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Ghostwatch (1992)

TV Movie  |   |  Horror, Mystery  |  31 October 1992 (UK)
7.7
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Reviews: 65 user | 18 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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Title: Ghostwatch (TV Movie 1992)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Parkinson ...
Sarah Greene ...
Sarah Greene - Reporter
Mike Smith ...
Mike Smith - Phone-in Presenter
...
Craig Charles - Interviewer
Gillian Bevan ...
Dr Lin Pascoe
Brid Brennan ...
Pamela Early
Michelle Wesson ...
Suzanne Early
Cherise Wesson ...
Kim Early
Chris Miller ...
Cameraman
Mike Aiton ...
Sound Recordist
Mark Lewis ...
Alan Demescu
Linda Broughton ...
Yvonne Etherly
Katherine Stark ...
Wendy Stott
Derek Smee ...
Arthur Lacey
Roger Tebb ...
Local TV Presenter
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Storyline

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. Written by Gary Thompson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

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Details

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Release Date:

31 October 1992 (UK)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The on-screen map graphic used to show where phone-in guests are calling from was actually a printed artwork, filmed on set using a locked-off camera, vision mixed, and fed into the video-wall for the actors to respond to, 'live'. See more »

Goofs

Because the studio presenters were reacting to footage recorded weeks before, there are many instances where Sarah Greene will answer questions not asked to her yet or studio presenters will have to re-ask questions to fill gaps before someone will answer. See more »

Quotes

Kim Early: [raving] Pipes says we've got to stay! Pipes wants to see everybody!
[pointing at camera]
Kim Early: Look! Everybody wants to see him!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in BiteBaCk: Episode #1.13 (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pipes In The Glory Hole
1 September 1999 | by (Hastings, England) – See all my reviews

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.

Steev




13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Not scary at all mel2000
So why was it so effective....? userwithnoname
Pipes-spotting karen_uni
An american that is extremely interested... acnessen
Just watched again for first time since it came on. Benitoglass
Keith Ferrari as Pipes... Schnorbitz
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