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'The Haunting Hour' season 4 premiere recap: Creepy hospital and missing limbs

Season 4 | Episode 1 | “I’m Not Martin” | Aired Oct 4, 2014

R.L. Stine has made his living on scaring children. When I was growing up, the Goosebumps books, a young adult horror anthology series, were some of my favorites. They were turned into a TV show around the same time as Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and I loved scaring myself half to death watching them. Soon after the Goosebumps show ended, it was succeeded by another R.L. Stine show, The Nightmare Room. Now, we have The Haunting Hour, the successor to them all. Though R.L. Stine is not involved in the show, his name is in the official title (R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour), and the stories feel similar in tone and style to those he tells.

To kick off the fourth season, Sean Giambrone of The Goldbergs stars as Sean in “I’m Not Martin.” The episode opens on beautiful, spooky shots of an empty hospital and the medical equipment inside it. Cut to Sean, who’s staying overnight in the hospital to get his tonsils out the following day. In a show with ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and more, this is the logic problem that stuck out in the episode. When you get your tonsils out (or have any other basic surgery), you don’t spend the night before in the hospital. Not one person who worked on this realized that?

Regardless, Sean is in the hospital to get his tonsils out. His brother, Derek, tells him that this hospital has a Halloween legend. On October 31, 1952, a boy was staying in the hospital to get his tonsils out, just like Sean. He was rooming with a boy named Martin who needed his foot cut off. Martin didn’t want to have his surgery, so when no one was looking, he switched his chart with Tonsil Kid’s. The next morning, the orderlies took Tonsil Kid away to cut his foot off as he screamed, “I’m not Martin!” over and over. Now it’s said that Tonsil Kid haunts the hospital, still yelling “I’m not Martin!” and looking for a spare foot to take.

Cue the creepy opening credits. That night, Sean hears a noise from the hallway, and into his room comes Tonsil Kid. As in Terminator, Tonsil Kid says, “If you wanna keep your foot, you’d better come with me.” He explains that the hospital is evil and it needs limbs. Once they take a part of you, you’re stuck there. He tells Sean not to let anyone know who he is, clearly tricking him into passing for Martin. Unfortunately, Sean doesn’t realize this and runs through some doors that lead him back to 1952.

A nurse appears and tells him he’s “gonna love not having a foot.” He runs away but is quickly caught by an orderly, who brings him to a room and straps him to the bed. The doctor (played with wacky campiness by Daryl Shuttleworth) tries to convince him it’s a good thing: “Your chances of stubbing your toe will be reduced by 50 percent.” They leave him be so he can sleep, but he quickly breaks out of his straps.

He sneaks over to the main counter and looks at the rotary phone, confused about how to use it (kids these days). He picks it up and connects to the operator, asking her to call his mom’s cell phone. The operator doesn’t know what a cell phone is, so he asks for the police instead. The police claim they’re on their way, but they call the hospital back and tell the nurse that Sean called them. He runs away again, saying, “Please let me go. You’ve had your fun.” Does he think this is some sort of twisted game for them?

Sean ends up in a maze with drapes for walls. Tonsil Kid chases him until he falls through a drape and into the lobby, where the doctor grabs him and says it’s time for surgery. They bring him to the operating room and knock him out with anesthesia. He wakes up and realizes that it was just a nightmare. His tonsils are out and he’s ready to go home. They get to their car and Derek asks if his story freaked Sean out. He says, “No. Besides, I’m not Martin.” Then, Tonsil Kid appears at his feet and says, “Not yet!”

“I’m Not Martin” is a cheesy start to the season, but the show has long established it runs campier than Goosebumps and its other predecessors did. Sean Giambrone and Daryl Shuttleworth do what they can with the wonky dialogue they’re given, and the opening shots are some of the best-looking ones the show’s had. This episode is about as middle-of-the-road as they come for The Haunting Hour.

R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour airs Saturdays at 4/3C on the Hub Network.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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