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Finding Schumann’s lost violin concerto By Graham Jennings
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TV and movies get serious about the paranormal... but how accurate are they?
NEWS that Fox Searchlight is planning a movie about the Fox sisters, whose experiences led to Spiritualism, is indicative of a noticeable trend in the entertainment industry.

Ghosts, poltergeists and other spooky phenomena have long been part of the staple diets of movie makers and TV producers, but they make no pretence to be anything other than fiction.

The current very noticeable trend, however, is to produce movies – for the cinema and for TV – that attempt a more realistic approach to what is clearly a fascinating subject to explore.

Project Afterlife is typical of these. It’s a six-part series in which four investigators with different backgrounds explore the stories of individuals who have had near-death experiences. So that’s more documentary than drama.

“Destination America plans to air a live exorcism on the night before Halloween.”
  

Proof, starring Jennifer Beals, on the other hand, is pure fiction – but is based on fact and the search for proof of life after death. Beals, who plays Dr Carolyn Tyler, a surgeon who has lost her teenage son and also had a near-death experience, has been praised for the sensitivity she brings to the role, but the show itself has had mixed reviews.

Houdini & Doyle, which is currently in production, will be about the real relationship between famous American illusionist Harry Houdini and British writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the conflict that arose because of their differing views on mediumship and life after death.

It’s a theme that has cropped up several times in other movies on TV and in the cinema and it remains to be seen how accurate this one will be.

Solace, a supernatural thriller starring Colin Farrell and Anthony Hopkins, sounds the most fun. They play two men with psychic abilities, on opposite sides of the law.

And in the fun department there’s also an upcoming all-female version of the box office hit Ghostbusters.

More worrying is Destination America’s plan to air a live exorcism the night before Halloween. It will involve a group of ghost-busters and psychic Chip Coffey who will be filmed at the “Exorcist House” in St Louis. It is still searching for a Roman Catholic priest to take part in the televised ritual.

So far, there has been no talk of the “possessed” person who needs exorcising. Presumably that individual has to patiently remain possessed until everyone else is in place and Halloween has arrived. That’s entertainment!

When it comes to issuing awards for these movies and TV programmes, the exorcism event deserves to come out on top for bad taste. But it’s also likely to get the biggest ratings.




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