Want more from Sunday TODAY? Catch up on our interviews and features here.

Pop Culture

Emily Osment ‘haunted’ by scary movies

Horror-meister R.L Stine likes to say you can’t scare kids too much.

That’s a position with which the star of the truly frightening — and very funny — “R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour: Don’t Think About It” might respectfully disagree.

Sure, says Emily Osment, it was fun to play the part of a sinister Goth girl whose hatred for seemingly everyone causes her to accidentally unleash a hideous, people-eating monster on her kid brother on Halloween.

But beware, all 7-year-olds and younger; Osment warns “The Haunting Hour” (showing on the Cartoon Network on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. EDT, Oct. 28 at 8 p.m. ET and Oct. 30 at 6 p.m. ET) might be a little too intense for you. At least it would have been for her when she was that age.

“Kids these days I guess are braver and like being scared,” says the 15-year-old younger sister of Haley Joel (“I see dead people!”) Osment.

“But I don’t know about me,” she giggles. “When I was little, I would try to stay away from all things scary.”

So much so that she was afraid to pick up any of Stine’s books when she was a preteen, even though her brother had the whole collection.

“We’ve still got them in the garage,” says Osment, giggling again. “I’ll probably sit down and read them eventually.”

Stine, the author of dozens of books with titles such as “Welcome to Dead House,” “Monster Blood” and “Who Killed the Homecoming Queen?” has been called the Stephen King of children’s literature.

Haley Joel Osment, of course, is also no slouch when it comes to scaring people. That line he delivered to Bruce Willis as a 10-year-old in “The Sixth Sense” is testament to that.

‘It was a new experience for me’Until now, however, his kid sister has been more likely to elicit belly laughs than screams, particularly as Lilly, the ditzy, celebrity-obsessed best friend in the hit Disney channel show “Hannah Montana.”

Donning a dark wig, black clothes and Goth makeup, Emily Osment is almost unrecognizable as Cassie, a teenager who is determined not to fit in at her new high school.

Soon, a mysterious stranger (Tobin Bell, the villain in any number of horror flicks) emerges to give her a book about The Evil Thing, a terrifying story that becomes true only if the person is foolish enough to read it aloud and then someone thinks about it.

Once Cassie does that, she has to save not only her brother but also her rival for the affections of the most popular boy in school. Their fate if she doesn’t: being eaten alive by the slimy, toothy babies The Evil Thing hatches.

“It was good to have that difference from ‘Hannah Montana,”’ Osment says of the role. “It wasn’t hard. It was fun. It was a new experience for me.”

In fact it was so much fun, she says by phone before leaving her L.A. home for a movie set in Utah, that she’d like to have the chance to appear in another scary movie.

She’s won the endorsement of Stine on that count.

“I thought she just did a great job,” the author, a master at leavening his scary stories with subtle bursts of humor, offers by phone from his New York apartment. “It’s a hard part to play and she was very sympathetic and pulled that off.”

Cassie is, despite her dark, sullen exterior, a good and caring kid at heart, the kind of person the parent of a teenager might instantly recognize. She’s also not that much different from Osment, the actress says. Well, except for the Goth clothes and makeup.

“No-o-o-o-o, that’s not me,” she says, laughing.

The actress, like Cassie, does like to read, however. The “Harry Potter” books are among her favorites. And, like Cassie, she’s reserved and somewhat shy.

  • Slideshow Photos

    Kevin Winter / Getty Images North America

    Image: Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" - Red Carpet

    Celebrity Sightings

    Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. on the "Let's Be Cops," red carpet, Selena Gomez is immortalized in wax and more.

  • Image: Celebrity Sightings On The Set Of 'A Hundred Streets' - August 8, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Idris Elba

    Actor Idris Elba seen on the set of :A Hundred Streets" on Aug. 8 in London.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Premiere Of RADiUS-TWC's "The One I Love" - Red Carpet

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass

    Actors Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass arrive at the premiere of RADIUS-TWC's "The One I Love" at the Vista Theatre on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Premiere Of RADiUS-TWC's "The One I Love" - Red Carpet

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Nick Kroll

    Actor Nick Kroll arrives at the premiere of RADIUS-TWC's "The One I Love" at the Vista Theatre on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: BESTPIX: Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" - Red Carpet

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Damon Wayans Jr., Jake Johnson

    Actors Damon Wayans Jr. and Jake Johnson arrive at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Cast member D'Arcy poses at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" in Hollywood

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    James D'Arcy

    James D'Arcy arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Reuters / Reuters
  • Image: BESTPIX: Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" - Arrivals

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Julianne Hough

    Actress Julianne Hough arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" - Arrivals

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Hannah Simone

    Actress Hannah Simone arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "Let's Be Cops" - Red Carpet

