Scifi Channel's 'Mad Mad House' begins spooking on March 4
By Reality TV World staff, 02/18/2004
The Scifi Channel will debut what's probably the spookiest (and certainly among the freakiest) American reality shows ever seen when Mad Mad House premieres on Thursday, March 4 at 9 PM ET/PT as part of the network's new Thursday original programming lineup.
Part reality and part game, the one-hour ten-episode series will chronicle the unhinging of ten everyday people who move into a house run by a Vampire, a Wiccan, a Naturist, a Voodoo Priestess, and a Modern Primitive to compete for a $100,000 prize.
In this Survivor-meets-Big Brother-meets-The Osbournes series, five genuine practitioners of “alternative lifestyles,“ referred to collectively as the "Alts," rule the roost. Their ten more “conventional” guests will strap in for the ride of their lives as they undergo a number of tolerance-testing activities.
During Mad Mad House, the guests are judged by the Alts to determine their openness to and tolerance of alternative lifestyles. From their participation in House activities, to their willingness to get to know the Alts, the guests are subject to constant evaluation. The Alts determine which of their Guests will be banished in the weekly elimination ceremony -- and which one will ultimately walk away with the six-figure prize.
If the program sounds a little bit like a freaky version of FOX's Paradise Hotel (minus the hot bods, hook ups, and tropical location) there's a good reason for that -- Mad Mad House was created by Arthur Smith and Kent Weed and produced by A. Smith & Co. Productions, the same folks behind Paradise.
The five Alts who will be judging the "normal" guests during their stay are:
• Iya Ta’Shia Asanti, a voodoo priestess. Vodun (a.k.a. Voudou, Voodoo, Sevi Lwa) is a religion commonly called Voodoo (a name likened to an African word for "spirit"). Voodoo originated with the Fon people of Dahomey in West Africa among the Yoruba tribe. Each group follows a different spiritual path and worships a slightly different pantheon of spirits. Today, an estimated 75 million people worldwide practice Voodoo and other African spiritual traditions such as Ifa, Candomble, Santeria and Lucumi.
Ta’Shia, a Colorado resident, has 10 years of training and study in the field of African spirituality and is a Yoruba/Ifa Priestess. Ta’Shia grew up in the Christian church. After researching the original spiritual and religious practices of her ancestors she embraced the sacred tenets of Voodoo and other African based spiritual traditions.
An award-winning poet/performance artist, journalist, filmmaker, and author, Ta’Shia wrote The Sacred Door, a book on personal and collective healing and empowerment. The Sacred Door provides historical and cultural data relating to the African tradition of spiritualism. Ta’Shia also wrote, produced and starred in the independent film Train Station & Rashida X.
Ta’Shia teaches classes and workshops; and conducts lectures and spiritual retreats all over the country on topics such as: fiction writing, poetry, self-empowerment, metaphysical healing, stress management, African history and traditional African spirituality, women's issues, HIV/AIDS, public policy and journalism.
• Fiona Horne, a witch. Wiccans or Witches practice Wicca – an Earth-based religion that honors a deity divided into male or female manifestations known as the God and the Goddess.
Fiona, an Australian who is now based in Los Angeles where she has her own coven. is a best-selling author, journalist, television/radio personality, musician. A Wiccan for over sixteen years, Fiona's first book, Witch: A Magickal Journey, is now in its third printing. Fiona also authored 2001’s Seven Days to A Magickal New You, and 2002’s Magickal Sex – A Witch’s Guide to Bed Knobs and Broomsticks. Her new book, Witchin’ – A Handbook for Teen Witches, debuted in the U.S. in March 2003.
From 1990 to 1997, Fiona was the singer for popular Australian techno/rock group DEF FX. The group hit the Top 40 charts in Australia and embarked on three international tours. In the U.S., DEF FX had a hit on Billboard’s Top 20 Dance Chart with their single, “Space Time Disco.” The band toured with rock ‘n’ roll luminaries the Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden and No Doubt.
