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Nick Groff Talks Ghost Adventures Part 1: In the Beginning

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In our continuing interview series with the “Ghost Adventures” crew in anticipation of the show’s Season 6 premiere on March 9th, 2012, we sat down with Nick Groff to talk about the formation of the group, what scares him, and much more.

Nick Groff Talks Ghost Adventures Part 1: In the Beginning

“I actually knew Aaron before, for a long time,” says Groff of the very beginnings of his association with partners Zak Bagans and Aaron Goodwin. “I graduated from high school at Pelham High in New England and decided to take the big trip to Las Vegas because I got accepted to UNLV, University of Nevada Las Vegas, for film. I’m a huge film buff in general. To be honest, it was one of the only schools that actually accepted me because my SATs sucked.” *laughs*

Groff continues, “So here I am at UNLV and I’m taking this film class, and there’s this kid… he and I are the only ones still there at the end of this big conference where a movie producer was talking. At this point I was trying to shoot my own short films and was looking to get to know people. I asked the lecturer who I should talk to about shooting my short films and my scripted stuff, and he said, ‘See that guy over there? Talk to him.’ I turn around and there’s Aaron Goodwin standing there talking to another guy. Aaron actually snuck into that class as he didn’t even attend UNLV. *laughs* So we met up and became very good friends over the years.”

It wasn’t about until 2004 that I met Zak. I was getting married to my long-time sweetheart from high school. I’m a very picky guy when it comes to music so as I was searching through websites, I came across Zak’s. He was DJ’ing at the time making some money. I called up his company and met up with him, and he became my wedding DJ. Me and my wife met up with Zak and we talked for a long time. We actually didn’t even get into the wedding stuff. We talked more or less about the paranormal and films and stuff including the projects I was working on at that time. It was really kind of funny how we clicked. I think you meet people in your life for a reason, and I think certain people come together spiritually. This was the start to our journey. The reason we were put on this earth, to do what we are doing now.”

“One day I was sitting there in my little apartment and we started talking on the phone. He told me about a ghost experience he had in Detroit, Michigan. I basically said, ‘Dude, I’ve been fascinated by the paranormal since I was a little kid.’ I had an experience when I was about ten years old in Salem, New Hampshire in my old house. One day when I came home from school early, I walked upstairs and saw this shadow figure standing in the kitchen area behind this sliding glass door to the porch. It scared the living crap out of me! I ran out of the house, and that’s where my parents found me once they got home.”

“Prior to that I actually had a near death experience, too, when I was about eight years old,” Nick says, reflecting on his past. “I was a very hyperactive kid. One day I was swinging from the branches of some tress over a cyclone fence and basically the limb broke and I fell and ripped open my whole arm almost to my artery by a half an inch. Good thing my mom was a nurse and a quick thinker. She was close enough to see me get up and then pass out and fall to the ground. She took off her shirt and wrapped my arm up and basically saved my life. They were able to stop the bleeding before I bled too much. I didn’t die obviously because I’m still here.”

“I think those elements actually got me fascinated by the paranormal, and that’s when I was talking to Zak, fast forward in time to 2004. I’ve been fascinated by all the paranormal: UFOs, ghosts, and anything unexplainable. But I’ve never had that major experience to say, ‘Wow, this is it. This is what’s going to open up my mind to something different than what we know as just death.’ That’s when I basically grouped up with these two guys, and we became really good friends and decided to hit the roads of Nevada to hit up all of the haunted mining towns to search out some ghosts. Zak was very passionate because of his experience, but I was more or less a logical thinker wanting to see something with my own eyes. Could this kind of thing be captured on a little night vision video camera? We went out full throttle to see what we can come up with. We all came together and it spawned into ‘Ghost Adventures’. We never thought that was gonna happen, a huge successful TV show phenomenon all across the world and a ton of people just representing us and who we are: GAC members, Ghost Adventures Crew members. Worldwide. It’s amazing.”

Nick Groff Talks Ghost Adventures Part 1: In the Beginning

“What a lot of people don’t understand is that we were never just cast in this show. Selected out of thousands of acting people or whatever. We’re not actors. We weren’t geared to go out and do this. None of us ever took acting classes. I took film because I have a passion for film. The good thing was that it came in handy later. It taught me how to push the little red button on the camcorder and make sure the camera is in focus. That’s really it. It’s kind of cool how we came together, it’s definitely a classic story. It’s genuine, it’s real. We are just down to earth guys. We are who we are. What you see is what you get when you’re watchin’ us on TV at your home.”

