I am an American who never heard of this before. I found out about it via a Horror Facebook group. I tried in vain to locate it, and finally Shudder has it. Holy crap! This scared the hell out of me! I have seen this several times and every time, it scares me. I've ordered the dvd hoping that it is, as the seller claims, region free, if not, I'll be selling it on Ebay. The BBC really should release it on bluray for everyone. They'd make a fortune!
Drama / Horror / Mystery / Thriller
Drama / Horror / Mystery / Thriller
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I was fooled
I was 16 years old (maybe i should have lied about my age when it was on) and in hospital when i watched this. Yes i thought it was real. Yes i was rummaging for change for the hospital payphone to ring in. And yes i felt a pratt when it wasn't real - i blame the anasetic and medication i was on.
Whoever thought this programme up, did a fantastic job. Its a one off, never can be repeated as it would be recognised instantly as a hoax. The whole story and play along is and was so convincing, the acting from even the children was brilliant and well done as it was believable im sure it had a lot of people fooled. Also, another of these couldn't be made as the supernatural TV world is flooded with the likes of Most Haunted (not knocking it, love M. H) so it couldn't be carried off as well as this was back in 92.
Pipes In The Glory Hole
Quite simply, the most frightening television programme ever broadcast, 'Ghost Watch' pushed the edges of 'acceptability' so far that we'll probably never get the chance to see it again.
The one and only time this has been shown, anywhere in the world, I believe, was on Halloween 1992. The UK listings magazine 'Radio Times' printed it's cast, crew and writer- yet it was promoted as a 'documentary'. And the British public, suitably suckered, fell for the joke in their millions.
In much the same way that Orson Welles' 'War of the Worlds' and latterly 'The Blair Witch Project' caused audiences to question their sense of reality, so 'Ghost Watch', for one wonderful October night, made screaming believers of us all. The conceit is simple- TV heavyweight Michael Parkinson hosts an evening of programmes purporting to investigate the supernatural. There are mediums in the studio, debate, and most importantly, a 'live' investigation into one of Britain's "most haunted" houses.
The casting is intelligent and spot-on; Parkinson adds gravitas, and the 'light-entertainment' faces of Sarah Greene, Craig Charles and Mike Smith just-about convince you that whatever happens, it's going to be treated in a nice, family-orientated, jokey manner. Just what you'd expect from Auntie Beeb.
And then it begins.
Writer Stephen Volk uses every gruelling modern horror cliche in the book- possessions, telekenesis, speaking-in-tongues, self-flagellation, child-abuse, things *almost* seen, satanic animals, suicide, - but, robbed of their comfortable 'Poltergeist'/'Amityville Horror' contexts, and placed into what was until a few minutes ago an edgy, but amusing 'documentary', they take on whole new levels of terror. And 'Ghost Watch' is very, very scary.
I really don't want to ruin this for anyone who hasn't seen it- but suffice to say Expect The Unexpected. Moments of extreme horror are slipped in, almost subliminally, and the cumulative effect is of a long, terrifying journey to a place you really don't want to go.
Of course the ending is silly- it has to be, to relieve the tension, and allow viewers to relax. It was, after all, a drama, a play, a "hoax" if you like. A horror film. And the best one of the 'nineties, if I were forced to make my choice.
Due to the sheer number of complaints, and the suicide of a viewer, the BBC effectively banned it from further screenings, and refused to release it on video. Further, as far as I know, they have not offered it for sale abroad.
The only way any of us are going to see it's like again, is to rely on those who recorded it at the time of broadcast, seven years ago- or hope that some enterprising foreign station buys the rights, and remakes it.
It's a terrible, terrible shame that something as powerful and clever as this should go unseen.