Television Review: Haunted Collector, "Haunted Mansion/Ghost Mill"
· John Zaffis
· Chris Zaffis
· Aimee Zaffis
· Brian Cano
· Jason Gates
· Jesslyn Brown
by Dennis Russo
Published: June 4, 2012
The "Haunted Collector" begins its second season on Wednesday at 9:00pm eastern/8:00pm Central on the SyFy channel.
The premise of the show is that sometimes "spiritual energy" attaches itself to to a particular object and it becomes the source of paranormal activity. The show follows the investigations of paranormal collector John Zaffis and his team of investigators as they go about investigating claims of paranormal activity sent into them by people across the country,
His team this year consists of returning regulars Chris Zaffis, Aimee Zaffis, and Brian Cano. Beth Ezzo, a regular last season, is not in the series opener because we find out she is getting married. Because of this and the increase in the number of requests for investigations, John has added 2 new members to the team: Jason Gates and Jesslyn Brown.
Although the show deals with the paranormal, the way it begins and the way it is filmed, it's beginning, format, and feel, has become well... normal. Normal for this genre of TV, which has become all to common lately, to the point where I think they've exhausted every different possibility of paranormal tv programming there could be... but I bet I'm wrong...
The show starts in what appears to be the living room of John Zaffis' home in Connecticut. He calls the team into the room where they view and discuss the history of each vignette we see of the incidents they are going to investigate in this show.
The episode is split up into 2 investigations. The first investigation takes in Warsaw Kentucky (Why does one always seem to be in Kentucky?) at the 200 year old home of Charlet Sosh along the banks of the Ohio river. The woman claims that there is a lot of paranormal activity going on in the home and she would like him to come out to investigate before she or her son get hurt. While at the house the woman (Charlet) show John some of the many artifacts that they have found on the property. Apparently there was a lot of Indian activity there (as there would be in this part of the country along a major waterway) and she shows him some arrow heads and a piece of what appears to be bone.
As the investigation takes place in typical paranormal tv fashion, the team is able to debunk most of the claims of paranormal activity the woman thought was happening. John and his team are drawn to the bone fragment, and, in seeking to find out more facts about the house and the area, they go to a local historian who informs them that there was a river boat accident in the 1800s not far from the home. Thinking this could possibly be the source of some of the paranormal activity the team could not explain away, they set up their equipment.
I am always skeptical of the paranormal activity detecting gizmos these investigators use. Who made them? How do we know they actually work? How do we know they aren't something someone could be in another room remotely controlling? They all remind me too much of the gizmos they used in "Ghostbusters." One in general, the "REM Pot" is supposed to create an electro-magnetic bubble that, if anything crosses into that "bubble," it will sound and a little light on the top will turn on. One of the investigators shows this by turning it on and bringing his hand close to it.
The team sets up shop and places their equipment around the room. Not wanting to give too much away here, let's just say that afterwards, they think that this bone fragment could be the cause of the unexplained activity they couldn't disprove earlier, so they bury it in the back yard. With that, a short paragraph appears across the screen that states that since they reburied the bone fragment there has been no further paranormal activity at the house
The second investigation takes place in Huron, Ohio at an abandoned grain mill. The team has 48 hours to solve the mystery there as the building is slated to be demolished. They were called in because the demolition crews have been experience strange noises and goings-on. (Lets see: a decrepit abandoned grain mill; strange sounds; yea, that's not normal.) They learn through their investigation that over the years there had been several accidents that resulted in deaths at the mill. During their investigation (and the use of their specialized electronic gear) the team discovers an old lunch pale and a type of knife that they have never seen before that could hold the key to the explained events the demolition crews were experiencing. They take the knife to an "expert" that tells them that kind of knife was used to scalp people by the Indians back in the day. Now I'm no history whiz-kid, but I do believe scalping went out of fashion long before this grain mill was started to be built (1939). Be that as it may, they remove the artifacts and the grain mill comes down without a hitch. Afterwards, the same type of paragraph that I saw after the first vignette appears on the screen, now stating that since the items were removed there as been no further paranormal activity at the site. (Did I mention that the blew up the grain mill?)
If there were not the myriad of other paranormal shows before "Haunted Collector" then I could say that it was fresh TV watching, but from the the opening sequences to the letter by letter type face coming across the scene explaining where they are as if these were official government videos, to the specialized "ghost busting" equipment, to the fake screams we hear in the background soundtrack at specific points in the investigation to add tensions and excitement, to the break for the commercial just as something important happens but we don't see it or are told what it is... to the one-on-one "camera on the cast member" interviews sporadically thoughout the show... it was just too formulaic, too average.