Ghost Hunters Season Six
by Heather Trow
Film Monthly Home
Short Takes (Archived)
Small Screen Monthly
Behind the Scenes
New on DVD
Books on Film
What's Hot at the Movies This Week
Does the supernatural really have the same hold on America as it did in the days of witch hunting? Are ghosts really such a fascinating subject? Don’t most reasonable adults believe there’s no such thing?
Apparently not, as we learn by the mere existence of a sixth season of Ghost Hunters on the Syfy channel. And from the looks of things, this show must have a fairly healthy following. Each episode follows the same cookie-cutter format of an episode of Scooby Doo; the only thing missing is someone wearing a sheet. In some of the episodes, the beginning is contrived enough as to contain a filmed telephone conversation between The Cute Girl (we’ll call her Daphne, as she serves the exact same purpose) and Jason or Grant (who cares which one is which?) informing them that they have a new “case”. It’s so staged there might as well be plastic trees in the background. It’s reminiscent of the detective movies Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen made for children in the early nineties. Though the Olsens, it must be said, knew their way around a film set. And had big eyes with which to look curiously at the camera.
They explore various “haunted” places like Alcatraz prison (verdict: DEFINITELY haunted), Shamrock Spirits (verdict: To be determined?), and the Harriet Beech Stowe house (verdict: don’t call us, we’ll call you), each time bringing in their absurdly fancy cameras and tools that look like a stud finder and a coffee bean scale. They “go lights out” and perform inspections of the potentially spooky sites, trying to communicate with figures from beyond the grave and saying things like “we know it must be hard to deal with us humans, we can’t understand you when you’re saying things, but can you make that noise a little louder/again?” It is the phoniest of bologna, to quote comedian Paul F. Tompkins.
Perhaps the most infuriating thing of all is how deeply uninteresting these people are to watch. Nothing is frightening to behold in their NightVision tinted cameras, and even the tiniest noise is given the hacky sound effects of the exceptionally low-rent “score”. It sounds like what happens when the The Phantom of the Opera has heartburn.
If there is an afterlife, if there are such things as ghosts, these idiots will probably not be the ones to crack the case. Keep looking, gang.
Heather Trow is an actress, writer and alternative comedy enthusiast.
Got a problem? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org