The Haunting Hour Volume Six Offers Audiences Even More Scary Fun

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/The Hub Network

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/The Hub Network

The sixth and latest volume of episodes from R.L. Stine’s hugely popular series, The Haunting Hour offers four more frightful tales of terror for viewers off all ages.  And it’s not the end for fans of the hit series, either.  Volume Six brings home even more episodes from the series’ second season just in time for the start of the series’ fourth season.  Volume Six is another fright-filled joy for viewers not only because it continues the tradition of offering wonderfully fright-filled stories, but also because it carries on the traditions established throughout the series’ previous volumes.  From the disclaimer encouraging parents to be parents and watch the show with their kids to including young well-known guest stars, it’s all here once more, making Volume Six one more must have for any kid and kid at heart.

The Haunting Hour Volume Six brings to viewers four more episodes from the series’ second season.  And just as with Volume Five, the first of those episodes is split into two parts.  The episode in question, titled “Creature Feature” is also one of the best from this set.  This episode sees a young classic film buff named John (Joel Courtney—Super 8) discovering that sometimes it isn’t just a movie.  He discovers this after being accidentally pulled into one of his favorite classic B-flicks at a haunted drive-in.  The twist comes when he escapes the movie.  It turns out that the movie was much more real than he or even his friends could have imagined.  In another of the season’s best episodes, the show’s writers pay homage in their own way to Rod Serling’s classic series, The Twilight Zone in “Brush With Madness.”  This episode sees teen comic book aficionado Corey (Dylan Minnette–Awake) getting to meet his favorite comic book artist, Allan Miller (Mackenzie Gray) at a comic book convention.  After being blown off by Miller, Corey takes Miller’s brushes, which leads to an ever more tense fight to stay alive.  These two stories are just a couple of examples of the scary fun offered up by R.L. Stine in Volume Six of The Haunting Hour.  There is much more in the remaining episodes that audiences will enjoy.  And it’s not the only reason that parents and kids alike will enjoy this latest release.

Volume Six is just as impressive as the series’ previous releases because it continues the traditions established in said compilations.  One of those traditions is the inclusion of a straight forward disclaimer before each episode.  The disclaimer states in no uncertain terms that the show may not be suitable for children under the age of seven, and that young viewers should only watch the show with their parents.  This is a polite yet straightforward way of telling parents that they need to step up and be parents, rather than just leave their kids to watch anything.  They need to take an active role in their children’s lives and make their own decision on what they think their children should watch.  This is a standard established from early on by The Hub network.  And it is good to see that those behind the show have continued it six volumes in.

The inclusion of a polite yet straightforward disclaimer at the start of each episode is an important part of the whole presentation.  It’s not the only important part of the whole.  Also continued in Volume Six is the tradition of bringing in famous young celebrities in select episodes.  This time out, Super 8 stars Joel Courtney and Riley Griffiths guest star in two of the compilation’s best episodes.  Also on board this time out are Julia Benson (SGU: Stargate Universe) and Dylan Minnette (Awake).  While some younger viewers may not recognize all of these names, parents are more apt to know who they are, thus helping to encourage parents to take an active role in their kids’ lives and watch the show with them.  Along with the disclaimer before each episode, it’s one more ingenious way to get parents to get involved in what their kids are watching.  For that, those responsible for bringing the guest stars for these episodes are to be commended.  Those behind the show as a whole are to be commended.  Not just for these brilliant methods, but for crafting four more episodes full of fright-filled for the entire family.  Volume Six is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from the Shout! Factory store at  More information on this and other shows from Shout! Factory and The Hub Network is available online at, and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at

Hey Arnold! At The Top Of Its game In Season Three

Courtesy:  Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Nickelodeon

The third season of Nickelodeon’s classic Nicktoon, Hey Arnold! Was and is the hit classic cartoon’s finest hour.  Out of the show’s five seasons on the air, this season showed the writing staff behind the show at the top of its game.  To add to the enjoyment this time out, both Nickelodeon and Shout! Factory have gotten back to the basics and put the show’s entire season into one triple-disc set instead of splitting it up into separate volumes.  And who can overlook the show’s continued standout hand drawn animation?  As with all of the classic 90s Nicktoons, the hand drawn animation of Hey Arnold! helped to establish the show’s identity as well as provide its own form of entertainment for audiences.  Assembled together, it all worked together to make for some of the show’s best episodes ever.  And it all worked together to exemplify why Hey Arnold! was then and is still now, a modern classic cartoon.

