Stranded : Syfy’s Latest Scare Fest

I never thought the Syfy channel would become the mecca for ParaTV, but thanks to the runaway success of Ghost Hunters, the network churns out new ghost-themed shows quicker than Willy Wonka on meth. The latest entry is STRANDED, a new take on the old theme, created by Destination Truth’s own Josh Gates. Now, Josh is by far my favorite para-celebrity because he doesn’t take things too seriously, but serious enough to put his life on the line while searching for the uknown. I swear that man is going to at least lose a limb while schlepping through the jungle looking for dinosaurs or an Africanized Bigfoot. It’s also produced by Jason Blum, of Paranormal Activity and Sinister (by far the scariest movie of 2012) fame.

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The premise of Stranded is simple. Take a handful of real people and drop them in one of America’s most haunted locations for 5 days. Arm them with cameras and some basic ghost hunting equipment and let the good times roll. No camera crews or Syfy production folks to get in the way. The best part is, no matter how scared they get, they can’t leave.

I mentioned in my previous post on Ghost Mine that I liked the idea of making folks investigate a haunted location for more than the obligatory night. That way we all get a better feel for the place, and allow enough time to stumble upon some real scares.

In the first episode, three twenty-somethings (exes Sarah and Sean and their non-believing friend, Xand) are dropped off on Star Island off the cost of New Hampshire. Their mission : to stay at the haunted Oceanic Hotel and find out if spirits really do roam the halls. The hotel has been shut up for the oncoming winter, ala The Shining. Anyone care to place wagers on whether Xand changes her tune about the paranormal?

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When they arrive at the empty hotel on the first night, a book is left behind explaining the haunted history of the  hotel. Ghost Hunters fans should remember when Jason, Grant and the team investigated the hotel a few years back. The trio spend the next 5 days living in the dark in the shuttered hotel, jumping at noises and filling up hours of night vision recordings.

Kudos to Sean for coming up with the creepiest method for ghost hunting – ever! It seems the spirit of a little girl likes to open and close the doors of the hotel rooms on the 4th floor. Sean decides to raid the nursery (a kind of prop for tourists to get their chills) and tie little nooses around their necks, with the other end on the door knobs. If any door is openened, they’ll know because the doll will be out of place. What we’re left with is a long, dark hallyway filled with strangled dolls on either side. They should have renamed it Hangman’s Hall.

They do get a disembodied voice giggling and there are odd sounds every night. It’s just enough to put them on edge, which, as a viewer, is where we want them. It ain’t fun until the skeptic cries, and in that sense, Stranded doesn’t disappoint.

The first episode was interesting, but I’m hoping it can crank things up in future episodes. Personally, I’d like to see them bring in some older, more grounded people who are less prone to suggestion. The trio in the first episode were on edge the  moment they stepped onto the dock. I wish they hadn’t been given any info on the stories of the hotel. It colors their perception of things. Better to let them discover the paranormal for themselves. Use graphics to clue the viewers into the history.

For those of you who saw it, what did you think? Para-good, or para-bad?

I’ll be staying tuned. Hey, Syf, feel free to drop me off any place you’d like. Let’s see how a horror author holds up in a haunted house.

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About Hunter Shea

I’m the product of a childhood weened on The Night Stalker, The Twilight Zone and In Search Of. I don’t just write about the paranormal. I actively seek out the things that scare the hell out of people and experience them for myself. My novels, Forest of Shadows, Evil Eternal , Swamp Monster Massacre and Sinister Entity are published through Samhain Publishing’s horror line. 2014 will be busy, with my novella, The Waiting, and novel, Hell Hole coming out with Samhain, and my first thriller paperback, The Montauk Monster, with Pinnacle in June. I live with my family and untrainable cat close enough to New York City to get Gray’s Papaya hotdogs when the craving hits. I’m also proud to be be one half of the Monster Men video podcast, along with my partner in crime, Jack Campisi. Our show is a light hearted approach to dark subjects. We explore real life hauntings, monsters, movies, books and everything under the horror sun.

35 responses to “Stranded : Syfy’s Latest Scare Fest”

  1. Scott DayOH says :

    I have Stranded on the DVR, hoping to watch tonight.

    A couple of agreements – Josh Gates is the shit – that dude is so awesome – and looks like Carson Palmer (QB / Raiders).

    I’d love to be on a show like this, just drop me off. This summer, my brother (RIP) and a couple of friends are planning on doing an overnight in the Eastern State Penitentiary in PA. Bring on the spooks!

    Been a long time since I’ve had an experience that I thought ghostly, but I’d love to have it again.

