23 Sep 2015

TELEVISION: GHOSTWATCH 1992

So here we have Ghostwatch, the innovative yet oh so controversial BBC drama which aired on BBC1 on Halloween night 1992.

Ghostwatch was a fourth wall breaking television program about a live investigation into a haunted house in the suburbs of North London. A mother and her two daughters have been plagued by violent poltergeist activity which is destroying their home and ultimately.. their family.

Each month UK residents scare them selves shitless with a BBC program titled Crimewatch. Crimewatch is a live phone in show which also features reconstructions of all the robberies and rapes which have happened in the last month or so. The show claims that it broadcasts this kind of thing to gain public information to solve crimes, but I believe the real reason is to scare people shitless with real life horror and to get ratings.


Using a similar formula Ghostwatch was filmed "live" from the BBC studios hosted by Michael Parkinson, Mike Smith and a paranormal investigator. Throughout the night they would take calls from the general public and go back to the cameras at the haunted house via satellite.

 
Back at the house we have everyone's favorite crack smoking space traveler Craig Charles and Sarah Greene from Blue Peter, in the trenches with the freaked out family. We are shown all of the gadgets and equipment for the first few minutes of the show. The team have all sorts of audio equipment, a BBC TV truck, cameras. temperature detectors and even thermal vision to make sure that the team don't miss a thing that may go bump in the night.


The show goes back and fourth from the house to the BBC studio, analyzing old footage shown at the top of the show where callers could phone in and report things they have seen during the course of the show. Back at the house one of the young girls shows Sarah Greene a boarded up door under the stairs where "Mr Pipes" lives.


For the first hour or so is a series of fake scares and non events at the house. Things start to get quite horrific very quickly, with grotesque ghostly apparitions start to appear, lots of unnerving poltergeist activity and one of the young girls appears to have become possessed with cuts appearing all over her face.

After lots of back and fourth from the house to the studio, to interviews with the locals, a caller calls into the studio with some horrific history about the house. Turns out Mr Pipes was a pedophile who lived in the house decades before, and committed suicide under the stairs due to being possessed him self by the ghost of a woman. From there the program takes us on an amazing ride of fear to an ultimate climax which left most of the country who watched it very fucked up to say the least.


The public backlash and public outcry when the show went off the air, was one of the biggest in TV history. Although the program was a work of fiction a lot of people really got into it and took what they had just seen as actual fact. The makers of the show put up the general BBC hotline number throughout the show which played a recording telling them that the show was a work of fiction, but they could still share their thoughts on the paranormal. However due to the mass amount of people calling in the lines got jammed and no one could get through to hear the recording.

Another reason this show may have caused such confusion and terror was due to many people tuning in halfway through which also caused a lot of confusion as to wether the show was in fact drama or fiction?

The public outcry didn't stop there one family claimed their son had killed himself after watching the show and believing he can become a ghost. The BBC was inundated with calls and letters from people wanting blood from the shows creators for duping them into a sick Halloween hoax. I have always said that if you write into points of view or comment on more than one youtube video then you should be sentenced under the mental health act anyway so fuck them douche bags. I thought it was great, and as it goes I was upset that Sarah Greene didn't get fucked up and that Parky wasn't possessed by the ghost of a nonce in real life!


The main reason that Ghostwatch worked so well and affected so many was because of the fact it broke the fourth wall. Using real people we all know from TV, their real names and personalities, live feeds and of course the infamous phone number. Ghostwatch was filmed in such an innovative way that you couldn't help but believe it at the time, as nothing had been done before in this manner.

Although they used actors for the minor characters all of the BBC crew were people we all knew and trusted from TV and they played them selves which probably really freaked out anyone channel surfing at the time.  

The makers of the show really got hammered and the BBC never repeated the show again and it is listed up there as one of the most controversial television programs of all time.

So did the creators intend to dupe the entire country into believing poltergeist activity was going on in their TV sets? Or was it an experimental drama which meant to cause no harm what so ever?

I believe that yes they wanted the reaction of people believing it was real but at the same time did not know the power of the piece of media they created. The show is designed to punch through the confines of BBC drama and put you there in the house with the horrific events happening at that very time "live" in the house. You have to remember that this was 1992 and horror was very much on its way out for a time. Everyone had become immune to the scares of the screen and most horror franchises were aimed towards young boys and teenagers. We all know that the best way to scare someone with a ghost story is to make it real. Ghost stories are made real with real locations and people. Having "live" footage in a house in North London instead of a Gothic castle or mansion really hit home with people watching at home.

So yes I do believe that the reaction the show makers got was the reaction they intended but I am very sure that the makers didn't want to cause any harm or make anyone take their own life. Being a writer and an artist my self I love creating scary creations and stories which really punch terror into the hearts of my target audience and you have to find new and innovative ways to do so. So in that position myself I would have done the exact same thing.


