~Written By Bill Stone~

A little bit ago, A&E home video emailed me about writing a review for The History Channel program called Primal Fear. They also sent me an extra copy of the DVD to give away. I’m going to give it to you! Keep readin’.

Going into this, I had never even heard of Primal Fear. The first thing that I had decided to do was go to The History Channel’s website, and get some information about the show.

This is what their website said.

Take a look, if you dare, into what drives our deepest fears. Explore the fears of being buried alive, drowning, being burned alive and more. Examine the roots of each fear, how the fear has changed over time, and how the fear has been manipulated to create mass hysteria. Discover the science of how the body reacts to fear and the physiological cause of death. Listen to the stories of those who have survived a near-death experience. Doctors, historians, psychologists and scientists will give viewers perspective on our most primal fears.”

If you want to read that again on THEIR site, or get a little more information, Click Here.

I thought that what I had read was interesting, and that it would be right up my alley.

Well, let’s see.

First off, I have no idea why they wanted ME, of all people to watch, and review this program. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad for the opportunity, and I LOVE doing this sort of thing, but I run a paranormal website about ghosts, paranormal investigation, divination, and a little cryptozoology mixed in.

There was almost NOTHING in this show that fit into that criteria.

For that, I was disappointed.

The show featured a list of fears that we ALL feel. In this review, I’m going to go through each them one by one, and tell you a little bit about what the program discussed regarding that particular fear.

It also talked about the part of our brain called the amygdala, and how it controls our reaction to each fear. It went into some detail about instinctive reactions, and unconscious effects that each primal fear has on us. That scientific stuff, for me was the most interesting aspect of the program. I’m not going to give away what was said about all that. Instead, I recommend you watch the program to see for yourself.

If you’re not interested in reading my reviews on each fear, scroll down to the next blue colored text like this, to get a quick overview, and to find out how you can get a free copy of Primal Fear on DVD.

For now, I’m just going to give you a rundown of each fear, and my opinion of the information they used.

Eaten Alive
In the beginning of the program, there was a guy running through the woods being hunted by a bear. The first thought that came to mind was the fate of the late Timothy Treadwell. He was a former actor who spent 13 summers living among, and making friends with grizzly bears in Katmai National Park in Alaska.

Yup… They ate him.

Director Werner Herzog made a film pieced together from Treadwells footage shot during those summers. It’s called Grizzly Man. I bring it up because, although the film never showed any footage of the bear attack, based not only on reports from friends, family, and the doctors, but also on Treadwells footage, and the realism contained in the picture, you REALLY gain a sense of that ‘primal fear’ of being eaten alive, even if Treadwell did not.

I do recommend THAT film.

The segment of Primal Fear about being eaten alive featured the shark attacks off the coast of New Jersey in 1916 that inspired Peter Benchleys novel, “Jaws”. In case you’ve been living on another planet, it was made into a movie which kept EVERYONE out of the water due to the fear of being eaten alive.

It continued to talk about alligators, and mountain lions eating people. It was interesting, but after a little while, it felt like I was watching an Animal Planet show about mountain lions. I was looking forward to the next segment.

Due to the uncanny stupidity of certain people, I REALLY found this segment to be the most entertaining. With that in mind, they kinda lost me on this one. I’m just not afraid of snakes.

Growing up, there were 3 things that fascinated me. One, I loved ghosts, and spooky stuff. The second was sharks. I probably know just as much about sharks as I do about the paranormal. Lastly, snakes. I LOVED snakes. Growing up, I was always catching a snake, and trying to keep it as a pet. I’ve had parents of the neighborhood kids sneak into my yard in the middle of the night to release the snakes that I had caught because they were afraid that their kids would get attacked. Stupids.

I’m not afraid of them. With that in mind, I’m not stupid either. You wouldn’t catch me grabbing rattlesnakes, throwing them around, and playing with them for shits and giggles.

Naturally, the show starts by talking about the use of snakes and serpents in the teachings of many religions in the world as a possibility for being one of the bases for this fear in a lot of us.

The program went on to discuss George Hensley, and his founding of the “Church of God with Signs Following”. You know? The snake handlers? They grab rattlesnakes, throw them around, and play with them while speaking in tongues. They don’t do this for shits and giggles, though. They do it to show that they are more powerful than demons.

The founder of the church, George Hensley got bit by a snake, and died. Although illegal in many states, apparently this practice is still going strong, and has taken out over 60 religious zealots since 1910.

