Ghostwatch

"In 1992, the BBC aired a Halloween special so scary, approximately 1 million viewers called in to complain, and children who inadvertently watched it later showed signs of PTSD. For decades after, the network refused to air it again."

Thus began the tantalizing meme that led us to this week's episode, reviewing the horror mockumentary, Ghostwatch. We think many people who grew up during the early 90's in Britain have strong memories of this one, as evidenced by the commentary on our Facebook feed when I proposed this episode. And good news: You can watch this one online in all its glory at the Internet Archive.

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Ghostwatch (1992)

Episode 257, 2 Guys and a Chainsaw

Todd: hello and welcome to another episode of Two Guys and a Chainsaw. I’m Todd.

Craig: And I’m Craig,

Todd: The subject of this week’s episode came from a meme. You guys all know what those are. This is something I found. I belong to a couple of these different horror pages on Facebook. For those of us who still use Facebook. Right.

And I’m right. And this meme came across that had this picture and it said: “In 1992, the BBC aired a Halloween special. So scary, approximately 1 million viewers called in to complain and children who inadvertently watched it later showed signs of PTSD. For decades later, the network refused to air it again.”

So I posted it to our page and I wrote, sounds intriguing. What do you think? Should we do it? And I thought nobody, you know, would really respond. And uh, oh my gosh, we got quite a bit of, um, response to it. Yeah. I was surprised. Right. I mean, there are, people were like, oh, I was a teenager when this aired and, and uh, oh, it’s like a must and got really excited.

Then I thought, well, shoot, we better do it then. And so this is called Ghostwatch. It is, I would say kind of a 4runner to the whole found footage thing, right? Yeah. Yeah. I I’m maybe, maybe found footage is a bad way to put it more of like a blending Metta sort of trying to blend a bit of reality. With fiction.

Uh, and it was a television special that went on the BBC. So I had never heard of it before at all. This meme actually introduced me to this. And so once it got that response to decided, I talked to Craig and he said, yeah, well, let’s, let’s give it. Um, Craig had you, did you ever, ever have any exposure to this whatsoever?

Craig: I’d never seen it, but I had seen it pop up on lists. I don’t, I don’t even remember what, you know, the subject of the lists were, but, um, I had seen it, so I had an idea of what it was that it’s basically like a Dateline special kind of deal, a new, special, except it’s. Live. Um, and what’s most interesting about it, I think is that if I’m not mistaken and you know, in all transparency, we were meant to do this last week and something came up and we couldn’t.

So it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve seen this movie. Um, but if I remember correctly or remember reading about it, I think a disclaimer popped up on the screen beforehand saying that it wasn’t real, that it was fiction, but a lot of people tuned in after the disclaimer had aired. And so they didn’t realize that it was fake and adding to the confusion was the fact that the people who play the like anchors and reporters were actual BBC anchors and reporters.

So if you were to tune in. You would see these familiar faces, who you were accustomed to seeing delivering news content. And this is the content that you would get, so I can understand easily, um, how people would have believed that this was happening live in real time. Um, and if you believe that I can imagine that it would have been unsettling.

Todd: Yeah. I mean, it’s sort of like the war of the worlds thing, right? Yeah. Orson Wells, uh, you know, did this radio broadcast and, and formatted it as though it were news, uh, about the aliens invading. I mean, if you listen to it, now you can tell, I mean, it’s definitely a scripted thing. They even broke in, I think with commercials and, and reminders and things.

But, but apparently it caused a bit of panic and I don’t even think it causes much panic. The myth and the legend kind of says it does. Um, but it was quite a bit of a stir at the time. And it actually created rules in broadcast. I was a journalism major and I, I learned that there were things like this, things like war, the worlds, things like ghost watch, which forced, uh, television stations and broadcasters and news organizations to make more clear rules about what they can put on it.

Um, and how they can put on the air. And it’s interesting, like the genesis of this. So I go back and I read, I read a lot about it. And Steven Volk is the kind of the brainchild behind this. He was a screenwriter actually wrote a Ken Russell film Gothic, and that was his first produced screenplay in the eighties.

And he had the idea for basically a five-part series. He might’ve even written all the scripts for five-part series for the BBC. And the last in the series was going to. Uh, purportedly live broadcast from this haunted house that the previous four episodes were clearly more fictional. And, uh, he was told, you know, why don’t you just give us something that’s 90 minutes long, just, just a full length deal.

And his idea was why don’t I just take that last episode and make it into a full length special? And it ran as part of just like HG Wells is broadcast. I’m just like Orson Wells as broadcast. It ran as part of a normal like this. This was a drama series on television. You know, we used to have these, you know, in live TV you’d have made for TV.

Movies are made. You know, full length things that came on at a particular time. And it’s part of the screen gems brought to you by craft or something like that. Alfred Hitchcock presents, you know, that kind of thing. So there, when you go back and you look at interviews with the producers of this thing, they knew that this had the potential to fool people.

Right. But then. Claim. They really didn’t think that people would be so full that they didn’t. They were really quite shocked that it costs a stir. The BBC itself was a little bit more nervous about it. They almost didn’t go on, on the air because the big wigs were a little more nervous about it, but they, they made the.

