R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour

Common Sense Media says

More thrills and goosebumps for tough-skinned tweens.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 
Emmy

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Plenty of shady characters, and in many cases, people (or objects) aren’t really as they seem. Characters -- many of whom are kids -- often break rules in response to the danger they’re put in, but things usually turn out for the best in the end.

Positive role models

Mostly fine, thought adults aren’t always the admirable models they should be, and sometimes they fall into league (albeit accidentally) with the villains.

Violence

Content varies greatly from one story to the next, but on the whole, violence seems to take a backseat to the fright factor. What violence does exist is limited to threats with household weapons like knives. However, the show’s spook factor is a concern for kids. Inanimate objects move on their own and often have menacing motives toward the people around them.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this spooky horror anthology is 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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

Stine is well known for his frightful book series, Goosebumps, which was adapted for a similarly spooky TV show in the 1990s. This latest project offers similar spine-tingling suspense and truly creepy characters. It’s 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 show’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.

Families can talk 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?

  • 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?

TV details

Network:Discovery Family Channel
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-PG
Award:Emmy

This review of R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byTinyToya April 26, 2011
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Update: "Really You Doll" Episode Changed My Mind...

Update: There is an episode that has an evil doll who is truly alive. SPOILER: The doll actually gets a LONG butcher knife to KILL the young girl who took her in. The girl hits the doll with a pan and shouts: DIE! Then some creepy doll children sing a song and so on... That changed my rating from 12 to (a mature) 13 years old. A little scary for kids. I can only imagine what kind of nightmares an eight year old might have about an old lady who returns ominously from the dead or a story about kids venturing through insane asylums. My family (all adults) watches it together for a decent and appropriate scare and we always say: This is not for kids. This is not for kids. lol 13+ I think.
Kid, 11 years old July 25, 2011
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Scary

friggon scary but cool
What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 11 years old April 8, 2011
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

TOO SCARY FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!

I have only watched one episode so far, and it's "Really You". Im ten, so i don't know if its appropiate for me. The episode that I watched was kind of disturbing. A spoiled girl gets a doll. It gets jealous of her owner and turns herself into a girl and the girl into a doll. Too realistic. That's all i have to say. Smartypants out.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models

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