes the ending more tragic. It’s basic ending but it’s so effective.

The parents are attacked by the Pumpkin Heads and once they attack, they find these pumpkins with their faces on them nad basically try to save them. In the end they fail to do as their transformed parent appear in the back of the truck and attack them.

Now that is scary. Seriously, the way this is done is pretty darn scary. Not just because of how it’s done, but because it’s their parents. And given that element I mentioned, it becomes kind of tragic.

So yeah, this episode doesn’t do anything too amazing with the plot and it didn’t need to exist. But at least it’s pretty good with some great atmosphere and really scary ending. While I will stick with The Haunted Mask when it comes to Halloween episodes, both of these episodes fit pretty well too. Plus on the plot side, it’s a nice breather from the last few. Not the best, but still pretty good.

Grade: B+

Man, we’ve been getting a lot of scary episodes. I think we should take a break and have a toned down episode. But how can we do that..

Near Mint Condition

Director: Ken Friss

Writers: Erik Patterson and Jessica Scott

Oh. reunite the team that brought us Poof De Fromage. That’s how.

Ted (played by Luke Benward) is obsessed with buying collectable toys online, and spends five thousand dollars on a rare Robo-Bear toy from the 80’s named Mangler with a mysterious link to accidents and deaths that occurred to the children that received the toys. Spoilers, it comes to life and tries to kill them.

So it’s safe to say I was a bit worried about this one upon learning of the team behind it. ….But thankfully, it’s a huge improvement. Infact, we can call this Poof De Formage done right.

But before we get into that, we have to talk about these Comedy episodes in general and how they work. Most of the Comedy episodes combine the usual premise of an episode with Comedy, and still manage to tell an actual story.

Best Friend Forever took a typical story than did the ET thing for Comedic effect. Grampires took a silly concept (Eledery vampires) and just simply had fun with it. Creature Feature was the only pure Comedy episode, due it’s parody premise.

Honestly, this show isn’t the best at being actually funny. Most of the good Comedy comes from the premise, like in Best Friend Forever. Something like Bad Egg is more of a silly story that has a few jokes, and also Jason’s Dad.

Seriously, fuck him.

Poof De Formage was the first case of a pure, normal Comedy, where the plot plays into the Comedy as much as the script. And that’s kind of the issue. They had a good serious concept but made it into a Comedy.

It just didn’t work because it didn’t even try to tell a story and the jokes were very cheap and lazy. I know it could have been a Goosebumps Homage…but Goosebumps was funny on accident.

It’s silly premises were just…silly. The comedy came from premise, it didn’t just try too hard. I realize Comedy is subjective but they made it so that Comedy is the only thing it has.

What does that have to do with this episode? Well, this is a Goosebumps homage done right. It takes it’s silly concept seriously, which is where the laughs come from. It knows it’s silly but there are points where it kind of works as a serious story.

It’s no different from your typical killer doll, but it becomes silly when we are dealing with a Robo Teddy Bear. They don’t a ton of the actual jokes but the ones they do make are mostly good.

My favorite part is the Mangler Toy Commercial, which is very accurate homage to 80’s and 90’s toy ads, complete with a catchy jingle.

Despite being a silly episode, there are some creepy parts. Some of the hsots of Mangler are kind of a creepy and it’s outright stated he has killed people. Yes. They even introduce it as a joke…i think.

Ted…wait a sec…Ted…as in…Teddy Bears.

BwPdTzJIUAERUPB

…Ted is telling them the history of Mangler, when he just randomly mentioned that kids died. It’s so random and he acts like it’s ust normal. It’s so out of nowhere, it’s funny. Later on, he attack the brother’s friend and he ends up going the hopsital.

We never see what happened but Mangler has blood on him. Yikes.

For a silly episode, it’s impressive they managed to milk some horror out of it. …However, there are natrually some flaws. Because the concept is silly, it can be a hard to swallow.

Since it does take itself seriously, some may think it’s supposed to be serious and then hate it. It’s a somewhat easy mistake to make. Plus it can a bit too dumb. The main character can also a bit too weird with how much of a creepy collect he is.

