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Inspiring Fear: The Haunting Hour

lfneJason L Blair04 May 2011

I’m a bit late shining a light on this one, admittedly, but R.L. Stine’s new series The Haunting Hour is perfect inspiration for any Little Fears game. An anthology series, the show introduces new protagonists and concepts every week, much like Twilight Zone or Tales from the Darkside, but the episodes always center on kids and teens and feature some strange, evil, and/or mystical foe or presence.

I first heard of this new anthology series, based on the R.L. Stine’s story collection of the same name, back in October. The show had a bit of an odd start. A two-parter aired on Halloween weekend, announcing the series, and another duo of episodes (this time, unconnected) showed on Christmas. The series kicked off proper in early January with new episodes every week since then. The first season is almost over (told you I was late) but it’s been renewed for a second and I’m hoping dearly for a DVD set release (unlike Goosebumps’s mini-sets and themed two-to-four episode collections).

It’s airing on The Hub here in the States, which is a great channel all around, at 8p Eastern every Saturday. If you get a chance to catch it or record it, I highly recommend it. I’m a big fan of the old Goosebumps show as well as Are You Afraid of the Dark? (I’m a big fan of anthology television, period) and this has some great stories that you can easily adapt to your own Little Fears or Little Fears Nightmare Edition series.

(A TV movie based on the books, The Haunting Hour: Don’t Think About It starring Emily Osment and Tobin Bell, came out in 2007. You can find it on DVD every Halloween at your local mass-market retailer.)

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Inspiring Fear: Eerie, Indiana

lfneJason L Blair07 March 2011

How have I not posted about Eerie, Indiana before?

I am huge fan of this show. I’ve watched the entire series, the sequel series, and am currently reading through the fiction line.

If you’re not familiar, here’s the idea: Eerie, Indiana is the center of weirdness for the entire planet. Nobody in Eerie sees this except for Marshall Teller, recent transplant to Eerie, and Simon Holmes, born and raised, who spend their time exposing bizarre happenings and building a collection of all the weird things going on in Eerie. A group of kids sees a bunch of strange things that everyone else appears oblivious to. Sound familiar?

The fiction line delves deeper into explaining why Eerie is the way it is and spotlights some of the throwaway gags from the television show, turning them into recurring jokes, and all this rounds out the universe to make for a less random, less zany whole but enough ideas can be drawn from the core series that nothing is required beyond that.

The show focuses more on oddity than horror but you can easily adapt Eerie, Indiana‘s premise to your Little Fears game. The characters are kids set to expose Closetland, to build an argument that will convince adults of what’s happening, which leads them to seek out danger, look closer than others when a kid goes missing or even when a bike is stolen under mysterious circumstances. You already have leeway to adjust the tone of the game but hanging all this under an Eerie-style umbrella, a kidnapping mystery one episode and perhaps a mischievous fairy making trouble another, gives illusion to everything fitting into a single, cohesive universe.

The sequel/spin-off/reboot series, Eerie, Indiana: The Other Dimension, covers a lot of the same ground as the original, taking place in an alternate Eerie featuring similarly-named protagonists who are clued into the place’s weirdness via satellite signal sent by Marshall and Simon from their reality’s version of Eerie. A long way to hand off a premise but it works as much as it needs to.

For those interested, both the original and its reboot/spin-off/sequel over at Hulu.com or watch (only) the original via Netflix mail or streaming.

No matter how you watch it, Eerie, Indiana is solid fun and can easily inspire some lighter-hearted Little Fears fare.

(Thanks to Chrissy for the reminder about this show—a massive oversight on my part. If anyone else has a television series or movie they recommend, send me an email at jason(at) this domain or via the contact form found here.)

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