10. Terrible Love- Maggie is in love with Brendon, so much so to the point she actually asks Cupid (played by David DeLuise of Wizards of Waverly Place) to have him fall in love with her. When a second dose of the arrow, however, turns Brendon obsessive she begins to regret it. The episode here really is just okay. The ending is a bit grey since it’s hard to tell whether or not we can consider it a “happy” ending. It’s probably best skipped otherwise and is a weak end to Season 3.
9. Game Over- Austin & Ally’s Calum Worthy as a gamer; I’m just gonna let that sink in. Anyway “Kell-Razer” (Worthy) receives a game called Z Town (it’s about zombies, because of course it is). It may be one of those cliché ‘the game isn’t a game’ stories, but it’s not played totally black and white, with the twist of Kell switching places with “the Game Master.” Since this is the same twist from Catching Cold, I’d probably recommend that one a little more but this is still worth a look.
8. Spaceman- This is a very strange episode, possibly one of the strangest. A boy obsessed with space travel gets a toy space helmet and begins hearing a voice inside the helmet, thinking he’s being contacted by an alien. As it turns out, the voice was the ghost of the son on the woman he bought it from, who was just as much into space as him. This and another episode on the list have alternate endings. In the director’s cut, the boy, Aaron, is forced to play with the mother’s ghost son as they imply on leaving Earth assumedly never to return. However, the original ending has Aaron willing hanging out with the boy, finally finding a friend to hang out with.
7. Sick- A boy, Alex Howard (who, interestingly, is actually played by the younger brother of Debby Ryan, who previously played alpha bitch Steffani from Wrong Number; nice), has to stay home from school due to being sick. Once she leaves, however, he gets messages from the TV telling him there’s a monster in the house with him…and he may be sicker than he thought when he starts seeing the house wrapped in plastic. The suspense and drama in this episode is great, especially when we never see the monster, and the ending seems to be a happy one until the man on the TV continues to tell him that the monster is still in the house.
6. Mascot- two high school kids, sick of their awful mascot Big Yellow, plan to get rid of him for someone much better, specifically a wolf. Though the wolf goes missing after a few days, as well as some very disturbing implications about Big Yellow; the mystery of this indefinable mascot (who kinda looks like Big Bird if he was designed by Sam Raimi) gets pretty disturbing, especially leading to the big twist ending which I won’t spoil. Check it out when you can; next number.
5. My Imaginary Friend- to say almost anything about this episode would be spoiling its big twist. All I’m going to say is the basic synopsis: a boy’s older brother wants him to get rid of his imaginary friend, especially after he starts becoming troublemaking and violent. I can’t say anything else without major spoilers.
4. Funhouse- Even though this episode was just released at the time of this writing, I had to put it somewhere on this list. A boy from a troubled family—his father left them and his mother is too busy with work to care anyway—finds a funhouse. Inside is a model replica of a dysfunctional family dinner, which he’s allowed, and in fact provoked, to destroy and wreck to his heart’s content. This, however, slowly causes him to grow more and more violent and eventually his anger physically warps him. I think there are really only two things keeping this episode from just barely breaking the top 5: the first is the fridge logic of the episode, and the second is that it seems like one of those episodes that should have an ‘And I Must Scream’ kind of ending. (Originally The Scarecrow)
3. Headshot- in an absolutely BRILLIANT homage to The Picture of Dorian Grey, which comes highly recommended due to how underrated the book is, Ariel Winter plays Gracie, a girl who is randomly picked up by a modeling agent to become the next cover girl. She saves the headshot on her cell phone, though said headshot slowly begins to degrade and become more monstrous as she becomes manipulative, cruel, and even lashes out at her best friends. If you haven’t read The Picture of Dorian Grey (or seen any of the movies; how could you, they’re mostly in the UK or online), I won’t spoil the ending but I will say it’s strongly effective and well done for a modern interpretation of a 19th century Oscar Wilde novel.
2. Checking Out- This one really should be my favorite, if it wasn’t for the #1 on this list. Two bratty kids and their parents go to a motel, where their parents are invited to a party. The boy, Jeremy, meets a rebellious boy who came with his mom but they’ve never checked out since. In fact, the two discover that none of the parents that come here ever check out dating back as far as the 70’s and even further than that. I won’t give away the twist or the ending, but I’ll say that it’s brilliant and ends with one of the most satisfying, and few, happy endings in the series to date.
1. Detention- If Season 4 has more episodes like this, we’re off to a great season. Hell, maybe if Dan Vs. comes off hiatus, people will finally realize that the Hub has more to offer than just game shows too lame for Nickelodeon, mostly forgettable reboots of Hasbro shows, and the absolute, most undeniably good version of My Little Pony (up until the third season finale, but I disgress). The story starts with three kids in detention: a preppy Homecoming Queen, a rebellious goth girl, and a jock sports announcer. All of these characters are developed and intriguing, and there’s apparently another kid who reappears to them in some way. This actually has probably the smartest, most clever twist and easily the best ending out of the past three seasons (possibly tied with Checking Out). You will not regret it if this is the first, or even only, episode of the Haunting Hour you ever see.
Well, this was mostly opinion-based but if you’re wondering where to start, I’d recommend checking out these.
Honorable Mentions: Wrong Number, Pool Shark, The Cast, Flight, Red Eye, Swarmin’ Norman
Dishonorable Mentions: Really You, Intruders, Fear Never Knocks, Grampires, Uncle Howey