Put, you know, the normal intro, uh, in front of it, obviously, um, some writing written by credits at the beginning. Right. But they didn’t go so far as to put little disclaimers as the show was going on, Hey, by the way, this is fiction because you know, what, why would you do that? It just kind of kills the whole mood of what you’re doing.

Right. And so they didn’t do that. And it caused a huge stir and made a lot of people upset, even though it went on during what we call the safe Harbor. Time safe Harbor in the U S is after 10 o’clock I think. And I think in, in Britain it was after nine, but that’s just generally the time of the day when.

Television stations can broadcast more adult content, right? That’s just established. The kids will probably be in bed. And so parents just are aware that anything after nine might not be as suitable for children. So they kind of followed all those rules, but what he, what they ended up with was something that ended up flowing a lot of people.

Like you said, that tuned in, in the middle of it and watched it and thought that this was an actual live broadcast happening. It was on Halloween, the Halloween special. So welcome live this Halloween. The first ever TV ghost watch. That’s a scene in a Fox hill drive in north Hilton. Right? So broadcast units to there.

That’s the house where it might all happen tonight. We shall see, we’re going to investigate one of the most baffling and fascinating areas of human experience. The supernatural tonight, television is going ghost hunting in an unprecedented scientific experiment. We’re hope to show you for the first time irrefutable proof that ghosts really do the gist of it is that these reporters are going in life.

Quote, unquote, Britain’s most famous haunted house interviewing the people who live there and showing some clips from past experiences. When they’ve had investigators in there with their hidden cameras and whatnot, interviewing the neighbors around and all that at the same time, one of their news reporters is going to go in and spend the night there.

And, and, uh, they’re going to do like a 30 minute deal and then check back in on them throughout the night. And that’s, that’s the framework for telling the story. Anyway, I I’m, I’m going to say, I thought it was quite good. Um, it’s a little dated. It’s not going to fool anybody today because we’ve seen this a lot.

We have all, a lot of found footage stuff, but I could imagine I could put myself in the shoes of a person watching this at the time and think, yeah, this would probably freak you out. I mean, if, especially if you were a kid watching this, this will be quite an impression on you, despite the fact. Now you said that there were some famous actors, you know, famous news personalities on there, which added to the realism.

There were also some actors in there that even I recognized when you look at interviews from the producers, years after the fact, they kind of mentioned like, look, we even had actors in there. The people. Like Pete, reportedly playing real characters that people would have seen on television and other series.

So they really weren’t going out of their way so much to fool people. They were just trying this innovative way to tell a story. They knew they were treading on, you know, the possibility, some folks getting confused, but they didn’t think it would cause as big a stir as it did. And it turned out to be, uh, to be the opposite.

And I guess it became a bit infamous to the point where it’s true, the BBC didn’t show it again and almost sort of refused. Allow references to it in the future. That was up for an award at one point. And then. Said, we don’t even want it to be considered for, for this award. Crazy.

Craig: Never repaired it. Right.

I thought that I they’ve never repaired it. Um, which is weird, but I, you know, I don’t know how popular it is, but like you said, we got a lot of response to it. A lot of people, we had people saying they watch it every Halloween, you know, it’s a staple in their rotation. Um, and I can only imagine that the people who are.

This are people who saw it when they were younger. I understand because I weave and if you listen to the podcast, you know, this, I saw Blair witch. When it first came out before it was widely known that it wasn’t real. And the marketing campaign tried to make it seem like it was real. And early on before it had been widely distributed and widely seen, you know, eventually people figured it out and, uh, But he knew that it wasn’t real, but when I saw it, I thought it was, um, and thinking that it was real, made it quite scary going back and rewatching it, knowing that it was a film, um, and that there were directors and producers and that it wasn’t entirely scripted, but the plot was scripted.

Yeah. It’s not as effective. And so going into this, knowing that it’s a movie and that it’s not real for me, it, I don’t know it was okay. And it’s not like, um, we don’t see stuff like this anymore. We on, you know, Saifai and various other quote, unquote like news. Channels, they play these specials, these paranormal specials, these, uh, like paranormal investigations and ghost hunters and, and all of these things, which sometimes purport to be real.

But you always in the back, your mind are skeptical. Um, because we know that for the most part, it’s usually just sensationalism. Um, so, so. We still see stuff like this and we still see, still see stuff that’s presented kind of in this format, like this documentary slash news format. Um, and maybe those programs owe something to this.

I don’t know. Um, but I enjoy some of those, even when I know that they’re not real, they’re still fun to watch. And even if. Bet. They’re not real. There’s still a part, at least for me, there’s a part of my mind that wonders like, Hmm. Maybe. Um, but this going in, I knew that it was entirely scripted. I knew that it was a fiction and I have to be really honest, upfront.

I just kinda thought it was boring.

Todd: I kind of just felt like watching the news. That’s so interesting because you’re the one who tends to really dig this kind of thing. And I’m usually the one that just kind of rolls my eyes at it. I mean, you’ve, you’ve made me come around a bit to the found footage genre.

I mean, we’ve seen some, some good stuff that I’ve been like, okay. You know what I actually, that was, that was pretty scary, you know? And that’s, that’s kinda how the found footage genre has been since the Blair witch though. Right? I mean, now that, that whole. Thing is done and everybody’s kind of in on it, then nobody subsequently can come by and kind of pull the same scam on people.

