Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Low and high frequencies...
Greetings, Ghostwatchers!

There's a curious, repeating phenomenon that is often reported during screenings of the doc (which began during our very first event, no less). It seems to occur around the same time the end credits roll, with members of the audience nodding their heads and tapping their feet in tune to Ian Evans' inspired closing number, 'Ghost Watch'. Then, the compliments/questions start pouring in. "This sounds great." "What's this music?", "How did you get hold of that?", "Who wrote this, then?", "When's this from?", and so on. It even marks the first topic to grace the film's IMDb message board.

So, you can imagine our building anticipation on catching the news that musician, Ian Evans is currently gearing up to release his follow up E.P. to 'Ghost Watch'. Entitled, "Everything is The Same Subject", the new Extended Play is due to hit, February 14th. To check out more of Ian's work, check out his site here.

While we cross off the days on our calender until release, here's a taster of what's set to come, and congrats to Ian on his new record!
Also, the nice folks over at The Cult Den are currently running a rather fantastic competition that expires soon (this Friday, 31st Jan). Up for grabs are a pair of Behind the Curtains DVDs and theatrical posters signed by the producers, Rich Lawden (who?) and Lesley Manning (director of the original film).

You can enter by clicking the logo, left, and leaving a spooky comment underneath the article...

Friday, 24 January 2014

As a friend, I gotta tell you, you're really goin' round the bend on this ghost business...

Conventions. They're a big deal, these days. I remember going to one of the early Memorabilia fairs at the NEC in the late nineties, and it was actually... cosy. Now, many of the present-day events have room for a plethora of dealer tables, celebrity signings, imaginative costumers, and even... wait for it...

Us! Yes, this summer, Behind the Curtains shall be descending upon Earls Court for the gigantic London Film and Comic Con 2014 from Friday 11th to Sunday 13th of July.

Rich Lawden'll be there, Stephen Volk'll be there, and Lesley Manning'll be there (commitments permitting, and each likely appearing on alternating days) to sign all your wonderful Ghostwatch stuff, and chat about how great both the show and doc are, on a strictly-wound stopwatch, in exchange for your cold, hard cash.

Nah, only joking. We're planning on using a clock, not a stopwatch. Currently, we've a banner printed, and a few DVDs, books and posters set aside. Recently, a number of calls have come through requesting a twin-pack be made available comprising the book and DVD, so I imagine that option shall be on the table. At the moment, it's just not practical to offer this over at Lawman Productions, as it's still quite a bit cheaper to purchase both items separately (keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter feeds for special offers on postage, which do occasionally come through). Hopefully, we may also have some kind of exclusive item available to pick up for Ghostwatchers to add to their collections, too.

Looking forward to seeing you there! With the event being a fair way away, time-wise, there's a fun thing going on with our Facebook page at the moment. If we can get up to 1000 likes before the day of the convention, doco director, Rich Lawden has promised to turn up, in the spirit of the event's truly wonderful and dedicated fraternity of 'cosplayers', wearing an authentic, replica Ghostbusters flight suit for at least one of the two days. If we can get considerably over that figure, he'll be donning said garb for the entire weekend.* It's even got his name on, and everything, see?

*In fact, not a transparent attempt at finding a good excuse to dress up, but a legitimate business incentive.

Behind the Curtains is also currently available to attend other conventions. Following the wonderful Autumn: Horror in the East con in Lowestoft, last year, you might say we have developed a taste for it. So, feel free as always to drop us a line on our contact page above, if you'd like us to drop by yours.

To find out more concerning tickets and prices for London Film & Comic Con 2014, click here.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Most Haunted house in Britain...

Despite on face value, Ghostwatch and Living TV's Most Haunted bearing more than a few striking resemblances, they are in fact, very different programmes at heart. One of the many long-running rumours connecting the two shows is that fellow Blue Peter host Yvette Fielding was once considered for Sarah Greene's 'Reporter' role (not true).

A familiar face, particularly to fans of the cult, investigative series (which ran for eight years, and now continues to air online), and also kids' TV classic, Knightmare (his team being one of only a handful of winners in the show's history, no less) we recently spoke to presenter and self-confessed Ghostwatcher, host Jason Karl concerning his appreciation of Ghostwatch, and own experiences with the Paranormal... 