Especially since he does end up winning in the end. Speaking of Ted, Luke Benward has to be the least convincing nerd ever. His character is a creepy collecting nerd who takes every seriously.

And he’s played a fairly pretty normal boy. He…can’t pull it off. He does not like the nerd he is written off, and so some moments can be really off. He does fine, it’s just a bad mis cast.

Although it does make up for him missing out Mostly Ghostly 2.

Now for the ending, which is just amazing. So in the climax, how do they stop Mangler? Ted gets out a Kattana and slashes him in half.

…Yes. It’s …amazing in how over the top and silly it is. This is where you decide if you are on board or not. I certainty was. Anyway, they slash him up then put him back together to put him up for sale.

.Uh, so you’re just passing off the evil to someone else? Jerks. The episode pretty ingmuch ends here, with Ted adding that the bear is in “Near Mint Condtion”.

Roll credits!

,….Wait the episode ends here…so they did roll credits. …Whoa.

So that’s the episode. Is it the weakest of the Season? Maybe, it has some problems including being too weird and having the worst Nerd ever. But it’s still a solid episode being a solid throw back with creepy parts and being enjoyable silly.

Yep, it is Poof De Formage done right. Nothing special, but it’s fun.

Grade: B

..So it’s back to scary, I’m assuming?

Arggh V

Director: Allan Harmon

Writer: Jack Monaco

Sam Covington (Chyna Ann Mclaine) ‘s free spirited parents buy a new RV that happens to be haunted.

During the time between seasonal reviews, I did some research into the writers. And I found out that Jack Monaco is my favorite writer on the show. His episodes tend to be some of the scariest in the show and he has some gems such as The Golem.

Which is interesting because his previous writer credits include the Recess Halloween episode (the creepiest segment of course) and…Special Agent Oso. Yes, really.

How does his final episode pan out? Pretty well! It’s one of his weaker episodes, but it’s solid. There’s not much here to analyze so this may be the shortest review. I suppose we can quickly start by talking about Chyna.

She’s fine. She is comedic but she has talent so it works here and it fits for the episode. I mean this Season alone has had characters quipping, so it fits. And when she needs to be serious in the scary scenes, she works fine.

This episode is pretty simple, really. Just a story about a haunting RV. And that’s toatlly fine. We need a simple episode now and again and story wise, it’s better than a few others. There aren’t any huge plot holes and the one turn we go get is pretty cool.

Like wise, the scares are nothing huge. We get some nice moments but they saved the big thing for the ending. They still a good mood for most of the run time. Sam’s parents are pretty interesting though.

They are shown as free spirited types hwo want to go where the road takes them. But as a result, they are just fine with Chyna skipping school to go on a random road trip, even after they hear about the creepy story that comes with the RV.

Sam just wants to focus on school and stuff, but she isn’t seen going too far with it. The parents do have a good point to an extent but they do go to far. That’s actually pretty interesting. They don’t exactly go deep but it is something to chew on.

The fact that Sam doesn’t do anything too bad besides declining dumb offers, helps makes the implied moral stronger. It’s okay to be free but don’t try to be stupid. It’s interesting.

Then we have the ending. It turns out the family that owned this RV “kind of died’ (as that guy from that one Are you afraid of the dark episode would put it) and Chyna is a bit upset a bit.

In the end, Sam’s parents want to go on a road trip and eventually she agrees just to keep an eye on them. At night, they barely avoiding being hit by a car, and pick up a family…with the same name as the Family that died.

Of course it doesn’t take long for it to turn out that it IS them. The reveal is pretty scary as they turn into zombie things, even the kids. If that isn’t scary enough, Sam’s parents become these zombie looking people too and everyone starts telling her to “Come with us”

The episode ends with them going forth, with Sam just looking in shock, slowly acceptng her fate. And it’s implied that infact, did not make it and were killed by that car. …Yep, our main character technically dies on screen.