Right. And maybe not for another few more decades anyway, because Blair, which, like you said, like they went out of their way to really try to make it seem like it was real. They were really throwing stuff out there. I was one of those people I went and I saw Blair witch. Pretty bored with the movie when the first time I saw it.

And I think that might even be partially due to the fact that I wasn’t fooled. I mean, I kind of, I don’t know, you know, I was just like, there’s no way that, uh, you know, at some actual footage of some terrible tragedy is going to be packaged up as entertainment by some company and released to theaters worldwide.

You know, I just thought that that would be. Crazy. And I still think it’s a crazy idea, but we’re not far off from that. You know, we have cinema now that is very experimental and really blurs that lines like even bore at right. Yeah. Bore at, went out there and kind of blends fiction with reality and shows us real people doing real things that are disturbing, but we all kind of knew exactly what that was before we went to go see.

Well, it

Craig: it right. But see, I don’t even know really where this falls exactly on the timeline, but what year was this made?

Todd: 19

Craig: 92 92. I mean, that’s late. Like I remember in the eighties faces of death, you know, that they, they, they claimed that was real as it turned out. There was a little bit of actual footage, but most of it was fake.

Um, eh, even something like a cannibal Holocaust, which I don’t even remember if they presented that as a documentary, but people believed it was enough so that, um, the director was sued and. Produce the actors to prove that they hadn’t been brutally killed. Uh, and, and so, you know, in 1992, this wasn’t new in America?

No, maybe, maybe in Britain. Well, because stuff like that, like faces of death and cannibal Holocaust would have been video nasties. And so they would. Been true. They wouldn’t have, you know, maybe, you know, before the age of the internet or at least widespread internet use. Um, a lot of people wouldn’t have had access to some of that stuff over there as we did.

I don’t know that we should, we should talk about the movie, I guess. Right. I mean, it reminds me. It reminds me a lot of, yeah. And there there’s not a whole lot to it, so it’s not like we have to go through point by point, but it reminds me a lot of the conjuring too. Have you seen the conjuring too? Yeah,

Todd: I haven’t seen it, but I’ve seen the conjuring and yeah, no, I know what you mean.

It’s. Well, it’s like a lot of these, honestly, these haunted house movies or investigators go in and check it out.

Craig: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s exactly what I mean. That’s what the conjuring two is. And Lorraine Warren, you know, get called to this haunted house and it ends up that. I think I seen it once when it came out.

So I, I apologize if I’m butchering the plot, but, um, it turns out there’s this evil entity in the house and it is. Affecting, if not possessing one of the daughters and hi-jinks and Sue and, and, and that is the plot of this movie. You know, these reporters all show up. There’s the in studio, people who, Michael, is this older?

Um, gosh, I can’t think of the word. Describe he’s very Dan rather. Uh, yeah,

Todd: what’s the word for those guys? Classic news host slash anchor, you know, they would be guide delivering the news to you. And also they would do these specials and things like that. Uh, but the very trusted figure. Right, right.

Craig: And older gentlemen.

Right?

Todd: Yeah. My grandmother would be like, if Walter Cronkite said it, then she would be. Right, right.

Craig: Yeah. And we had those in our generation too. It’s so, you know, the, the news again, I use air quotes because you never know what’s real news and what’s not really in America anymore, but back in the eighties, There were these men, mostly there were notably like Connie Chung and some other women, but primarily these older gentlemen who you trusted to tell you the truth about what was going on.

That’s this guy, Michael, and he’s in studio with this woman named Dr. Lynn Pascoe. And she’s like the in-house supernatural expert. And then the ghost hunter guy. Which we see again, we still see these ghost hunter type shows and these charismatic guys that go and do the interviews and have all their equipment and look through the house and all that stuff.

Um, his name is Craig Charles, and he’s actually on the scene. And then the on scene reporter is this very likable sweet, feminine kind of maternal, actually a reporter named Sarah Green and her husband. Is also in the studio. Her husband’s name is max and he’s running like the foam board because people can call in, um, and respond or talk about their own supernatural experiences or whatever.

And then there’s other tech people who really aren’t important, but, uh, they go to this house and it’s a family. Uh, Pam is the mom. I don’t know. They explain where the dad is, but he’s not there. Uh, he’s he’s never around. Um, and there are a couple of daughters, Suzanne and Kim, um, Suzanne is the older one.

Kim is the younger one and Suzanne was the first to see the ghost and they give it, you know, they. As these kinds of things always do. Like, can you tell us a little about what’s been going on here and, um, the mom kind of starts to talk and she says, you know, some weird things were going on. There were weird noises, but in order to calm the girl.

She tells them that it’s an old house and it’s just the pipes. Well then every time something weird happens, one of the daughters, the younger one, I think Kim says pipes is here. Pipes is here and, or Mr. Pipes or whatever. Um, and then the next thing that I have is that they tell them. Pipes lives in Harry Potter’s room.

Todd: Um,

Craig: there was a little Harry Potter there’s room under the stairs, and that’s where he lives apparently. And they’ve got it all boarded up. And then the rest of the movie is just, you know, kind of filling in little bits and pieces of the supernatural things that are going on. And also them experiencing it.

It takes a quite a while for things to actually start happening, but they do eventually start happening.

