Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A Haunting On Washington Avenue: The Temple Theatre

Investigators explore the Temple Theater in Saginaw, Michigan and discover paranormal phenomena in this ghost hunting documentary.

Staged in a compelling, unhurried, direct format with long takes and few of the quick edits and jarring sound effects found in paranormal programs, A Haunting On Washington Avenue: The Temple Theatre presents supposed evidence of hauntings in a matter-of-fact, take-it-or-leave-it manner, which when taken at face value*, generates some genuine chills.

Featuring footage of someone walking through a soggy bootlegging tunnel beneath the theatre utilizing night vision cameras, the capturing of supposed spirit orbs, and the recording of whispered environmental voice phenomena, which are all standard tropes for this type of program, the film is edited in a way that heightens tension and reluctantly pulls the viewer in. In a startling scene, an investigator looks down a backstage hallway with a lone dressing room light on at the end. The door suddenly slams, extinguishing the light.

In a particularly alarming scene, a static infrared camera is placed in a deserted restroom. Shooting down a long row of ornate mirrors as cheesy, orchestral muzak plays quietly in the background, a stall door seemingly unlatches itself, and opens and closes. No voiceover narration, the camera just documents the action. The disembodied, piped-in, easy listening music** adds a sense of the uncanny.

Honestly, without the music, the scene in the restroom would've been just another supposed ghost clip. The music made it surprisingly eerie***.

Don't talk to me about special effects, or not-so-special effects, because I know. Any number of special effects could have been used to create the alleged ghost activity in both scenes, from strings to a dude standing in the stall to CGI. The result is the same, which is me second guessing whether or not I really needed to get another snack cake out of my dark pantry at midnight. I did, of course. I'll punch a whole cluster of ghosts in their faces if they're thinking about stopping me from getting another snack cake****, *****.

*Disclaimer: As far as I know, there is little evidence to prove the existence of ghosts.

**Disclaimer: As far as I know, the music of Mr. Acker Bilk was not playing in the haunted restroom.

***Disclaimer: As far as I know, the ghost of Mr. Acker Bilk is not haunting the restroom of the Temple Theatre.

****Disclaimer: As far as I know, the ghost of Mr. Acker Bilk is not haunting my pantry.

*****Disclaimer: If the ghost of Mr. Acker Bilk exists, and in the extreme off-chance he is haunting my pantry, he may not have any of my snack cakes.

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