TV Recap – A HAUNTING “Blood Visions”

Finally!  I was so sick of watching reruns of this.  The TV gods have decided to bless us with new episodes.  Read on friendos!

This episode deals with the Johnson family.  Bruce, Betty and their two sons Brynn and Dylan.  Bruce’s mom lets them move into her old farmhouse.  It is a bit of a fixer-upper but they take her up on it.  Betty is the first to notice that there is something a bit off in the house.  She hears sobbing coming from the basement and when she goes to investigate she hears screams.  She looks through the house and outside, and cannot find the source.  She also sees a smoky shadow running along the baseboards and sees a face staring at her from the kitchen window.

A few nights later the boys are home alone and hear a noise in the garage.  They see an old man, who quickly disappears.  Betty thinks it might be the same thing she saw in the window.  She tells the boys that she thinks there’s a ghost in the house but they shouldn’t be afraid of it.  The next day the boys go behind the main house where a small older house is.  Bruce’s dad keeps the door padlocked because he kept his tools in it.  The door is unlocked.  Of course they head inside and begin to feel cold.  They get creeped out and go outside.  The elder brother, Brynn, decides to taunt the ghost.  Bad move buddy!  Old ghostie gets pissed and a large tree branch nearly hits Brynn.

“Tell your smart ass son to quit taunting me!”

Betty tells Bruce what happened and the family decides to move.  They are enjoying a newer home, but not for long.  Betty loses her job so Brynn accompanies his father on his appliance repair jobs to make extra money.  One day Brynn starts seeing things.  He goes to wash his hands and the water turns into blood.  His father can’t see it, he even runs his hands under the faucet and holds up his hands which look like they’re covered in blood to Brynn.  On the car ride home Brynn starts screaming that the lake is filling with blood.  He can’t drink anything or take a shower for a few days because he’s afraid of seeing the blood again.

Betty takes him to the doctor and after several tests doc says there’s nothing wrong with the lad.  Of course not.  After the trip to the doctor the visions stop.  Brynn feels safe enough to take a shower.  When he gets out he sees two words written backward on the steamed up mirror.  DIE NOW.  In his room he hears a deep voice saying “Die now”.  Then he sees a large black shadow move from his room to the front room where the rest of the family is.  This time everyone sees it to Brynn’s relief.

Bruce decides to call his mother to see if she knows anything about the previous tenants.  She tells him that an old man once lived there.  A very bitter and violent old man.  Betty immediately quits her job search and begins scouring the internet for help.  Most of the sites are more interested in making money then actually helping the family.  As she is looking Brynn is walking toward the hall when he is thrown down it.  Betty sees the whole thing and Brynn has deep scratches all over his back.  She finally finds a legitimate looking site to help her.

Samantha Harris is an investigator, and ordained minister, from the Michigan Paranormal Research Association.   She and her associate Kyle go to the home and begin to do a cleansing ritual.  As Sam is smudging the house with white sage, Kyle begins to anoint the doors and windows with the sign of the cross.  Sam believes that they are dealing with a demon based on Brynn’s visions and the way he was thrown down the hall.  She doesn’t think the old man is responsible, but that he was a victim himself of a demon controlling him.

As Kyle enters Brynn’s room he feels an evil present.  As he crosses the door he hears a voice yell in his right ear, “Get out now!”.  Kyle runs to Samantha and feels like chickening out but Sam refuses to leave without helping the family.  They all gather in a circle to recite a prayer.  Halfway through Brynn begins to feel violently ill and feels the demon struggling inside him.  Betty wants to stop the prayer because she feels it is hurting him, but they press on.  As soon as the prayer is over, as in most haunting stories, there is a lightness to the house, and more importantly, to Brynn.

I for one am glad to see that this show is back.  Their reenactments have gotten better, they’ve had a few years to work on them you know.  Do you remember the old show?  Let me know what you think of the new one.  You can catch A HAUNTING Friday night on Destination America.

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  3 comments for “TV Recap – A HAUNTING “Blood Visions”

  1. RebeccaB.
    October 16, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    I love the “old” show—I, too, was tired of the re-runs (when they aired them!). I was excited and nervous when I found out about the new season, mainly because I hoped it lived up to the previous four seasons . . . and it did, in my opinion. I found out about the new season about two weeks (or maybe just one) before Blood Visions aired. Glad to see A Haunting is back on TV. I read on Wikipedia that the only reason it came back was fan demand. I wonder if they’ll make a sixth season?

