Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Haunting Hour: Grampires part 1 and 2

Director: Neill Fearnley

First aired: 2012

Contains spoilers

The Haunting Hour was an R L Stine vehicle that ran for 4 seasons and was marked by having perhaps a slightly darker hue than vehicles such as Goosebumps. Grampires was actually two episodes from season 3, with the story continuing from one episode to the other.

As per the normal model of these types of show the main protagonists are kids – in this case a brother, Mike (Mitchell Kummen), and his sister, Cristen (Chanelle Peloso). She is old enough to drive and he is the kid brother.

Shirley and Gladys
The show starts with Mike having a nightmare about his grandpa, Walt (Christopher Lloyd, House of Monsters), and the ravages of old age. He is actually in a car with Cristen and they are travelling to a place called Sunset Estates – a retirement village – to visit Walt. Their mum has suggested that he sounds depressed and so it is a surprise visit to cheer him up. They become lost so it is late, just before sunset, when they arrive at the place.

is he dead?
It is a gated community and security only let them in after a blind is pulled up, in the guardhouse, to look at them. They get to Walt’s house but no one answers the door. Not to worry, Cristen has a key and they let themselves in. The house is dark and smells funny. They discover that the shutter slats are glued down. Eventually they find Walt but he is cold to touch and seems dead. They are talking about calling 911 when he suddenly comes around (we can assume that the sun has set).

he's a grampire
Cristen insists they all go for a walk and the place, which was deserted an hour before, has residents wandering around – though there is something sinister about them. They are approached by Gladys (Mary Black) and Shirley (Patti Allan) but Walt quickly ushers the kids away. Back at his house there is a meal box on the doorstep – Walt takes it into the garage. Cristen walks in on him feeding on a rat – but thinks it cool that he is a vampire… indeed, a grampire. While this is going on Shirley and Gladys try and fail to get an invitation into the house from Mike.

when vampires attack
Cristen sends Mike to the store for food – not realising that Walt isn’t the only vampire. Mike gets to the store but once in finds himself confronted by a group of geriatric vampires who have decided lunch is served. In the meantime Walt and Cristen go after him – and get a speeding fine in their golf cart from a vampire cop. This is where the first episode ends and I am not going to spoil the concluding episode but will say it involves bingo.

staked vampire
We get some bits of lore. Vampires become stronger as they age (but they do not become younger through blood consumption), so we do get a vampire on a mobility scooter and another with a Zimmer frame. A stake to the heart dusts them as does exposure to sunlight. Rodent doesn’t taste as good as human.

This was fun and Christopher Lloyd was, as always, a joy to watch. More could have been made of the traditional vampiric OCD and bingo – but that is a hindsight thing and, to be fair, the target audience probably wouldn’t have got that nuance. 6.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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