Well, I powered through all ten thoroughly engrossing episodes of West World in just two days, leaving a gaping TV show shaped void in my life. To fill it, I’ve turned to one of my Christmas gifts: Channel Zero: Candle Cove, the first season of SyFy’s creepypasta-inspired horror anthology series.
Frankly, the idea of anyone attempting to adapt a creepypasta to a non-prose medium strikes me as insane. They’re urban legends for the digital age, ghost stories shared on internet message boards rather than around campfires—which means they rely on evocative language to instill fear in the reader/listener. But I admire that kind of audacity, and in any case, the creators chose one of the genre’s finest examples for their inaugural effort. The original short story by webcomic author Kris Straub is an outstanding tone piece, structured around a chillingly circular logic puzzle rather than generic jump scares. Channel Zero’s screenwriters use Straub’s epistolary narrative as a foundation to craft what is essentially a brand new—but no less tense (as of episode three, anyway)—murder mystery.
Granted, most of the plot twists are painfully predictable, but this does little to diminish the unnerving atmosphere—and since atmosphere was the source material’s chief concern, Channel Zero ends up being a wonderfully faithful interpretation, indeed.
[Originally written December 30, 2017.]