  2. October 17, 2012 at 2:13 AM

    I am looking for a copy of the prayer recited by Sam in the show “blood visions”. I found it to be very moving and have been in situations where I wish I had those wonderful words to recite. I would appreciate it very much. I am an ordained minister also, and have only recently felt the feeling of very negative energy, that prayr would be very helpful. I am also a Reiki Master Teacher. Thank you so much in advance. Donna

  3. Dowdy Finklestein
    October 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Season 5 is not your older brother’s A Haunting. After a surprisingly subpar premiere, I examined the “cast and crew” of BLOOD VISIONS with that of a smoldering and delightfully nuanced Season 1 favorite, THE HAUNTING OF SUMMERWIND. The reason for the dropoff in quality quickly became apparent: a near total turnover in production staff. Season 5 is also operating with a skeleton crew compared to Season 1, with far less differentiated job functions in the areas of sound and visual effects. But before I get into the details, let me first regale you with my scathing indictment of BLOOD VISIONS.

    I waited 4 years for new episodes, but last night’s Season 5 premiere offended more of my sensibilities (i.e., artistic, intellectual) and left me with an aftertaste so foul, I needed the 1979 Salem’s Lot to cleanse my palette. I would have thrown in an old episode of A Haunting, but it would have saddened me since I rewatched them all as a build up to the Sreason 5 premiere. I put a great deal of pressure on myself to like the premiere as did many of you — I can tell. But unlike some of you who will not be honest with yourself or others — I am not going to continue to wave my pom poms in some denial or inability to tolerate cognitive dissonance. I can celebrate the first 3 seasons (by the fourth season, the program was beginning to lose some of its luster), and yet cry in my cereal over this latest abomination. I would be embarrassed now to call myself a fan of this program. Judging from the tepid response on FACEBOOK/DESTINATION AMERICA, which features less than a handful of positive comments — all of the 6-words-or-less variety — despite a groundswell of anticipation and a countdown atmosphere, others feel the same. (This review you are reading was removed, so DESINATION AMERICA is not allowing any reviews that are not positive).

    Where do I begin? What went wrong? The episode begins amusingly enough, with a shot of the soon-to-be-possessed Detroit pot-bellied teen in a motley wife-beater. I always did enjoy the quirkiness of this program and the way it captured the eccentrities of the haunting victims through character acting and interviews (see SUMMERWIND and FLORIDA). But THIS was just bad. Acting that doesn’t belong on any size screen and excerpts from interviews that fell flat.

    I’m still trying to determine which was more obvious and obnoxiously gratuitous — the dialogue or the special effects. First, the dialogue. Now I understand why this program was moved to DESTINATION AMERICA. The characters all talked like tour guides, explaining to each other everything that was going on right in front of their eyes (and that we can plainly see at home). No one talks like this in real life. You get that, Michael Ray Brown? The script even managed to make the once smoldering Anthony Call sound like a high school drama student. And yet this lack of subtlety was somehow topped by the plainly visible hand of the computer in the CGI effects. Ghost stories is the one place where less is more in the CGI department. And yet from all appearances, BLOOD VISIONS was vying to overtake Star Wars. The black smoky ectoplasmic like substance on the ceiling — rendered capably in the 2005 episode CURSED — looks entirely digitized in BLOOD VISIONS. It’s the CGI equivalent of seeing the strings holding up the planets in 1950s Flash Gordon films. I was embarrassed for everyone watching this thing try to pass for something real and substantive. Nothing — I repeat — NOTHING — throws a wet towel over a creepy atmospheric vibe better than overly-wrought and exposed computer graphics. I didn’t know whether to blame less skilled staff, less psychologically sophisticated minds, or the technology itself — but last night’s episode was less Industrial Light and Magic and more Atari. The reality of ghostly phenomenon is subtle and mysterious, and this should play into the hands of good film-making, which stirs our soul by leaving a little to the imagination. Not BLOOD VISIONS, where the demon actually enters the room of the girl “investigator,” and then runs from her as she chases it through her home hollering “We are going to help that family!” Pathetic.

    And the cinematography and editing was nothing short of dizzying and had me wondering whether the entire crew needs to be treated for ADHD. All this — the shortfalls in writing, editing, cinematography, and special effects — amounts to poor storytelling. Seasons 1-4 met their burden — the challenge of selling us on some rather unbelievable events. Season 5 might as well classify itself as fiction. When you can’t tell a story well, the lack of wit and believability is all the more exposed. I did not question the credibility of Season 2 WHERE DEMONS DWELL in which Satan Himself crawls out in the flesh from a well behind a rental property in rural Connecticut, and yet I doubted everything depicted in BLOOD VISIONS right down to the 16-year-old Buffy who chased away the demon like one would take a broom to a raccoon in one’s garage. If I learned nothing from seasons 1-4, smudging does not work and 16-year-old valley girls with no background in science or connection to the Church can chase demons away. Unless of course the prayer read off that single sheet of paper was actually the script for last night’s episode, which could probably chase anything on Heaven and Earth.

