Review: Haunted Histories Collection

Haunted Histories Collection
History Channel

Street: 09.25

This five-disc collection features the History Channel produced programs “Hauntings,” “Vampire Secrets,” “Salem Witch Trials,” “The Haunted History of Halloween” and the A&E-produced “Poltergeist.” The programs on the Salem Witch Trials and the history of Halloween are the most straightforward, presenting a fair amount of historical information regarding the events of the Salem Trials and the different origins of the Halloween tradition. “Hauntings” and “Poltergeist” are both presented in a fair, balance approach with experts who both attempt to prove or disprove the various ghost stories and allow the view to make whatever conclusions that they will. The most exploitive program also proves to be the longest: “Vampire Secrets.” Playing up the sexual, horrific elements and augmented by many experts, modern day vampires and unintentionally camp reenactments it is also the most entertaining. This in a sense is rather horrifying, particularly in the retelling of contemporary examples considering the amount of violence, perversion and loss of life that actually took place. In their defense the vampire myth itself tends in this direction, as does society’s interest in the myth; a combination of fascination and fear. All in all, it’s a nice collection of tales with plenty of substance to go along with the more sensational elements worthy of the History Channel branding, even if it isn’t quite on par with their better-known war documentaries. -Ryan Michael Painter