Years before The Blair Witch Project popularized the found footage horror movie genre, one of the creepiest examples of the style was broadcast on Halloween night in 1992. The show was called Ghostwatch and it became one of the most popular TV movies on the BBC, while also exposing the producers and showrunners to the controversy that led to the creepy videos being suppressed for more than a decade. To this day, Ghostwatch has never aired again in its entirety, and it remains one of the most controversial movies around, having been linked to cases of PTSD and even one person's untimely end.
Set in a fictional council house on Foxhill Drive, the story of Ghostwatch sounds simple enough. As a Halloween special, a news crew is planning to spend the night in a reportedly haunted house. As the night drags on, it seems the resident ghost, which the children call "Pipes," may be more real, and far more sinister, than most anyone was prepared for.
Part of what made Ghostwatch such a controversial hit was that it was filmed and presented as a live television broadcast, in spite of having been recorded weeks earlier. It also used real TV personalities, playing themselves, as part of the cast. Years before reality TV and found footage horror became de rigueur, this technique of blurring the line of authenticity made sure Ghostwatch was remembered, while its subsequent censorship by the BBC lent it an air of urban legend in the years that followed.
'Ghostwatch' Is Like 'War Of The Worlds' For The TV Era
The Film Was Written By Horror Author Stephen Volk
When It Aired On Halloween Night, Britain Panicked
There Were As Many As 1 Million Calls Of Concern And Complaint
Children Who Watched The Show Reported PTSD Symptoms In Later Years
The Parents Of A Man Who Took His Own Life Blamed 'Ghostwatch' For Their Loss