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Featured TV on DVD Review: R.L.Stine's The Hunting Hour

September 27th, 2012

R.L.Stine's The Hunting Hour - Buy from Amazon: Volume One or Blu-ray

R.L.Stine is one of the most prolific writers ever. Many of his horror novels for kids have been adapted for TV, including the Goosebumps series, The Nightmare Room, and now The Haunting Hour. A few weeks ago, the first two volumes of the show were released on DVD for the first time. Does the show live up to its predecessors? Will it entertain its target audience? Will parents watching along with their kids enjoy it as well? Are the DVDs worth picking up?

Volume One

  1. Really You: Part 1 and Part 2
    Bailee Madison stars as Lilly, a young girl obsessed with the Really You doll line, so much so that her brother, Brandon, worries she's going to turn into a monster. "Monster" is going a bit too far. "Spoilt brat" is more accurate. When her doll arrives her obsession goes up a notch claiming her doll is alive. However, it's her mother, Jill (Alisen Down), that begins to treat the doll better than her daughter. Brandon figures something is wrong and decides to investigate by going to the Doll Maker. Will he learn the truth, and is it too late?
  2. The Dead Body
    Will (Brendan Meyer) is a typical high school outsider. He's in love with a popular girl, Anna (Tiera Skovbye), and is the target of one of the bullies, Travis. He does meet a new friend, Jake (Matt Angel), a new kid in school who offers to help him with his bully problem. Jake has a history with bullies, a long history.
  3. A Creature Was Stirring
    This Christmas episode begins with a very excited Timmy (Thomas Robinson) waking his entire family to celebrate Christmas far too early in the morning. (On a side note, this is why you should celebrate Christmas the German way: Have a big meal and exchange gifts on Christmas evening, so that Christmas day is a day of relaxation and leftovers. If it is good enough for the Queen, it is good enough for you. I feel the same way about Corgis.) It's far from a happy family celebration. His mom and dad (Kurt Evans) are arguing, while his brother and sister (Rachel Pattee) nearly come to blows. This is why Timmy asked Santa for help bring his family closer together again. What he gets from Santa is something else entirely.
  4. Nightmare Inn
    Madeline Carroll plays Jillian, a young girl whose father recently died in a car crash. He was driving up to look at an Inn they were interested in buying when he died. (It was a romantic spot he and his wife went to when they were younger.) After his death, Jillian's mom (Ingrid Torrance) decided to buy the Inn anyway and now they are traveling up there, but the stress has brought back the nightmares Jillian had just after her father died. When they arrive, they are greeted by Priscilla, whose family has been taking care of the place for generations. Right away, Jillian gets a really creepy vibe from the place. But is this from the stress?

The Extras

There are about eight and a half minutes of behind-the-scenes clips, plus the original promos. That's not a lot of extras, but it is better than most TV on DVD releases aimed at the same target demographic.

Volume Two

  1. The Red Dress
    Jamie (Linda Tomassone) and Nicole (Eve Harlow) work at the concession stand at a golf course / country club that caters to the rich. Nicole spends her energy hating the rich girls, while Jamie has a major crush on one of the rich guys, Zack (Ryan McDonell). Nicole tells her to move on, because rich guys never date poor girls. The next day, Jamie sees a red dress in a new store, and she has to have it. There's a catch, it costs $400 and the owner, Abigail Raven, is more than a little creepy (this is partially because she is blind). She says the dress costs $400 and that if she really wants something, she has to pay for it (and not in a 'cash or credit card' kind of way). Later than night while returning from work, Jamie comes by the store and the door opens for her, even though the store is empty. She can't resist coming in and trying on the dress, but when Abigail surprises her, she runs home, with the dress on. Seeing herself in the dress does give Jamie the confidence to finally call Zack, but as Abigail said, the dress comes with a cost.
  2. Ghostly Stare
    A new mall is being built and in order to get the land ready, they have to dig up an old cemetery. Of course this turns out to be a mistake. Lauren (Emma Grabinsky) and her brother Mark head to the cemetery so she can do rubbings of gravestones. While Lauren's busy with her hobby, Mark is screwing around and falls into an open grave. But what comes out isn't Mark, but one of the ghosts. Now Lauren has to find a way to rescue her brother.
  3. The Walls
    Jeffery moves into a new home and begins to suspect there's something living in the walls. When he sees it, it talks to him threatening to take his mom and dad if he tells anyone. Jeffery confides in Chuck (Cruze Hurley), his next door neighbor, who suggests taking care of it, permanently.
  4. Game Over
    Kelly spends much of his time playing video games with Gooch (AJ Lutsky), although he spends a lot of that time mocking Gooch. He's contacted through the game by a Major Mayhem, who challenges him to a new game, Zee-Town. He's supposed to play alone, but brings Gooch along. As soon as they start playing, they get zapped into the game. They are not alone and they run into two more players: Sean (Johnny Ji) and Mika (Diana Sadat). The four of them have to team up to survive.
  5. Alien Candy
    Walt and Tim (Bal Nagra) are sixth-graders and best friends. They are also obsessed with aliens. Two eighth-graders Greg and Bonnie (Jessica McLeod) are also really into aliens; they've even started their own club. They want Walt to join. At first Walt thinks they are trying to trick them, but when they show him some supposed alien technology, he's in. But why would eighth-graders have alien technology?

The Extras

There are four minutes of behind-the-scenes and original promos.

The Verdict

R.L.Stine's The Hunting Hour is a step up from Goosebumps with a bigger budget, better special effects, bigger names in the cast. The signature style of mystery is still there and if you are a fan of the author's previous works, then this show is worth checking out. The price-per-minute is inline with other TV on DVD releases aimed at the same target demographic, plus there are some extras on the Volume One or Blu-ray DVDs. Worth picking up.

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Filed under: Video Review, Cameron Bancroft, Madeline Carroll, Bobby Coleman, Matthew Knight, Gina Holden, Cainan Wiebe, Bailee Madison, Jodi Balfour, Brandon Jay McLaren, Calum Worthy, Jason Spevack, Stacy Grant, Grayson Russell