When some bright spark from the Surgeons of Horror camp came up with the notion of doing a marathon session of Syfy Australia’s latest horror drama, Channel Zero, there were nods of approval around the table, but when it came to which team member should actually perform the task, all eyes quickly settled on the only one deranged enough to take it on, yours truly, ‘Mad Moon’ Maguire.
Pathetic really, but as the night shift tends to my basic needs, I was more than willing to fill that void within the mind of Kris Straub, (who penned the story that the series is based upon) and Nick Antosca, (series creator).
The concept was a simple one, to create a 6 Part series based on the Creepy pasta stories that have become popular in recent years online, and the first subject would be centred around Candle Cove.
You may have seen images already some of the creatures that inhabit this nightmarish world, and it’s not until you immerse yourself into the story as it unfolds that Candle Cove really gets a stranglehold on your psyche and begins to mess with your mind.
There are a lot of elements at play here that were clearly inspired by known properties. Some reviewers have likened it to a cross between American Horror Story and The Twilight Zone and whilst I personally see it falling into the latter camp, I can also see aspects of David Lynch, Children of the Corn, and Stephen King.
Paul Schneider portrays the child psychologist Mike Painter, who returns his hometown after suffering his own psychotic episode.
Throughout the series, we constantly question the stability of our lead protagonist as he delves into the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of his brother all those years ago and the murders that occurred during that time.
Schneider’s performance is beautifully subdued and because of this lends weight to his spiralling madness and / or tangled web of the supernatural that we plummet into on his journey.
While the first episode sets up the intrigue that is embodied throughout Candle Cove, the second episode allows for further character development to come to fruition just before it pulls the rug from under your feet leaving you questioning just exactly who you should trust.
This is all part of the strength that lies within Candle Cove.
Just as the kids seemingly fall under some evil trance, we too are lured under its spell, falling deeper within the labyrinth of despair.
There are shocking and confronting moments all held within this disturbing world, leaving you gripped and eager to delve further into its dark recesses.
And the further we go, the more secrets there are to unfold.
By the end of the journey, we’re left satisfied with its completion, knowing that all appears to have been resolved, even though it may have strengthened our fears of puppetry, tooth monsters and anything else that maybe lurking beyond.
Roll on the next instalment of Channel Zero entitled The No-End House, due to be released in October.
- ‘Mad Moon’ Maguire