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Monday, December 10, 2007

Paranormal State - A Review

Paranormal State on A&E
Paranormal State on A&E
Tonight was the premiere of A&E's new Paranormal State -- basically another reality show along the lines of Ghost Hunters. It involves a group of ghost hunters from PA, comprising almost solely college students, who go about, helping those who believe they are experiencing the Supernatural. 

That's where the similarity to Ghost Hunters ends.

I immediately got a sense of "bullshit" when watching Paranormal State. Let's keep in mind that these are college students who all claim to have had paranormal encounters in the past -- all of them -- and not just, "I think I saw something in a graveyard once"-type encounters. These cats have full-fledged, horror movie-style encounters, replete with murderous dolls, monsters in the bedroom closet, and so forth. They all have piercings and take themselves very, very fucking seriously.

College students are melodramatic by nature. Young people with lots of piercings are melodramatic by nature. Young college students with lots of piercings who claim to have had paranormal encounters along the lines of Hollywood blockbusters are... you get where I'm going with this?

There is an all-too serious voice-over that's done in that horror movie radio voice (spooky!) and the guy actually starts off each "entry" with, "Director's log..." They even called in Lorraine Warren on one of these investigations! Seriously!

In fact, this second episode is the one I believe sets the tone for what is to follow: These black dye #1 superfans went to a house that's supposed to be haunted and cried when they found the graves of a family that was murdered there in the 19th-Century. Then the leader of the pack got all moody and pensive and claimed he'd been dreaming about a daemon's name -- a daemon he once encountered on a case he underwent with the Catholic Church! The Daemon Who Shall Remain Unnamed.

They called in psychic, Chip Coffey, and sat around a table. Someone passed the pierced and pensive little man a note and on it was written The Name -- The Name of the Thing What Should Not Be Named -- and he got all pensive and moody, and they all almost cried again. So they called in infamous Daemonologist, Lorraine Warren, who actually brought a sense of reality to the show.

Next week, The Daemon Returns, as they go to a house and a crucifix turns upside-down of its own volition. As if that weren't enough, the man who owns the house is going to get possessed! I'm sure they'll do an exorcism.

I mean, come on -- wouldn't one of the little girls have played better as the possession victim? When does one of them spit split-pea soup?

"Over the top" doesn't begin to describe this one. I hope it gets better, but I'm not sure I can take these guys seriously. It may make for a good show, but it's kind of embarrassing to watch.

Critics of Ghost Hunters should take note: TAPS shows you how it's supposed to be done; Paranormal State is just a show.

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