A Pseudoscientific Apocalypse! THE DEVIL’S GRAVEYARDS: VILE VORTICES REVEALED

THE DEVIL’S GRAVEYARDS on History Channel

History Channel Website 

(1/5) UGH

Pros: Some thought-provoking moments

Cons: Poor acting, bad script, predictable conclusion, and precisely no scientific credibility

Produced by the same company responsible for such glorious bunk as Discovery Channel’s Megalodon specials, The Devil’s Graveyards: Vile Vortices Revealed is easily the worst of the recent slate of phony cable television documentaries which have been passed off as the real deal. Premiering in late 2014 on The History Channel, this program revolves around “investigate journalist” and apparent moron Don Murphy, who sets out to document the rather esoteric experiments being conducted in the Algerian desert by one Dr. Joseph Spencer. A biologist by trade, Spencer is investigating the reasons why his young son was murdered by the family dog two years prior, and has come to the conclusion that disruptions in the earth’s magnetic field have not only led to various instances of unusual animal behavior (including the unprovoked attack that took his son’s life) but also are threatening the whole of human existence. If a series of twelve magnetic anomalies located around the world known as vile vortices or vortexes, the “devil’s graveyards” of the film’s title, are not neutralized, Spencer believes that intense solar radiation will be allowed to seep into Earth’s atmosphere, thus transforming the planet into a lifeless wasteland like Venus or Mars. In an attempt to find a way to neutralize these areas, Spencer and his hapless crew attempt to bombard the Algerian vortex with a powerful electromagnetic pulse. Will this have any significant effect…and more importantly, will any single viewer care?

camera coverage
Good thing there just happens to be twelve cameras situated around the research area so a viewer gets to see everything as it happens…

Based largely on the rather sketchy theories of zoologist Dr. Ivan Sanderson who, while investigating disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, initially came up with the idea of the so-called “vile vortices,” The Devil’s Graveyard starts off with a disclaimer which states that “this dramatization is based on an actual 1972 document entitled ‘The Twelve Devil’s Graveyards Around the World.” This notice goes on to reveal that the network airing the program does not in any way endorse the claims made in it, thus one can at least say the program makes some attempt to inform an attentive viewer that not everything here can be taken entirely (or at all) seriously. That a similar warning appearing during the end titles flashes on screen for a split second speaks to the fact that the producers are more probably trying to pull a fast one on the viewer. On some level, this is (yet another) obvious extension of History Channel programming of the Ancient Aliens variety; Devil’s Graveyards goes so far as to suggest with a straight face that extraterrestrials were in fact responsible for creating the vile vortices in the first place, a suggestion that’s more idiotic than half of the alien theories presented by the likes of Giorgio Tsoukalos. It also heaps on the conspiracy theories, referencing bizarre Nazi experiments and even the controversial HAARP program while blaming everything from massive bird die-offs to Hurricane Katrina on the vortex phenomenon. Needless to say, when it comes to actual hard proof and scientific evidence, Graveyard comes up short.

and here he is...
And here he is ladies and gentleman…a random actor…I mean Dr. Joseph Spencer.

Even if director Douglas Glover goes to great lengths to make Devil’s Graveyards look and play like a legit documentary however, it more seemed to me like the people responsible for this program had watched a few too many classic sci-fi movies – the show has many aspects reminiscent of the outstanding 1985 film The Quiet Earth and even has a “don’t flip that switch” moment ripped right from the playbook of the classic Ghostbusters. Furthermore, the general premise of the program isn’t entirely dissimilar from the plot of the 1953 low-budget genre flick The Magnetic Monsters since a radioactive isotope, not a flesh and blood monster, is the “villain” of the piece. This, of course, makes Graveyards noticeably uninteresting and plain dull when compared to the likes of Wrath of Submarine or Russian Yeti since the main “threat” presented herein is theoretical rather than something one can see.

periodic table
Sure, aliens might be readying for an invasion, but THIS IS THE REAL ENEMY!

