Tag Archive | Para TV

Picking Up Where The Monsters Left Off

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know summer is all about being on the beach, seeing how often you can pee in public pools, barbecuing as a valid excuse to drink and clinking Mountain Dew cans while you and your bud ride off into the sunset on  your jet skis.

Well, summer’s dead. Long live the fall!

It’s high time I clued you all in to the Monster Men episodes you missed while you were out and about having lost weekends and connecting with nature. I can’t believe we’re almost at 50 episodes! The fact that our 50th will be out in October, a monster’s time to shine, is pure dumb luck.

Here we are before we sold that damn dirty ape to the ghost of Ricardo Montalban

Here we are before we sold that damn dirty ape to the ghost of Ricardo Montalban

So, starting with the most recent to where we last left off when our stalwart heroes were at the mercy of Ming, here’s your chance to get all caught up before the HUGE October festivities. Help us get more sets of eyes on these episodes. Share them on all social media platforms, subscribe to the show and help spread the word. Click on the episode #s to view. If we can triple the views for each in the next couple of weeks, I’ll have some signed book and ebook giveaways to help get your Halloween started properly.

Episode 47 : Paranormal TV. All I have to say in this one is hail Bates Motel! Damn that was a great show, and a total shock to us both. We also dissect Hannibal, the second season of American Horror Story and a host of other shows. This one’s chock full of Vera Farmiga and Gillian Anderson – and that’s a good thing.

Episode 46 : Summer’s Hottest Flicks. At this point, you’ll have to wait for these movies to come out on video, but I’m sure it won’t be a long one. We break down the surprise smash hit, The Conjuring (Vera Farmiga again!), World War Z (no holds barred review on that one), Pacific Rim and a too cool indie zombie movie called The Battery. I saw Pacific Rim after we filmed this and the 10 year old in me fell in love.

Episode 45 : Comic Book Movies. The title says it all. In here, we have Iron Man, The Avengers, Batman, Man of Steel, you name it. This episode is dedicated to my father who passed away this June. He was the one who got me addicted to comics when I was a kid, and I could never thank him enough.

Episode 44 : Welcome to Monster Men…AAAARRRRGGGGHHH! For shits and giggles, we put together a montage of all of our openings. Watch us go from terrified squares to mental patients in no time at all.

Please, remember to tell everyone you know about the podcast. Unlike so many others out there, we’re not asking for money or reviews. We just want to spread the holy gospel of horror to as many people as we can. It only takes a click or two. We thank  you for all your support these past 2 years and hope to do this for many, many more.

Deep South Paranormal – Hillbilly Ghost Huntin’!

OK, I’m well aware that hillbilly TV is the hot thing right now. Duck Dynasty is the #1 reality show on the boob tube. Everything southern is in, from crazy kids with too much time on their hands to gator wrestlers, loggers, pawn shops and everything in between. So it was only a matter of time until Syfy caught on and melded rednecks with ghosts, giving us Deep South Paranormal.

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My immediate family are the only ones in the line that are sided with the Yanks. All of my cousins and aunts and uncles can be found in North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas. I may live in New York, but I love listening to Gretchen Wilson and Shooter Jennings and pretty much walk around looking like Larry the Cable Guy once the warm weather sets in. I can appreciate the love of the south (though I am no fan of the heat and humidity that comes with the territory).

Fans of shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures may not take a shine to this addition to ParaTV because it’s not really about the ghosts. Nope, Deep South Paranormal is about the folks who like to traipse around haunted places in the dead of night. And oh what a group they’ve assembled.

When you look at the cast, your eyes immediately go to the 2 ZZ Top dudes with beards that leave me green with envy. The true star of the show is old man Hart, a colorful Cajun who walks around with a gris gris stick to call on spirits. He’s fast talking, funny as hell, and introduces us to colorful terms like getting the frissons, which means the shudders. I could watch this guy all day.

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Then there’s Keith, our narrator (who makes every episode sound like we’re setting down to catch the latest Dukes of Hazard) and rocker. Keith looks like he’s half asleep most of the time, but he does have a nifty little trick of playing his guitar to pique the interest of any nearby spirits.

Randy is young and brash and has more tats that an Attica lifer. He’s perfectly paired with Hart. Young and old really work well together and you can tell they genuinely like one another.

Jonathan is the head guy and seems to be the more level headed of the group. He’s aided by Benny, who is another funny good old boy, Kali (Randy’s sister) and Kevin, the gadget guy.

So, what makes this show tick? So far, it isn’t the ghosts. Even though they’ve investigated plantations and a saw mill, I’m more amused by watching them feed their friend’s pet gators, suck the breath from a frog for voodoo protection, pluck feathers from a live rooster and go mudding with their trucks.

Is Deep South Paranormal adding anything new to the world of paranormal investigations? No. But they are fun to watch. And it’s about time we had a ghost hunting show where everyone doesn’t walk around as dour as the Tall Man in Phantasm. Thanks Syfy.

