Channel Zero No-End House: The Horror Anthology You Should Be Watching

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The scaring season is finally upon us, and not only are horror stories beginning to invade theaters with films like Stephen King’s IT and Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, but they’re also making a gory splash onto your television screen. While FX’s American Horror Story started the horror anthology trend, the show has unfortunately grown stale and predictable ever since its terrifying origin stories of Murder House and Asylum. A lot of horror films and TV shows rely on cheap jump scares and gore to scare audiences, but if you’re searching for something with a little more depth to get you in the spine-chilling mood for Halloween, look no further than Syfy’s anthology series, Channel Zero.

Channel Zero began in 2016 with its first season, Candle Cove. The anthology series, created by Nick Antosca, follows a new tale every season that is based on “creepypasta,” popular, scary horror legends shared on the internet that are intended to creep out readers in the middle of the night.

Season one, Candle Cove, follows Mike Painter (Paul Schneider), a child psychologist who returns to his hometown to discover if his brother’s disappearance is connected to a children’s television show that only the kids can see and causes them to act violently. While Candle Cove had its flaws, it gave viewers a bone-chilling original story with creepy villains such as the Skin-Taker and the Tooth-Child. The second season of Channel Zero, No-End House, seems to be a more promising thrill, especially since the critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave it a rating of 100%.

 syfy.com

No-End House, based on a creepypasta with the same title by Brian Alan Russell, follows Margot Sleator (Amy Forsyth), a college student who has become a shut-in ever since her father (John Carroll Lynch) unexpectedly passed away a year ago. When her friend Jules (Aisha Dee) returns home from school for the summer, she entices Margot to leave the house for a night out and they find their way to the No-End House, a pop-up art exhibit that appeared in their neighborhood overnight. Those brave enough to enter the house face a different and eerily personal horror within each of the six rooms. Within the first episode, Margot and Jules have visited five of the six rooms inside the No-End House, but like the name, they’re unsure whether or not they’ve truly escaped it and begin to question their reality.

No-End House did an excellent job setting up an adaptation of a creepypasta, stories that are meant to be short and able to read in one sitting, into a six-episode season. The first episode, entitled “This Isn’t Real,” spends a good portion of the hour delving into necessary character exposition that doesn’t distract from the main tale or cause the story to lag. Every visual and excerpt of dialogue seems to be vital to push the story forward, which is already an improvement from Candle Cove since, towards the end of the series, it seemed to get carried away with vague, creepy imagery that, while unsettling, was never fully explained or appeared to be relevant.

A lot of the horror in No-End House comes from the ambiance created by director Steven Piet. Before Margot even arrives at No-End House, a sense of dread has already been established with the cold opening, the unsettling online video that invites them to tour the house, and the groups of teens exiting the No-End House who have already braved the terrors inside and are visibly disturbed, crying and vomiting as they return to their cars.

By the time Margot and Jules supposedly leave the No-End House, their reality seems to be a bit off, suggesting they’re still stuck inside the creepy edifice. The neighborhood, once filled with teens excited to explore the haunted house, is now eerily deserted, giving the impression that they’re alone in an unending succession of plain, similar-looking houses (matching Antosca’s own description of his show as a “suburban nightmare”). No-End House also has the potential to be a social satire since the story takes place in a familiar suburban setting, with characters like Jules and Margot who are very relatable, creating the concept that as these characters are invited to question their reality, the audience is also meant to do the same.

It’s clear what we can expect then from the rest of the season is the progression of Margot and Jules’ experience within room six, attempting to escape their new reality while being accosted by their own fears, memories, and the occupants of the fake neighborhood. Channel Zero has already been green-lit for two more seasons, Staircases, which plans to air in 2018, and Hidden Door, which will air sometime in 2019.

Channel Zero: No-End House airs every Wednesday at 10pm ET on Syfy. The first season of Channel Zero, Candle Cove, is available to watch on syfy.com.

 

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