To be honest, the vile vortex theory is simply too scientifically complex (and maybe, too ridiculous) for the average viewer to comprehend: the program does its best to explain things, but this only makes for a very talky and awkward program since the characters literally have to spell everything out for viewers who wouldn’t otherwise understand anything being discussed. I suppose the door for this kind of programming has been left open by the numerous recent television series dealing with unexplained phenomena, but I still have to question the decision to produce a feature length mockumentary about vile vortices in the first place. Could it be that the these fake documentaries have already exhausted the pool of topics to draw from?

bye

Acting throughout the program is frankly awful: we’re supposed to believe that we’re watching real people dealing with real situations, but this notion is simply impossible to swallow. Witness the laughable scene where the actor portraying Joseph Spencer recalls the death of his son, then has an “emotional” breakdown moment. This actor doesn’t do much better of a job portraying the excitement of the scientist when a breakthrough in his experiment seems evident, and it’s similarly amusing to watch the actress portraying the research team’s electrical engineer try to keep a straight face when conducting high school chem lab level experiments and demonstrations. Special attention must be paid to the actor portraying the team’s “conspiracy expert:” why this guy would be needed as part of a scientific team is unclear, but he always seems to provide definitive “A-HA” moments when the scientific gobbledygook gets a little thick. Clearly the worst actor of the bunch is the one portraying reporter Don Murphy: this guy’s “investigative reporting” is atrocious and he gives the most forced performance on display in the program – especially when he’s seen on-camera narrating his own story.

ominous music playing...
…ominous music playing…

Combine the bad acting with the lousy scripting and absurd, utterly outlandish theories the show puts forward and you’ve got the most abominable of the recent, made-for-cable faux-documentaries. The Devil’s Graveyard not only looks cheap and hastily-made, but is extremely clunky in terms of its construction. The prime example of how this production is simply incompetent is the use of “actual cell phone footage” of Dr. Spencer’s son being attacked by his dog: I would assume this sequence was supposed to be dramatic, but it’s downright humorous after being repeated for about the fifteenth time. Compounding the problem is a sense of story development that is overall too tidy and convenient to be a convincing portrayal of reality. Finally, the film leans heavily on explanations that most viewers wouldn’t even remotely be able to decipher: there’s simply too much scientific nonsense presented as absolute fact here, and I suspect the bullshit detecters of most viewers would be sounding throughout the film. Does this program propose some intriguing ideas and offer up some food for thought? Sure: it’s compelling in the same way that most programs dealing with mysterious phenomena are. At the end of the day however, why would one waste his time with a completely illogical and mind-numbingly phony program like this – especially one that’s undeniably this poorly made? (Interesting note: the studio responsible for this program doesn’t even list it among its credits; perhaps they too realized what hogwash they had brought onto the world.) Predictable and ultimately, a complete waste of time, The Devil’s Graveyards is best avoided.

wtf science

This Youtube Video is about as quality as the “documentary:”

24 thoughts on “A Pseudoscientific Apocalypse! THE DEVIL’S GRAVEYARDS: VILE VORTICES REVEALED”

  1. They lost me at the mention of aliens… Not that I don’t believe aliens exist but enough with blaming everything on them! If it’s not Bush’s fault, it’s the aliens. Really?! And the uber fake acting of “there’s no symmetry in nature”. Who made the snow flakes? Aliens?! And why wouldn’t the team working with magnetosphere and ionized aluminum not include a geologist, earth scientist or a physicist?! EE? Really?! *sigh*

    1. EVERYTHING is related to aliens…especially on the History Channel. They gotta get programming tie-ins somehow! Scary thing is, somewhere out there, someone actually believes this is a real documentary. CONSPIRACIES!! IT MUST BE TRUE!

      It’s amusing to me that this show is not acknowledged anywhere on the History Channel website or the website of the studio that made it. It’s almost like the channel and producers don’t want to admit it exists. Which probably isn’t a bad call.

      Cheers!

    2. from someone who understands the sciences involved, I thought this program presented some possibilities that could be reality. The supporting facts and sciences in this documentary are real. I don’t necessarily believe the “Alien” theory, but several of the locations are documented, all the sciences are sound and it is all possible, there has been no contradictory evidence presented to disprove any of it yet. The German expedition to the south pole is well documented, and the experiment was doomed to fail in large scale as the amount of EMP needed to neutralize the mass of the Aluminum isotope far exceeds their capacity to generate the same with the electrical equipment they had, it would require detonation of a much more powerful electromagnetic device or creating and discharging a strong atmospheric ionization or essentially create lightning bolts. I’m not saying it’s all real, but it’s all possible

      1. It’s really difficult to prove that something doesn’t exist or isn’t possible- there are an infinite number of mysteries in the universe and, whether the human race wants to admit it or not, we know relatively little of what is in all likelihood the “absolute truth.”