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Nina Dobrev

    Actress Nina Dobrev arrives at the premiere of "Let's Be Cops" at the Cinerama Dome on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: The Pump Group VIP Cocktail Reception

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Nicole Murphy, Brandy Norwood

    TV personality Nicole Murphy and singer Brandy Norwood attend The Pump Group VIP Cocktail Reception at W Hollywood on Aug. 7 in Hollywood.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: The Pump Group VIP Cocktail Reception

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Tara Reid

    Actress Tara Reid attends The Pump Group VIP Cocktail Reception at W Hollywood on Aug. 7 in Hollywood.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: "Phoenix" Opening Night

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    James Wirt, Julia Stiles

    Actors James Wirt and Julia Stiles stand on stage during the opening night curtain call for "Phoenix" at the Cherry Lane Theatre on Aug. 7 in New York.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: "Phoenix" Opening Night

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    AnnaSophia Robb

    Actress AnnaSophia Robb attends the opening night performance of "Phoenix" at the Cherry Lane Theatre on Aug. 7 in New York.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: BESTPIX: Madame Tussauds New York To Unveil New, Never-Before-Seen Selena Gomez Wax Figure

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Selena Gomez

    A boy gives the wax figure of Selena Gomez a kiss at the unveiling of the new new, never-before-seen Selena Gomez wax figure at Madame Tussauds New York on Aug. 7 in New York.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: BESTPIX: Chris Martin Visits "The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show"

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Chris Martin

    Chris Martin of Coldplay performs during the Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show at Z100 Studio on Aug. 7 in New York.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: BESTPIX: Apple Store Soho Presents: Meet the Actors: Michael Fassbender And Domhnall Gleeson - "Frank"

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Michael Fassbender

    Actor Michael Fassbender attends "Meet the Actor" at Apple Store Soho on Aug. 7 in New York.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - August 07, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Mickey Rourke

    Actor Mickey Rourke is seen at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - August 07, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Jordana Brewster

    Actress Jordana Brewster waves outisde of "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: G. Garvin Live

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Keshia Knight Pulliam

    Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam attends G. Garvin Live at Buckhead Theatre on Aug. 7 in Atlanta.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - August 07, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Reese Witherspoon

    Actress Reese Witherspoon is seen on Aug. 7 in Los Angeles.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Miley Cyrus

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Miley Cyrus

    Singer Miley Cyrus performs in concert at Bridgestone Arena on Aug. 7 in Nashville.

    AP / AP
  • Image: 67th Locarno Film Festival - Day 2

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Melanie Griffith

    Actress Melanie Griffith attends a press conference during the 67th Locarno Film Festival on Aug. 7 in Locarno, Switzerland.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Lily Allen

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Lily Allen

    Singer Lily Allen performs in concert at Bridgestone Arena on Aug. 7 in Nashville.

    AP / AP
  • Image: "The Expendables 3" Paris Photocall At Cinema UGC Normandie

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    'Expendables 3'

    The stars of "Expendables 3," from left, Kellan Lutz, Jason Statham, Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas and Wesley Snipes attend "Expendables 3" at Cinema UGC Normandie on Aug. 7 in Paris.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Meet The FilmMakers: "The Rover"

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Robert Pattinson

    Actor Robert Pattinson speaks during the Meet The Filmmakers event for "The Rover" at Apple Store, Regent Street on Aug. 7 in London.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Celebrity Sightings In New York City - August 07, 2014

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Nicole Kidman, Jason Bateman

    Actors Nicole Kidman and Jason Bateman are spotted filming Bateman's "The Family Fang" in Westchester, New York, on Aug. 7.

    Getty Images / Getty Images
  • Image: Africa: New Partnership Models For Growth

    Celebrity Sightings

    of

    Akon

    Grammy-nominated artist Akon, who is the founder of Akon Lighting Africa Project, discusses at the US-Africa Leaders Summit "Africa: New Parnership Models for Growth" news conference, held in Washington, DC, on Aug. 7, the progress that African heads of state have made.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

“I think I’m more like Cassie than I am like Lilly,” Osment says of her “Hannah Montana” character. “Cassie’s a little more relaxed and Lilly’s kind of very excited and kind of a klutz and kind of ditzy sometimes. She’s not very bright. And, hopefully, I like to think I’m a little above that.”

Like Cassie, the actress also loves Halloween.

“I’m kind of a little too old for trick-or-treating,” she says, sounding a bit down about that. “Last year I went with my friend and we got denied candy a few times. We were too old, I guess.

“But I love having Halloween parties and still dressing up and still having a great time,” she says, brightening at the prospect of doing that again. “Halloween’s a great time of year.”

TOP