Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Halloween Logged - Stranger Than Fiction

Logging my Halloween season viewing (I started in September so I'd have enough to post in the early days). This time it's documentaries and "reality" shows.

Stranger Than Fiction...

Britain’s Wicca Man

A fascinating documentary on the man who invented modern Witchcraft.

Ancient Ghosts of England (2018 - Prime)

Less obnoxious than most Ghost hunting programs, thanks mostly to host Chris Halton who seems like a decent enough chap. Still, chock full of ghost hunting bollocks.

Celtic Monsters  Omens of Death / Demons

The darker side of Celtic folklore examined with the help of some marvelous storytellers. Quite nice and a bit spooky.

The Unexplained  Witches, Werewolves, and Vampires (1994)

I’m usually a fan of cheesy old paranormal TV  shows but this installment of the Peter Graves hosted series was pretty much garbage.

Hellier (2019 - Prime)

I have little to no time for so-called paranormal researchers (aka ghost hunters and their brethren in other paranormal fields) and even less for paranormal podcasters. It's is the laziest kind of storytelling, bereft of creativity, cynical and almost always entirely insincere. I love a good spooky story but once the fake psychics, dowsers, mediums, shamen, and ghost hunters enter the picture it ruins it for me.

Hellier takes that nonsense and turns into a faux documentary series. I could only take an episode and a half.

Celebrity Ghost Stories (2008 - Prime)

As I mentioned in the Hellier entry, most paranormal “reality”  shows get on my nerves. So, it follows, that I’d hate a series like Celebrity Ghost Stories and yet I don’t. Sure, the format is similar to many other shows I actively dislike -  talking heads relating supposedly true paranormal experiences, the involvement of psychics, mediums, etc... And yes, there’s a certain amount of cynicism that these celebs are simply cashing in on whatever cachet their name holds (though to be fair there are some pretty big names that show up who probably don’t need the promotion or the paycheck.). But its more than that, maybe its because these are real actors, not paranormal day players, so their performances seem more genuine, I don’t know but I find many of their paranormal experiences more compelling than most.

Perhaps the primary reason I can watch CGS with minimal agita is that the reconstructions, combined with the celebs’ tales, make for some genuinely eerie moments and even the occasional scare. Also, by listening between the lines, you can often get a good idea of what really happened (sleep paralysis, emotional reactions to stressors such as grief or personal / career reverses, drugs and/ or alcohol-fueled delusion, lies).

Bigfoot: The Mysterious Monsters (1974)

Good ole Peter Graves, making the dopiest woo sound credible. I have a soft spot for these ‘70s paranormal documentaries and this Bigfoot one is no exception.


Similar in format to many of my favorite paranormal / UFO docs of the era, but not one I care for.