A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour is a spooky horror anthology that's likely too scary for young kids. Much like Stine’s similar series, Goosebumps, this show is filled with tense scenes, bristling suspense, and sinister characters, and the fact that it is set in believable scenarios (many of which center on kids) makes it that much creepier for anyone who can’t distinguish fantasy from reality. Because the stories and characters change with each episode, content is difficult to predict, so if your tweens are sensitive to even this milder horror, you might want to preview before offering it up for family viewing. That said, common stumbling blocks like language and sex usually don’t play a role in this show, so at least parents don’t have to sweat them.
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What's the story?
R.L. Stine gives fans another round of goosebumps with his second horror anthology, THE HAUNTING HOUR. The series is a collection of spooky stories set in mostly believable scenarios where one twist of reality can spell disaster for the people involved. Stories often touch on common fears like evil spirits or mysterious beings that turn their families and friends against one another. In each tale, the characters (mostly kids) must uncover the truth behind the mystery and survive the danger.
Is it any good?
This latest project from R.L. Stine offers similar spine-tingling suspense and truly creepy characters. Stine is well known for his frightful book series, Goosebumps, which was adapted for a similarly spooky TV show in the 1990s. This series is a good break-in show for tweens and teens who can handle a bit of fright, but aren’t quite ready for the true horror flicks, but even though it’s light on typical hot spots for this age group like sex, language, and violence, it can still induce some jitters in sensitive viewers.
What’s more,The Haunting Hour’s characters and stories change with every episode, so just because your tween can handle the content of one story, it doesn’t mean that the next one won’t touch on a particularly sensitive nerve for him or her. The bottom line? Just know your kids’ limits, and if the line between fantasy and reality is still a little blurry for them, then skip this one altogether.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fear. What are your biggest fears? What are your coping mechanisms for fear? To what extent do scary shows or movies affect you? What are you least tolerant of in these movies or shows? Do you think R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour is scary?
Tweens: Have you read any of R.L. Stine’s books? How does their spookiness compare to that of his TV shows? Do you like his style, his characters, his scenarios? Are there any stories of his that stand out in your mind as better than the others?
How do TV ratings help families make wise choices about what’s appropriate for them? What rules exist to keep kids safe from harmful content? Do you think these rules are adequate? Why or why not? How has society’s sensitivity to appropriate content changed over the past few decades?
For kids who love to be scared
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