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Halloween Warm-up: Ghostwatch (1992)

Imagine a cross between Most Haunted and The Amityville Horror, broadcast ‘as live’ on the world’s most reputable TV channel.

Cast genuine TV presenters as ‘themselves’ for that extra air of authenticity and you can only begin to imagine the controversy that was stirred up when this was originally broadcast on Halloween night, 1992.

Looking at it now the age lines are starting to show, the technology is dated and some of the supporting performances (particularly the in-studio parapsychologist and the mother) leave a lot to be desired, but there is no denying the creeping terror that can still be felt as the show gradually descends into supernatural anarchy.

The Early family claims it is being haunted by a ghost they have nicknamed ‘Pipes’ and the Beeb have come to investigate in a Crimewatch style.

They even have phone-ins, which now (obviously) come across as staged, but to the original audience must have been very convincing.

Sarah Greene wanders around the haunted council house with her crew and the family; Craig Charles is outside interviewing neighbours; Mike Smith is handling the phones back in the studio and Parky is co-ordinating the whole show.

All very ‘reality TV’; establishing the template for the live editions of Most Haunted and Dead Famous, but with far more impact than those young upstarts … mainly because things do actually happen! None of this ‘oooh, we’ve just seen an orb’ nonsense.

Like The Haunting, Ghostwatch is frightening not for what you do see (because you don’t actually see that much) but what is heard and suggested.

However, be warned, with the crispness of the DVD image it is much easier to catch elusive glimpse of the evil Pipes – reflected in windows, hiding behind curtains etc

Although only a 12-certificate, Ghostwatch is not for those of a nervous disposition.
scribbled by the acrobatic flea at 10/06/2008 03:25:00 am
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tags: dvd, film, horror, tv
sunday, 5 october 2008

DVD Of The Week: 30 Days Of Night (2007)

Every so often a film comes along with such a brilliant – but, in retrospect, obvious – twist that you wonder why it’s never been done before.

30 Days Of Night has a pack of vampires besieging an Alaskan town near the Artic circle where, for one month of the year, the sun doesn’t rise.

Based on Steve Niles famous comic book, with a script by Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie and Brian Nelson, it’s such an obvious idea – given that vampires traditionally can’t stand sunlight – that now I see it executed so perfectly I am genuinely surprised that no one hasn’t thought of it before.

As Barrow, Alaska, prepares for its “30 days of night”, isolated as it is from the rest of the world, accessible only by air, Sheriff Eben (Josh Hartnett) notices an increase in vandalism around the town and begins to realise that someone is trying to cut them off completely.

With the setting of the sun comes, out of the frozen wilderness, the vampires – having sent in one of their human slaves first of all to lay the groundwork for their arrival – ready to turn Barrow into an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The film has shades of Assault on Precinct 13 …