This week the Lifetime Movie Network show The Haunting Of achieved utter weirdness with its spotlight on Meatloaf.
To be clear, that’s Meatloaf, the singer and actor of Rocky Horror Picture Show and Fight Club fame, not meatloaf, the thing your grandma makes for dinner when you visit her on Sundays. The Haunting Of shows “psychic medium” Kim Russo running interference between the spirit world and celebrities (and, more often, “celebrities” ... lookin’ at you, Tom Green). And this time, it was Meatloaf’s turn.
According to the show, Meatloaf (who insists that Kim Russo call him “Meat,” because everybody does) had a supernatural experience while recording his now-legendary Bat Out of Hell album with songwriter Jim Steinman and producer Todd Rundgren in 1976. The alleged ghost and/or ghosts appeared to him at the house he was staying in, adjacent to Bearsville Studios, a recording facility with a legendary client roster located just outside of Woodstock, New York.
The story is told in the Haunting tradition, via Meatloaf’s narration and cheesy, wannabe-spooky flashbacks. It goes like this: One night, Meatloaf saw a ghostly woman in white walk past his window. “And I went, ah, man ... Todd Rundgren groupie!” Meatloaf explains. (There’s absolutely no mention as to whether or not Meatloaf, who eventually had a well-documented drug addiction, was on anything at the time.)
Soon after, he claims to have had a second encounter, this time with a more malevolent entity that slammed closet doors and ripped the covers off his bed. Out of fright, he did “something crazy that should have killed me”: popped a ton of Steinman’s sleeping pills. Obviously, he survived, and went on to record his best-selling album.
Enter Kim Russo, who predicts that Meatloaf’s return to Bearsville may be connected to “what’s going on in his life now.” But figuring out what that is can wait, while she stands in front of the allegedly haunted house and declares that her head and chest hurt, and wonders “What is this holy hell?” It’s a mild reaction compared to, say, the flailing dudes on Ghost Adventures—but shows like that have clearly influenced Haunting, since multiple equipment failures (probably totally staged) occur during the shoot and are blamed on ghosts.
Kim proves her bona fides by intuiting that the “good” ghost in the house—the girl in white—died after falling from a tree nearby. Guys, she’s the real deal, otherwise how to explain this undated and very vague newspaper clipping that flashes onscreen for a few seconds??
She chats with both ghosts, as well as the spirit of Meatloaf’s mother, and encourages him to “close up some loose ends” so that he can move on. “If you do not do what you are supposed to do in life,” she tells Meatloaf, “the universe will do it for you.”
Meatloaf, who is visibly and/or pretending to be frightened out of his mind throughout (though he also claims “I don’t get spooked”), admits “I have no idea what I hope to get out of this.” But it’s not hard for the skeptical, and cynical, viewer to see why he’s there.
First, in just under an hour, the episode interjects multiple reminders of his massive show-biz success, including a bizarre moment when he informs the angry spirit that his ghostly interference failed, because he went on to have “the third-biggest selling record in history.” (Still available in stores now if you haven’t heard it lately. Cha-ching!) Then, he lets it slip that he’s working on a new album. You don’t say? Are we using ghost stories to promote albums now??
Truly, there’s more entertainment value in just watching the awesomely theatrical “Bat Out of Hell” music video—and recalling a time when an album of show tunes could pass for rock ‘n’ roll and burn up the charts—than bothering with The Haunting of Meatloaf, but you can watch it online here. Knock yourself out.