I love cheese. To be more specific, I’m not referring to gouda, gruyere or manchego but rather the sorts of cheese that involves outlandish film and television that are so utterly bad that they inexplicably circle around the globe only to return even better (or worse) than you first imagined. Don’t believe me? Simply look at my assorted collection of Blu-ray and DVD titles which run the gamut from the not-so-bad to the downright godawful. For, nestled among my Criterion copies of Easy Rider, Rosemary’s Baby and My Own Private Idaho, there exists a seamier street where, for the simple cost of your humility and pride, you can fall into a morass of movies such as the Friday the 13th franchise, Plan 9 from Outer Space and Halloween: Resurrection; movies so bad yet well-intentioned by their filmmakers that you can’t help but to love them, at least for empathy sake. And do not even get me started on my dog-eared and mucho loved DVD copy of the Two Corey’s cinematic fiesta, Dream a Little Dream; pure guilty bliss, Dear Readers, with Haim and Feldman, respectively, at the very height of their teen idol powers. This brings us to another guilty pleasure of mine (que the segue-way trumpets!): The Discovery Channel’s long-running paranormal reality show, Ghost Adventures. If any bit of pop culture has ever threatened to send me a-packin’ to the Betty Ford Center for a complete detox, it would be this bit of glorious uber cheese.
Led by intrepid researcher Zak Bagans and his fellow ghost hunters Aaron Goodwin, Billy Tolley and Jay Wasley, this spectral quartet has singlehandedly rescued me from the pandemic, cultural tumult and the Tyra Banks hosted Dancing With the Stars. Oh, and when not retrieving ye olde writer of words from the precipice of 2020 despair the Ghost Adventures crew also hunts those elusive things that go bump in the night. At least they were until COVID hit. Lately, the broheim’s have had to be content with commenting on past glories in the rather staid and landlocked Travel Channel endeavor, Ghost Adventures: Screaming Room, a sort of paranormal Greatest Hits clip show. This is all good and well, but what most of us have been clamoring for is an honest-to-Pete return to mobility for Zak and company in a reputedly haunted domicile, preferably with as much baked-in inanities as is humanly – or ghostly – possible.
Our long national nightmare comes to an end this October with the recently announced Travel Channel Ghostober returning to haunt viewers young and old in a series of new documentaries, one-shots and returning shows. It’s the latter however that concerns us today.
Ghost Adventures: Horror at Joe Exotic Zoo is a two hour Travel Channel special set to break all land and speed records on October 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. This newest magnum opus from the fine folks who brought us such gems as the Skinwalker Canyon and Old Town San Diego episodes of one of television’s longest running paranormal reality shows jumps full tilt boogie into the ongoing freak show known as The Tiger King (i.e. Joe Exotic, currently doing time and hard labor for various and sundry crimes up to and including wearing a very unseemly mullet) by dropping the guys into the Wynnewood, Oklahoma zoo formerly run by the Mulleted One. There they will investigate claims by former park staff that the zoo is haunted, look into the presence there of a possible spiritual portal, all while seeking out the scores of socks that have mysteriously gone missing from my laundry hamper for decades; service with a smile, Ghouls and Ghoulies, service with a smile.
Per the Travel Channel teletype: “The dramatic saga of Joe Exotic and his Wynnewood, Oklahoma zoo captivated audiences and became a global phenomenon. Now, Zak Bagans and the “Ghost Adventures” crew are once again breaking new ground with the first-ever paranormal investigation inside Joe Exotic’s Greater Wynnewood Animal Park. For years, the park staff have claimed the zoo is haunted. In this two-hour special, “Ghost Adventures: Horror at Joe Exotic Zoo,” the team examines claims of sinister activity and tortured spirits believed to lurk in the shadows of a park tainted by tragic events like deadly fires and accidental shootings. Could these incidents have opened a mysterious portal to the other side? The team is prepared to confront the dark spirits as they attempt to gather evidence as to who, or what, is haunting this park.”
The sound you hear right now is that of my teething ring hitting the floor as I – and we hope, you – celebrate the October 29 return of the famous Ghost Adventures lockdown. Cheese has rarely tasted this good.