When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the paranormal and the occult. I did not believe any of it was real, but I still loved it. I loved how the show In Search Of put this very respectable, credible sort of mask on, and winked at the audience, like, “Listen, we all know this isn’t real. But … what if it was? What if we all agreed to pretend that it was?”
Jack Palance was so intense on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, it was like he dared you to not believe it. It was so great, that stuff. I just loved it. The Time Life Books series you already know I’m talking about before you even look at the link if you’re my generation was also a favorite. In the early days of the Internet, I just about died when I found all the regional urban legends on usenet that never made it to my little part of Los Angeles County.
I saw Blair Witch in the theater. I lurked on unfiction for what feels like ages back before the server blew up like Ricky’s mom. I watched so many found footage movies when they were just this low budget way to make indies, there was nothing left to surprise me when they went mainstream (though I was thrilled for the creators and the genre). I loved Marble Hornets so much, I tracked down like a 200 page PDF all about the Slenderman mythos that existed at the time, and I printed it out so I could make my own notes in it.
And until recently, it’s all just sort of fallen off my radar. I blame … *gestures broadly at everyfuckingthing*.
But when I came across Night Mind recently, it all came back. All the fun of pretending it’s real, with other people who are also pretending it’s real, while we all agree not to talk about how it isn’t real … oh man it just scratches this very specific itch that I didn’t even realize I had until I was scratching it. The SCP and EAS videos are just fantastic.
For the last minute or so, I’ve been channel surfing around Night Mind, Nexpo, and a few of those “people who watched this also watched” channels.
It’s one of those channels that surprised me and legit scared the evershittingfuck out of me last night.
Last night, I spent the evening watching analog horror videos on YouTube. I love the familiar, nostalgic, VHS feeling. I love remembering, from the safety of 49, how I felt every single time I heard the Emergency Broadcast System when I was 9 and a Cold War Kid. I don’t know what the modern day equivalent of walking into a room lit only by the static from a TV with no signal that you are positive you turned off an hour ago is, but if you know in your guts what I just described, that’s how these videos make me feel. It’s fantastic.
This is where I reveal that, until about 36 hours ago, I had not heard of “analog horror“. I hope you still respect me.
So, the story these videos and their creators are telling is genuinely frightening. Some real bad shit is happening with the moon and the television and even though I haven’t paused it to look, I just know there’s all sorts of creepy shit in the static. The way they are telling their story is impressive to me for a million reasons, technical and creative.
I think I watched three of them from this channel (they’re all very short, just a couple minutes each). Then they get to this video that slowly begins to feel familiar as I watch it. By the end of the first minute, that familiar feeling has become a memory. I have absolutely seen this before. But that’s impossible, because I didn’t know this video, this channel, or even this genre existed until breakfast yesterday morning!
I make this agreement with myself when I watch these channels, that’s essentially the same agreement we make when we play an ARG or engage with unfiction in any way: I know it isn’t real, but I’m going to pretend it’s real, and we aren’t going to talk about how it isn’t real. So my head is in a VERY PARTICULARLY RECEPTIVE AND VULNERABLE PLACE as this video WHICH I HAVE NEVER SEEN BUT TOTALLY REMEMBER plays out in front of me.
The video is tense and unnerving and unsettling on its own. But this unreal, impossible, yet undeinably real memory of seeing it before makes it feel like I am now inside one of these creepypasta shorts I’ve been watching. Somehow this specific video has also come out of my head and jumped into the computer in front of me and now this memory that I can not possibly have is clearly existing in my head and also on this video and I gotta tell you, bob, it isn’t great.
There’s a flash on the screen and I am already looking at exactly the right place to see the entity I know will be there. There has been nothing in this video so far that would lead anyone who hasn’t seen it to expect an entity. WHAT THE FUCK HOW DO I KNOW ANY OF THIS WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON.
The video plays for about another thirty seconds and then it ends.
I say, out loud, in my empty game room, “What the fuck.” And then the credits roll.
Oh. Okay. This all make sense, now, and I can breathe again. It’s made by Kris Straub, who I’ve known for years. I am a huge fan of Kris’s Candle Cove and Ichor Falls. Then I see that the video is from an idea by Mikey Neumann, who I have done many outstanding creative projects with over the years and love like family.
Mikey and Kris made this video forever ago, and sent it to me before it was uploaded anywhere. In all of the *gestures broadly at everyfuckingthing* of the last few years, I had completely forgotten about it. Like, the part of my brain where it lived was not reformatted, but absolutely marked as “available for storage” in my mental fstab.
I did that loud, nervous, I’m-so-glad-I-didn’t-die-I-really-thought-I-was-going-to-die laugh that we’re all familiar with for reasons none of us want to remember. Then I was like, “Okay. Okay. Well done, Mysterious Person Who Is Writing My Life. You just gave me the first good scare I’ve had in a long, long time.”
