24 February 2019

REVIEW: Ghost Adventures - Gates of Hell House - US Airdate 23/02/2019

"What's this?" I hear you shout. "Why yes, it is a review of the brand new season of Ghost Adventures"

Yes it is true, Season 18 of GA started last night (23rd February) in the States, and since it has been a while since i watched the show, I thought I would give it a chance and see if anything has changed since the last time I watched and reviewed. I think the last season I did was season 14, and I managed 5 or 6 episodes, before it got so repetitive and tedious that my head exploded, and I gave up.

So they have had 4 seasons, and nearly 2 years to sort things out and become a credible paranormal investigation show, what do you think? Did they achieve that? Or is it the same old fake crap it has always been? Let us find out.

First up, we need to look at that "Synopsis" (Must be said in an American accent)

"The crew are in Las Vegas, NV, to investigate intense paranormal activity at The Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terror, an infamous haunted attraction where employees have reported brushes with a terrifying shadow figure ..."

Whereas Most Haunted start their show by admitting it is faked, Ghost Adventures start their show off by telling you that it might scare you. Very interesting tactic.

GA airs on The Travel Channel in the USA, a channel that shows such great TV series like Baggage Battles, Chowdown Countdown and Bite Me with Dr. Mike.

This is clearly a very high brow channel, that only airs the most serious of programming.

Now keep in mind I have no idea who any of the characters are other than Zak.

"We have spent years building our credibility, our reputation" - Zak

Sorry to say Zak you have pretty much failed on that.

So according to the intro package there are 4 people, Zak "Don't call me Bilbo" Bagans, Aaron "Goonies" Goodwin, Billy "Tesco" Tolley and Jay "Wasssup" Wasley.

4 middle aged white guys. Between the 4 of them I heard that they have had sex a combined 3 times in their lives. That's pretty good for ghost hunters.

Why is Zak wearing glasses that don't look to have any lenses? Is this a Yank thing?

Ok so this week they are at a place called The Freakling Bros. Trilogy of Terror, and from what I can understand, this is a fake Haunted Attraction thing. Created in 1976.

So GA are investigating a 43 year old theme park style haunted house. Now come on, this is taking the piss. They have clearly been paid to do a show at a FAKE haunted house attraction, and then claim it is really haunted, in the hope it makes more people visit this place. I remind you of Zak's earlier quote.

"We have spent years building our credibility, our reputation" - Zak

Straight away Zak has put on his ridiculous breathing mask, I remember this from before, he has Asthma or something and instead of using an inhaler like normal people, he wears a ridiculous mask so that he can pretend to be Bane. Lets not give him anymore attention that he clearly desperately craves for his ridiculous mask.

Well things have picked up quickly, we get an interview with the scary Staysha Randall. A former performer at The Freakling Bros.

Not even gonna comment on this.

They leave the area, but Staysha had to go back to get her purse, and when she comes back she claims to have seen a ghostly hand. Of course none of this is on camera.

The team quickly start investigating and put on the thoroughly debunked and completely pointless Spirit Box.

The box says "Trinity", which is quickly related to the Unholy Trinity, 666 and all that nonsense.

We are getting lots of people claiming to be touched, and in pain. Zak is feeling negative energy in his spine.

It is really hard to follow what is going on as the camera darts back and forth so quick, and the ridiculous Spirit Box makes such a racket. I am not sure how any of this equates to "investigating".

They move to another area and now they are interviewing another former performer from The Freakling Bros. This guy literally only worked there one night and then quit, after he was scratched by a ghost.

Every time Zak speaks while wearing his dumb mask, I cant help but laugh, I know it is supposed to add to the atmosphere, but it really just looks and sounds silly.

Some of the other guys have put the Spirit Box on, when suddenly everything goes a bit crazy, and I see a ghost, on screen, which in turn scares them, cue running, screaming and general panic. Now I have paused the show, and without knowing what they are about to show or say, I am 100% sure this is one of the gimmicks in the location that has activated, and that is what has scared them.

And as expected, they had activated a witch gimmick, but they are claiming that the motion sensor in the fake witch had been removed and she is not supposed to go off.

I repeat Zak's quote.
"We have spent years building our credibility, our reputation"

In a matter of 11 minutes, if I was to believe that quote, then their credibility and reputation is in tatters.

So they are investigating a haunted house, and one of the displays has scared them, and they are trying to claim that a ghost is what activated the display.

Too many face palms already for me.

We are introduced to John Shaw, a Satanist. I like this guy, he looks like fun.

He talks about the Satanist symbols, and so on. All relatively interesting.