Todd: But see, this is what I really liked about it. And actually for me, this is what kept me entertained is that it. So set up like a real TV show, like this would be, and I, and I come from this field a little bit.

I mean, I have had to do live reporting from an event and you never know how it’s going to go. You don’t even know if anything interesting is ever going to happen. So you have to kind of prepare in advance a lot of stuff to fill in the gap. Inaction, um, and to keep things interesting and moving for the listener or else it’s just boring.

Right? And so this production is no different. The guy that you were talking about, um, who’s on the scene. Uh, Craig, Craig, Charles Wright, the interviewer, actually, he was in, um, red dwarf. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that, but even at the time, this was, this, this went on the air. Like he was a popular guy on red dwarf and he is, which is, was a comedic sort of star Trek type type television show.

He’s like the color Laffy guy, right. He just kind of runs around and is like jokey. Um, he’s interviewing the neighbors. He’s like showing the equipment and the van. And we’ve got this van parked out here and there’s surveillance stuff inside. Um, they have special cameras that will go off, um, that are infrared, that they can run around with.

And he has the camera guy show the infrared feature and you know, we’re thinking, okay, well, we’ll, that’ll come into play later. Right. And he’s like, you know, then later on, they kind of bring you back to those guys. Got temperature sensors in the house. Uh, we have, uh, uh, the, the image, his equipment, LinkedIn, uh, the tape is time coded and atmospheric condition and temperature, uh, logged on screen, uh, by sensors.

The little burglar alarms with the red lights, except that triggered by cold instead of heat, um, intense cold spots are a secondary phenomenon. Uh, we also want to detect, uh, low and high frequencies, basically any aberration at all could be a signal, which is interesting because as much as they went through all this stuff, almost none of it actually ends up coming into play.

In the actual movie, except for that infrared thing at the very

Craig: end. Right. But there is interesting stuff going on. I mean, like, because they’re, they’re airing, these interviews live, um, and they do have this phone back. And, and they do an interview in the girl’s bedroom where one of the girls shows them a picture that she drew.

And we see that there are like weird drawings and writings and Suzanne school notebook and color start calling in and saying that they saw. A ghostly figure in the background while these people were filming. And so the folks in studio are like, oh, well, let’s see if we can pull up that footage. And they do.

And they play it through once and they’re like, oh, we don’t see anything. Well, I did. And yeah, there is. Ghostly figure in the back, it looked like a man to me, but it’s, it’s, it’s very vague, you know, you have to really kind of be looking for it to see it, but then they’re like, we didn’t see anything. So they rewind it again and they play it again.

And then there isn’t anything there. So obviously there is, or at least they’re setting it up, that there is supposed to be something going on. And again, if I were watching this and I thought that it was primetime news and it was alive and it was hosted by news, you know, prominent news reporters that I knew, and I saw that it would freak me out.

Todd: That’s really great way of playing with the audience. Right? I mean, you watch it and if you know, and when you, when they point out, oh yeah, the, the, the caller says it’s back there in the curtains to the left, let’s play that footage and you see it’s as clear as day, there is definitely some kind of figure there in a vague way, but Mo definitely there and the news host and the other woman are saying, ah, I don’t really see it.

And he was like, we’ll out this thing and you’ll use your light pen to maybe trace where you might think it might be. We the viewer going, like, what the hell are you talking about? I mean, it’s clearly right there when they replay the footage, like you said, it’s different. It’s definitely not there. So it’s almost like, I suppose if you’re a particularly gullible viewer, you would think all my God was I seeing something and she kind of outlines this like vague little spot where she’s like, oh, well maybe you can kind of see ahead here.

Maybe you can do a shoulder thing here. And I was like, oh, that was really smart. That they actually just the producers, each one played something different. For us there so that even we couldn’t go back and. You know what we thought we saw. And I think that kind of sets it up. And this was, I thought the creepiest thing about the movie, it was almost, it was very much, a little bit like sinister in a way.

I thought where there are moments in this film where you see a figure like in the background and it’ll swoop by or whatever. Maybe you miss it if you’re not paying attention. But there were a few moments where I was a little, I jumped a bit. There’s one point in which they’re playing back video and it’s not confined to the girls in the house.

There’s one moment in which, um, the doctor, uh, what was her name again? Dr. Lynn Pasko is playing back some sound. Clip, uh, on a reel to reel that was nice and cute and quaint in the studio as like, you know, and again, this is all very staged. Like they really prepared all this stuff just to walk you through, which is exactly like these television programs are, and they stand up from where they’re sitting and yeah.

Set by a fireplace it’s kind of decorated for Halloween and they walk to this table. That’s under a spotlight that has this reel to reel on it and they stand around it and he’s like, all right, well, you know, play, go ahead and play some, some of the sound that you, that was recorded, that this girl was sleeping or something, or, or was awake.

And she had kind of a demonic voice come out of her.

Jesus.

Are you dead? Are you in heaven? Oh, good.

And while they’re playing that the set dramatically gets dark. And, uh, you know, it’s just like a shot of him and a shot of her and a shot of him and a shot of her. And at one point there’s a shot of her, but in the background on the set suddenly very faintly, a figure kind of lights up behind her and you could miss it, but I certainly.