Ghost Hunters – A Mid Season Break Review

Grant is gone. Amy’s home with her beautiful baby girl. New folks are attempting to fill some big shoes. And that’s not all of the changes we’ve seen on Ghost Hunters this season.

We all knew things would never be the same when Grant rode off to start his own board game company. For a lot of us, they haven’t been the same since they shipped Kris Williams off to GHI, never to return. (And boy, has GHI gotten an unceremonious burial at sea. I’d love to know the back story on that show). For my money, the best season was when it was just Jay, Grant, Steve, Tango and Kris. It was the perfect team size and they just clicked.

Along with the personnel changes this season came a totally fresh design to the show. From ditching Mike Rowe as the narrator in favor of Jay – who does an admirable job, to creepier music, slicker editing and even some quick recreations of spirits walking the halls, Ghost Hunters has a completely new look and feel. The Monster Men went through all of the new moving parts in our latest podcast that you can watch below.

I will say that overall, I think the changes were long overdue and breathe some new life into the show. I would like to see them investigate more homes and actually try to help people. I don’t get a sense of urgency when they visit another abandoned asylum. If it’s haunted, who cares? Just steer clear and everyone’s happy. And let’s stop giving hotels and restaurants a boost in foot traffic because they were featured on the show.

Now, I know that a lot of you that come to this blog and chain watch the show. What are your thoughts on the changes so far? Who do you miss more, Grant or Amy? Who are your favorite teams? Is it Britt and KJ, Jason and Steve, Michelle and Tango? Or how about Maddie and Jay? Since my new book, Sinister Entity, is coming out in a few weeks, I’ll give away a free copy of my first book, Forest of Shadows (Sinister Entity is the sequel) to a random person who comments on this post.

I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’ve watched every episode since the start and I’ll be there until the end.

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.

Ghost Mine : Syfy Strikes Gold

Let me start off by saying that I fully understand that all paranormal TV shows are entertainment. Some slant more to the entertainment side than others, but I’m not fooled into thinking everything I see on my television screen is a pure scientific approach to exploring the supernatural. The fact that there are no real scientists conducting experiments is enough to dispel that myth.

Syfy’s Ghost Mine has become, by far, the single best paranormal show on the air in very little time. Why it works so well is pretty simple and I’m sure other production companies will be working hard to imitate them.

We all like to be scared from time to time. If we didn’t, there wouldn’t be any amusement parks, and for real kicks, we’d watch reruns of Matlock. Even without the threat of ghosts lurking in the dark, an abandoned mine is scary as hell. It plays on our fear of the dark, claustrophobia and, well, you can die pretty easily in there. Mines are about as safe as Congress is effecient.

Ghost Mine

Ghost Mine focuses on a hearty band of miners looking for gold in the long abandoned Crescent Mine in the hills of Oregon. The mine itself has a rich history of the unexplained. They are joined by 2 paranormal investigators, the intense and gadget-loving Patrick Doyle and his partner, Kristen Lumen, a red haired beauty among the rough and tumble men. She can certanily hold her own and has to fight against the tide of supersitions about having women in a mine. It seems that other mining teams have bailed out on the Crescent Mine because of the supposed spirits that drift in and out of the tunnels.

What makes this work has nothing to do with the paranormal. It has everything to do with the miners themselves who make up one of the most interesting casts of characters on TV today. From the grizzled veterans Papa Smurf and Grey Beard (everyone has nicknames they’ve earned from years working in mines) to the fast talking Bucket and a pair of “Greenhorns” who are down on their luck and hoping to save their family’s finances. you can’t turn away. Just learning how these guys go about securing the mine and how much work goes into extracting gold is enough to hook me. Just think Axe Men with ghosts.

This is the first show that doesn’t zip in to a location and haul ass out the moment they think they’ve caught an EVP. We get to really explore the mine with them, and become emotionally invested in the miners.

Add in shadows that appear against laser grids, creepy voices and cabins being struck with the force to knock things off the walls, and you have must-see Para TV.

I admit to feeling my own walls closing in when Patrick and Kristen walk deep into the grave-black mines, searching for the heart of the haunting. The evidence they catch is compelling, but nothing can stop men with gold fever. The spirits in the mine, disturbed by the blasting, have also dispersed out of the mine, haunting the miner’s wives and children in a nearby B&B. Everyone’s on edge, including the viewers.

Ghost Mine is both informative and eerie. I’d be happy watching an episode dedicated only to mining as much as I would one centered on the ghost hunters.

As an added bonus, we get hints that the Masons might have something to do with the restless spirits. Conspiracy nuts, don your foil hats and strap yourselves in!

I’m a horror writer, and I’d be happy as a pig in you-know-what if I came up with a plot and characters this fascinating. So I’m not going to worry whether everything or not is real. I’m enjoying the ride.

The only negative is that the show has a very short run. Note to SyFy, feel free to cancel The Haunted Collector, find a new mine and get cracking on a full season.

If you’ve watched Ghost Mine, I’d love to know your thoughts about the show. Where would you rank it in the pantheon of modern Para TV?

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