    Scott

    PS – “Kudos to Seam…” needs an edit. ;-)

    • Hunter Shea says :

      You should go with your brother. That place is ultra creepy. Thanks for finding that typo. My eyes are getting bad. Need new glasses!

      • Scott DayOH says :

        My brother passed away on June 29, 2012, so I’m not sure his widow would be happy about me bringing his urn. ;-)

        I also watched “Ghostland Tennessee” on Animal Planet (strangely human) and thought it was entertaining.

      • Harold D. Jenkins says :

        Saw Episodes 1 and 2. Loved the Pool room door open. Wind? Definately heard the bottles, organ, and voice on the radio. The show leaves me wondering if producers are in the background scripting, planting, ‘salting’. I sincerely hope they remove the facecams. That’s one of the reasons I prefer Ghost Adventures over Hunters. Plus, knowing there isn’t a crew (added bodies) at the site. If this is legit, add few more fans in this household.
        We do some investigations out here in California and Nevada. Email me for my Facebook ID and I’ll friend you to see some good pics. Have some great ones from Knights Ferry, plus a good EVP. Keep up the good work!

        Jenks

      • Hunter Shea says :

        That mansion definitely amped up the creep factor. I’m with you in hoping Syfy isn’t creating false scares. That would destroy the reputation of all of their paranormal shows.

  2. Chuck D. says :

    I agree with you on two points: the episode itself was original but lame and the dolls’ scene is the creepiest image ever! I’ve even used that exact same emphasis myself to describe it to someone. I’ll bet Stephen King, Clive Barker and the rest are all wishing they had thought of it.

  3. SEPS Paul Cagle says :

    I like Josh Gates. I might watch this one. Lol.

  4. Scott DayOH says :

    Ok – I finally watched the episode. I had to crack up at just how many times the skeptic freaked the hell out and she couldn’t be alone whenever something happened.

  5. Scott DayOH says :

    Also – I like that they showed the static cameras by location and #. I think on Syfy.com, they should post a map with all camera angles just before the show starts.

  6. Mike says :

    The voice on the radio in episode was so clear, I heard it clearly say “it’s just that .. I’m Mrs. Bradley”. Apparently the 3 stooges didn’t hear anything when they tuned the radio so it was similar to an EVP. I guess ghosts can speak into the white noise of radio as well.

    • Hunter Shea says :

      I didn’t hear that. Now I have to re-watch it on-demand. Nice catch!

    • Scott DayOH says :

      Using white noise and white noise generators isn’t uncommon to try and capture spirit “voices”. The movie “White Noise” with Michael Keaton was pretty good.

      However, I wouldn’t knock this week’s Stranded winners for not hearing the EVP on the radio. The show told us it was there and captured, but normally you see EVP discovery happen when re-listening to captured data and very rarely is it heard in real-time.

  7. Greg says :

    I have to say, I love these shows. I never miss any of them; they’re all set to record just to make sure. Josh Gates, Awesome without question. Love to meet him. I’m 56, no make that 57 yrs old and still love this stuff. Both parents born and raised in TN, and heard a lot of stories from family & friends. I’d love to experience or be a part of one of these shows just to experience for myself something that I can’t explain. I’ve been told I should have been a detective because I can usually figure out most anything. I’ve been hunting around the web site for “Stranded” and found no way of submitting and application of sort to be a part of the show which now makes me wonder where & how these people are brought in. So far all I can come up with is that they are actors for the show and not everyday people like you and I Not trained in acting for the show. If I’m wrong someone please send me the link to get a chance at the experience of a lifetime. For now, my search has left me not so sure of the show, thinking it’s all actors and setup. I’ve been in many place well over 100 years old and even in old country side cemeteries with Headstones made of concrete and pebbles dating back in the 1700’s and never felt or thought to myself, “that had to be a ghost or spirit or whatever”. I’m not saying spirits and ghosts don’t exist. They have to, if you believe in the Holy Bible. It’s all based on “The Father, The Son and The Holy GH * * T”. Yep, that’s right, we all know it, The Holy Ghost, and some refer to as The Holy Spirit. This also means you have to believe in the Devil and Demons. It’s all in the same book and it’s all real.
    God does protect the true Christian from evil. Maybe only those without God in their lives experience these things. That would be scary ’cause we know where they’d be headed, and I don’t mean up stairs. We’re talking the extreme deep down basement. Oh well, something to ponder.
    Syfy, still and always, the best !!!! Thanks for your time, GW

    • Hunter Shea says :

      I do wonder where they get their pool of participants. If there’s an open casting call, this is me throwing my hat in the ring. Some great points you bring up. Keep watching and let’s see where this takes us.

