Haunted Collector, "Slaughterhouse Ghosts/Supernatural Sword": notoriously mysterious voices

Quick Take: Haunted Collector, "Slaughterhouse Ghosts/Supernatural Sword"
"My job: find the haunted item and remove it. Because I am... the Haunted Collector.” John Zaffis  

haunted collector

Review: Haunted Collector, "Slaughterhouse Ghosts/Supernatural Sword"
(S0106) "My name is John Zaffis and for over 40 years, people have come to me with their problems... paranormal problems. I found that sometimes spirits attach themselves to objects and could make life a living hell. That's where my team comes in. Chris, my son and investigator, Amiee, my daughter and researcher, Brian, my tech guy, and Beth, my lead investigator. My job: find the haunted item and remove it. Because I am... the Haunted Collector.” 

Haunted Collector's season finale delivers the closest the series has ever achieved in terms of genuine creepiness. But did it really need to take all season to get there? As per the standard, the show follows a strict story structure that is so tight, you could make a drinking game out of it and acquire alcohol poisoning. Seriously, just note how many times energy and EVP is mentioned in one half-hour. The first story of the episode focuses on a woman who experiences supernatural phenomenon in her horse stables. Zaffis goes through his usual confrontation, day sweep, and midnight investigation with this team. During their night investigation, they discover a knife emitting strange thermal energy. This leads to a very uncomfortable finding involving Hungarians and slaughterhouses.

The writers (or reality manipulators to be exact) go at great lengths to find all the convenient connections to make the audience think the horses are in real danger from supernatural forces. The voices Zaffis' group hears are notoriously mysterious and the conclusion of what the words are just feels too convenient. It's like taking the surprise incest twist out of the movie Chinatown -- things just add up too easily. Like most episodes before it, the client is moved to tears at Zaffis' discovery and Zaffis takes the item away. This is painfully formulaic and little is different outside of the horse being a target of potential poltergeist activity. Though this story has a sense of fear for the horses, it's relatively basic compared to last week's episode when the client turned out to be the spirit magnet.

The second half of the episode continues to focus on potential poltergeist activity. A guy has blackouts, claims to endure physical violence involving invisible men, and there's a voice saying his name. This investigation differentiates itself from the rest by involving witchcraft and psychics. Zaffis dismisses the aforementioned psychics' predictions until he experiences thumping sounds that lead him to uncover an occult symbol underneath the floor. This episode actually features Zaffis getting hurt. Well, maybe not so much hurt as aggravated. Something mysterious scratches Zaffis on his arm when he first arrives at the client's house and the ghost says Zaffis' name on one of his devices. This story shows Zaffis as a target of attacks, but it doesn't really help the episode visually. We still cut away to a commercial whenever something potentially interesting happens. By the time the audience catches itself fantasizing about the Ghostbusters helping Zaffis' crew, we cut back to the show to find out the event is another false alarm. This kind of television structure becomes disappointing over time, and it does not help marathon viewing.

As intriguing as the finale is, it still has some problems. One is who the heck decides what devices are appropriate for what cases? The thermal device and voice device just seem to come out of some bag of magic. Furthermore, the episodes continue to show “camera shy” spirits. There is one instance in the season where Zaffis says he's experienced “books flying off shelves” and other activities. My question is why don't we ever see things like this happen? It makes ghosts look really shy. Maybe I just don't understand how the show is produced, but something just feels off.

Overall, this episode is spicier than past ones, but not enough to really grab people. If you're like me, you're already watching it because it's sci-fi and you don't care. However, you would be much better off checking out something a little more.. visual. I know Zaffis is a big name in parapsychology and I give the show credit for trying to debunk all it can before it concludes something is unexplainable. However, I still find myself wanting something a bit more engaging. Perhaps I should be careful to ask for that though... I could end up with phantom cuts on me the next morning.

By Dean "The Machine" Childers.

About the author

Dean Childers is freelance writer in Kentucky. He is a major in Mass Communications. He lurks in the Bluegrass waiting for someone to throw a pokeball at him.

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