Lost Signals: R.L. Stine's 'The Haunting Hour'

In the world of horror literature very few authors have captured the youth market quite like R.L. Stine. You might remember Stine's most popular work, Goosebumps, which premiered back in 1992 and has been a ginormous success for publishing house Scholastic. With such a hit on their hands it made sense that the books would be a monster hit for Fox Kids network in the mid-late 1990s. However, when the original series ended in 1998, the magic that Stine created seemed to fade away with it. Luckily, the Hasbro/Discovery co-venture called The HUB has revitalized a series of old cartoons including the launch of a new deliciously dark treat for us entitled R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour based on the author’s wonderfully creepy tween books.

In the two-part pilot episode, which premiered this past October, “Really You” a girl named Lilly (Bailee Madison), an overly indulged tween, is ecstatic when she gets her own life-sized doll named Lilly D. Arriving via limousine alongside a cheeky, corporate schmuck Lilly D. is as realistic as they come. So realistic in fact that it would seem she is an eerie replica of the real Lilly; one look at her sends a chill up your spine.

Gradually, bad things begin to happen around the house for which Lilly is insistent that the “lifeless” doll (with those sinister eyes) is responsible. Lilly's parents, of course, don’t believe her accusations about the doll and punish her for the troublesome behavior. Lilly’s brother Brandon (Connor Price) on the other hand finds the whole situation to be a bit too odd and starts his own investigation into the supernatural occurrences.

Lilly quickly discovers the price of wanting such a life-like best friend may be more than she bargained for as Lilly D. becomes her worst living nightmare. The doll, it seems, is out to replace Lilly altogether! Will Lilly destroy her evil polyurethane nemesis before the entire family faces a deadly demise? That’s where part one of the pilot ends and if you are anything like me, you’ll be tuning in to The HUB find out what happens next. The show is set to return this December for a Christmas Special before becoming an official part the the HUB's programming in 2011.

The greatest thing about The Haunting Hour is that adults and children alike can watch it without worrying about the series being too scary or too childish. In fact, what makes the series so much fun is that it manages to keep its creepy tone that will appeal to adults without terrorizing the kids in the room. Overall it’s a fantastic family-viewing event that will be sure to raise the gooseflesh with ghoulish delight.

Growing up on a healthy diet of comic books, science fiction magazines and monster movies, D.M. Cunningham is a film and television writer who has worked with several of Hollywood's top production companies such as Disney, MTV, NBC, and Lions Gate. His stories can also be found in Stories for Children, Bumples, and Crow Toes Quarterly.

When he is not in the lab creating literary monsters, he fulfils the role of blog warden at Literary Asylum which interviews many of the top children authors in the industry on the craft of writing books, comic books and graphic novels. For more info see: http://www.dmcunningham.com


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