If memory serves me right – this was actually my first ever experience with the Found Footage genre…and it was a freebie from the BBC!
Yep, Ghostwatch was actually a made-for-television mockumentary that was put together for a Halloween night ‘special event’.
From what I can remember – the film caused one hell of a stir over here with certain people actually believing it was real…
There were also thousands of complaints from parents who’s children had sat through it…and ended up a petrified mess (the movie actually started before the traditional BBC watershed!).
Anyway, I was a complete pothead back then and I actually watched this event live – a big bottle of Sprite along with a bag of weed and I was glued to the strange new TV experience…
The BBC gives over a whole evening to an ‘investigation into the supernatural’. Four respected presenters and a camera crew attempt to discover the truth behind ‘The most haunted house in Britain’, expecting a light-hearted scare or two and probably the uncovering of a hoax.
They think they are in control of the situation. They think they are safe. The viewers settle down and decide to watch ‘for a laugh’. Ninety minutes later the BBC, and the country, was changed, and the consequences are still felt today.
I really hope I’m not being biased here BUT…the BBC has always been known for it’s super-high level of quality with 99.9% of it’s productions.
It’s probably the best TV channel in the world (and has been for decades and decades).
I find it strange to think that they had no idea what bandwagon they were jumping on when they created Ghostwatch – no idea about the genre they were unconsciously joining.
They also had no idea that fans of this ‘new’ genre would be searching out and watching this movie…decades later!
This is an excellent example of a paranormal mockumentary – probably the best one ever made!
But there’s only one problem from my side of the fence – I’m Welsh (British), so I knew all of the presenters involved in the movie beforehand.
Can you see why this might turn out to be a problem?
You see, these presenters had been involved in many BBC projects over the years – children’s programs, news reports, charity nights and even chat shows…
When they suddenly jumped into the horror genre I just couldn’t swallow it – there was a barrier I just couldn’t overcome.
They even managed to get the greatest chat show host of all time to present it – Parky! (Michael Parkinson).
All of a sudden the man that carried out the three immortal interviews with Mohamed Ali…was in the middle of a Grave Encounters world!!!!
That just didn’t work for me.
But, hundreds of thousands of Found Footage fans that are NOT British-based have thoroughly enjoyed this movie – and rightly so!
If I wasn’t familiar with the presenters I would of 100% loved it!
The truth of the matter is that this is an excellent piece of work from an A-list broadcasting company…that had no idea of the future-genre they were jumping into!
The layout and the ‘journey’ of the experience is second to none in my book – the presenters and the actors were near enough 100% believable.
The live studio situation, the phone lines, the special paranormal investigator guests – everything was put in the correct place…therefore everything worked.
BUT…unfortunately my familiarity with the presenters kinda took the shine off proceedings at the time…but if you are not from the UK – you’ll love this!
P.S. Certain online Found Footage ‘lists’ have this down as the best genre example ever made!!!