10/12/06

Spooked DVD Horror View Review

Spooked - The Ghosts of the Waverly Hills Sanitorium(2006)
Review by Catwalk / Horror View.

There are plenty of shockumentaries out there today, with the Net being an easy way to get video shown to a large audience quickly. The Booth brothers chose one of the truly memorable places on Earth when they set their sights on Waverly Hills Sanitorium just outside of Louisville , KY.

Waverly Hills was first opened as a hospital to care for victims of the “White Plague”, also known as Tuberculosis. With no available cure, and experimental treatments taking place, the death toll reached an unbelievable pace. The estimated number is over 63,000 who died on the grounds of Waverly.

In an effort to not reveal the quantity of deceased, the bodies of the dead were moved through a 500-foot chute to the train yards below. This means of transport was donned the “death tunnel”. Originally designed as an employee entrance and means of supplies, the tunnel provided a means for trains and hearses to pick up the dead without demoralizing the remaining patients.

The pace of the dead outweighed expectations by such a sever amount that the bodies were stored in makeshift morgues and autopsies had to take place. In addition, not only were there massive numbers of dying, but for many, living with the disease was a painful and saddening existence.

When a cure was found, the hospital was closed. It was briefly re-opened decades later as a sanitorium for a few years before it was closed permanently in 1980. Now the grounds remain closed to the public with a few ghost tours and haunted house events around Halloween.

Stories of the ghosts include a phantom child, a suicidal nurse, the mysterious smells of the cafeteria, orbs of light, sounds and strange temperature changes. The draining room, disregarded by some but sworn as truth by others, was an area where bodes were allegedly hung upside-down and bled out before transport. This is unconfirmed but the presence of a special, separate sewage system is detailed in the documentary.

The strength of Spooked is its interspersed dialogue from the patients, employees and historians. The filmed experiences of the on-site visits by ghost hunters as well as the statements by security personnel are a nice supplement. There are differing perspectives on several of the myths, but more where the commentaries of different decades line up.

The depictions of Shadow people and the experiments performed by the ghost hunters help to maintain the air of fear. Each of the five floors is shown individually, depicting its stories and legends, as well as its history. Photographs, sound recordings and night vision footage are used to back up the claims of hauntings.

The Booth brothers used the location to shoot their straight-to-DVD horror flick, Death Tunnel. That movie retold a number of the legends of Waverly, but without leveraging the weight of truth associated with them. It still makes for an entertaining view without knowing these stories, but seeing Spooked provides a much more intricate familiarity with Waverly.
Spooked made its debut in June on the Sci-Fi channel and is re-aired on occasion.

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