Red Scream Ghost Hunt was an experiment in “organically-built minimalist cinema”. Rather than a script, we had an idea – “group of ghost hunters exploring the dark passages of the Buffalo Central Terminal (BCT)”. We then took a group of actors and non-actors who happened to have a free weekend and who were interested in being able to explore the BCT and play “ghost hunt”. Groups of actors were given a camera, some simple instructions, and sent on their way. The resulting footage was then edited into the form you see here. Ghost Hunt was never released and this is the first time the film has been available for viewing by the public.
Call it a guilty pleasure….well not quite. I’ve long desired to review the films of the “Red Scream Films” now defunct label. As a horror site, we receive weekly submissions that are on the most part low budget or home shot with the goal of attracting attention. The fact is, there are way too many to even devote attention to let alone devote a good 2 hours to viewing.
I knew full well that the Red Scream films are noted for being notoriously bad products. It was this basis that I was compelled to take a “reverse approach” and seek some of them out. Seeing that they are hard to find and so “under the radar” that even bootleg viewings is a dead end, I finally came upon the YouTube uploaded versions presented in full form. This was just the non-investment opportunity I was looking for. (but then again, what you are looking for may not always be what you want, is it?)
Now first up is a film called “Red Scream Ghost Hunt” which from its description seems to be an unreleased movie that really wasn’t worth the effort to distribute “even” for Red Scream’s standards. The movie of course rides on the tailcoats of “found footage” releases that were in so abundant during this time. The film which seems to have no real premise or script is as “film as you go” as it gets. We have seen our share of found footage films that try and roll with the intention of being marked “as” films when in reality are just edited reels sponged together to fit into a 90 minute format.
“Red Scream Ghost Hunt” begins with the agenda of having 13 members of the Eric County Paranormal Research Foundation gather at the Buffalo Terminal Station (a real place, a real group, but using actors and non-actors for film) for the purpose of ghost hunting. This idea of course inspired by the tiring amount of ghosts hunter programs we can tune into any time on any of the week. However, in this case of this film, there seemed to be a need to add to that bunch with a film, go figure.
The film goes on to announce that the footage was found 1 year later which is now being presented for our viewing pleasure. (I’m wondering if it was found laying next to a Blair Witch VHS tape ). This found footage details the groups fun romp into madness..(or something like that). The footage was of course found by FBI…etc etc….. ya we get it, you felt the need to borrow just about every other found footage premise that we ever created. The footage was pieced together to present the “turn of events”. Now, for those who stuck thru this annoying montage might be asking what I ended up asking….what happened to the 13 participants? We follow a few small groups but we seemed to have lost our cast!
“Red Scream Ghost Hunt” is documented as being a collection of actors and non actors who were given cameras to use in a noted distressed creepy location. The idea of ghosts is fabricated of course, seeing that the actual location really doesn’t have any legitimate reports of hauntings. The end product is one company’s effort to just combine alot of digital footage into something they can stick a label on. blah……..
Getting into the film itself, there are a few things that immediately turned me off to this production. The cam footage is standard definition most likely kept at a home footage film rate rather than at a theatrical rate (25 fps). This observation ties in with the camera footage itself which is also very home spun feeling. Found footage films these days at least make an attempt to keep things up to par with theatrical standards (even if the films themselves are stupid). Though that aside, viewers are subjected to watching the team of “ghost hunters” wander about the building without real purpose for over an hour. I really had to fight the need to dose off. Oh ya, and why is the shaky cam..SO shaky??!!
Since the production is unscripted and “without agenda”, it pretty much is equivalent to the experience of you and your friends filming an old building for an hour and then calling it a film. The takeaway here is that audiences need occurrences to transpire to really make things interesting at least to sit thru. Since this building is actually used in “every” Red Screams film, its real easy to not only feel like “we’ve done that” but that “we’ve done that too many times in the same setting”.
Direction? Well if you are crediting the imdb director David R. Williams, then you already know that direction is only a formality here. There was no direction. If you consider the direction was “head over to this side of the building” then I guess that’s the extent here.
For interested viewers, I have taken the liberty of listing the Youtube channel, in the interest of sharing. If the channel disappears, then I suppose you’ll have to seek elsewhere
PS – I really hope Red Scream Films decides to upload their entire catalog, as it seems to be nonexistent elsewhere.