…Jesus. And this is this like the 3rd time this happened to someone connected to Disney Channel!

While the twist is predictable, it’s still pretty scary. Especially when she just accepts her fate. Yikes.

There isn’t much more to say. This episode isn’t really heavy an any area, but it gets praise for what it does right. The story is simple and doesn’t try too hard to do anything big, and it has some effective scares.

A theme to chew on a disturbing ending are just the icing on the cake. I was debating the rating, but since the writing is better than I’m Not Martin and Return of the Pumpknheads, and the ending is daring, I’ll be nice.

My only problem? No pirates! Why call it Argh V if there are no pirates?!

Grade: B+

Lotsa Luck

Director: James Head

Writer: Nicole Duboc

Before I say anything, I just wanna say it’s funny that this and Littlest Pet Shop both have episodes called Lotsa Luck.

In order to get better luck, Greg captures an evil leprechaun who really wants his soul.

Here’s another episode that sounds a bit silly from the premise, but this one is a lot more serious. Really, the only silly thing is the concept of an evil Leprechaun. The episode is mostly a serious Be Careful what you wish for story.

And it works. It’s not very scary but it’s a good story. Actually, it not being scary as one of my few complaints. They are some moments, but it doesn’t really try to be creepy until near the end when Shamus approaches Mom. That was actually pretty intense.

There’s also the ending but we’ll get to that.

The story is a bit like Nightmare Room’s Locker 13, and a few other stories, where a kid has bad luck and goes through a lot to reverse it. First off, this is another Culture episode, and you kind of guess which one is the subject here.

They handle it pretty well here, as it drives the story well and Mom seems to hate Irish stereotypes. Or she just hates leprechauns for understandable reasons. They might be why she didn’t like it when Dad got Discount Lucky Charms.

Shamus himself makes this episode for me. He’s sort of an “Edgy” Leprechaun, but you can take him pretty seriously since he isn’t too silly. He’s even kind of creepy at points. The nature of story helps make this one pretty interesting too.

Being evil, Shamus takes away someone else’s good luck when he grants a wish, and when he’s done, he steals your soul. Greg’s Grandfather is the only person to be able to out smart him, and Shamus is not happy about this.

There are definitely some interesting parts as Dad’s luck goes downhil just as Greg gets good luck. It doesn’t go far as Locker 13 (the book anyway) but it’s still kind of interesting.

The coolest aspect of this episode to me is that Mom and Greg eventually have to team up. She knows about Shamus and quickly figures out that Greg met him. So instead of the parent just being there, the Mom is very involved in the plot. I thought that was pretty cool, even if Grandpa’s Glasses did it better.

The plot used fairly well, with not as much filler as other episodes. Things are always happening and despite the lack of scares, it stays pretty interesting.

But as usual, let’s skip to the ending. In a rather cliché turn, Greg wishes that he never met Shamus so thus, he never made any wishes and no soul can be taken. This works as the episode pretty much goes to the start, and everything is normal.

But this is Haunting Hour so it’s not that simple. As it turns out, Grandpa outsmarted Shamus in a different way. He wished that Shamus not take his soul….in exchange for the soul of his next male first born.

…Whoops. Shamus shows up and after telling Greg about this, the episode pretty much ends. Yep, once again our hero is offed. …This Season is dark.

This ending is pretty freaky, mostly because of how much of a dick Grandpa is. You’re seriously going to doom your Grandson? Why not just make it so the descndate that loses a soul is so far in the future that it Shamus will have to wait quite a while?

I suppose this adds to the creepy-ness but it’s still stupid. Either way, this ending helps make the episode even better.

Overall, this is a pretty good episode. While it’s not very scary and some parts are kind of odd, it’s still pretty enjoyable. Shamus is a cool villain, they make a silly concept work, the story goes in some interesting directions, and the ending is freaky,

Not much else to say really. It gives me something else to watch on St. Patrick’s Day besides Luck of the Irish. It’s a cool episode. Although I was mixed on the grade again since the lack of scares is an issue given how cool Shamus.