    This brings us to another problem. Season 5 is less disciplined than Season 1 and plays too loose with the facts. Perhaps the absence of an active research manager (i.e., Carol Bornman)is responsible. There were some rather fascinating aspects to the Summerwind Haunting that did not make its way into the episode. Rooms changing dimensions on contractors, Possessions of former residents appearing as double exposures in Hinshaw photographs. That corpse in the crawl space that Arnie sent April in to investigate. Then it occurred to me that perhaps to play it conservatively and let the implied aspects of the mystery do the talking, the SUMMERWIND crew decided only to include what those aspects of the haunting that seemed relatively more reliable (e.g., multiple eye witnesses, consistent accounts). But a number of things occur in BLOOD VISIONS for which the crew accepted on faith the account of a single person — namely the little girl investigator who witnessed the demon appear in her own home.

    A HAUNTING, the series, was beginning to unravel in Season 4, but I hoped the producers mailed it in because they knew the show wouldn’t be renewed. Now I can see they just lost the recipe.

    COMPARING THE CREW

    SUMMERWINDs capable writing was a collaboration between Fred Mills and series producer Larry Silverman, who limited himself to an executive producer role for BLOOD VISIONS. I guess we have only Michael Ray Brown to blame for the writing of BLOOD VISIONS.

    BLOOD VISIONS lists no cinematographers among its cast and crew whereas SUMMERWIND carries both Ray Brown and Michael Bratkowski.

    Katherine Pritchard remains the only holdover from the SUMMERWIND Art Department, but BLOOD VISIONS employs no construction coordinator (Ryan Brinkley), set dressing leadman (Kate Forry), property master (Kathleen Martin), production graphics (Chuck Newsome), art direction (Jack Ryan), set decoration (Angela Castillo), or painter (Jackie Smith). Now perhaps some of these positions were consolidated in BLOOD VISIONS, but therein could lie a problem as well.

    The SUMMERWIND sound department is also more complex. While both employ sound recordists (BLOOD VISIONS actually employs one more than SUMMERWIND), BLOOD VISIONS does not employ sound editors (Larry Goeb & James Cret Wilson), sound supervisor (Mike Puckett), or a production sound mixer (Kenneth Altman). This may explain why we love the original sound in the early episodes. There is a great deal of attention paid to the sound and the music, and each early episode has its own score that sets it apart. BLOOD VISIONS did not appear to have an original score.

    SUMMERWIND employ costume designers (Rebecca Kurtz and Lance Culpepper) while BLOOD VISIONS scales this back to Rebecca Kurtz. BLOOD VISIONS lacks a makeup department (Terea Gorsick).

    SUMMERWIND also has an elaborate production staff that appears to be missing entirely from BLOOD VISIONS. Executive in charge of production Nicolas Valcour I suspect was key in the program’s early success. He did not return for Season 5. Neither did production VP Michelle LeDoux. SUMMERWIND also carries an array of directors, including Vernon Guinn (first assistant director), Roz Victa (second assistant director), and Joe Wiecha (field director). SUMMERWIND also credits 3 production coordinators, a production assistant, and a location manager, none of which are listed for BLOOD VISIONS. Other than that the 4 episode producers are the same.

    SUMMERWIND differentiates between “special effects” (Anthony Torres) and “visual effects” (Meliza Fermin, visual effects artist and Joe Pitts, visual effects coordinator). No one is credited for BLOOD VISIONS.

    SUMMERWIND retains an editoral department of 5, including a post-production coordinator, two online editors, and a supervising and assistant editor, whereas BLOOD VISIONS makes due with Alex J. Spence.

    SUMMERWIND retains a camera and electrical department of 10, compared to the 2 employed by BLOOD VISIONS.

    And then of course, there’s the acting. Kera O’Bryon (also in GATEWAY TO HELL), Scott Rollins (also in DEMON CHILD and HUNGRY GHOSTS), Justin Dray, and Marcello Rollando perform capably in SUMMERWIND to deliver that very amusing Hinshaw family quirkiness that comes across in clips from the interviews. We feel for this family, yes, but we also laugh a little at how they cope with the haunting and the aggregate effect of all this is we harbor a mild affection for them. The same could not be said of the family from BLOOD VISIONS. None of the actors in BLOOD VISIONS is listed in the IMDB full cast and crew, so I cannot put any names to the horrible acting.

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