Did you, did you see? I

Craig: don’t know. I don’t know if I remember that or not. When I read about this, I read so pipes apparently is this entity, whatever it is. Um, and apparently he pops up more than 20 times in

Todd: the movie. Oh really

Craig: 13. Okay. All

Todd: right. She said an interview. Yeah. But all right. I only counted eight.

Craig: Oh, I see. And I maybe saw two or three. Um, uh, definitely there was one time early, very, very early in the broadcast before they were even in the house. There’s a crowd of neighbors. Like standing around watching, which, you know, seems very realistic. If there were a major production going on in your neighborhood, you’d probably go out and see what was going on.

And, and, uh, the on-screen personality guys kind of interviewing some of them standing there. And there’s one. Figure on the very far left, this tall figure that you never, I mean, he’s never lit he’s, he’s always in shadow. And I don’t even know if that was meant to be the entity, but when I was watching it, I was like, oh my gosh, I think that it’s standing right there.

And there were several. Uh, apparently again, I don’t know if it was just the transfer that I had, but, or it could very well just been that it was eighties television, but the picture wasn’t terribly clear. It was a little bit wavy and grainy. So I never really knew. Exactly what I was seeing. I mean, it wasn’t so bad.

It wasn’t as bad as I’m making it sound. It just wasn’t clear, like, like what we see today. But I think that that also works for the movie. Yeah. You know, I don’t there’s there’s, there’s all these stories happen. I’m sorry. Go ahead. But I I’m looking at my notes and there’s all these stories about things I don’t even remember.

So you’re going to have to fill in the blanks. Like there’s stuff about like an Indian concubine. Who died and was buried in the garden. There was like neighbors found like a dead dog in the

Todd: park, pregnant one that’s fetus ripped out.

Craig: Yes. Uh, like some, some spiritualists had come and try to exercise the whole street.

Like, and, and you, you don’t know, as you’re watching them. Whether these stories are true or not, because it could just as easily just be local or even neighborhood legend or gossip. And there’s no way of knowing any of these stories might be true. Might not be true. They might be connected. They might not be connected.

And, and you don’t know, you never know.

Todd: Well, and that’s the nature of these things, right? Which, which made it realistic. And it’s also sort of the nature of news, which tends to try to remain objective and not, I mean, These guys interviewed these people. There’s not time to go and research and tell the audience for sure.

Like, was this true? Was this not? Or what are the details? Um, so they don’t really ever present that to you. So it’s very realistic in that sense where they would run around and interview these different people and get all these interesting juicy stories, but not ever follow up and say, well, we looked into this and that was.

Right, right. Well, let’s fly to yeah. Cause it’s live exactly. Right. But almost to a surprising degree. And you also kind of think, look, if these, if any of these things were real, like they would know it because even before they put this production together, like they would have researched at least the history of this house.

And they would have known these, some claims are going to be coming up, but that might be one of the criticisms I have of it as far as a realism standard or whatever, that, that there was very little. When I would have thought that a news organization, like the BBC would have gone into this and especially having set everything up, have a little bit more of their own backstory of the house and not just be figuring it all out live right then and there, and not really questioning it or, or.

I I just to go back to the figure really quick, I saw, of course, just like you, I saw the figure in the currents and I thought, oh, okay. This means we’re probably going to be seeing figures. Then when I saw that figure in the studio, I was like, oh, this is going to be like a thing. And so that became the game for me.

And that was one of the things that really kept me engaged was. When, especially when things were happening, I was constantly looking around in the background, trying to see if there was going to be a figure or some apparition. And I could see, you know, if I were a viewer, uh, you know, it’d be the same thing.

There’s this moment in there where there’s some activity, the girls run upstairs, something happens. They hear noises come from downstairs and Sarah runs back downstairs with her camera crew and. This child’s drawings trail of them basically, uh, that had been set on the floor through the kitchen, to the back door.

And then there’s an actual cat scare where a cat jumps up against the back. You know, it’s one of those Florida ceiling glass, sliding glass doors that are common in kitchens, whatever. And the camera comes up and around and there is a reflection. Another one of those, I think, blink if you miss it things.

But I was really looking, there is a reflection of a man. Would have been standing right behind the camera person against the wall, in that kitchen that you see. And I was like, whoa. And it looked like the figure in that girl’s picture, you know, it was kind of spotted and bald and big. And then that camera, of course, whips back around as she walks back through the kitchen and that figure’s not in there.

These moments just really sold it to me. I really liked those bits. And that’s another thing that really kept me engaged, but you’re right. There’s, there’s all this local lore. Once again, like it, it moves very nice and smooth, like a television program and isn’t until, um, I think the girl starts to, has it kind of a traumatic thing happened to her that, um, the host comes on and says, you know, we, we would, we would normally go to the next program right now, but because of what’s going on where we think we’re going to stick with this instead of taking you to the next scheduled program.

And he says that almost offhand. And I, but I looked at the time and it was, it was an hour in and I thought, oh my gosh. Yeah. Even they even timed it like that. So when you’re watching this on television, right. That, that part was kind of real well. Yeah.

Craig: And that’s smart. Um, and, and the pacing I think was smart because I think that not, I, I’m not saying that I necessarily enjoyed it, but I think that it was smart because if things had started happening right out of the gate, In that time and place, I would have been much more skeptical.