The series is called Local 58, and so is the channel, which is what I had been watching when I saw the video that made me metaphorically shit my pants. I am so glad I found it, and all the other channels like it that it either inspired, or was inspired by. This is fun, this stuff. This storytelling is doing the exact same thing for me in 2022 that the original analog horror did for me in 1982. I have just started Gemini Home Entertainment, (I know it’s not precisely the same but this Omega Mart training video is great,) and I haven’t even done the Night Mind Deep Dive into Local 58, which I know will open new doors for me to peek through.
As I am someone who is habitually late to every party, I’m sure there’s a ton of good stuff out there in this genre for me to discover. If there’s an analog horror series or creator you love who I haven’t linked to here, link them in a comment, if you want. I’m so interested to see what’s out there.
30 thoughts on “in which i discover analog horror”
I went to omega mart in Las Vegas on my birthday last year and it was amazing, fun, and a total mind twist and something I’ve never seen like it. Highly recommended.
As a Vegas local I can tell you with authority that Omega Mart (and Area 15) is awesome and original but just a tad overpriced.
The thing that sucks the most about getting old is that you kind of have seen it all already. You are less and less likely to discover something that will blow your mind and fill you with that feeling of ecstasy you get when you find “Your Thing(tm)”. If you are particularly curious, you will burn through these things particularly quickly.
So, when you say, “I had not heard of “analog horror“. I hope you still respect me.”, (I know you’re just kind of poking fun at the cliché), I will never understand that. Loss of respect? If anything, I envy you. Now, I’m going to investigate this “analog horror”, I hadn’t heard of it before either and it sounds like it’s something I might like 🙂
Serious points for the “Better Off Dead” reference
I’m gonna use this as an excuse to drop a Discord invite. I feel like anyone who appreciates the reference will find some fellow nerds there.
Have you seen https://www.mysteryfleshpitnationalpark.com/ ? It’s pretty creepy/awesome
So, I’ve been meaning to ask for a while.
What happened with TVCrimes?
I loved that podcast, and then it disappeared from my feed and the website vanished, and I can’t listen to it again.
I assumed that there was either some legal issue or perhaps you and Mikey had had a falling out. Either way, I didn’t want to pry, but was a little sad.
Since you mention it again and posted a link to a defunct site (tvcrimes.net), I figured I should ask you what’s up.
Thanks for being so honest and entertaining.
We just ran out of time to do it. I didn’t realize the site was down. I’ll have to look into that tomorrow.
No fallout with Mikey. I adore and miss him. We text every now and again, like last night.
So glad to hear that my fears were overblown. I dearly hope the two of you find more time to do it, it’s one of my favorite things on the internet.
Fun anecdote, I ran into Mikey at a con several years ago (I want to say PAX West) and when I told him how much I loved TV Crimes, he seemed genuinely surprised and pleased to have a fan that wasn’t starting from Movies with Mikey.
And this is how I find out Kris and Mikey did a collaboration, ahahahaha
I LOVED “In Search Of”!!! That was back in pre-internet days when such a thing was water in the desert! I’d drop anything I was doing in order to park myself in front of some UHF channel at 430 on a Saturday afternoon (or whenever) to make sure I saw it. I seem to remember one they did on Ted Serios, the psychic photography guy. Excellent. When i was little, I used to find those Strange But True paperbacks on the shelves (our house was full of books and males much older than rugrat me.) I would curl up for hours and devour the stories about disappearances, ghosts, UFOs, bilocation and reincarnation. Fantastic!
So, did I outgrow that stuff? Heck no. Just last night I was binge watching Paranormal 911. I have to watch on the lappy with ear buds because my ghost shows scare my dog. He’s more of a Little House On The Prairie kind of dog. 😛
My husband and I love Gemini Home Entertainment. Eventide Media Center was fun as well:
^ Quality suggestions. For a few more good ones, I would recommend BLUE_CHANNEL: THALASIN (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td2x8s9GZlo) and ALEXKANSAS’ Monument Mythos series (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYEu-9YXzZuIFn8rtAYiE433KC5loEkrj). That latter is less 80’s WHS nostalgia as it is early 20th century movie and newsreel anemoia. Some may not consider MM to be analog horror, but I think it fits the bill in regards to how it presents a veneer of normalcy before the inconsistencies pile up and your understanding of it is horribly torn apart.
Ahhh! Yes! I’ve seen ALEXKANSAS on my recommendations.
I fell down these rabbit holes around this time last year. It’s such an interesting storytelling medium and format. Don’t forget “Don’t Hum Me; I’m Scared” – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZOnoLKzoBItcEk5OsES2TA
Whoa! Where has this been all my life?
The BEST type of horror is the kind that echoes those dark, disturbing Lovecraft-ian areas of our unconscious. You can’t really explain it, but you feel it.
Which “The Blair Witch Project” truly mastered. I could talk about the genius of that film all day.
“Shifting Tendons” is almost perfect. Truly its own art form.
| Like, the part of my brain where it lived was not reformatted, but absolutely marked as “available for storage” in my mental fstab.