Now that the group was all together, they set out to make their first documentary film, called Ghost Adventures. Call it fate, call it luck, but Nick, Zak, and Aaron got more than they bargained for on the road, capturing a full body apparition on tape.

“I was confused at first,” says Groff of the first time he watched the footage. “Typically as a logical thinker you try to explain stuff that your brain can’t totally wrap things around. That’s unexplainable. When I set up that static night vision camera in The Old Washoe Club during the documentary, when Zak, Aaron, and myself went in there, I walked into this room and I’m using my digital recorder walking around asking questions like Aaron and Zak are on the upper floors, trying to communicate with anything that’s up there spiritually. I remember walking into that room, asking a question, and then leaving that room. And that was that. I was getting some very weird feelings, don’t get me wrong. It was very creepy walking around there by myself in complete darkness and not knowing what we were actually dealing with back then because we were still new to the paranormal.”

“When we got home, I had tons and tons of tapes to go through. When I got to this one particular tape from that static night vision camera in the Washoe Club, I was like, ‘What the hell was that, that just walked after me?! What is this? This can’t be possible.’ I rewound it at least forty times before I picked up the phone and called Zak. I told him, ‘Dude, you gotta come here and check this out. It’s freakin’ insane.’ Zak came over and checked it out. We were absolutely blown away. This was like gold. Like finding the needle in a haystack. This was what ‘Ghost Adventures’ fed off of in the beginning to keep pushing us. Then we pursued other locations like Goldfield after that. That was kind of the fuel for our fire to be honest. It motivated us more than anything.”

From then on the “Ghost Adventures” crew would begin assembling the building blocks of their investigation techniques, including separating from each other in the middle of some of the scariest places on Earth.

Nick Groff Talks Ghost Adventures Part 1: In the Beginning

“I was the first one who suggested we split up,” says Groff. “I said to the guys, ‘I’ve got an idea. Let me go sit off by myself, see what happens. Let’s separate for a second. You guys go investigate, I’ll go off by myself. Put me in the dark and let’s see what happens.’ The idea was that if there are any spirits present, we can limit the scenario to where there’s no protection around us, and we were bound to capture something amazing. That’s what happened at the Washoe Club when the apparition followed me out, by myself. I’m always trying to think of ways to push the limits to capture evidence. Not in a stupid way or a jackass way, but more or less in an intelligent fashion.”

“For instance when we did the abandoned psychiatric hospital in Essex County, New Jersey (Season 1, Episode 6), we were walking through these underground tunnels, and it’s so freakin’ creepy. One of the creepiest places I’ve ever been, that’s for sure. After a while we came across the morgue, where the lockers are for dead bodies. Basically what happened was I said, ‘Hey, if there’s ghosts in here, they have to be lying in this room.’ This area was the last stop for tens of thousands of bodies. So I said to the Zak and Aaron, ‘What happens if I get inside this thing and you guys go and investigate. Close the door. Put me in here. I’ll put a night vision camera on the outside in the hallway and on the inside. If there are any spirits, they are bound to have an effect on me or something around me and show themselves because I’m all alone. They won’t be intimidated.’ That’s the type of crazy shit that I do, we all do – Zak, Aaron, and me – to push the limits.”

Check back next week for more with Nick Groff.

For more info be sure to visit “Ghost Adventures” on Travel Channel. “Ghost Adventures” Season 6 premieres on March 9th, 2012.

Nick Groff Talks Ghost Adventures Part 1: In the Beginning

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The Crucifixion Review – Should’ve Left This One Nailed to the Cross

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Starring Sophie Cookson, Corneliu Ulici, Ada Lupu

Directed by Xavier Gens


Claiming to be inspired by actual events, director Xavier Gens’ The Crucifixion forgoes the affecting shocks and awes, and instead beats its audience into the ground with a laundry-list of ho-hum dialogue and lesser-than-stellar instances…forget the priest, I need a friggin’ Red Bull.

