Ghost Hunters International: Season One, Part 1 Review

What’s that old saying about the blind leading the blind? The ghost hunter concept has been a joke since day one, ranking just above psychics. Yet, the masses have spoken and they just can’t get enough of ghost hunting teams turning off the lights in old rickety houses and scaring the fecal matter out of themselves. So the poorly named channel now known as SyFy decided a spin-off was in order and sent a troupe of ghost hunters abroad, calling them Ghost Hunters International. Now, it’s not just old houses but dilapidated monasteries and castles getting the “Something just brushed past by arm!” treatment. Okay, at least has improved, but the show is still a bunch of morons afraid of their own shadows walking around in the dark.

The season starts out with one of the most embarrassingly staged “spontaneous” conversations ever caught on tape. The main Ghost Hunters guys sit down with case manager Donna LaCroix who mentions a strong demand for their “services” in Europe. Services being in quotes because all the clients really want is to be seen on a TV show in order to reach the market of people who plan vacations around “haunted” attractions. “Haunted” being in quotes because even when the best evidence for that status gathered by the team is presented it’s almost always based on “great personal experiences” and fuzzy audio clips that they’ve interpreted to be responses from “ghosts”. Ghosts being in quotes because, oh yeah, there’s no such thing.

Robb Demarest is the leader of the European unit and guides his ragtag group of paranormal specialists from England to Scotland to Italy and basically wherever someone has put in a request to have them tour. The team consists of Barry Fitzgerald, Donna, Shannon Sylvia, Andy Andrews, Brian Harnois, and Mike Rowe. As a collective, the group has the investigative validity of clowns with oversized magnifying glasses. However, to lend their efforts some level of credibility they stress that first and foremost their objective is to dispel any stories of the site in question by looking for logical answers; and usually they do that for a few of the mysteries. They never really follow through all the way on that aspect though.

The logical approach that initial step follows goes out the window once they feel they’ve placated the skeptics; the whole first act turns out to be lip service so they can get their real passion underfoot: psyching themselves out in dark rooms. If ever there was a case of psychosomatic neuroses getting TV airtime – this is it; Monk doesn’t count, his were byproducts of his OCD. These guys and gals, on the other hand, are just feckless morons with video cameras, tape recorders, and flashlights. They wander the dark corridors of the episode’s spooky site of the week, speak into the darkness, snap a few flash photos, record ambient sound with tape recorders, and then pack it in so they can analyze it all back at their base. The process itself isn’t really flawed, it’s the people all along.

During the night in the castle, underground village, catacombs, etc. the group will claim to see dark shadows passing in front of them and into other rooms or they’ll feel the firm grip of a phantasm on their shoulder. They don’t approach it objectively. Ever. It’s like asking a Mac fanatic to investigate tax evasion by Steve Jobs. Good luck with that. In both scenarios, instead of any real look into the situation at hand, you’ll get a purely emotional rant about how legitimate everything they do is, as long as it gives them the results they want: the continuation of their jobs (get it?).

Episodes in this first part of the first season include:

Chillingham Castle,

Evil Unearthed

Whispers from Beyond

Haunted Village

Fortress of Fear

Headless Haunting

Frankenstein’s Castle

Larnach Castle

Devil Dogs

Castle of the Damned

Shattered Spirit

DVD Bonus Features

All you’ll find are deleted scenes, and they don’t help the situation at all.

"Ghost Hunters International: Season One, Part 1" is on sale June 1, 2010 and is not rated. Reality. Starring Robb Demarest, Barry Fitzgerald, Brian Harnois, Mike Rowe, Shannon Sylvia, Donna LaCroix.

Lex Walker • Editor

He's a TV junkie with a penchant for watching the same movie six times in one sitting. If you really want to understand him you need to have grown up on Sgt. Bilko, Alien, Jurassic Park and Five Easy Pieces playing in an infinite loop. Recommend something to him - he'll watch it.


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