Harsh Reality is a new regular feature where we take a look at paranormal reality shows that never made it beyond the development phase. Sometimes this happens because a new network head takes over. Other times it happens because deals can’t be reached with the production companies. But most of the time.. it’s because they’re just plain awful.
This week, you better repent, because the Demon Stalker is on the case.
What happens when you take an edgy, motorcycle riding youth pastor with an ambiguously sexual grudge against the demonic, give him a fauxhawk that puts Zak Bagans to shame, and then send him into the wilds of California to perform exorcisms on locations vaguely related to serial killers? Not much, apparently.
Such is the premise for DEMON STALKER, a reality show developed by Lazarus Films, who un-shockingly enough, are better known for their MMA fighting videography (John Tenney of Weird Lectures may be on to something…). The episodes planned to follow Joe Basile, pastor of the progressive Olive Tree Community church in Los Angeles, as he battles the Devil’s army with only his bible, his youth group, and a soundtrack by Rage Against the Machine.
The five minute sizzle reel sees our hero and his salvation army heading to Chatsworth, California to exorcise the neighborhood of the demons responsible for train wrecks, Charles Manson, and forest fires, to name a few, though I have a feeling they’re taking a lot of credit away from California’s infrastructure, culture, and climate.
It becomes obvious that the show’s creators had planned on combining the characters of the screaming bro-douche a la Ghost Adventures with the self-righteous spiritual warrior of Paranormal State, which on paper, may sound like an instant television success. But where Ghost Adventures’ blissful ignorance makes for comical endearment only because Bagans actually believes he’s fighting ghosts, and Paranormal State maintained an audience of swooning youngsters thanks to Buell’s manufactured aura of importance, Demon Stalker offers wilful ignorance and straight up Jesus. Not the kind of thing advertisers pay the big bucks for, which might explain why you never saw this particular gem on A&E.
Highlights of the sizzle:
Would you have watched DEMON STALKER if it made it to television? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! Do you know of a paranormal sizzle reel that got canned by a network or production company? Want it featured in an upcoming edition of Harsh Reality? Email us at editor(at)whofortedmag.com!