A&E to “Empower” People This Halloween by Burying Them Alive

Halloween is a time to make light of some of some of the worst (fantastical) things that could befall a person: becoming a zombie, becoming a ghost, becoming #TheDress. This Halloween, A&E will be speaking to a slightly more reasonable human fear: being buried alive. (Not to be mistaken for being Eaten Alive, which Discovery already attempted to tap into.) In fact, they’ll be airing a special on October 26 at 8 pm, in which they perform the ancient punishment on three (willing…and afraid) participants.

Even the official description of the special is hokey, punningly stating that this will be participants’ “effort to conquer their darkest fears.” But it’s not all just light-spirited immurement: the network promises that, should anything go wrong — as in, should this challenge begin to drive participants to madness — “all necessary precautions are being taken to ensure safety, including a team of medical and psychological personnel onsite,” and participants’ respective boxes will all be filled with monitoring equipment.

The funniest part, however, is that they’re trying to posit this as something of a benevolent act, tacking psychological terminology onto hilariously transparent ratings-baiting D-grade television. The press release reads:

The experiment is based on a controversial psychological practice known as immersion therapy, wherein subjects are flooded with their darkest fears in order to overcome them. Studies show that when we willingly push ourselves outside of our comfort zone and face our fears, we come out feeling empowered and triumphant.

And despite all that rhetoric used to make it seem like it’s ultimately being done with something of a humanitarian drive, the press release actually begins by calling it “one of the most chilling psychological experiments ever on live television.” Meanwhile, the trailer just below uses nothing but the horrorstruck voices — in the midst of their respective existential crises — pleading, “don’t leave me here.”

Eli Roth will (of course) show up at some point to discuss the nature of fear, and sociologist Dr. Margee Kerr and researchers from The Chapman University Survey on American Fears will also be present.