As I’ve mentioned before, this Summertime Scares feature was directly inspired by the recurring guest-submitted pieces I ran last summer, a collection which I called Drive-In Double Feature. (Itself, directly inspired by Shit Movie Fest‘s wintertime-themed 25 Days of Shitmas.) I received a decent amount of submissions considering I was relatively new and no one owed me any favors, and I was so elated with the response that I decided then and there to give it another shot.
A handful of the people who submitted last year returned this year, and it’s clear that Summertime Scares wouldn’t be nearly as padded if those people hadn’t, thankfully, come back. (They gotta be some kind of masochists or somethin’.) In fact, if I didn’t have those return writers, I probably would’ve scrapped Summertime Scares entirely.
With all that said, welcome back to the stage Los Angeles comedian Alexa Loftus. After you finish reading her thoughts on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures, be sure to check out her Drive-In Double Feature piece on Practical Magic and Suspiria. Thanks again, Alexa!
When the idea of summertime favorites came to mind, I immediately thought of classics like The Sandlot, The Sandlot 2: The Sandlot Continues, and most importantly, The Sandlot 3: Heading Home.
But then I thought about the true meaning of summer. Traveling, hanging with friends, trying new things, and looking for answers in an abandoned hospital. And there’s really only one television show that captures all of that and more: Ghost Adventures.
Yes, this show is bad. But that’s also why it’s good. I hate it, and yet, I love it. Why? Let’s try and investigate.
Ghost Adventures follows host Zak Bagans, a buff dude decked out in Ed Hardy and Oakleys, and his two friends/camera operators who both have goatees. This ain’t your Ed and Lorraine Warren ghost hunting crew — these fearless bros are going to come into whatever place you’re haunting and demand that you tell them what the fuck is going on, or else they are going to be fucking pissed!
And let me tell you: they always find something. Literally every basement/cabin/bar/catacomb they spend a night in, they always have some sort of altercation with a spirit. Now, I’ve ouijied in a lot of places and most of ‘em are a total bust. But I’m not bringing the fierce attitude. The shit talking. In one episode, after taunting the ghost, Zak mysteriously get a scratch on his back and calls the ghost “a piece of shit”. He’s also got the right technology. One device they use is a box that records those hard-to-hear ghost voices and they record one saying to Zak, “Fuck you”. Zak has also been possessed. In the movies, getting possessed generally involves deep voices, maybe an ancient language, and levitating furniture. But apparently in real life, it looks like a fit of roid rage.
Sure, I’ve got questions. In one episode, Zak tries to communicate with a family’s daughter who passed away. They light candles on a birthday cake and hang out in her old bedroom while the ghost voice box (which could potentially be made of cardboard) records a mumble that is subtitled as saying, “Hi Dad.” Somehow, I’m still on board, and I finally start to get skeptical when I see the unphased reaction the parents have to all of this. Are they so used to hearing this ghost that it bores them? Are they actors, too busy thinking about when lunch is? Are they just really tired? I don’t know! That’s part of the mystery! Maybe a spirit should tell Zak to leave these people alone!
Also, when the crew investigates The Clown Motel, all of a sudden Zak reveals he’s “terrified of clowns.” This, coming from the guy who tries to get demons to come up from hell to punch him in the face? Maybe I just don’t understand the clown thing.
Also, every time Zak goes to a new town, they always show people on the street running up to him like he’s a superstar. How large is the viewership for this show? I really thought I was the only one watching it, but apparently everyone who is outside is a major fan.
I wish I knew how much of this show was real. I have a feeling if I ever asked Zak, he would tell me 100% of it, which is just not possible. But even if I knew that it was 100% fake, I would still watch it. So maybe that’s where the answer to my question is. Ghost stories don’t really rely on facts. They just need a compelling narrator. And ideally, one that will call a ghost a piece of shit.