 Hey Arnold! Season Three shows the writing staff of this classic cartoon at the top its game.  The episodes contained in Season Three are enjoyable first and foremost for their laughs and life lessons that are peppered throughout.  Also making Season Three so enjoyable is that the show’s writers manage to flesh out the show even more, balancing episodes centered on Arnold with those centered on his friends, too.  The episodes centered on Arnold’s friends are just as enjoyable as those centered on Arnold.  One of the prime examples of this comes right off that bat in the episode, “Harold The Butcher.”  Audiences get from this episode a solid story that focuses on Arnold’s friend Harold.  It entertains and teaches the very valuable lesson of the value of hard, honest work.  Harold learns this lesson after being made to work in Mr. Green’s butcher shop as punishment for shoplifting one of the hams from the shop.  The irony of the episode is that what starts as a punishment turns out to be something that Harold thinks could be his calling as he enjoys being a butcher so much.

Harold isn’t the only one of Arnold’s friends that gets his own episode in Season Three.  Side, another of his friends, gets two of his own episodes this Season.  Both are enjoyable in their own right.  But it’s the episode titled, “Sid’s Revenge” that audiences will really enjoy.  Sid learns the valuable lesson to be careful what you wish for because you just might get it in this episode.  He learns this lesson after having been wrongly accused of using fake vomit for a prank at school.  When Principal Wartz doesn’t believe him, he wishes some very bad things against Principal Wartz.  Ironically enough, circumstances arise that lead Sid to believe that Principal Wartz has indeed died.  His reaction to these circumstances makes for some of the season’s funniest moments.  That’s thanks in large part to voice actor Sam Gifaldi.  Gifaldi’s comic timing is perfect from start to finish as always.  His work is so solid that both the show’s original audiences and their own kids will still find it funny to this day.  It’s just one more example of what makes Hey Arnold! Season Three such a joy.

Audiences will get a kick out of seeing the episodes centered on Arnold’s friends in Season Three.  Of course Arnold still gets his time in the limelight.  Those who have picked up the already released first two seasons know that they already get to enjoy both the entertainment and the important lesson taught in “Arnold’s Christmas.”  Now audiences also get to enjoy just as much enjoyment from “Arnold’s Thanksgiving.”  And as in “Arnold’s Christmas”, both Arnold and his secret admirer, Helga G. Pataki, learn a very valuable lesson.  They learn in this half hour holiday special, to appreciate having the families that they have, as dysfunctional as they may seem.  In seeing how dysfunctional the teacher’s family is, they realize that maybe what they have isn’t so bad after all.  The lesson taught in this special episode makes it another excellent example of what makes Season Three so enjoyable.  It isn’t without its entertaining factors, though.  Audiences will laugh seeing just how dysfunctional Helga and Arnold’s families are.  In the case of Arnold’s grandparents, his grandmother thinks Thanksgiving is July 4th.  So everyone in the board house is forced to celebrate in kind.  In Helga’s case, she’s treated like a complete outsider since her older sister Olga is home for the holidays.  The way her parents react is so outrageous.  Yet there’s a certain amount of truth to their reaction.  Anyone with more than one child will agree with the portrayal at least to a point.

Hey Arnold! is a solid show for the whole family.  Anyone that grew up with this modern classic cartoon knows that.  Whether in its third season or its other four, its writers developed stories that are timeless.  They are timeless because of the balance of their general entertainment value and for the equally important life lessons taught through so many of the show’s episodes.  This season’s episodes are no different.  That has already been noted.  The show’s animation style also helps to make it enjoyable.  The animation used for Hey Arnold! is unlike the animation for any other show from Nickelodeon’s golden era.  It really served to help establish the show’s identity in coordination with the equally solid writing for each episode.  One example of how different this show’s animation was from any of the other Nicktoons of its time is the background art.  While Arnold and his friends were so finely drawn, the backgrounds look like they were drawn with color pencils.  In all reality, the backgrounds could even be argued to look like they were drawn with a certain style chalk.  It’s a rough style.  But that roughness set against the smoother style used for the characters makes for a wholly original style.  And it’s that original animation style mixed with the equally impressive writing throughout that makes Hey Arnold! Season Three well worth picking up for any classic cartoon fan.  It will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, January 29th.  It can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at

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