1 November 2017

REVIEW: Most Haunted Halloween Special 2017 (Liverpool's Croxteth Hall)

It is the time of the year when Most Haunted pulls out all the stops to give us their Halloween Special, in the old days this would be a live show with an audience and Derek Acorah going mental, these days it's a pre-recorded 2 hour special. And I am the lucky person who has to sit through it all to do this review. Red Bull is poured and ready to be drank, anti-depressant tablets have been taken, I've allowed my cousin to repeatedly slap me around the face to give me the passion to write and we are ready, so first things first lets pull down Karl's jeans, and allow that filthy blurbage to dribble onto your page below.

"Spook-searching with Yvette and co! In a non-stop, two-hour heart-pounding investigation at Liverpool's Croxteth Hall, the team is pushed to the limit."

For those of you who like to keep track, this is officially Series 20, Episode 5.

Yvette starts on the steps as says "Welcome to Most Haunted AS LIVE Special"
For those of you who don't know what this means, As Live, means it is NOT live, it is pre-recorded, but presented as if it were live, so the theory is that there is no edits, no cuts, just one taping as if it were live, we will learn by the end of the show that this is a lie, like much of what they say.

Great to see Watson on the show, I suspect he doesn't care.

New cast member, "Producer Lou", she looks utterly thrilled to be there. And we wont see her again I am sure.

Straight away they head to a wine cellar, and before you know it a bottle has been thrown.
Now Yvette quickly says "I saw that come out the wall" The only problem is that Yvette was facing in the opposite direction to where the bottle was thrown, which just happened to be right by Stuart.

Moment before bottle is thrown

After bottle is thrown

So bottle is thrown, Yvette turns towards where it happened, and then claims to have seen it come out of the wall, none of the cameras caught this of course, so we can say it happened OFF CAMERA!

Glen proud states that it is a paranormal event, but then kinda backtracks when it realises what he said.

Less than a minute later they just carry on as if nothing happened, lets just say that what happened was real, don't you think you might be a little more excited? Demand to see replays straight away, check the footage to see if you could see the event from start to end, but nope, just move on.

I believe Stuart had the bottle on him, and when everyone was looking the other way he just dropped it.

Glen has rigged up an old tape recorder alongside the laptop to capture EVPs, complete waste of time as it is all evidentially worthless.

Yvette decides to turn the lights off, and this is the first cut in filming, remember this is supposed to be "as live" yet they have just had their first cut, no real issue with this, maybe someone can go to the toilet, check the script and so on. Just thought I would mention it.

I will never understand why they have to pretend it is dark, or that the lights are off, quite clearly in the shot above, the room is just as lit as previously, and they have just changed the filter on the camera.

As the teams split up, we get the usual taps and bangs etc, usual nonsense.

As Karl and Stuart are walking about, Stuart films a door, and as he does, a knife is thrown OFF CAMERA, and then another crashing sound and a light bulb is on the floor.

Stuart seems convinced that a window has been smashed, but it just the bulb, another smashing sound, and we get some over acting from Karl, Stuart and Darren. Nothing on camera at all as usual.

Back to Yvette and Glen and you can hear a door slam.

Karl tells Yvette over the radio that they are "under attack" which made me giggle.

Stuart then claims it is like a war zone.

All that has happened is that a bulb has hit the floor OFF CAMERA, and knife thrown OFF CAMERA.

Stuart claims they will start being picked off soon. We can only hope.

All of this supposed activity, yet nothing at all is caught on camera, so its the usual routine then.

The group all meet up, and now Yvette is whistling to the ghosties.

Karl chucks another knife behind him, they all go chasing down the corridor and then find the knife on the floor, again all OFF CAMERA.

Now we are getting growls and groans which could be any one of them, so instantly becomes pointless.

As Karl is walking behind the cameraman, suddenly there is an bang and an "ow" and yep, Karl has been hit by a knife OFF CAMERA.

Yvette checks and there is no blood, no mark, nothing, almost as if the knife was just dropped on the floor, and Karl pretended to be hit on the head, all OFF CAMERA of course.

Fred keeps talking about a sweet chocolate smell. And that the ghosties have released it to entice them up there. Because you know, that is what ghosts do. Makes a change from the rancid fart smells they usually get.