But since the writing is better than a few others, I’ll be nice again.

Grade: B+

Spores

Director: Ken Friss

Writesr: Natalie LaPointe & Greg Yolen

Melvin is dragged to Point Park camping grounds, because his father wants to beat an office rival’s time to reach Lookout Point. So of course they run into some strange evil creatures.

Hey, remember how I said the casting directors wanted to top themselves by getting Celestia after getting Applebloom? …Well, Applebloom returns in this episode, to prove why should she never be in the wild.

This time, she’s the bitchy sister, and it’s pretty great. Weird how she was on the show twice.

As for the episode iteself, it makes up for the last couple not being too creepy. This was a seriously creepy one most of the way through, and it’s very good. It’s also a very simple one in terms of story, which works out.

Most of it is them walking around, as the family is slowly picked off. It gets pretty intense and there’s nothing dumb to distract you from the story. There is an interesting aspect to the story though, that means Melvin’s Father.

He’s Jason’s Dad done right. …Seriously. He’s kind of a jerk, dragging his family out just so to beat a rival, and on every vacation, he never lets anyone so what they want to do. How is better?

  1. He’s punished by the bad guys, something that never happened to Jason’s Dad,’
  1. He actually has a motivation for his actions.

Yes, really. Basically, he wants the family to stick together and if they do their own thing, they will grow up faster and thus the family will grow a part. It doesn’t excuse his actions but it actually makes him human instead of a one dimensional jerk.

And that makes his sort of death kind of tragic. The main kid is a bit of an annoying germaphobe early on, but they drop that later and he becomes more likable. Likewise, the brother and sister were slightly annoying but they got some good chemistry later in the episode.

We actually don’t properly see the villains in this one and that’s smart. As the title implies they are just spores, so it’s the kind of evil that you can’t see and can easily sneak up on you.

That’s way scarier than a boring old monster, if you ask me. That makes the dread even more effective, especially as Mom and later Dad are turned into spore people. Dad’s last big scene is pretty crazy as he apologies to Mom before she gets him.

Yikes.

The ending is a bit abrupt but it works. The brother and sister are turned into spore people, and Melvin eventually bumps into the ranger guy. Oh, I forgot to mention him. He’s played by the amazing creepy guy from Scarecrow and he’s good here….but he only has like 2 scenes, including this one.

A bit disappointing, but ah well.

As expected, the Ranger is a Spore person and spews spore stuff onto Melvin. The End. …Yep, another death ending. Christ, they really wanted to make up for the lack of scares last Season.

Got nothing special say about the ending, it’s just cool.

Overall, this was a pretty refreshing episode. It was another simple one but it had a lot of scares and even some good story elements. It was very creepy and had another dark ending.

It’s another simple story that works very well. It doesn’t seem like a stand out, but due to what it does, it really as. It’s not quite “great’ but it’s very good.

Grade: B+

…Well, here we are. The Season finale. And the final episode of the whole show. There’s a lot riding on this. Will it go out with a whimper, or a bang? …Let’s find out!

Goodwill Toward Men

Director: James Head

Writers: Billy Brown and Dan Angel

On Christmas morning, a spoiled and wealthy family finds themselves in an Alternate Reality where they are poor and work for their former workers.

Yep, we’re ending this horror show with a Christmas episode. But it’s kind of fitting since the first “official” episode was a Christmas episode, so why not make the finale a Christmas tale? Heck, the show runners even wrote it, and we have the director of the first normal Non Holiday episode.

While it may not be the most fitting finale to a horror show, it does kind of fit, even though it’s a bit different. See, this one actually plays like a more traditional Christmas episode, with positive messages.

But they just have the Haunting Hour asethic in there. What do I mean? The episode features rhyming narration at the start, for one. Yes, really and it has the usual messages mixed in.

This certainly could have been a disaster, being incredibly cheesy, even for this show. However, this risk actually really pays off. Mostly because we have the usual horror, just put in a more realistic setting.

