Thursday, October 13, 2016

31 Days of Halloween 2016: Falling Water & Channel Zero

Falling Water, 2016, USA Network -- download

This show comes out of nowhere, not really trying to connect itself to existing popularities. It is not horror but it is creepy enough to lend itself to this season. It is mysterious enough but I don't think it is going to jump down the Lost rabbit hole of mystery within mystery. I think they are going to run with the 'dreams connect us all' premise and expand.

Tess is a trend spotter, something I once thought I could have been good at, a person who wanders New York seeking out what things are emerging in the collective urban psyche, so her clients can popularize and exploit them. But she is a little disturbed, completely convinced she has had a child that no one knows about and she doesn't recall how she lost him. Burton is a company fixer and security specialist, who is obsessed with a lost lover, one who may or may not really exist. Taka is a cop investigating a suspicious death while being rather distracted by his vegetative mother. All three are experiencing waking dreams, dreams we are cued into by the visual of water flowing upstream, dreams that are somehow connected to each others.

While the show is eerie and stylish, I think it is leading to a Matrix style reveal. I think it wants a world where the reality these people know is not the base-reality, but something overlaid and in need of reveal. I think they are going to focus on the horror based tropes of fearful dreams, confusing dreams and shocks until it gets into full swing. I am just not sure if it will connect with its viewers long enough to reach that point.

Channel Zero: Candle Cove, 2016, SyFy -- download

Creepypasta is a digital age phenomena, something that only exists because of the sharing aspects of the Internet. Think spontaneously generated folklore written on the Internet, instead of being told person to person. When I was a kid, we told stories of a crazy man who escaped from "the butterscotch palace" who kidnapped children and did unspeakable things to them. If I had been born into this generation, I might have related the story on Reddit or other forums.

The most popular of them, the ones that ring true enough or resonate enough with the readers, grow a life of their own. Many people believe The Slender Man is a real urban legend, one that comes from out there and may or may not be true. But really, he was generated in a photoshop battle and the mythology came afterwards. Or did he really just emerge out of the collective psyche with Photoshop and the Internet as the entry media?

Candle Cove is one such creepypasta, that emerged as a series of fictional recollections on Reddit about a 70s TV show that the adults barely remember. The more they talk about it, the more it sounds like it didn't really exist but that a handful of young people who collectively hallucinated the show while watching the snow on a non-existent TV channel, i.e. channel zero. SyFy takes that premise and builds a show around it.

In episode one we meet Mike, a child therapist who had his own incredibly traumatic event as a child. A large number of children, including his twin brother, were abducted and murdered. He was the lone survivor. But there was more. Everyone knew the children were found missing all their teeth, but Mike knows what took the teeth. He just cannot come to terms with it. And he also knew there was some connection to an unsettling TV show he and his friends, and brother, were watching -- Candle Cove.

Mike is drawn back to his hometown where events are starting to spin up again. Children are watching the show. Things are happening in the woods. Everything is getting very very fucked up again.

I admit to drifting off while watching, being a little burned out, but I found the story telling to be very unsettling and disturbing, as it should be. I will have to rewatch ep 1 again and will definitely be tuning in for more. As long as I don't start seeing a puppet show on a channel that I didn't previously have before.