Alex Casey compares the dramatic re-enactments of Sensing Murder to fellow bad creep show Celebrity Ghost Stories, to find the true winner in the art of the corny reconstruction.
The dramatic recreation remains the hokiest thing to ever grace the creepy TV genre from Sensing Murder to Celebrity Ghost Stories, consistently bad and funny no matter the crime or the ghost. Unfortunately, I fear they are a lost art, with the terrible return episode of Sensing Murder pouring top ghost dollar into the re-enactment department. How very dare they eschew the Dutch tilts and Wilhelm screams for this nice-looking situation.
Sure, slicker re-enactments means that the 1970s cat eye makeup looks absolutely killer, but I fear that dramatic recreations are losing their corny charm in this era of so-called peak TV, all fancy grading and Wes Anderson framing. I revisited old episodes of Sensing Murder and its spiritual descendant Celebrity Ghost Stories to find the top corn dog of the spooky recreation world.
1) PET ACTING
The cat of Sensing Murder vs the dog of Celebrity Ghost Stories is a battle for the ages. Look at this good dog in Celebrity Ghost Stories, standing stock still at the door when confronted with a ghost within Joan Rivers’ apartment. You can feel the fear. Likewise, the Sensing Murder cat does some exquisite stunt work when dropped from inside a dressing gown, and has cute eyes that legit look like buttons. Cat wins.
2) USE OF EERIE BLUE LIGHT
We all know that blue de ba de da be da is the colour of death, which is why these shows dial the blue cellophane up to 11 and cover every light in sight to create a moody, oceanic scene. I will award the Eiffel 65 award for Blue Commitment to Celebrity Ghost Stories for suggesting the moon is blue, and giving fake Joan Rivers a blue poncho to boot.
3) WIG USAGE
As good as Sensing Murder’s emo mop is, nothing is better than a blonde wig from Look Sharp chucked on a Joan Rivers impersonator. No amount of Vaseline on the lens can hide just how cheap that wig is. Five stars.
4) CHILLING MISE EN SCENE
Some art department intern at Celebrity Ghost Stories had a field day doing this weird pained ghost tagging, but is completely overshadowed by Sensing Murder’s exquisite framing. Look past the terrible moustache to a reflection of true horror, a homage to The Ring that deepens the shot and alludes to the killer’s identity. Beautiful.
5) CORNY LINES OF DIALOGUE
If we are going corn in the purest sense of the word, anything that has ever been uttered on Sensing Murder is 100% overruled by Joan Rivers talking about how she covered her apartment in cornflour in order to catch the ghost of her dead landlord. Congratulations, Celebrity Ghost Stories, you really are the best of the worst.
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