A 2005 case is spotlighted, and it revolves around a psychotically damaged woman of the cloth (nun for all you laymen) who priests believed was inhabited by ol’ Satan himself. With one rogue priest in command who firmly believed that this was the work of something satanic, the nun was subject to a horrific exorcism in which she was chained to a cross and basically left to die, which ultimately resulted in the priest being stripped of his collar and rosary…how tragic. Enter an overzealous New York reporter (Cookson) who is intently focused upon traveling to Romania to get the scoop on the botched undertaking. After her arrival, the only point of view that seems to keep sticking with interviewees is that the man who sat close to the lord killed a helpless, innocent and stricken woman, that is until she meets up with another nun and a village priest – and their claims are of something much more sinister.

From there, the battle between good and evil rages…well, let me rephrase that: it doesn’t exactly “rage” – instead, it simmers but never boils. Unfortunately for those who came looking for some serious Father Karras action will more than likely be disappointed. The performances border on labored with cursory characters, and outside of some beautiful cinematography, this one failed to chew out of its five-point restraints.

I’d normally prattle on and on about this and that, just to keep my word limit at a bit of a stretch, but with this particular presentation, there just isn’t much to bore you all with (see what I just did there). Gens certainly had the right idea when constructing this film according to blueprints…but it’s like one of those pieces of Wal-Mart furniture that when you open the box, all you can find are the instructions that aren’t in your language – wing and a prayer…but we all know what prayers get you, don’t we, Father?

My advice to all who come seeking some hellacious activity – stick to The Exorcist and you’ll never be let down.

  • Film
2

Summary

The Crucifixion is one of those films that needs the help of the man above in order to raise its faith, but I think he might have been out to lunch when this one came around.

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Giallo Makes A Comeback With Crystal Eyes

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The giallo genre has somewhat fallen off the radar in recent years, but that’s all about to change with the new Argentinian film Crystal Eyes (original title: Mirada de Cristal). Set in 1985, the film’s about a series of murders taking place in the glamorous and colorful fashion world, so it sounds like a true giallo throwback.

Crystal Eyes was directed by Ezequiel Endelman and Leandro Montejano, and stars Silvia Montanari, Anahí Politi, Erika Boveri, and Claudio Armesto. It screened at both the Mar del Plata International Film Festival and the Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre Film Festival, and received a great audience reception at both. We were sent the trailer for the film along with the poster and a bunch of lobby cards, which we proudly present below.

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Black Christmas Blu-ray Review – Making Its U.K. Debut From 101 Films

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Starring Keir Dullea, Olivia Hussey, John Saxon, Art Hindle

Directed by Bob Clark

Distributed by 101 Films


There is only one Bob Clark Christmas movie I watch each year and it doesn’t feature Ralphie and his Red Ryder fantasies.

The endurance of Clark’s 1974 legendary slasher, Black Christmas, can be chalked up to a number of factors but the greatest is this: it is a disturbing film. I frequently come across horror message board topics asking for genuinely scary titles devoid of jump scares and excessive gore, but oddly enough Black Christmas doesn’t get many mentions. Maybe because it has been relegated to the “seasonal viewing only” heap? Regardless, fans will agree that the unsettling events portrayed don’t diminish with repeat viewings; if anything, subsequent watching serves to reinforce that it is a standout among a sea of imitators. The film is also a noted influence on John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978) – arguably the granddaddy of slasher films – adding a bit of prestige to its legacy.

The girls of Pi Kappa Sig are throwing a holiday party before the Christmas break when, toward the end of the night, they receive a phone call from a man they’ve been calling “The Moaner”, who has a habit of calling and making unusual noises. Jess (Olivia Hussey) initially accepts the call but also allows her other sisters to listen in, prompting outspoken Barb (Margot Kidder) to jump on the line and goad this mystery man. She and Phyllis (Andrea Martin) argue over the possibility this guy may be more threatening than anyone realizes. Unbeknownst to the ladies partying downstairs, however, moments before the phone call came through an unidentified person (very likely this same caller) snuck up the side of the house and into the attic. And once the party wraps up that same person is found hiding in Claire’s (Lynne Griffin) closet, whereupon she is strangled and placed in a rocking chair in the attic.