Karl then suspiciously turns his back to the camera, makes a jerking movement another knife falls to the floor

Karl claims he has been cut, but there is no blood, he quick squeezes his thumb, and there is a tiny pin prick of blood there, nothing like what a knife would cause if it hit you. He could have at least palmed a small balloon with fake blood it, or something to make it look a tiny bit believable. I have had worse bleeds from biting my finger nails!

And yet again it happened OFF CAMERA.

Fast forward a few minutes, Stuart claims he has been hit by a rock. OFF CAMERA.

But then out of nowhere, as they investigate a room, they capture what I would confidently say is their most convincing evidence of ghostly activity in the history of the show.

I have examined this footage over and over, looked for edits, camera trickery, CGI, anything, and it seems legit to me. Yes folks, they have captured a ghost, and the image above is 100% proof.

Anyway that is quickly forgotten and they move on.

Yvette has written some letters on a piece of paper, and is listening to taps from the ghosts to spell out a word. CUN..... I wonder what the next letter could be. What kind of word could describe a member of the Most Haunted team that starts with the letters CUN. Guess it will forever be a mystery.

Stuart then convinces Yvette to cross out the N and put a T, I don't think you needed to remove the N here.

They eventually spell out "CUT ALL YOU" however, I think "CUNT ALL YOU" is definitely the more likely opinion from the ghost.

They move on after wasting 10 minutes on this, and Stuart has a stone thrown at him, as expected it comes from OFF CAMERA, so possible chucked by Karl or Fred.

A hanging rope is now swinging, and Karl proves how easy it is to reach, and how it was most likely him who simply reached up and pushed it.

Stuart then apparently has a door slam on him, but the scene seems a bit dodgy, you don't actually see the door slam either, so all a bit pointless.

Watson has re-appeared and is with Yvette, he is making dog noises, and in general can't be arsed.
Yvette is desperately trying to give Watson human emotions and describing what he feels and so on.
But he is just standing about, and breathing like most dogs do, no barking, no running around, nothing.

Never has a dog looked more bored and wishing he was at home in a nice bed than Watson, poor creature being used for a prop on a TV show.

Back to Karl and he seems to steady the camera on the bed, clearly he is waiting for something to happen and it does.

Let's take a look at the bed moving.

Now this is my own clip uploaded, in case REALLY decide to delete their clip.

Of course the whole bed is not in frame, and Karl does his best to check under and around the bed after this, and I do not believe anyone was hiding off camera here, I think this was done with a simple bit of fishing line connected to the bed, either pulled by Karl himself (most likely) or by someone else present off camera.

If you watch the video there is the very slightest giveaway that it was a fishing line.
Now it is faint, really faint, and you need to watch it on the highest quality you can. My video above isn't brilliant unfortunately, but we do have the official REALLY Twitter Account that has provided us with a high definition clip, which is where the images above are from. Open it full screen, pause the footage, and drag the footage to the moment before the bed moves and one frame after it moves, and you can see that the line that Karl uses creates a very slight reflection which gives it away.

I know it is not the best proof, I accept that, but that is the most likely explanation here. Definitely wasn't a ghost, especially when you realise what Karl does next.

Next up I will cover again the bed flip, which I already exposed on this site and on Twitter, but for context and archival purposes I will cover it again here.

So after the bed was pulled with fishing wire, Karl leaves the room and walks a bit up the corridor, he hears a noise, and goes back to the room, and finds the bed has been tipped up, this all happens in just 30 seconds.

I have seen all manner of explanations from the ridiculous to the plausible, my favourite being that there was a midget hidden to the side who did it.

Lets watch the clip first. Courtesy of the official REALLY Twitter account or if you prefer you can go to UKTV catch up, and find the scene yourself using the time code of 1 hour, 17 Minutes, 50 Seconds.

Ok it seems pretty impressive, although possible time wise for someone hidden to flip the bed etc, it just would have made more noise, you would have heard footsteps, movement, and to get the bed in the final position, doesn't seem like a quick job, so I watched it a few times and I spotted something strange, there is an edit in the footage, a cut, we are seeing two pieces of footage merged together.

I will admit to the untrained eye who is not primed to look for such things, it is hard to spot, so I have cut the exact moment out and pasted it below.

As Karl is filming away from the bed flipping room, there is a noise, then there is a slight digitally added zoom on the shot, the camera turns and then a slight digital zoom out. The edit is there, the zoom is to fix the fact the shot wasn't lined up correctly. Karl saying "woah what the.." is added in post production too.