        While I can respect the factual “basis” of programs like The Devil’s Graveyard et al. and the actual science at their core, I believe about none of the conclusions that these programs draw and find it genuinely reprehensible that the producers of such programs attempt to feed the (oblivious?) masses fabricated situations and sketchy (at best) information.

        Thanks for continuing the discussion; Cheers!

      2. While watching a show on the Discovery channel about scientists watching the sun to record sun bursts they were scratching their heads about something showing up that looked very different from plasma rising up. It didn’t roll over like normal it even showed up as dark in color and went straight up. It was in several places around the sun and it came and went without any rhyme or reason but always showed up in the same place. They decided this was area’s where the magnetic field of the sun had weaknesses. I decided that this could explain the Bermuda Triangle and other such places around the world. Just that! No aliens. Just mother nature’s way of protecting the earth from the sun’s harmful plasma.

    3. I found “This is Spinal Tap” more of a real documentary than this show.
      I actually LOL’ed when the female science actor said Venus and Mars cores stopped rotating causing them to lose their atmospheres. I’m no scientist or actor but I can tell you VENUS HAS AN ATMOSPHERE !
      A thick soupy, dense, toxic atmosphere and crushing gravity. You can see the surface of Mars, but only the Russians have obtained images of the surface of Venus. That probe lasted, operating in a single spot, for mere hours.
      Another laughable moment comes together after Dr. Actor Spencer claims the Algerian vorti, vorticie, I’m not saying that right( but neither did they )was completely baren of life, even insects. Then later claims the vile area was the cause of a locust swarm in said “vile /dead zone”.
      Female actor comes up with the EMP idea, but when it doesn’t work, twice, all the sudden it was done all wrong and it’s dangerous. DRAMA-A–A!
      On a different chat board, some woman complained about the way it ends. Before deciding it was mostly fabricated, mostly.
      She probably didn’t like the ending of The Sopranos either. No need for props right there. I know that was f#¢πing funny. Feel free to use that if you like.
      Well, my thumbs are too tired to waste more time on something that has already stolen time I’ll never get back.
      Remember people, THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE (maybe)

  2. I actually think this would have been a good sci-fi flick. Get real actors and scripts… heck that would be enough! But then add in some cool special effects. It’d be great. Nobody wins in a phony documentary. It’s ridiculous by definition

    1. Viewers certainly don’t win with regard to phony documentaries – it’s been proven time and again over the past few years.

      As far as this making a good sci-fi flick, I could agree with that. Come up with a decent hook (and not the “my kid got attacked by the family dog” thing) and it’d already be a halfway tolerable direct-to-video genre flick. Hopefully, the producers could resist the temptation to hire one of the Baldwin kids or Casper Van Dien…

      Thanks for reading, and for the comment; Cheers!

  3. I saw this documentary … sorry … this docu fiction and I must say that at first I was shocked by what I was told. I recorded the program and I searched the internet information on the protagonists of the program, both for the biologist Dr. Joseph Spencer both the investigative journalist Don Murphy. I have not found anything except this article that describes all as a huge joke! Before expressing a personal opinion, since the end of the movie it is said that the “Dr.” Spencer and his team died electrocuted by their own invention, assuming that this massacre should have left some trace both aural and the visual, it would be possible to have photographs of the crime scene? And second, can the whole staging of the event is not skipped in the eyes of the Algerian authorities?

  4. It is hard to believe that anyone would even create something like this, as well as believe in it. I am very disappointed that The History Channel (THS) would air such garbage.

    One of the things I look for when viewing THS is authentic, real and thought provoking documentaries. It is hard to fathom that they would let this embarrassing garbage on their channel. When allowing something like this in your programming, you lose credibility with your serious audience.

    Commenting further about any technical flaws, are we to believe that we can get rid of the Al-26 by running an external field that would obliterate it? An isotope is a nucleus thing, not an electron structure thing. Are we to believe that these grand capacitors will have an effect on the actual nuclear structure of Al-26?

    There is enough real science to be investigated without resorting to absolute bunk programming. The director, the actors and THS all should truly be ashamed. I would not want my name associated with anything like this.

