True crime is the special sauce in a serving of CTV Sci-Fi’s “Paranormal Revenge”.
And given that the subject matter is about ghosts, the dish is best served in cold spots.
Sphere Media producer Robin Bicknell, who has previously worked on “Haunted Hospitals” and “Paranormal 911”, admitted that the show has a darker tone, but it’s not necessarily about trauma. Every story is different, but the common bond is the element of true crime.
“We wanted to mash this real documentary-feel investigation, (and) almost imagine the ghost was a killer and our experts are the detectives,” she said, during an early October phone interview. “We’re trying to crack the case; what’s happening to this family or in this home and why?”
The detectives include Erin Goodpipe, Richard Estep and Tawney Lewis.
“We want to make sure that our experts were diverse; not only culturally, but from their perspectives too, on the spirit realm,” Bicknell said. “For Erin, it’s very much a part of her culture that the spirits are just as real as you and I are.”
Goodpipe is a Dakhóta-Anishinaabe spirit investigator; Estep is a British ex-pat living in Colorado who writes true crime fiction and paranormal non-fiction, and Los Angeles-based Lewis provides her insight into inexplicable events that affect African-American families.
That investigative factor adds a different element that wasn’t seen in previous shows. Viewers already knew who or what the haunter was, Bicknell said, but “Paranormal Revenge” follows a Gothic ghost story flow.
Episode 1 deals with the issue of spousal abuse, and how that negative energy is picked up by an entity residing in the home. The wife performs a cleansing ceremony, and the spirit departs from the house. Still, the marriage falls apart, and sometime after the wife and daughter leave the home, the husband dies. But the haunting doesn’t end there.
The mystery is what draws the audience in, and Bicknell said she was pleased that CTV approved the slow-build storytelling narrative in “Paranormal Revenge”.
“We wanted to register more as a dark, detective novel or a horror-film thriller as opposed to a 1-2-3, Boo!” she said, adding that the show’s journey was almost two years long; six to nine months in development and another year for production.
As for those who shared their personal stories opening up in front of the camera, there wasn’t as much reluctance as one would expect.
“People get a lot out of sharing these things with someone who believes them,” Bicknell admitted “It wasn’t as hard as you would think because you do sweep these things under the carpet a little bit because there’s a stigma attached to ghosts and the spirit realm, along with trauma and abuse.
“Just having somebody listen and believe you were a big draw.”
“Paranormal Revenge” premiered October 6 on CTV Sci-Fi and airs on Fridays at 9 p.m. ET. The first episode can be streamed online or through the CTV app.
Photo courtesy Karri North