Years later Ghostwatch would inspire an endless list of "found footage" horror movies filmed with normal hand held cameras making the program very historically significant in the world of horror. The makers of the Blair Witch Project studied the show before making their own very ground breaking film which also got a public backlash for being a hoax and a very sick joke. I thought it kicked ass but most of the found footage movies apart from about 4 are complete dogshit poor.


Ghostwatch was released on DVD some years ago and there are many versions of it online to stream. So if you want to really terrify everyone put this on at Halloween and say its real for ultimate effect.



18 Sep 2015

MOVIES: THE BORDERLANDS

(NOTE: NOT BE CONFUSED WITH THE 2007 MEXICAN CULT MOVIE BORDERLAND)

The Borderlands is a film which I have been recommended to watch for many months now, and I finally got round to it this week. I enjoyed the film so much that I watched it twice which I haven't done with a movie for years. If you are a fan of tales of the paranormal and adventure movies then this one is your front row seat to the ride.

So the movie is another 'found footage' horror but please don't let that put you off as its what makes the movie work so brilliantly. After strange reports about phenomena occurring at a rural British church, a team of investigators are sent in from the Vatican to see if it is a hoax. Armed with all the latest audio and camera gimmicks the team stay in the village for a few days to investigate these claims. What they ultimately find is truly terrifying which leads to a roller coaster finale of good versus evil.


Being a bit of a horror buff I have become immune to scares and shocks, and it takes something truly special to creep me out or even frighten me in the slightest, and this movie done its job. I guess the movie really resonated with me for a few reasons. One being it another found footage movie done well which is one of the most key aspects. Found footage is an amazing way of breaking the fourth wall and making you feel like you are experiencing the same horrors the characters in the film are because you are viewing it from their perspective. What this movie along with very few others does well is it explains why they are filming in this way and it also gives us a valid reason as to why the cameras are always on. This is where a lot of found footage movies don't work very well, as alot of the time people stand there filming their friends getting murdered for no reason which makes no sense to the viewer.

Another reason this movie really resonated with me was because of the areas I lived in as a child were very similar, with the remoteness and creepy local churches with pagan folklore whispered among the kids of the community.


The movie is very well paced and performed and even has some decent humor in there. There are many gems of dialogue and the story is a lot deeper when you watch it a second time round.

The movie makes great use of sound which works very well during the church scenes, the sounds of bells ringing and screaming babies stay with you in a very haunting way.


So my final thoughts are that this movie is the best horror film I have seen in a while and I found it truly, haunting, terrifying and very claustrophobic in parts. The movie may not be for everyone and a lot of people didn't like the ending (including myself but not now after a second watch I see what they were going for all along) but I thoroughly enjoyed this and would highly recommend this to anyone for Halloween night. The film really brings it back for British horror and brings us back to the old style setting of the Hammer Horror era, where we have the old church in the cursed village gimmick which is a vibe I really dig.


16 Sep 2015

PHOTO BLOG AND NEWS SEPTEMBER 2015

It has been a long time since I have had time to sit at a keyboard and actually post something on here. I have been extremely busy doing some awesome work in the past year which I will be sharing with you today. I am now back with a working laptop and will be posting more often with movie reviews and all that stuff that made the site popular in the first place. The store is currently down for maintenance at the moment as a lot of the items are sold out or are not being made any more. It will be back in time for Christmas. I am still taking horror based art commission orders for Halloween, and from now up until Halloween night I am doing them at a discounted price of £20. Email me by clicking here if you want something made.

So here are some snaps to show you some of the things I have been creating at Lost Entertainment this year

EVIL DEAD 2 DENIM CUT OFF
 JIM MORRISON 
 K-ROD AND LIAM AT THE LOST ENTERTAINMENT MARKET STALL
 MR T PAINTING
 THE CROW
 BREAKING BAD
 SNATCH
 SONS OF ANARCHY
 E.T
 PULP FICTION
 ULTIMATE WARRIOR
 UNDERTAKER
 KARATE KID
 SAVED BY THE BELL
 GTA VICE CITY
 FRANKENSTEIN
 NATURAL BORN KILLERS
 MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE
 GOODFELLAS
 SPIDERMAN
 TRAILER PARK BOYS
 FROZEN
 THE KRAYS
 OZZY
 BOB MARLEY
 DR DRE
 STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN
 THE STUDIO WALL
 PAUL WALKER ONE OFF JUMPER
 FRAMED K ROD ART PRINTS
 JIMI HENDRIX



 27 CLUB SET
 TURTLES ONE OFF TEE SHIRT
 EL CARDINAL LUCHA BRITANNIA
 SET OF BOOTLEG SUPER SECRET WARS II
 JURASSIC WORLD
 CASSIUS LUCHA BRITANNIA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION WITH K ROD ALONG WITH CASSIUS ART PRINT BY K ROD
 WES CRAVEN
 SCREAM CANVAS PAINTING
 DEMONS
 LONDON RAMPAGE
 HALLOWEEN