There are a few forced moments, like the set up. We’ve got a family of rich snobs and our hero is good to the people they treat badly. They make it a bit too obvious where this is going. Then there’s the scene where Missy gives her food to this homeless person, saying they need it more than them.

It makes sense but it’s a tad cheesy. However, that’s also part of the charm of it, and I’ll explain later.

One of the garrnder people gives Missy an angel thing that he found as a present and the asshole parents refuse to put it on the tree. We get a creepy night scene and then they wake up to find that everything has changed.

While they are mostly jerks, it is kind of sad when they are kicked out of their house due to this new reality. Imagine waking up to find that pretty much everything you know it is different and you get kicked out what you think is your house

I don’t know, stuff like this is always depressing to me. Speaking of which, they episode gets depressing really quick. While there are no monsters or anything, they still work to make it scary as any other episode.

There’s some creepy POV shots early on, but it really shines in the middle. The family is out on their own with no food or shelter and it’s cold (being December) to boot. Not only is it quite chilling but it gets kind of sad, when everything sinks in.

They try to contact people they know but no one knows they existed. As far as they know, they were just some gardeners who went crazy. That scene in the barn where this hits them is pretty damn sad for what it is.

And it’s stuff like that, which makes the episode work. Despite being a bit Anvilicious, even for this show, they manage to make it as creepy and depressing as any other episode. We have intense atmosphere and some more realistic scares.

It works really well. After more of this, Missy finally asks the glowing angel thing to set things right, because these jerks have clearly had enough. And she does so…sort of.

In the end, reality has permanently shifted where she is now the daughter of the Donaldson family while the Jordans are their servants. Yep, things still seem screwed…but not really.

The Donaldsons are generous with their extensive wealth where they even gave the Jordans a day off. As a result, Missy’s parents and brother are actually nice people and are honestly happier this way.

The episode ends with the angel narrating some more, and saying that some people may think the rich jerks needed real punishment. She answers with the final line of the show:

Even the rich deserve Christmas cheer”

Yep. The execution really makes this happy ending work despite being slightly cheesy. Mostly because it’s not a straight forward happy ending. Things are changed up so that Missy is raised by other people.

That’s technically not all that happy but the way it’s written makes it work. They say that Missy was born into the wrong family, so why not put her with nice rich people instead of jerk-y rich people or …nice poor people?

Eh, maybe putting her with her now nice parents would have made sense, but again, they joke she was born into the wrong family. So it works. I actually have a theory: This reality at the end is actually the “Normal” reality.

At some point the Jordans, or someone else wished they were rich and caused the reality we saw at the start. Because of what happened, the Angel was just trying to correct things while also punishing them at the same time.

I actually think that was almost the twist, but it was changed. Due to how it plays out, it seems pretty likely. But that’s just a theory. …A completely normal theory. …What, were you expecting a lame reference or something?

Anyway, this really nice and sweet ending just works pretty. Why? Well, let’s think for a second. This is the finale episode of the show, and while it likely wasn’t planned as such, it was planned to end the Season.

Through these 4 or 5 Seasons, we’ve seen tons of horrible endings and just bad things happening to people. After all of this, we have the final episode, which ends on a rather uplifting note.

Isn’t that actually kind of fitting? This show may be scary but like a lot of Stine products, it’s not really supposed to the most nightmare inducing thing ever. In the end, they want you to know none of this is real, and sometimes a story will end happily.

This ending kind of fits the overall message of the show at the end of the day. And on it’s own, it’s just really cool to have the show end like this. Even if the show went on, this would be a refresh ending compared to Creature Was Stirring, which was a slightly bittersweet happy ending with a funny twist.

This episode feels like a real Christmas episode, just a bit creepy. Which makes since given A Christmas Carol, one of the most popular Christmas stories, is about ghosts and is depressing.

This episode is a bit cheesy but is mostly just a rather feel good, if a bit spooky, Christmas Episode. It has that Christmas mood all over it, so I may find myself watching this around the holidays, along with A Creature Was Stirring.