  8. Scott DayOH says :

    In reply to the post: “Hunter Shea says : March 9, 2013 at 12:51 pm
    That mansion definitely amped up the creep factor. I’m with you in hoping Syfy isn’t creating false scares. That would destroy the reputation of all of their paranormal shows.”

    Clearly, by placement of the static cameras “traps” could be setup for false scares. However, I would hope Josh Gates wouldn’t be part of that… for me, he’s the face of Syfy and I’ve never felt he was being dishonest… but, who knows it is TV.

  9. Jack Campisi (@backinjack) says :

    I finally watched Stranded. I liked it a lot. I saw the one where they investigate the mansion by the sea in Rhode Island. The show created a great, creepy vibe. It’s very reminiscent of MTV’s show Fear, but done better. I liked seeing “non-professional” ghost hunters thrust in these environments. I kept wondering what I would do. (Run? Cry?) Part of the fun is seeing how much of their fear is from what they see and hear and how much is from what they might be imagining. I agree that telling them the history of the haunting definitely skews their perception.

  10. Tom says :

    I like your description of the show.
    So far I’ve seen 3 episodes.( just finished watching the third, and I thoroughly enjoy it. I find it to fall in line with the creepy,don’t watch it alone in the dark Wednesday lineup. I also find it humorous because they aren’t like the professionals of taps and they are genuinely scared at times. I get creeped out, I laugh out loud, and I watch it every week now.
    I’ve tried looking online for a registration or sign up but can’t find anything. Do you know how one goes about inquiring about that? Email me if you know any info. Thank you:) I (among many others probably) would love to be a part of this show. Paid or for free, this would be an incredible adventure. I personally have never had solid proof of paranormal . Coincidental moments where I have been creeped out or scared maybe but nothing that couldn’t be explained with either science or deductive reasoning. I have hope in paranormality though.

    • Hunter Shea says :

      I heard an interview with Josh Gates and they had put out a casting call last summer. Guess it was in a trade magazine. He’s looking for trios that include a skeptic, a believer and someone on the fence. After these first 6 episodes, I think they’ll post the call on Syfy.

  11. amanda culbertson says :

    I would love tol be on the show I belive something is out there but my husband does not. I asked him if he thought the show was real were both not sure . But I would love a chance at it. The show does get a little boring at times because they always run away from it .

  12. Courty says :

    I think this show is really entertaining. I question some of their experiences though. Mainly, the fact that several episodes have shown an unmanned camera pointing at the front of the house, then the guests see a window open that later is closed or a light on that is later turned off, or like that turnstile door being positioned differently than how they left it….and yet they beer show footage of these things happening. Seems a bit fishy to me. I still like it though, I like the concept of people staying in these places with no crew.

  13. Chris says :

    SYFY’s show Stranded is all fake ans set up. The people may be “real”(not acting), but they are certainly not by themselves on location. If they were, why not show us the tape of things “moving” to make the noises that have them so startled. They have cameras everywhere. And most importantly they weed our everyone that is likely to do any real investigating, and choose the utmost jumpiest, cowardliest folks anyone has ever seen. Get real Syfy. Lastly, it leaves viewers bored and wanting. Lets get some “real” people, that might actually do some investigating, instead of screaming and running. It’s always tense walking around in the dark, they needn’t manufacture it with scaredy-cats. That’s my and my families opinion(s).

    • Hunter Shea says :

      Because this show is more about watching people freak out in scary places, it’s key they get folks who have the potential to be jumpy. Like all paranormal shows, you have to suspend belief, sit back and enjoy. All of them, and I mean all, have elements that are added in by the production team/editors. Ghost hunting is mostly boring as hell, and that doesn’t work for television.

  14. Colum says :

    Hunter! Dude! Watching this show right now. Kinda bored, but the promise or screaming teens is good. I wish it was more convincing, but I would probably react the same if it was me out there.

    We should talk about this on Dreadful Tales someday, you and I. Whaddaya say?

    C.

    • Hunter Shea says :

      If you saw the ep with the 3 New Yorkers at that closed hotel in Canada, you got your screaming quota in. LOL I’m happy to talk about it anytime, anywhere, and esp on Dreadful Tales. Drop me a line and let me know how and when you’d like to do it.

  15. Scott DayOH says :

    Just watched the Yorktown Memorial Hospital episode. Talk about a bunch of runners! The girls ran at every sound and ran fast!

    Dillon kept it pretty level and even as the skeptic, he tried to at least go through the motions of interacting with the paranormal.

  16. Katrina Schmidt says :

    Please put this show back on . Every time we find a good show we like y’all take it off and put them other stupid face off and other dumb shoes I do not watch . Put the good shows back on and leave them alone !!!!!!!!

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