Ginger Nuts of Horror
Channel Zero, the latest horror TV show from the SyFy Channel has just launched, to mark the release of the new series, Ginger Nuts of Horror brings you not one, but two reviews of the opening episode. Ginger Nuts' stalwarts Duncan Ralston and Joe X Young both take a look at the show, with very different view points about how successful the show was. Read one for our special two-part review of Channel Zero
Channel Zero: Candle Cove.
SPOILERS APLENTY, SO STOP HERE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.
Let’s begin with a few loose definitions:
Creepy: Something which gives you an uneasy feeling.
Pasta: A foodstuff which comes in various shapes which are then normally boiled before eating. They are generally bland and usually only palatable with the addition of other more savoury foodstuffs.
Creepypasta: Supposed Urban Legend based short horror stories created largely for an internet audience looking to get weirded-out.
The Channel Zero Creepypasta based TV show has a lot more in common with pasta than horror as the first episode was stodgy and bland. I was heading into viewing it with no real expectation other than to have a little something to get my teeth into, as the reputation of Creepypasta presents it as extremely scary stuff; however this pasta wasn’t so much Al-dente as undercooked. Part of the problem I have with it is that it’s difficult to make out exactly what audience it’s aimed at. Some recent shows such as Stranger Things and The Exorcist have hit the ground running with reasonably fast paced and well-acted horror in which you know you’re in for something a little different, with Stranger Things having a broader audience demographic in that you could let your kids watch it, whereas The Exorcist is obviously intellectually vicious and adult fare. Both of the aforementioned shows have a wealth of characters whom even though often clichés are at the very least interesting enough to want to know more about.
In the case of Candle Cove’s premiere You Have To Go Inside we’re introduced to Mike Painter, ‘America’s Child-Psychologist’ a guy with all of the charisma of a potato. When he was a kid he had a twin brother Eddie who was apparently murdered along with four other children, but his body was the only one never found (yawn), an event which is somehow linked to a Kids TV Puppet show which either does or doesn’t exist depending on who is talking at the time. The psychologist seems to think the show existed and used to watch it with his brother, except for some bizarre reason the psychologist’s mother said the show doesn’t exist, that the twins made it up as they were actually just watching static on the TV. Creepy? Well yes, it would be, if it weren’t for his friends seeming to remember seeing it, and the daughter of one of his friends was actually talking with him just after watching it. So who is right, the Main character alongside his friends and their daughter, or the MCs mother? Here’s my next problem in that I don’t care. So far none of the characters have been particularly engaging or even remotely likeable. The whole Puppet-Show section we are shown isn’t particularly creepy either as it doesn’t seem to have any real basis to consider it in any way malevolent even if we are being constantly told how creepy it is.
This is another problem for me as I’m not a big fan of the whole Emperor’s New Clothes style of horror which has been popular in the wake of the Blair Witch Project. I don’t want to repeatedly be told something is scary, I want to actually experience the scare, and in the whole of the first episode I saw nothing of any note.
There’s childhood trauma with bullies breaking Eddie’s finger, an event which seems to be largely ignored as following it the twins head home and put the TV on, watch some static and completely forget about the agonising injury. There’s no follow-through on this and “Don’t tell mom” only goes so far. I grew up in an environment where I had no mom and a dad who could proudly wear a “zero fucks given” t-shirt, but even he would have asked how my finger got busted.
Anything scary in this thing at all? Not really. We know some kids got murdered back in the day and one is still missing. There’s an initial nightmare sequence with a fake dead brother interview and including some kind of walking haystack on fire which is meant as a not very scary jump scare. Later on we are shown someone in a Halloween Grim-Reaper costume as scary as anything you find in any off-the-peg section of a Superstore. There’s also the Tooth Child, some kind of creature either made-of or coated-in teeth, which whilst visually interesting doesn’t really do much other than assumedly rob teeth from the dead children. The Puppet Show sections were also tame; there are a few images which pop on screen for a split second which are meant to be subliminal scares, one is the almost obligatory pentacle; the other is what looks to be the rotting corpse of a Pirate.
All in all I found the show to be as flat as its own colour scheme, which is so Autumnal I caught a cold watching it.
There is however the possibility of redemption as the current story is stretched over six episodes, and the trailer for episode two looks to be far more interesting than the premiere.