Reel Advice from the Video Store Guy

The Ganzfeld Haunting

By Steve Anderson
May 1st, 2014

Ganzfeld HauntingThe Ganzfeld Haunting
Director: Michael Oblowitz
Writers: Theodore Gildred III, Michael Oblowitz
Stars: Dianna Camacho, Taylor Cole

**

Ghost stories are easily one of the best breeds of horror around; often creepy, with plenty of shock value on hand, the ghost story can usually bring with it some of the best parts of the horror genre. But that's not always the case, and we'll get to see just how close "The Ganzfeld Haunting" comes to hitting the mark.

"The Ganzfeld Haunting" brings together a group of four college students with one goal in mind, to prove an idea that got its start back in the 1950s: that the psychic transmission of thoughts from one person to another can take place, and can be done via 1950s-era technology. But the students, who find more than they expect and turn to hard partying to help absorb the events of the day. But the party kicks off still more strangeness, and eventually, the kids discover that the house was part of a horrific string of murders that they'll need to get to the bottom of, lest they be driven insane by the house...or worse.

"Ganzfeld," as it turns out, means "the entire perceptual field," according to the movie, so basically we're looking at a shockingly ambitious affair, or at least something that should be a shockingly ambitious affair. Further muddying the waters will be the fact that half the party involved in the Ganzfeld experiment will be blasted out of their minds on what appears to be cocaine. Thankfully, the half that's sober outright seems to be likewise seeing things, so the question of how much of this is genuine paranormal what-not and how much of that is actually happening gets about fifty / fifty odds.

Of course, the problem with "The Ganzfeld Haunting" is that a lot of the haunting in question is going to look like a music video gone profoundly awry. Loads of jump cuts, random footage, and strangeness for days will be the order of the day. The haunting that takes place here is one that allows people to suddenly segue into bouts of automatic writing and ghosts to take up duty as narrators. Seriously, when one of the ghosts starts talking about how drugs and alcohol are "inferior magic" compared to its powers, I had to scratch my head for a minute. It's a bit of a puzzler, this one is, and as ghost stories go, it's not much. In fact, this whole affair is a strange and disturbing stretch, not making a whole lot of sense as it goes but still managing to be pretty heavy on the creepy.

Special features here include trailers for "Riot," and "Paris Countdown," though neither will actually be available from the main menu. Beyond that, there's simply nothing else to be had from a subtitle to a featurette; absolutely nothing.

Weird, creepy, then weird again in an entirely different way, "The Ganzfeld Haunting" isn't one for the faint of heart or for those who like their horror narratives clean and free of ambiguity. Still, it's reasonably good, if you're willing to ignore some of its larger problems.

Want to receive an expanded version of Reel Advice as an E-Newsletter?? Email to thevideostoreguy@columnist.com with "The Advisor" in the subject line.  Steve Andersen, much to his own chagrin, is a five-plus year veteran of the direct to video market. He has spent an alarming amount of time in video stores and seeks to provide the public with advance information on all the video releases that they may never have heard of...whether they want to hear of them or not. Steve appears in one way or another weekly, biweekly, or monthly on such fine entertainment-related ezines as Film Threat, Dream Forge, Reel Horror, Acid Logic, Chaotic Culture Magazine, Malicious Bitch webzine, and many others. Readers, agents, or editors can email Steve at thevideostoreguy@columnist.com




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