By turning the camera quickly and having the edit there, it is in theory much harder to spot due to motion blur, this is often used in music videos to give the illusion of a continuous shot, but is really more than one shot merged together, in films they do something similar when the camera has someone walk towards it and then suddenly the person is walking away almost as if they walked through the camera, also done in films when moving through walls and so on, unfortunately for Karl he never lined up the second part properly so needed to use a digital zoom to match up the two pieces of footage.

Check out this scene from the film Contact, can you see the edit here?

In the past any camera edits have been done after Karl's camera has been placed on a surface, or is on a tripod, this makes the edit much easier as its just a matter of pressing pause on the record, doing your shenanigans, then resuming the recording, well after we exposed Most Haunted of doing this with the Ghost Stuart on the stairs stunt, and then the sideboard door closing stunt whereby Karl forgot there was a clock in the scene which totally gave it away that there was an edit, clearly they thought they needed to be smarter, and do the edit while the camera was moving.

So here is what I would say happened, Karl walks along the corridor, he gets into position, and then stops the filming, puts the camera down, he then goes to the room, flips the bed, moves the chair, makes sure everything is in position, goes back to the camera, picks it up, checks the last shot so he can match it up, then starts recording again. Goes back to the room to film what he had done.

The two pieces of footage are then put on the computer, and the two pieces merged together, use some motion blur, digitally added zoom to perfectly match the two shots and there you have it.

For people not familiar with how this works, it isn't a million miles away from how you take a panoramic photo on your smart phone, take a photo, move, lineup the edges, take another photo. Or even those old Vine magic trick videos, that is probably the closest example of what went on here.

Check out Zach King on Vine for perfect examples of how this type of edit can be used for great magic tricks.

Back to the show, Karl does some more examining.

Yvette is asking if Watson can hear a noise, but he doesn't care.

We are getting lots of shots of Watson's back as he looks at nothing, riveting footage as I am sure you can agree.

Despite Yvette claiming she knows the spirits are there, not a peep from Watson, in fact once again Watson is proof that there are no ghosts there. A dog will bark if someone farts unexpectedly.

And with that we are basically at the end of the episode.

Every Halloween there is a big stunt, but unlike Karl being pulled up the stairs by rope attached to his waste which was obvious to everyone watching, the bed flip stunt was well done, the wire for the bed moving was really hard to spot, and the edit for the bed to be flipped is really good, and you have to be really on the game to spot it.

If I have missed anything please leave a comment below and let me know.

For a Halloween special it wasn't too bad, we got a decent amount of Watson which is always a highlight, a few decent stunts, and something for me to expose.

I will give this Halloween special a 6/10 for effort.

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Unknown said...

Brilliant review and I really appreciate you explaining all the technical aspects to how they may have faked stuff. I wasted two hours of my life watching these episodes and am still gobsmacked that people actually still believe that it isn't faked. Darren-the-sound-man has clearly now been recruited as the latest (appalling) actor in the show. Fred appears to be totally deaf at times - to me he is so disconnected from the investigation sometimes that I'm querying if he can hear what anyone is saying. He also seems to have taken a leaf out of Zak Bagans' book - mentioning demons and witches at every opportunity in the hopes he appears relevant on the show. His Ladybird Book of Demonology also seems to be getting bigger every episode !

Unknown said...

I went on a most haunted experience at shrewsbury jail hid behind a door and whistled back to people whistling at ghosts!they believed anything it was so embarassing!the jail felt great not scary at all in pitch black but everyone was acting scared it was hilarious

Unknown said...

Went on a most haunted experience at shrewsbury jail people worship yvette and karl and pay alot of money to go ,its a scam they dont hunt with you you walk around in the dark while people employed by them pretend the ouija board is moving etc the place wasnt scary at all even in the dark we hid behind a door and whistled back to people thinking it was a ghost😂

JD said...

The filter is added in post production, so it was more likely a nod to Karl for when he is editing the footage to remove the filter at that point, if you notice just after Stuart says that there is a slight edit in the footage too

JD said...

Totally agree with you

JD said...

Yeah it would be very hard not to whistle back when you hear idiots doing that.

JD said...

I didnt know that, I assumed they was with you all the time.

Could you perhaps write a full review of the event and email it me using the details on the contact page?

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