For the past six years, Fiona has worked as a freelance journalist, writing on everything from beauty to Wicca for magazines like Marie Claire, HQ, New Woman, Cosmopolitan, Complete Woman, Rolling Stone and Smash Hits. Fiona’s television work includes 2002’s U.K. love-advice show Sexy Spells and the 13-part series Party! which premiered on Australia’s number one commercial network, Channel 9. A radio personality in the U.S. and abroad, Fiona also hosted the top rated radio advice program the Spellcasting Show on MIX FM, Australia (2000-2002).
• Don Henrie, a vampire from San Diego. Vampires define themselves as having an insatiable need to feed off others. They recognize their inherent ability to acquire energy resources, including pranic energy or “Chi,” from humans. Prana, a Sanskrit word meaning “life force,” can be acquired from direct life-giving sources such as blood and sexual energy.
According to “The Black Veil,” the voluntary code of ethics for vampiric groups, Don’s life as a vampire should only be known to his fellow creatures of the night. At this point in his life, not wanting to miss the chance to appear on national television, Scifi states that Don "wishes to respectfully break with this tradition and let the world know what it really means to be one of the 'chosen.'"
Don’s days begin around 4 PM-- if he is out in the sun he risks burning and becoming “physically ill.” As night approaches, one of Don’s favorite pastimes is visiting grocery stores where he is known to startle cashiers working the graveyard shift.
Don was taught how to manipulate energy and see auras by a practicing Reiki master. Don had a brief career as a microelectronic engineer but gave it up in order to spend more time practicing vampirism. OK...
• David Wolfe, a naturist from Arizona. Naturists believe the human body is inherently dignified and worthy of respect. Many naturists live their lives in a “clothing optional” state.
"Avocado" as he prefers to be called, is the author of Eating For Beauty and The Sunfood Diet Success System. He is considered by peers to be the world authority on raw food nutrition.
The son of two medical doctors, Avocado has degrees in Mechanical and Environmental Engineering as well as Political Science. Avocado has studied at many notable institutions including Oxford University, and concluded his formal education with a Juris Doctorate from the University of San Diego.
Avocado is CEO of Genesis 129 LLC and the President of The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, whose mission is to plant 18 billion fruit trees. Avocado conducts nearly 100 health lectures, seminars, and hosts at least five raw adventure retreats each year in the United States, Canada, Europe and the South Pacific. Avocado is supported in his nutrition mission by Nature’s First Law Inc. (www.rawfood.com); the world's largest distributor of items to assist people in adopting, maintaining and enjoying raw plant food-based lifestyles.
Additionally, Avocado is a professor at Dr. Gabriel Cousens Living-Food Nutrition Masters Program located in Patagonia (www.treeoflife.nu), Arizona. He also plays the drums in his all-raw rock and roll group - The Healing Waters Band
• Art Aguirre, a modern primitive from San Diego. A modern primitive uses body modification (tattooing, piercing, branding, scaring, etc.) as a means of achieving spiritual growth. Ritual suspension and other traditions of the modern primitive are based on Indian rites of passage and are accomplished through yoga, meditation and special breathing techniques.
Art is a professional piercing artist and body modifier. His San Diego-based "Church of Steel" body piercing and tattoo shop "specializes in a relaxed and tranquil experience." Professionally, his goal is to use his knowledge to enlighten and educate people about the practice of body modification. When preparing for his own modifications, such as ritual suspension, Art endeavors to reach a higher realm of consciousness by perfecting his mind’s ability to control his body.
Heavily covered with tattoos and piecings, Art "looks like an intricately detailed Mayan painting." "A lot of times,” Art explains, "people come across me and... they don't know what to think. But if people are open enough to give me the opportunity, I'm the first one to shake a hand, I'm the first one to give respect, I'm the first one to give them a smile."
Diagnosed with cancer at an early age, Art developed a new outlook on the mind’s power in overcoming physical pain and also in overcoming illness. After surviving cancer, Art threw himself into living life "to the fullest," as he puts it. "It's all about a love of life," Art explains, "a primal urge I strongly have. It has to do with what's inside you, what your heart is about. Our exterior is just a form of expression of our individuality." Art’s ultimate goal is to seek out higher levels of consciousness, inner peace, tranquility and strength.