There is so much great horror television these days it’s hard not to get overloaded by all the choice but Nick Antosca’s Channel Zero most definitely deserves your attention thrusting you from the very start into a disturbing surreal world full of child killers, monstrous beings and creepy mind controlling kid’s shows.
Having written for the Teen Wolf TV series as well as the sensational Hannibal, Antosca has an eye for horror and encountering Kris Straub’s inventive story Candle Cove written in the format of an online forum thread about a 70’s children’s series packed with petrifying puppets and causing nightmares to its audience, he transformed this Creepypasta into the first series of Channel Zero.
The six part story revolves around Mike Painter (Paul Schneider) a child psychologist haunted by the disappearance of his twin brother in the summer of 1988 when a spate of child murders took place in his home town of Iron Hill.
Having been away from the place he grew up in for 28 years he is prompted to return by dark dreams and visions of his brother, as well as far more troubling things, and welcomed back by his mother (Fiona Shaw who played Aunt Petunia in Harry Potter) he attempts to uncover what really happened during that summer of unsolved slayings.
Seen as a local celebrity by the rest of the town some people however, including the Sheriff Gary Yolen (Shaun Benson), are less happy about Mike’s return but when the law man’s daughter Katie goes missing his wife Jessica Yolen (The Strain’s Natalie Brown) reaches out for help. What Mike discovers when he talks to the young girl is that it’s not just him that has come back to Iron Hill but the unsettling kid’s show Candle Cove has returned too.
With its strange skeleton and monster puppets, warped visuals and threatening duplicitous dialogue the show which the adults of the town vividly recall running during the time of the murders is a complete mystery seeing as no mention of it appears anywhere besides their memories. But Mike thinks there is more to Candle Cove, Mike thinks it can control the children that watch it and when Katie slices her brother with a hook his mad theory suddenly makes serious sense.
Written by Antosca alongside the father of Chucky himself Child’s Play’s Don Mancini the series has a great horror caliber with Max Landis on board as well as a producer and the episodes all directed by Craig William Macneill are drenched in chilling visuals and nightmarish moments.
The cast are excellent especially Paul Schneider as the reluctant hero Mike, a character that unravels as the episodes progress and we learn more about his fragile psyche and horrific past also discovering he may have played more of a part in his brother’s disappearance than it first appears.
Packed full of haunting imagery and taught tension Channel Zero will sink straight into your unconscious like the chilling characters from Candle Cove taking over your top slot for horror TV. Let’s just hope they don’t take over your mind as well.
Read Nick Antosca’s Horror Favourites right HERE