You know, it builds up to it. And the doctor is talking about these different stages of haunting or possession or whatever. And I don’t remember what the first two stages are probably noises or I don’t know, strange things going on, but she says the third stage is moving objects. And then they’re getting calls

Todd: to a phone in studio.

My what’s been happening well, it’s understandably fairly chaotic here. We’re getting all sorts of calls in Darby. Someone was ringing to say that her clock had stopped again, a clock stopping a can enjoy Shrivenham from Telford in Shropshire. There. Has gone dead. And the microwave oven is pinging repetitively.

Well, where are they happening? I mean, is there a geographical pattern? How many of these incidents are there? I dunno. I dunno how many these to take with a pinch of salt, Mrs. Pender from Chepstow her dog won’t stop barking. In fact, we have loads of instances recorded here this evening of pets acting up all

Craig: through the program, and then we start seeing.

Things move in the house like a plate moves, and then there’s loud noises and the girls are freaking out and Sarah, the reporter is scared, but they’re running around. Sarah’s like leading them through the house because she’s scared. She’s going up to check on the girls and the camera. Catches. Like, I don’t think that they catch it right away.

I think that they go up and they look in the girl’s room and Kim is in there and she’s scared. Um, but the people in the studio are like, hold on a second, roll that back and slow it down. And they roll back the footage of when they’re coming up the stairs and you see the daughter, Suzanne. Doing the banging she’s banging on something.

And so Michael, the host concludes that it’s a scam. Oh, that’s, that’s

Todd: quite extraordinary. We set out to catch a ghost and I’m certainly very sad. They will. Witness was a remarkable exposure of a hope. It’s not be too hasty. Come on daughter, please be surely got to accept. We saw an established. Genuine phenomena followed by the fakery stage.

When the children feel obliged to come up with the goods. I’m sorry. Well, I mean, after eight months of commitment and commit to work, like you’ve been through, I can understand you feel upset because you’ve been, I’d be the first to admit it. If it was absolutely sure I had been dealed or

Craig: to really simplistic, this is one incident amongst many, many dozens.

And when they confront the mother and they confront Suzanne, and I think they’re in different places. Like the mom is appearing on screen most of the time, like they have her somewhere else. Doing like a private interview or something, but Suzanne said, And the mother believes her. I just wanted something to happen so that everybody would believe us.

Like this stuff does happen to us, but because it’s not happening while you’re here, I was doing it just so everybody would believe because you know, they’ve been bullied in school because nobody believes them. And, um, you know, in the community, people are skeptical or whatever, and she just wanted them to believe.

So she. Kind of making it happen. And the in-studio paranormal list is upset, like disappointed, but she also just still firmly believes that something else going on. And they’re still getting phone calls, uh, about this ghostly figure that people are continuing to see, um, and, and paranormal stuff going on in people’s houses.

Like one caller’s coffee table exploded and hurt her husband and other people’s clocks are stopping some people’s children are being hypnotized by the TV. Um, so. It’s still going on. And then they interview the young daughter, Kim, and she describes Mr. Pipes. And she has, she says he has a disfigured face and he wears a robe.

And the doctor says, what if it’s Kim? Like they had all thought that it was Suzanne that was maybe influenced and possess because she had been the one who had done the drawings in her school book or whatever. But now they think that maybe it’s Kim. And I feel like this is when things start going crazy.

Like they hear whaling cats. And then Suzanne is screaming and she’s, they go to her and she’s covered in scratches and the temperature is fluctuating in her room and everybody’s starting to panic and they want to leave the people in the studio want them to get out. But Kim says, no pipes says you’ve got

Todd: to stay.

Nope. This is what I really liked. Actually, I remember the, you know, the camera’s kind of running up and exposes Suzanne who’s laying on the bed, you know, with all these scratches on her face, suddenly. It’s pretty creepy. It’s kind of almost like a one of those possession type things. And I thought it was an effective bit and the camera kind of lingers in there.

And like you said, they’re talking about leaving the camera kind of goes away. Kim says, no, keep filming. People need to see this. People need to believe what we’re going. And you know, that, that we’re very neatly solved that, you know, the found footage problem right. Of why do people keep just filming and being around for this stuff instead of just throwing the camera down and running away, I thought that was a really clever way of keeping the cameras rolling.

And she’s like, look like you got to keep the cameras rolling. We got to kill, you got to tell our story. And that that phone line was, was not only like a working phone line. It was the typical. BBC call-in phone line. And when people called it, they would get a message that said, look, uh, this is fake ha happy Halloween, but go ahead and, you know, tell us your stories anyway, just to be clear,

Craig: you’re talking about in real life, like, as this was, as this was airing people in real life, real life, people could call the hotline and then they would get that message it’s fake.

But go ahead and tell us your story. That’s

Todd: right. That’s right. That’s the message. However again, real life. They didn’t anticipate how many phone calls they were. And so the lines were jammed most of the time. So Mo many of the people who called didn’t ever even get anything, they got a busy signal. And so that just only added to the panic apparently, you know, behind this, this program.

Cause that’s what you’d basically expect. If you happen to be watching the ghost watch at that time and try to call that number again. Chances are likely you, weren’t going to get through that message. That that’s kind of interesting, I thought, but anyway, yeah, you’re right. That’s when things start to escalate.

