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This week ushers in the return of Syfy's pitch-perfect horror anthology, and Channel Zero: No-End House is definitely going to disturb viewers and cause some nightmares. But just as it went with Season 1's Candle Cove, don't expect Season 2's haunted house to deliver the fake-out shocks and trick scares and other tricks that most Hollywood genre films have relied on for ages now, for this show burrows far deeper beneath the skin. Creator Nick Antosca recently spoke with CinemaBlend about the the excellence of Channel Zero: No-End House, and he explained why the creative team doesn't strive for gratuitous horror.
It was really important to us, both in the first season and this season, to not just be a horror show about jump scares and gratuitous moments and jolts, but to be about real psychological horror. And the most disturbing thing to us as human beings is loss. And both Candle Cove and No-End House -- they're very different in many ways -- but thematically, they're cousins because they both deal with a main character who has suffered a powerful loss and is trying to come to terms with it, figure out how to deal with it. And in one case, run away from it; in another case, cling to it.
While I definitely won't get into any spoilers here, I can say that viewers will get a quick sense of what Nick Antosca is talking about as soon as Channel Zero: No-End House's premiere episode begins. The opening visuals will inspire immediate dread, though it won't be altogether obvious why that feeling is there. Then, as the story starts to make itself more clear, there will be no turning back from the existential terror that No-End House provides in spades.
And everyone can take comfort in the fact that there won't be any cats jumping out of closets, or any stereotypical gags involving bathroom mirrors. When Nick Antosca & Co. want to freak viewers out, they go for the gut, not for split-second frights that can be laughed off. While not exactly the most obvious sign of Channel Zero's non-cheap thrills, the show's extremely memorable title screens themselves serve as solid indicators of how this series is unsettling in the most understated ways. These scares aren't only on the screen, but they're also inside your head, where they scurry around after watching.
Now, that isn't to say that there aren't traditional horror moments happening in Channel Zero: No-End House, and I think all Candle Cove fans will attest to that season's monster (one made entirely of teeth) offered up some of TV's most disgustingly eerie visuals and sound design. No-End House definitely gets bloody and violent at times, and brings something quite unique to the table for all the gorehounds out there.
But as it was stated earlier, this is a show that is as much about the trauma of loss, as well as the power of memories, as it is about putting its characters in physically terrifying situations. During our talk, I shared with Nick Antosca how this second season related to some personal events from my past, and he then shared that was kind of the case for him as well. In this words:
It comes specifically, and not even consciously, from my own life experience of the last couple of years. It just so happened that the show got greenlit as I was in the aftermath of something that happened in my life that was something I needed to deal with. And the first two installments of Channel Zero, I realize in retrospect, were kind of working through a catharsis.
Those thoughts will come clear as the season goes on, too, as there are some truly emotional moments peppered throughout the season. But what is this No-End House actually season about, you ask? Well, four friends of varying natures -- played by Amy Forsyth, Aisha Dee, Jeff Ward and Seamus Patterson -- make their way to and through the titular establishment, a mythical house where visitors fnd that each room they enter is more haunting than the previous one. And as you might imagine, the last room is the worst one of all, as it's one they may never escape. Plus, it also stars the magnificent John Carroll Lynch in a role that's best experienced through viewing.
Already one of the best horror TV shows out there, Channel Zero: No-End House will make its bone-chilling debut on Syfy on Wednesday, September 20, at 10:00 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, you can pick up Candle Cove for unlimited viewing when it hits DVD on Tuesday, September 26. And for those looking to see what else is heading to the small screen soon, head to our fall premiere schedule.