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Ghostwatch

January 20th, 2008 by unkle lancifer · 4 Comments

 

On October 31st, 1992 while American kiddies where storming suburban streets demanding their fair share of LEMONHEADS and MARY JANES, across the pond in the motherland little nippers were being funnel fed the fear of God thanks to a BBC broadcast that left some scrambling for psychiatric aid. GHOSTWATCH was a faux-reality specter hunt starring familiar television faces that, like ORSON WELLES’ famous WAR OF THE WORLDS radio broadcast, blurred the line between reality and entertainment as it blurred the line between this world and the next. Viewers were brought along to observe the goings on in the household of one Pam Early who, along with her two young daughters, was experiencing poltergeist activity. Instead of the usual non-events that one would assume would take place on such a show, many were shocked to find themselves witness to extraordinary happenings. The presence in the house nicknamed “Pipes” by the girls, because of his penchant for banging on pipes, was cleverly inserted in various scenes where observant viewers might catch him for a fleeting second. Things go from creepy to alarming as it is discovered that the broadcast is working as a giant séance and effecting households all over England. Finally, even the studio that is hosting the show begins to experience the phenomena. Even knowing of the show’s inauthenticity is small comfort for much like THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, it’s the slow progressive mounting dread and the systematic worsening of circumstances that really gets under the skin. Having decided not to break the illusion of reality with breaks explaining the show’s identity as simulation, police were flooded with panicked phone calls and some viewers were rumored to have committed suicide. At least two children were diagnosed or treated with post-traumatic stress disorder and the hoopla lead to a national ten-year ban. Contemporary cynical audiences may find all this hard to swallow but dozens of factors lead to the lightening strike of GHOSTWATCH that Halloween night. Sadly, I was in the States gorging myself with MALLOW CUPS and NECCO WAFERS.

 INDELIBLE SCENE(S):

  • Pipes by the bedroom curtain. (All of pipes’ nearly subliminal appearances can be viewed HERE )
  • Playing the audio tape of Pipes’ voice
  • Daughter Suzanne possessed by Pipes
  • Reporter SARAH GREENE trapped in the “Glory Hole” while the cats howl and the transmission fails.
  • Stalwart host MICHAEL PARKINSON succumbs to Pipes’ will
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Tags: Telenasties




4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 A.D.1972No Gravatar // Jan 21, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I need to see this. Its sounding like an Enfield Poltergeist tribute or so, right?

  • 2 aunt johnNo Gravatar // Jan 21, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Yes, it’s actually based on the Enfield Poltergeist investigation.

  • 3 VicarOfVHSNo Gravatar // Jan 28, 2008 at 11:46 am

    Hey, I’m finally able to comment! 🙂

    Being an American viewer, I didn’t even hear about Ghostwatch until it was released on DVD a few years back, so when I finally snagged a copy and was able to sit down and view it for the first time, I knew it was all a hoax and there was no real haunting etc. etc. So I was ready to just sit back and watch it with a knowing smile on my face, amazed that people could be so gullible.

    How wrong I was! Even KNOWING it wasn’t real, even being unfamiliar with the TV presenters (except for the dude from Red Dwarf), Ghostwatch SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME. During the “glory hole” scene with the howling cats, I almost–ALMOST–shut off the dvd b/c it was too intense. Even Cannibal Holocaust doesn’t provoke THAT reaction. 🙂

    I can only imagine watching this as a tot.

  • 4 baxter8No Gravatar // Apr 23, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    i had the pleasure of watching this on that fateful day, and it scared the crap out of me, i was 14 so should of known better… but i really thought it was real.

    To make it worse, Sarah Greene the main presenter was huge on kids tv back in the day, so we all grew up watching her, so we believed it was real.

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