Some excellent beard-scaping from this guy.

As I watch this, it becomes clear that this is not a paranormal investigation, not in the same way that Most Haunted pretends to be a paranormal investigation, if you know what I mean. This is purely presented as an entertainment based TV show that happens to have paranormal investigating as the theme.

On Aarons phone, Siri suddenly says "Did you accidentally summon me?"

Yes really. The ghost has taken over Aaron's phone. Well only for one message.

Also interesting to note that so far the whole show has been filmed and presented in normal vision, no night vision or green filters.

The cast have now started hearing noises, but the fact they are in a haunted house, with power to the gimmicks still on, means that 100% of what happens can easily be dismissed due to the lack of controls.

And before you know it they have switched night vision on.

Zak is talking about feeling a pain, it was OFF CAMERA, but another camera picked up the audio of him screaming. So if we take him at his word (a big mistake), the first thought I would have is he had a muscle spasm, which can bloody hurt.

Worth saying that these Haunted House Attractions can be quiet scary if they are well made, and imagine investigating one when it is closed, even the most hardened of skeptics would feel their heart pumping fast. Not because there are any real ghosts, but because you know these places are full of jump scare gimmicks, and the anxiety of one of these going off even by accident would get you going.

Aaron has gone off to investigate on his own, and is starting to panic a bit as he is in the area where the animatronic witch gimmick went off earlier. It is really scary looking to be fair.

I am widely regarded as the toughest skeptic on the planet, but even the great JD would wet himself if that thing went off without warning.

Aaron walks right up the the witch, and walks past the gimmick, and disappointingly it doesn't go off.

Bizarrely Zak has turned into a 3 year old, and is making a silly voice and pulling faces, and pretending to be a fan of the show who is moaning because he sent Aaron in on his own and Zak didn't go with him.

Just over half the episode gone now, and I am getting a bit bored.

Regardless of what you think of the show, it is hard to deny that this is one really well made Haunted House. Looks scary as hell, so purely as a PR stunt by the owners, this must be working and they will get more tourists coming to visit.

More Spirit Box nonsense, and now the ghost is speaking in Spanish, and then English

They pull out a new thermo cam thingy that one of the guys has made. Looks pretty cool to be fair.
One thing you can always say about Ghost Adventures, is that they do spend some money on nice gimmicks and expensive cameras. No expense spared.

One episode of Ghost Adventures costs more than an entire season of Most Haunted to make. This is why Ghost Adventures has totally replaced Most Haunted as the Worlds number one fake ghost hunting show.

I have to admit I prefer Most Haunted purely because I am not a fan of shows that are overly produced, which Ghost Adventures is. And the really amateur attempts of fakery on Most Haunted are more amusing.

Whatever you think of the show, this is an epic shot as they walk towards "The Gates of Hell".

Zak has pulled out his Xbox Kinect nonsense, so again another piece of 100% debunked technology they are using to find stick figures, or shapes. Total waste of time. At least the Thermo cam looks cool.

As expected they get a stick figure, again no point even talking about this as the technology is 100% understood, and this is 100% not a ghost.

They check the digital recorder, for EVPs nothing of interest.

They check the "X Camera" which was left in the previous location and it picks up a noise, again because it is a gimmicked haunted house, and noises can be put down to being the machinery etc.

During this episode I have not seen any obviously faked activity, so I wouldn't say the show is faked in the same way that Most Haunted is, but the show is faked due to their flawed investigation methods and the way they present that "evidence" as something it is clearly not. I would be surprised to accept that the crew are not aware of the truth, so I assume they just play along as they know it makes better TV if they use spirit boxes and Kinect sensors and so on.

A gate suddenly slams behind them. OFF CAMERA. And when they investigate they catch an orb go through the gate, and by orb I mean an insect.

More nonsense from the spirit box.

Suddenly Zak is communicating with the ghosts and claiming they are trying to possess him. Did Zak always do this or is this a new thing? All a bit silly.

We get some quick replays of various nonsense that happened throughout the episode and with that the show ends.

The show does tick along at a decent rate, and it is entertaining to watch. As a paranormal investigation it is completely pointless as it does not present any credible evidence whatsoever.

They are also not deliberately faking things, but they are presenting fake results as if they are credible.

I don't think I will bother reviewing any more, as this is no different to what they were doing 2 years ago, it is a set formula, and it bores me.

I give the episode 4 out of 10, I suspect if I watched this show week in and week out that score would be lower. It only gets a 4 as I am coming to the show as a new viewer. But it did not offer me enough to keep me as a viewer.

Review by Jon Donnis.

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