  5. I started to watch this “documentary” and about 10 minutes in, (yes it took me that LONG) I realized I had been had. Seriously, to call this a documentary is a real bait and switch tactic. I am very disappointed in the History Channel for categorizing it as such. Why not say it is a “speculation piece purely for entertainment?” Afraid that it would not rate as highly? I do very much enjoy most of the programming on the Channel but to put forth this kind of show without being truthful as to the TYPE of content contained within is terrible.

    Unfortunately, curiosity forced me to watch it to the end. Then I was SURE I had been duped. Please do a better job History Channel, when it comes to honesty in programming.

  6. Amusing. And a crock of s**t. Acting was horrific. I held on until the last when the “scientists” attempted to neutralize the isotope and the general contractor “freaked out”. Stupid.

  7. Did anyone else notice that the woman has been in other docufakes on H2? One was involving esteemed Dr. hawas in Egypt where he took on a team of interns and she peed herself in the pyramid to his shock. Lol.

  8. Heres what gave everything away. This was the number one clue it was all BS. They all get into a shouting match. That fella that looked oriental,shoves the “brother ” wearing the hardhat. Cmon. In real life if that narrow looking “badass wannabe ” wouldve done that,the brother with the hardhat on,wouldve beat his ass down bad. What was this crap about the doing this so,”his son would not have died in vain”. Truth be known,his kid was probably out there smoking crack and chasing whores. The gal that was playing the “important big name sciencetist”,was probably one of the whores the guys kid was chasing out there. Ya gotta love her little trick she did with the magnet. Yeah. Thats reason enough to piss away all that money on that show

  9. A really, really bad “docudrama” that History Channel tried (as they always do) to pass off as a legitimate science scare. Really bad script and almost as bad acting. Stick to actual, legitimate “history-type” programs History Channel. You must be really despeerate.

  10. OF COURSE THE DEVIL’S GRAVEYARD IS AN ENACTMENT OF A THEORY …..THE SCATHING NEGATIVE COMMENTARY WRITTEN ABOVE IS PATHETIC …….THE FACT IS THE THEORY HAS MUCH MERIT ……..”THERE IS A PRINCIPLE WHICH IS A BAR AGAINST ALL ARGUMENTS AND WHICH CANNOT FAIL TO KEEP HUMANITY IN EVERLASTING IGNORANCE . THAT PRINCIPLE IS CONTEMPT PRIOR TO INVESTIGATION “. … KNOW THIS ,
    ” THE PERCEPTION OF THE ABSENCE OF PROOF IS NO PROOF OF THE PROOF’S ABSENCE ” APPARENTLY THE LORD GOD AGREES WITH THE ABOVE QUOTES WITH MANY EXAMPLES GIVEN THE PROPHETS . HOSEA 4;6 “MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE” LUKE 12; 56 ” YE HYPOCRITES , YE CAN DISCERN THE FACE OF THE SKY AND OF THE EARTH , BUT HOW IS IT YE DO NOT DISCERN THIS TIME ” ? THERE IS A PROVEN ENERGY ANOMALY ON EVERY PLANET , THAT LIES 23 DEGREES NORTH OR SOUTH OF THE EQUATOR ….ONE OF THOSE SPOTS ON EARTH IS IN FACT IN HAWAII NEAR IT’S LARGEST VOLCANO …..THERE IS MUCH EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT EARTH DID HAVE A POWER GRID BASED ON THE VORTICE AREAS ……WE HAVE KNOWN OF ZERO POINT ENERGY , AND A METHOD FOR DRAWING UNLIMITED FREE , CLEAN ENERGY FROM THE SO CALLED VOID FOR QUITE SOME TIME , BUT FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT , THE TECHNOLOGY THAT COULD SAVE US HAS BEEN CONCEALED , STOLEN , BOUGHT , DEVELOPED , WEAPONIZED , AND ULTIMATELY , WILL BE USED AGAINST US .

  11. There is no “theory”. There is no scientific evidence. One singular thing disproves any attempt at saying any of this was non-fiction. Everyone knows that when a nuclear device is detonated it produces a very strong EMP. This much science even makes it into the show. So why then would an EMP neutralize radioactivity here, in a buried isotope, but radioactivity still be present after a nuclear detonation?

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