Main cast: Glen Heroy (Stu Little), Awilda Rivera (Julie Little), Herb Klinger (Mr Gentry), and Rip Torn (Narrator)
Director: Stuart Taylor
Despite its title, The Scream House is actually a sad story about a man that is only starting to remember how depressing his childhood is, and it’s depressing in ways this episode never intended in the first place. Well, it won’t be unknowingly tragic if it weren’t a Ghost Stories episode.
Stu Little—seriously?—brings his wife of one year, Julie, to visit his hometown. This is the most depressing aspect of the episode: Julie is a horrid person. She mocks his enthusiasm, craps on his memories, mocks his accomplishments, and generally acts like a vapid hag that still thinks she’s a sixteen-year old Valley Girl. Awilda Rivera has given up acting for yoga and life coaching these days, and judging from her accolades, she’s better at those things than acting. Much better. Seriously, in this episode, she sports only a single blank, vaguely bitchy facial expression and her lines are all delivered in a monotone, just like how way too many female cast members of this show tend to do. Again, I can only wonder why this is the case.
Glen Heroy is more animated in his role as Stu, but that character is so embarrassing that I can only cringe throughout this episode. Stu eventually drags his wife into The Scream House, the local haunted house-like attraction, and that’s when the second-hand embarrassment ramps up. He is eventually forced to admit that all his favorite childhood memories are all made up, his best friends were in fact vicious bullies that picked on him mercilessly, and ends up being found knocked out in The Scream House… and Julie just gives him that vaguely bitchy, blank face like she always does as she mutters in a non-binary form of English: “Are… you… alright…?”
The story itself might have been a good slice of tragicomedy if it had been directed like one. Instead, the whole thing focuses on jump scares, stumbles and dashes in dark corridors, and Stu trying to create a sense of poignancy only to fail because his wife is a robot that can’t emote accordingly to drive home that sense of pathos into the audience.
All in all, a sad, depressing episode—for the story line and the dismal performance of the lead female cast member, as well as how the director completely missed the point of the episode.