America's Most Haunted Town, Move Beyond Fear opens with this warning: "This documentary contains actual images of spirits in their many forms exactly as they appeared to our cameras. Absolutely no computer generated images or post-production effects or re-creations have been utilized in this production." This will not, of course, convince skeptics but it certainly added to my desire to watch this 60-minutes documentary on ghosts and things that go bump in the night in America's most haunted town, New Hope, Pennsylvania. Director Robert Child brings nothing new to the format which will remind many of A&E's Biography and things like that but he certainly tells a good ghost story and, visually, tells is very well. This horror documentary DVD is one of a series of such DVDs available in Canada from VVS Films.
The story begins with author P.D. Cacek who talks about this one home, the Perry mansion, she was particularly drawn to and that gave her, the minute she came across it, and almost completely, the story of her next ghost novel. She describe New Hope, Pennsylvania as a place where ghost are just another friendly neighbor. Charles J. Adams III (no, not of the Adams family) is another writer and he tells viewers why New Hope is America's Most Haunted Town. Another cool thing about this town is the townspeople are not really scared by the spirits and treat them more like vagrants who need a little help getting on with their life and death.
Next up is the local ghost tour guide who introduces the viewer to some of the haunted places and talks about a ghost who actually once took the tour along with the paying customers. Of course, the local theatre in America's most haunted town has its ghost and it seems he likes to play practical jokes on the cast when there is a play being performed. The same can be said of the local Pineapple Hill Inn, the Black Bass hotel, and the Logan Inn (especially room 6)
Once Robert Martin has set up that New Hope is ghost friendly, he then introduces a spirit seeker and a ghost photographer. Either the photographer is not very good at what he does, he has a blip on his lens, or I am blind but I kind of failed to see the spirit in the photo most of the time. The spirit seeker lady is appropriately a little weird. She feels funny talking to a portrait but has no problem talking to an empty space or an "orb" of sorts that often looks more like a dust particle caught a light but sometimes looks like the Nike Swoosh.
For skeptics, there is at one moment where the video camera does not capture what the still digital camera catches. Then again, you actually do see one of the orbs on video for a good five minutes.
Part of why this documentary on ghosts works is the people being interviewed are normal looking townspeople. You would expect some older lady with way too much make-up, bad hair, and lots and lots of jewelry to tell you one of the stories but this does not happen. I kind of wanted to be shocked a bit or scared for a second but this is not what this horror documentary DVD wants to do.
Whether or not you believe in spirits and ghosts, Casper or otherwise, America's Most Haunted Town is a lot of fun to watch. It is a well-made, visually interesting, documentary. It is not going to scare you, that is not its intention, nor is it going to haunt you forever, but you will definitely enjoy watching this horror DVD of sorts.
The extra feature is a fifteen minute talk by director Robert Child on the why and how of his documentary. Interesting.