And at that point, when, you know, what, if you know, this is a movie things start happening, the studio itself, which I wasn’t expecting. Uh, and I thought it was a bit much, oh, I liked that actually.

Craig: And I was kind of expecting it because I expected, and maybe this is just a result of watching lots of horror movies, but, you know, it’s, it’s like that typical Ouija board, uh, lore, like when you start messing.

The supernatural, you kind of invited in, and in this case, the conduit is the broadcast. And the fact that all of these viewers had been experiencing all these strange things in their homes. I felt, you know, it, this is getting way too deep for this movie, but it’s kind of like the power of television. I mean, you are bringing.

Things into people’s homes by missing or tampering with this supernatural stuff and providing this gateway, you know, it’s, it’s allowing it into people’s homes. And I, and I thought that it would make sense that it would eventually infiltrate the studio, but I also thought that it made a lot of sense that that wouldn’t happen until near the very end, because once that happens, then.

Where do you go from there? You know, like, but I, I did like it and all of this stuff, this stuff. The big, exciting stuff. It all happens in the last 10 minutes, but everything starts going crazy in the house. You know, Kim tells them pipes doesn’t want them to leave. He says, she says, pipes wants to see everybody.

Look, everybody wants to see him. The guy in charge of the phone says it’s spreading rapidly. They start to experience video and audio problems in the studio. And then Susie starts talking in a demon. And another thing that I liked about this was that Sarah, the reporter is invested in real time. Like her reporting duties.

It’s not like she’s ignoring those entirely, but they keep telling her to get out, but she isn’t. In this family and she’s concerned about them and she’s concerned about the girls. And so it’s not that she just wants to stay cause it’s good TV. She wants to stay because she wants to help. So she’s trying to help and they, they hear those cat noises again.

I keep calling it Harry Potter’s room. I think that that’s preferable to calling it what they called it, which was the glory.

He couldn’t

Todd: stop laughing every time they referred to it as the glue. And it was, it was actually, I think it was more of a basement. Wasn’t it? I don’t know. Cause

Craig: we never go in there. I mean, it just looks like the room under this, the stairs,

Todd: that’s the glory hole.

Craig: They, I think they hear Suzanne’s voice in there, I think.

And the cat noises. So they, they it’s it’s boarded up. So they pry off the boards, they open it up and their silence. This is when things start going crazy. The, I, I mean, they already have been a little bit, but things are really going nuts in the studio. There’s

Todd: wind and stuff in there. Yeah.

Craig: They lose their network link.

Um, some color, I guess, this, they must be airing. This says that a molester lived there. Um, and he was in. By ghost and hanged himself, and that they kept their tools under the stairs. And the neighbors constantly heard cats screaming, and then there’s like wind in the studio. And all I have in my notes is in quotes, massive seance.

Like I doing this by, by broadcasting, this what they have done. Inadvertently has created this, uh, massive seance, but in real time live, everybody else gets out of the house except for Suzanne. And so the mom. Sarah go around looking for her with the, the infrared light things are still happening in the suit studio and they hear Suzanne in the glory

and Sarah. Being the sweet, protective person that she is, goes in it immediately slams behind her and she’s locked in there. It cuts back to the studio and it, apparently everybody else in the studio is gone. Yeah, the, the lights come on, but it’s just the host standing there and he’s looking around like, uh, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here, folks, but then he’s talking directly into the camera and all of a sudden he starts talking in the demon voice.

And I don’t remember if they do something to kind of distort his face or something, but then it just cuts to black, like, like the feed got cut. Um, yeah, that’s it, that’s the end. And then it rolls credits, which I assume that it did in real life too. So again, one would think that people would figure it out and maybe at that point they did.

Who knows. Um, but yeah. That’s how it ends. It is very chaotic at the end. I did enjoy the end, all of the chaos and all that. It just, and I understand why they did it. If they were trying to make it feel as real as they could make it feel it would have cheapened. To have had big stuff happening right from the get-go, uh, for their purposes.

I think that it made more sense to do a slow burn and then hit people, you know, hard. Once you’ve already built up the tension, then hit them hard at the end and then just, boom, you know, it’s done it’s over. Um, so I think it was. Done just know, just knowing that it wasn’t real and it is pretty dated. Uh, it just didn’t have the impact on me that I’m sure that I had on people at the time, but I can say that for myself about so many movies that I enjoyed and that scared me when I was younger.

Or on first viewing or whatever. And now I look back at them and I’m like, yeah, that’s pretty hokey. Or I show them to Alan and he’s like, this is stupid. And I’m like, I understand why you think so, but you know, like I have fond memories of it, so I didn’t get it. It just

Todd: wasn’t for me. I don’t know. I’ve really thought it was a well constructed story.

I mean, I just liked the pacing. And I liked the fact that it took some time to build some mythology and using this unique way, likening it to the Blair witch project. You know, think about the first 15 minutes of that, where there’s just some it’s, it’s pretty pedestrian. They’re running around with their camera.

They’re interviewing some people from the town. There’s an unsettling moment or two in there, but you’re only getting bits and pieces and little snippets of what, what this is. And then as the movie goes on a whole hell of a lot of nothing happens, but still you’re getting a little bit more of some kind of story you’re trying to construct in your head.