Thank you for this super nerdy moment that only some of us will get. Glad you still identify with your inner Linux nerd
Time Life Books….wow, hadn’t thought of those in years. The last time they came was a few years back when visiting a giant book store in St. Pete, FL called Haslam’s. They have the entire Time Life set and I promised myself that one day I would head back to pick them up.
Also, Haslam’s is supposedly haunted, so there is that interesting twist to visiting a book store that is not only very large, but has several very old books for sale (including many which are behind glass due to their rarity and the price that goes with them).
Speaking of ye ‘ol witch of Blair, does anyone recall a film (possibly an independent production) that came out a while back about (I think) the Jersey Devil?
It had the same “found footage” premise—some filmmakers and/or documentarians travel off into the rural woods, encounter some sort of supernatural entity, and are never heard from again?
It was called The Last Broadcast.
Thanks for all the awesome suggestions! These will become my next binge once I’m a little more caught up on the Critical Role podcast. But also like so many others said: more TV Crimes, please! =)
This kind of scary isn’t my cup of tea. Oh, no. Not even close. Mysteries? Bring ’em on. Scaring the bejesus out of me? Noooo…
That said, I absolutely LOVE how much you love it! I find joy in your joy! I don’t need to be scared, I just need to watch you absolutely loving being scared by this stuff. You make the world a better place, Wil. Thanks!
I have nothing to add to the discussion of the videos and such, as I’ve always been scared of anything scary and didn’t like that feeling, so I haven’t watched much of it, but just yesterday I was explaining a building that was sort of the childhood Holy Grail of bravery when I lived in Massachusetts. It has a Wikipedia article. It’s very short. Three sentences, in fact:
“The Westover Air Force Base Hospital is a former hospital at Westover Air Force Base. With the closure of the base in 1974, the hospital closed. The buildings were torn down in the early 1990s.”
Note the dates. I lived there from 1986-1989. It has been abandoned for 12 -15 years when I knew it. It was creepy af.
Yes, I lived a short bike ride through some base housing from an abandoned hospital. There were many abandoned houses, too, and kids played in those as much as you can imagine kids would (especially when the houses were “slated for demolition” at some nebulous time, so the adults didn’t much care what happened there). But the hospital was the pinnacle of childhood adventure.
“I heard there are still bodies in the morgue.”
“You know they caught those (wait for it) Satanists in there.”
“They were making sacrifices.”
“It’s totally haunted.”
I didn’t own any type of camera, but the one time I went in search of the bodies in the morgue with my buddy Scott, we got scared by a fucking bird and ran so far away so fast it wasn’t even funny. So, yeah. Good times.
I live just an hour south of the real Omega Mart (Meow Wolf in Santa Fe). Thanks for the shout out!
You should check out Severance if you haven’t already. It’s on Appletv+ (yet another streaming subscription, I know…) but if you don’t have it, the first episode is free so you can check it out without commitment. It’s obviously not in the ” let’s pretend it’s real” genre of shows, but it has kinda the same vibe and it’s super weird.
I also just saw an article about Session 9 streaming on Shudder. The director who made that was a friend of a friend and I actually saw that when it came out as a favour in a “theatre” that was actually just a medium size room in the basement of some sketchy old building with a decent home projector set up and about 2 dozen folding chairs. We were the only people there. It was amazing.
When I first discovered SCP’s it opened my mind to so many different types of horror and writing that it honestly changed my life.
If I would recommend anything it would be the amazing podcasts I’ve found over the years. Just to name a few.
SCP Archives – a fantastic representation of many classic SCP tales.
The Magnus Archives – a great horror podcast with incredible character development.
The White Vault – amazing voice acting and incredible sound designed with a total Relic and Congo vibe.
I am right there with you on the EBS tests! Even now, when the emergency weather/whatever alerts go off on my phone with that same sound, my reflexive instant reaction is ‘Oh shit, nukes!’ despite the tornado-capable weather that’s been going on for the past few hours. And the staticky TV? Oh hell no. I was too good at scaring myself for fun when I was super young so even now, in my 50s, that sort of thing would have me slamming my eyes shut then squinting just enough to barely see as I dash across the room to slam the OFF button on the TV then warp to the other side of the house to finish hyperventilating! (Kids these days with their digital TVs will never know…. XD )
“…before the server blew up like Ricky’s mom”
I’m late to this blog entry, but I just have to tell you that this offhand reference left me collapsed in hysteria. So few people appreciate the sheer genius of that movie. It honestly took me 15 minutes to read the rest of your post because I was essentially in a trance muttering to myself, “I’ve created Dinner Mon Dieu! First, Fraaanch fries! Then, Fraaanch dressing!…” and “Look! I can’t move my right arm!” and “Testicles…uh, tentacles, TENTACLES”. Thanks for distracting another Gen Xer from the threat of nuclear annihilation for a few fleeting moments.
On a related note, I’ve always thought that Lane’s little brother Badger deserved a spinoff movie of his own. That kid had skillz, yo.
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