Star’s ghostly encounter: ‘No one there’
Nick Frost loves being scared, and he wants to make sure you are too.
Frost and frequent collaborator Simon Pegg have a new TV show out this weekend. It's called Truth Seekers and it follows a broadband installer who moonlights as a paranormal investigator who posts his findings on YouTube.
It's both creepy and funny - in other words, exactly the kind of show Frost wants to watch himself.
The idea was born out of his own fascination with things that go bump in the night, a hobby he and Pegg were already indulging in two decades earlier.
"When Simon and I lived together, some weekends, if we weren't going out trying to be big hits with the ladies, we'd be holed up in an old, gothic graveyard, or trying to get into a Saxon church or a creepy building," he told news.com.au.
"We used to go ghost hunting and inspire meetings with the paranormal, that was our weekend. We enjoyed doing s**t like that. I don't think we ever saw anything, but we always frightened ourselves!
"We always enjoyed being afraid and we'd usually just end up running off or getting in the car and driving away at high speeds. We always loved the paranormal."
Frost and Pegg may not have encountered anything otherworldly during those nights out around among the dead, but he does recall one incident in his younger days when there may have been a brush with someone who wasn't there.
"I was laying on my couch in a house that I was sure had a female ghost in it. I was kissed on the forehead and I spun around and there was no one else in the house," he said. "That was probably my nearest [encounter]."
That lingering question about whether there's another dimension of spirits most of us don't seem to experience is the linchpin of Truth Seekers - although in Truth Seekers, it's very much real.
Premiering on Amazon Prime Video today, it's an eight-part series that's a mix of classic case-of-the-week episodes (possessed dolls, ghost dogs, poltergeists) with an overarching conspiracy that may spell the end of the world.
The fact that his series is coming out at a time when real-world conspiracies are spread further every day and people are protesting and vandalising 5G towers isn't lost on Frost.
"As a writer, you can't help but be influenced by what's going on around you, especially if you're writing a show about bad people trying to take over the world behind everyone's backs using telephone signals.
"I think it just drips in, and someone like Trump and Twitter and Instagram and people setting fire to 5G masts, it just adds into the depth of it all. Hopefully it will add to the creepiness and spookiness of it."
Even while filming Truth Seekers, which was co-created by James Serafinowicz and Nat Saunders, there were moments when Frost felt a little spooked out, including a location that was an abandoned school for deaf children.
"They had a warren of tunnels underneath the school and we shot a lot in there," he recalled. "There were days when I had to be on my own down there, while the crew were all out doing technical stuff, and just being down there on my own was, like, if you've got an imagination then it's very easy to scare yourself when you're down somewhere like that."
Frost credited his devout Catholic upbringing for his susceptibility. "Watching The Omen and The Exorcist were like documentaries for me. It was something that we all loved.
"When The X-Files came out, Simon and I felt like that was written just for us. We love The X-Files, and not just the arcs but those little ones that were so interesting and fun, and they were often the best ones for me in a season."
But what he really wanted to do was make a comedy about the occult culture, which was the perfect excuse to lose himself on the internet watching videos of supposedly possessed Italian women being put through an exorcism.
Frost said that while he's mostly a nonbeliever these days, he has watched enough stuff on YouTube to think "f**king maybe, it's kind of creepy, I'm kind of creeped out now".
Truth Seekers is streaming now on Amazon Prime Video
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Originally published as Star's ghostly encounter: 'No one there'