Hi Jason, so how, where, why and when did you first check out Ghostwatch, and do you recall your initial reaction to the show? 

I remember clearly the day when Ghostwatch was broadcast – I was busy that night and recorded it on video.  I watched it the next morning, with the prior knowledge that it was a dram and not ‘real’.  Despite this it scared me so much that at one point (where the real vox-pops) are shown, and the tape ‘jams’ I had to switch it off as it terrified me.  Its ability to make the viewer sit on the edge of their seat with carefully constructed and perfectly executed tension meant that despite knowing it wasn’t real, it was very, very frightening.  I recently watched the DVD of the programme and enjoyed it all over again.  It no longer has any real scare factor for me, but is still a benchmark in televisual drama presentation. 

How did you get involved with Most Haunted? 

I was asked to join the original cast of the show when it was commissioned by Living TV (as it was).  I spent a year working as a location researcher and then as the ghost hunter on the first series, which was subsequently re-edited into a longer version and re-broadcast as Most Haunted Unseen.  As a result of this I was approached by a television production company to present the UK’s first ever live investigation into a haunted house on ITV1 and ITV2.  The programme was called Haunted Halloween Live and was the first real live investigation of a haunted house on UK terrestrial television to my knowledge. 

What's your take on the Paranormal, and did that (plus, your appreciation of Ghostwatch) factor into your work presenting Most Haunted? Do you have any personal spooky stories?

Having spent much of my life being involved with paranormal television in various territories, I have been fortunate to spend a lot of time in hundreds of ‘haunted’ locales.  Having reflected on many ‘happenings’ I believe that my more personal experiences (off TV) hold more credibility as being truly ‘unexplained’.  I take the stance that you should form your belief on what you have personally witnessed, and I have personally witnessed several things which I am still unable to explain, and that I personally believe are beyond our current understanding of the world we live in.  In simple terms – I believe in ghosts. 

Dr. Ciaran O'Keefe (one-time Most Haunted adviser), and many other fans have pointed out the many similarities between the look and presentation of both shows - silver-haired presenter, blond reporter, night-vision footage, etc. Do you think this is a possible reference/homage to Ghostwatch, or just a coincidence?

I am not aware of any direct reference to Ghostwatch during my time with Most Haunted, having said that, in literal terms of course there are similarities, as there are with many forms of entertainment or television.  Whether or not this was intentional or coincidental I would have no idea. 

Do you feel that Ghostwatch and Most Haunted have influenced how the paranormal, and also Reality TV is perceived since first airing, and if so, how? Also, what is your take on the similarities/differences, and fandom that surrounds both shows?

The history of paranormal research stretches back much further than modern day entertainment television, but I think it is fair to say that these shows, and many others like them, have informed a generation of viewers about the possibility of the paranormal world, and inspired many of them to actively go out and seek ghosts themselves.  The growth of the paranormal events industry is a perfect example of this.  With regards to the similarities and differences in the two shows mentioned, Ghostwatch was a contrived dramatic presentation intended to scare viewers, while Most Haunted is an entertainment programme which intends to show real investigations – the two are therefore fundamentally very different.  Likewise the viewer base for each is very different.  With regards to the fandom legacy from each programme, I cannot speak for Most Haunted as I have no connection with that world, but with regard to Ghostwatch I think it is fascinating that a BBC special, broadcast only once, over 20 years ago STILL carries a fan-base. 

What do you think is the future of paranormal/reality programming, particularly as entertainment? Also, what are you working on, at the moment?

Observing the trends in paranormal television, the audience has significantly diminished in recent years, meaning that many shows and series’ which have followed the same basic construct of ‘ghost hunting’ in various guises, have ended.  There are only so many ways you can present essentially the same thing.  I moved away from paranormal television many years ago, and now work as a freelance presenter for a variety of channels and programmes.  I am also Chief Creative Executive for AtmosFEAR! Scare Entertainment, which is Europe’s biggest producer of location based live scare entertainment attractions.  We work with theme parks, heritage attractions and tourist attractions.  My job takes me all over the place designing ways to terrify guests using the latest technologies and scare tactics, I am currently leading the creative team behind one of Europe’s biggest new permanent scare attractions in Portugal.

Thanks again to Jason for taking part in the interview! To find out more concerning his work in Horror attractions, follow this here hyperlink to