And I thought that this did a really good job of parceling this out with the interviews and the sudden the extra information from the viewers, you know, Well, this viewer called in and he knows about the house cause he used to live there, you know, kind of stuff that I thought it was, it was building towards something and I don’t, I’m kind of the opposite.

I was pretty engaged with it, even, even knowing it was fake, you know, I thought it was a pretty well slowly took time to build this legend. And then at the end, you know, kind of unleashed it by the end of it. We. Figured out what everything was all about. Right. We’re wondering what these scratches are.

These cat noises, all that stuff, the house, what’s the, what’s the, the glory hole and all that. And by the end, it’s kind of like that color. I think that puts it all together. And it’s basically like, yeah, I did some social work around there. And I know about this child molester who apparently, you know, developed his photos in that dark room down there and ended up hanging himself down there.

And when they found. Because there were a whole bunch of cats, tight, light locked up in there with him, you know, they had scratches all over his face and it’s like, okay, all these elements like that we’ve been experiencing all add up now. And I thought that was nice. And it was dark too. I mean, I was kind of surprised.

I mean, they’re talking about child molesters, they’re having these things happen to these children. It’s really freaky seeing that. Face, all of a sudden caught up and, and the girls talking, the demon voices and stuff like that, not the typical stuff you would see on television in the, you know, late eighties, early nineties.

So I thought it went to some interesting places as well. And I’m, and I’m once again, like those figures coming up, they were a bit jumpy for me. I mean, come on, you know, I understand, but it was almost a little bit like sinister where you watch they’re running through this house and suddenly see a glimpse of something.

And then I went back into and I read about it and I read about a couple more and I went back to see that the figure actually shows up again in the studio at, toward the end. There’s a shot of the light. Like one of the lights exploding and flickering out up in the rafters, the guy, the guy standing right there underneath the light.

I didn’t even catch that myself. I liked it, man. I thought it was great little, obviously little experiment. And then the BBC to its credit apparently has this television program called back that I don’t know if it still does, but it did at the time where they get a little panel. Audience members in and the creators of the TV show or the movie or the news program or whatever they way they produced.

This is reality by the way. And. And like say, Hey, like, uh, criticize us will w was this wrong? And there were quite a few people in that little studio. Once I watched it, it was on YouTube. There are quite a few people in that studio audience who were pretty pissed off. Let me bring in Mr. Langer there, Eden Langer, you saw it, you were taken in what’s your reaction?

Yes, sir. Thank you, firstly, I must just say, uh, the kind word is that it was actually theoretically a brilliant piece of television. That’s the nice part house of the way, but I also think that you’d be true. The trust that the audience has within the BBC, you toyed with the emotions of the audience, because the audience weren’t actually sure.

Or I wasn’t actually sure if it was fact or fiction, if it was live or if it was in fact a drama, there were illusions before the program and in some of the papers, I don’t get the radio times, many people don’t either. I hate to say that. You weren’t sure, because it was Michael Parkinson and the elders, whether it was fact or fiction, and the producers were very defensive.

You know, they were like, we, we weren’t setting out to fool anybody. We didn’t want to create a hoax. And we thought we had put these little safeguards in there. Some of the safeguards they thought they put in there were just like obvious things. Like we didn’t think anybody could possibly believe, you know, X, Y, Z.

So that’s why we threw it into the movie. And so it, yeah, I can see why right now people look back on this and go, gosh, that was an insane time. I mean, I’m sure if I grew up in the UK, maybe some of our UK listeners, this is a touch point of their childhood, you know? Like when we saw it on TV, remember that was like an event that mini series.

And we were all talking about it for days afterwards. So this was probably the same kind of thing. So for, for that, and also I think even just watching it now as a standalone. I thought, I thought it was perfectly great. You know, we’ve, we’ve seen so much worse. We’ve seen better, but as sort of a found footage thing, it’s really well-written and well-constructed, uh, very well acted.

Yeah.

Craig: Well, and I’m glad to have seen it just because I have seen it, you know, pop up on lists and things. And I like, God, I, I find myself saying the same things over and over. I can’t, I can’t imagine how people listen to

Todd: this. They’ve already turned off by now. We can say whatever.

Craig: But I just, I like to see horror movies that I haven’t seen.

Um, and especially ones that people talk about, you know, I want to know I want to be part of the conversation. Um, and so for that reason, I’m glad to have seen it. I didn’t love it. I appreciate it for what it was and I get it. I get how. Would have affected me differently at the time. Um, so, you know, if you’re like me, if you’re an enthusiast who wants to be part of the conversation, watch it.

Why not? You know, it’s an hour and a half. You’ve got time.

Todd: Free online right now in the archive.org. And I’m gonna throw a link up to it on our website. Cool. Yep. Yeah. Check it out. All right. Well, thanks again for listening to another episode. If you enjoyed it, please share it with a friend can find us online.

You can search for two guys in a chainsaw pod. And you’ll find our Facebook page, our website, our Twitter feed, and then let us know what you thought of this film. Maybe you experienced it as a kid. We’d like to hear your stories about it. And then if there’s anything else, like Greg said that we are missing here, that we should be doing on this program where you want to be a part of the conversation, you can be a part of this show too.

So your requests, uh, we have a nice long list and we love the hearing requests from our viewers and getting around to those. Until next time. I’m Tom and I’m Craig with Two Guys and a Chainsaw.


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