Ben Edlund outdid himself with this script, weaving together humor, parody, horror, and tragedy, throwing in a healthy portion of classic Sam and Dean, and just a pinch of mythology. We started out with huge laughs, abruptly injected some true terror, and ended on a note of pathos. It was brilliant. I've only watched Ghost Hunters a handful of times, but the parallels to that show in this episode were obvious even to me. I imagine if I were a fan, I would have found Ghostfacers! even funnier. Although completely different, this episode was very evocative of the X-Cops episode of The X-Files, and I loved it just as much. Well done, show.
It was very cool to see Supernatural try something so different. We had the opportunity to see our beloved boys from an outside POV, a view without any appreciation for the depth and nuance we see every week, and a view decidedly and unexpectedly indifferent to the irresistible Winchesters. Although you could tell by the end that Spruce was already falling under the spell of the Dean ("Wow, you're strong!"). hee! Through the lenses of the Ghostfacers' cameras, I saw two take charge guys with deep, twangy voices, a cute one who was impossibly tall, and a gruff one who was impossibly pretty. They yelled a lot, bickered some, and had a way of swearing that made me weak in the knees.
I imagine the technical challenges were considerable, given the darkness of the set, the extensive use of handheld cameras, and the need to keep an amateurish look while still finding shots that had stunning visual impact, and that advanced the story effectively. Phil Sgriccia did a wonderful job, and I think this episode was a big success. I especially liked the whole show-within-a-show premise, right down to showing the Supernatural opening credits at the end, to preserve that illusion. And once we were firmly back in the familiar world of Sam and Dean, with the color and clarity we love so much, Phil treated us to that glorious parting shot of the Impala, peeling out and roaring off to adventures unknown. Awesome!
Big kudos to the design team as well this week. There was a lot of detail to absorb in the Morton House, and it all conspired to creep me out, big time. No motel room this time, but they more than made up for it with that amazingly authentic garage set. I've been in that garage, I swear! It even had a working door, which we saw to hilarious effect when Ed's dad drove up and hit the garage door opener, sending the white board flying and the Ghostfacers scrambling. "Aw, Dad! Come on!" Too funny.
It was fun to have Ed and Harry back. Hell House is one of my favorite episodes, and no, it's not just because of Sam's towel scene! :) I also liked the rest of the Ghostfacers bunch, each of whom had their own special charm. I loved their earnestness, their naivete, and their slightly deluded confidence. Their bumbling, misguided efforts as hunters served to remind us how skilled our boys truly are, and quite frankly, just made them look hotter! My quick affection for poor, sweet Corbett took me by surprise (I think he won me over with the smitten way he talked about Ed), and his tragic end hit me harder than I ever would have anticipated. Then they really pulled out the big guns with that little video tribute at the end. *sniffles* I should have paid attention to his telltale red shirt at the beginning.
It would be ridiculous to try and list everything I loved about this episode, especially because every time I rewatch I find something new, but I have to mention a few of the highlights for me. First of all, when Sam showed up in the opening credits, I squeed! And when he was immediately followed by Dean, wearing his game face and flipping a pixelated bird, I screamed out loud!! Ed and Harry's fake slo-mo strut was beyond funny, as was the fact that they drove up in a Gremlin. hee! I loved that we heard the Impala before we saw her, and that there was no mistaking either that lovely rumble or the rock music that accompanied it. The swearing. Oh, God, the swearing. Although how hilarious was it that Sam, with an unlimited arsenal of cuss words finally at his disposal, calls Ed and Harry goofballs? *snerk*
I adored every scene of the boys talking to each other, oblivious to onlookers, intent on the job at hand. They're so hot when they're working: finding the clues, reviewing the lore, sifting through the possibilities, and deciding on a plan, all the while throwing around hunter jargon, and exchanging wordless, meaningful looks. Oh, show, I've missed you so! I also loved the way the episode suddenly introduced the scary in with the funny. I wasn't that worried when Corbett was first taken by Daggett, but when Sammy disappeared, I freaked! Then Corbett was killed horribly, Sam was tied up, the baddie was advancing on him, and I was flashing back to the fingernail incident in the Christmas episode! *cries* I couldn't even laugh at Sammy in his adorably askew party hat until the second time I watched. Yikes.
I liked that the Ghostfacers learned from Sam and Dean, and used that knowledge to both save Corbett's death echo from eternal torment, and to save themselves. I thought it was cool that it was Corbett's love for Ed, and Ed's openness to that love, that made their salvation possible. I don't know if that was a shout out to fandom's love of slash, a political statement about tolerance and gay rights, or just a cute plot twist, but it totally worked for me. And on some level, I was gratified that not everyone got out alive. Because even in a funny episode, hunting is still serious business, and no one is ever completely safe.
Didn't I say a few of the highlights? :) Well, even so, I'm not finished yet. In an episode full of quotable quotes and snarky one-liners, here are my five favorites:
Ed: "Two lone wolves need... other wolves."
Sam: "Holy shit!"
Dean: "Fuck me."
Ed: "Listen here, chisel chest, okay?"
Dean: "Hey, Ed? Listen to me! There's some salt in my duffel! Make a circle and get inside."
Ed: [long pause] "Inside your duffel bag?"
Dean: "In the salt! You idiot!"
Harry: "C'mon, guys. Don't be 'facer haters."
Random thoughts: Gamble General Hospital? hee! I liked that the script poked fun at both the writers ("Lazy fat cats.") and the suits ("Yeah, we're not Hell Hounds anymore, okay? Didn't test that well."). Who else squeed when Dean threw Ed up against the wall? For someone with a Stanford education, Sam sure says "ain't" a lot. And I loved Smart!Dean and his killer electromagnet!
All in all, I loved everything about this episode, and I know I'll watch it again and again. I hope everyone had as much fun making it as I did watching it. And after a good laugh this week, I'm ready for some angst, some heartache, and the tortuous cliffhanger I fear they're plotting for us. Bring it on, Kripke!
One little footnote: I thought Corbett bore more than a passing resemblance to Bret Harrison from Reaper. Another demon hunter named Sam, whose show took Supernatural's time slot during the hiatus? Yeah, I could see the show having a little laugh killing off his look-alike. But maybe it's just my imagination. What do you think?
Screen cap courtesy of oxoniensis, with my thanks.
And I leave you with the lyrics to the song I can't get out of my head:
Ghost! Ghostfacers! We face the ghosts when the others will not!
Ghost! Ghostfacers! Stay in the kichen when the kitchen gets hot!
Ghost! Ghostfacers! We face the nightmare, we face the dread!
Ghost! Ghostfacers! We face the faceless, we face the dead!
When you trip and fall, into the supernatural,
We're who you're gonna call, we face them all.
Ghost! Ghostfacers! We face the faceless, we face the dead!
Face ghosts! Ghostfacers!