The depressing tone and nice message make this episode a really solid way to end the show. Yes, it’s a bit cheesy but sometimes there’s nothing wrong with that. The creepy tone keeps this episode from becoming as cheesy as it could have been anyway.

So while some episodes may be more deserving of this grade, for all of these reasons I’m going to call it great. A very unique and solid way to end the show.

Grade: A-

And that was every episode of Haunting Hour Season 5 Reviewed! …Wait…

Overall, this Season was pretty interesting. The main theme I noticed is that it;s pretty creepy and dark. The past couple Seasons weren’t really that creepy, although they were dark.

So this Season went all out, with pretty much every episode being creepy in some way. Even the silly episode had it’s moments. The least creepy episode ended up being the last one!

That has it’s pros and cons. On one hand, that brings the show back to it’s roots and the actual episodes used the creepy-ness rather well. Plus they mixed in a few decent stories as well.

On the other hand, the bad endings do get tiring after a while. Plus there were only a couple big story driven episodes like Grandpa’s Glasses. The short length isn’t really the problem sine the past 2 Seasons could provide a mix rather well.

But I suppose that’s not a huge problem. There was only 1 episode I’d put in my Top 10 and there weren’t a ton of truly memorable amazing stories, but there were no weak or bad ones, at least.

I suppose that makes this and Season 2 the best, are they both had no episodes I found weak. The weakest episodes of both seasons were still decent. Okay you could say the same for Season 4 but…Jason’s Dad still sucks.

So that’s it for The Haunting Hour. It was a crazy ride full of fun and frights. This show really showed how a kids horror show can be actually creepy and give us some great and complex stories.

I think the thing I will remember most about the show is that variety. We had stories about kids, stories about Teenagers. Funny stories, scary ones, and even heartwarming ones. Doing the same kind of thing would get boring after a while and they did a good job at mixing it up.

It’s understandable that people will like one type of episode over another, but I do hate it when a certain kind is inferior due to just being different. We need a silly episode alongside the scary ones, and vice versa.

Variety is the spice of life, after all.

There’s another odd thing about this season I don’t get: The ending credits. For some reason, a lot of the episode credits are weird. They won’t list the actors and just skip that, or just show some of them usually the minor ones. Hell, in one episode the credits were flat out WRONG about the character names!

I saw them when they aired so I swear this happened, and it seemed to be the same in the few rerurns I caught. Sadly after the finale aired, they dropped the show all together, and the recent episodes have no official release.

Even iTunes and Google Play don’t have it, although I’m not sure about Amazon. That’s so odd.

I really hope we get some kind of replacement in the future. We need another really good horror show out there. Spooksville meet it’s untimely end, as did Deadtime Stories. Stine did say he might have some Fear Street news soon, and he keeps saying this when people ask if there will be a TV or movie of it.

Hmm..

Either way, I’m glad to be done with these retrospectives. Although they are fun. Maybe I’ll find another show to do them with…that isn’t MLP. That’s been done.

At some point, you can expect a remake of my old episode list, like I did with Phineas and Ferb. Expect bigger changes this time, including rewritten sections and stuff like that. Not sure when I will do that but it will happen.

In the meantime, enjoy this last look a Haunting Hour Season. You can go to my Social Media for my thoughts on the Goosebumps movie when I see it, and hopefully I’ll do some kind of review for Eye Candy at some point.

I suppose I’ll see you a that remake list, cuz that’s when I will get a bit deeper. Not as much as that last P&F list, but still a bit deep.

As usual, l leave you with my top 5 of the Season.

  1. Spores

    4. My Old House

    3. Mrs. Worthington

    2. Goodwil Towards Men

    1. Grandpa’s Glasses

See ya.

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About Spongey444

I'm 20 and I'm a slightly below average man who can barely spell. I mostly spend my time watching TV and movies, hence why i ended doing a blog all about those things. I tend to have weird tastes, but I like think I'm just fair on things.
This entry was posted in Christmas Reviews, Haunting Hour Retrospectives, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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