The next day Claire’s father comes to the campus to meet her and is understandably stood up. He heads to the sorority house and reports her missing, at which point the girls and their housemother, Mrs. Mac (Marian Waldman), agree to help him locate her. The file a report with the police, led by Lt. Fuller (John Saxon), and Jess also wrangles in Claire’s semi-boyfriend, Chris (Art Hindle), who helps bolster the search by raising hell at the station. Jess, meanwhile, is having problems of her own after confessing to her boyfriend, Peter (Keir Dullea), she is pregnant. She wants an abortion; he is vehemently against it. Claire’s absence grows more concerning when another missing girl is found dead in a nearby park, prompting the cops to ramp up their efforts. The girls are being picked off one by one as the unseen assailant remains hidden in the attic, continuing his phone calls that come after each murder. The cops suspect Peter may be a person of interest, as his interactions with Jess have become increasingly aggressive, but everyone is in for a shock when a tap on the line reveals the true source of the calls – they are coming from within the house.

With the film having been around for over forty years, and fans having been sold one “upgraded” home video version after the next, I suspect most readers are more interested in how Scream Factory’s Blu-ray stacks up against similar editions – which is basically my way of saying this review is a bit glib. For the uninitiated, however, let me say that I cannot overstate how exceptional Clark’s film is – never giving the killer an identity, an entire subplot concerning abortion, a palpable sense of grief for Claire’s father, a cast of interesting, unique people who don’t ever feel like archetypes, and a potentially downer of an ending. Some of his moviemaking tricks are brilliant, like the decision to create Billy’s voice from a combination of three different people (one a woman) and using interchangeable actors to portray the killer so you’re never quite sure who is in the attic. Carl Zittrer’s score is disorienting and minimal, making use of odd instrumentation to add extra unease; it also appears infrequently, giving the movie more of a real life quality. Black Christmas was a reasonable success upon release, more so commercially than critically, but time has been kind to this old gem and many now view it as an outright horror classic.

Hell, it was Elvis’ favorite Christmas movie.

Cult label 101 Films is giving the film its U.K. debut, presenting a transfer that is nearly identical to the remastered version Scream Factory released last year in North America. That 1.85:1 1080p picture is very likely the best this film can and will ever look. Black Christmas has a long home video history of looking very grainy, murky, dulled, and soft. I can’t say the new disc’s results are far off that mark but there are clear improvements. For one, grain has been resolved in a tighter field that looks less “noisy” and more “grindhouse-y”; do not expect an image clear as a crystal unicorn by any means. There is still softness to many faces and objects though detail looks far better here than it ever has before. Colors are more vibrant, too. Black levels run on the hazy side but they’re more stable than ever. The only noticeable difference between the Scream Factory and 101 Films versions are the latter is a touch brighter, allowing for a little more detail to filter through.

Audio is available via an English LPCM 5.1 surround sound track or a 2.0 stereo option. The multi-channel effort grants the unsettling soundtrack and Billy’s insane vocalizations more room to breathe, ratcheting up the creepiness thanks to the sense of immersion. Unlike the Scream Factory edition, the original mono track is not included.

Only a handful of extra features have been included, all of which can be found on the Scream Factory edition, too.

“Film and Furs: Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle” – Hindle, who still owns that jacket, talks about being a working actor in Canada when there wasn’t much work, as well as how he wound up auditioning for Clark for a different role.

“Victims and Virgins: Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin” – The actress who is most famous for having a plastic bag over her head tells a few tales from the set.

“Black Christmas Legacy” – This is a lot of interviews from the film’s actors and notable fans. I found it to be a bit tedious.

A handful of original TV and radio spots have been included, along with the “40th Anniversary Reunion Panel: Fan Expo Canada 2014”.

The package also includes a fold-out poster, reversible cover art, and a DVD copy.

Special Features:

  • Film and Furs: Remembering Black Christmas with Art Hindle
  • Victims and Virgins: Remembering Black Christmas with Lynne Griffin
  • Black Christmas Legacy
  • Original TV and Radio spots
  • 40th Anniversary Reunion Panel: Fan Expo Canada 2014
  • Black Christmas
  • Special Features
4.0

Summary

This is an easy recommendation for purchase if you live in the U.K., since this is the film’s Blu-ray debut. Stateside readers may find this region-free version attractive due to the price, but know that it does contain significantly fewer extras than the in-print Scream Factory release. Either way, fans on both sides of the Atlantic have a version worth buying.

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