That brings me to the next group of people lining up for their Darwin Awards. In Freer, Texas, they have this thing called the “Rattlesnake Roundup”. People from all over catch some rattlesnakes, and bring them to Freer to sell to the snake handlers or to… Ya know… Have some fun grabbing rattlesnakes, throwing them around, and playing with them for shits and giggles.

They actually let tourists into the snake pit to to play with the rattlesnakes. In the show there was a snake handler teaching the tourists how to handle the snakes safely. The end of one of his thumbs was nothing more than a pointy bone due to a rattlesnake bite. This is DEFINITELY the guy I want teaching me, and watching MY back.

Buried AliveHave fun storming the castle!
What can I say about being buried alive? In the show they went into how back in the day, they didn’t have all the technology that they have today to make sure that people aren’t dead. So they just buried the living. It’s as simple as that. During time of the plague, comas, and deep sleeps were sometimes mistaken for death. Back then, this happened all the time.

I’ll tell ya what they needed. They needed Miracle Max to revive the ‘mostly dead’, and rescue people from this fate. But no.

Hell would suck. I don’t think that there’s much to comment on here. The program talked about all the religions of the world, and their often eternal punishment for wrongdoing. Dante, and his Inferno was also discussed. They didn’t mention Randall though.

I found this one VERY interesting from a scientific standpoint. I liked how they described why we were afraid of monsters when we were children. At young ages, our brains are still developing. At about the age of 3 or 4, our minds understand the human form. We understand what is normal, and what is not. ANY deviation from that ‘normal’ that we’re used to, frightens us. Again, I really don’t want to give too much away, but I liked this one.

For the record. I still close the closet door before sleepytime, and I HATE clowns.

Drowning & Burned Alive
These were the next two fears. Honestly, I wasn’t glued to the television watching these. Don’t get me wrong, They WERE worth watching, but there was nothing spectacular that I feel warrants a discussion.

They talked about a few terrorist type situations, but they mostly focused on only ONE day, September 11th.

Frankly I’m still VERY upset about that day. That wound hasn’t even come close to healing for me as it seemingly has for so many other people. Because of that, I don’t watch the movies about it, and I don’t want it shoved in my face when I turn on the TV. Primal Fear spent ENTIRELY too much time on this topic, and showing us why we fear the terrorism. I couldn’t help but wonder… If the terrorists were able to get cable over there in those caves, and if they watched this segment, would they be laughing?

That was next to the last segment of the show. And unfortunately, it left me with a bitter taste in my mouthRound and Round! With love we'll find a way. Just give it time! for the next segment.

Rats are creepy. They used to carry the plague. Lotsa people died. They rocked in the 80’s. Well… I thought they did. Actually, I STILL listen to their stuff. Shut up.

I nitpick at everything, so I DO have my complaints, but all in all, I thought this was an interesting program, and well worth the watch. My only complaints were the use of 911, the lack of paranormal-ness, and maybe the list of fears themselves.

It seems to me that if they were going to list a bunch of fears that are widely felt by a lot of people, they could have been a little more in touch with what people are REALLY afraid of. Don’t get me wrong. This is a good list, but there are SOME fears, that I think are a LOT more widespread than things like rats, snakes, monsters, or even Hell. How bout spiders? Almost everyone I know is afraid of spiders. Talking to women? There are a lot of dudes that can’t even go up and say, ‘Hello’ because of an intense, and immobilizing fear. I used to feel that, so I know it’s a LOT worse than being afraid of rats. What about…

Yeah. What about…

What are YOU afraid of?

Here’s the contest. If you want to win a free copy of Primal Fear on DVD, leave a comment to this article. You’re welcome to tell me your opinion on what I wrote here, but what I REALLY want is for you to answer that simple question.

In your comment, please include:

  • Your location- City state wherever.
  • If you’re from a website that subscribes to this RSS feed. Which site?- When I announce the winner, I’ll be sure to give the site a link or something. If not, no biggie.
  • When you comment, you have to give your email address to make the comment go through. Make sure it’s a good email because THIS is how I will contact you if you win. Don’t worry. I won’t be spamming your email with porn, and stuff.
  • Lastly, answer the frickin’ question. What are you afraid of? I mean REALLY. Go deep. Why do you fear this? How does it make you feel? What if it happened?

The best answer will get the DVD.

The contest ends on February 20th 2009. Stay tuned for the Monster Quest Season 2 DVD contest.