I’ve made it clear I’m a huge fan of Ghostwatch on my blog here, and recently over at That’s Not Current where most of my reviews now live. What is clear is that over two decades later Ghostwatch is still a massive thing, and in fact seems to be generational as I’ve spoken to people who were barely a crusty stain on their dad’s underwear at the time but are huge fans of the film.
Looking back at the BBC continuity now it really is looking at a different era. Everything feels, well, less jaded, less dumbed down but the film still fooled people.
Yet as writer Stephen Volk has said, Ghostwatch managed to ‘fool’ people by manipulating their expectations in this TedTalk.
In the above talk Volk talks about Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tape as an influence, and indeed, what Ghostwatch influenced with the Found Footage genre of horror especially. I don’t think we’ll ever see something like Ghostwatch on the BBC again, they’re far too conservative now and the reaction to the film in 1992 saw them having to make assurances the programme wasn’t real later in the night.
Indeed, it’s taken on a life of it’s own and thanks to the internet, has entered horror lore as this YouTube video shows.
Yet the BBC do seem to be softening on the stance of ignoring it by finally offering it for download on their online store.
Next year is the 25th anniversary of the programme. It’d be an obvious time to not just have the BBC repeat it, but perhaps see if someone can work out how to do something that follows it up in the age where we’re all perhaps too cynical and jaded to not notice when something is a hoax or to be scared by such programmes? I’m not sure it can be done but it’d be interesting to see if someone could try it.