He’s baaaa-aaack! Turner Clay, the man who brought us one of last year’s most talked about paranormal films The Blackwell Ghost, has returned, quietly making available The Blackwell Ghost 2 with as little fanfare as the last film.
Many of you will recall my article following the first film’s release in which I dug into the story the documentary tells to try to separate fact from fiction.
What I found seemed to place the film firmly under the fiction heading.
Since that time, other details have emerged. For instance, Mr. Clay lists only a few films (mostly of the zombie variety) under his IMDb profile, And yet, as a few people brought to my attention, there’s a film called Phoenix Tapes ’97, a found footage film involving aliens. Clay is definitely one of the stars of the film, but like so many things involving the filmmaker, it’s almost a complete ghost online outside of a few images.
Then there was the fact that “Greg”, the owner of the Blackwell House turned out to be a musician and actor who was on the faculty of a college in Kentucky.
These tidbits aside, The Blackwell Ghost is a highly entertaining film that I have recommended numerous times over the last year when people come to me for paranormal or found footage suggestions. It’s just a lot of fun with a simple premise executed like an expert.
Still, though I’ve wondered from time to time what Clay might have been up to, I was completely caught off guard when I pulled up YouTube and saw a trailer for The Blackwell Ghost 2.
Shared on the YouTube channel JimmyNut22, which has become popular for its paranormal videos. I love the channel and have had my suspicions for some time that it belongs to Clay but that is entirely speculation.
Regardless, I quickly switched over to Amazon and laid down the $10 to purchase the sequel and sat back to see what the filmmaker had in store.
As it turns out, after the first film, Clay went back and made another zombie film called Raccoon Valley, which has been playing various festivals over the last year. It was then, he said, that he received a package in the mail which contained a few photos, a letter, and a record.
The letter, and the email that soon followed, came from a woman who claims to have grown up, part of the time, with the Blackwell family, and without any pretense at all, she signed over the rights to Mrs. Blackwell’s remaining possessions and informed him that the photos were of some of her victims. She also said she included the record because it had been Mrs. Blackwell’s favorite song.
With that, we were off to the races with Clay hurrying back to the house in an attempt to uncover what remained of its secrets, but not until after he reminded us that regardless of what audiences thought, this was completely real.
I may be paranoid, but it felt like he was pointing a finger at me. We’ll save that for later, though.
Once again, Clay proved he’s very good at setting mood by using the simplest of devices. A few overturned chairs, a record player turning on by itself, and the sounds of phantom footsteps held my attention throughout the film.
I found myself searching the screen closely to spot the smallest details, and my pulse quickened as those events ramped to higher levels at just the right moments.
To put it simply, as with the first, I was enthralled. However, and this is something to consider, it followed the sequel rules almost perfectly.
The scares were larger, and the activity, more blatant. In fact, the sequel lacks most of the first film’s subtlety, and does nothing to promote the idea that this was documentary which brings me back to my previous point.
Unfortunately, like most sequels, even though I was highly entertained, it never quite lived up to the first.
Throughout my first article on The Blackwell Ghost, I repeated that I am a believer in the paranormal and have experienced it throughout my life. I want to believe that Clay’s film is real, but I just can’t bring myself to do it.
My thorough research on the first film simply would not let me believe fully, and in this second film, he posts a disclaimer as it begins saying that some names and locations have been changed to protect the innocent.
Now, I can see changing a name…I can even see changing the location of the house within the state of Pennsylvania (or withholding it altogether which he does in both films), but facts are facts. If a filmmaker lists a Pennsylvania archive service as a source, then at some point in the state’s history someone should be able to identify a series of murders like the one described, and none of my sources could do so.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe the writer/director is very good at what he’s doing. He is creating paranormal content that is engaging, scary, and that leaves his audiences on the edge of their seats in the way that Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project have in the past.
The Blackwell Ghost 2 is a lot of fun and fans of the first will definitely want to check it out on Amazon. You can view the trailer below.
But, if I may, I’d like to end this article with a plea and a promise to Mr. Turner Clay:
If you’re out there, and I’m sure you are, and you happen to read this, and I’m sure you will, I’d love for you to prove me wrong. As I said before, I want to believe your story. I just need the final pieces of the puzzle to get there. Prove it to me, and I’ll be happy to print that story.
I’m pretty easy to find: firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to hear from you soon!