Syfy has announced that it’s getting into the horror anthology game, developing a new series based on frightening internet stories. Titled Channel Zero, the show will be written by Hannibal’s Nick Antosca and produced by Max Landis, and center on a single tale per season. Up first: cartoonist and writer Kris Straub’s Candle Cove, one of the most influential and oft-imitated examples of the internet horror genre known as “creepypasta.”
A spookily corrupted portmanteau of “copy and paste,” terrifying readers even as it conjures images of the damned patrons of a horrifically haunted Olive Garden, creepypasta’s easily transmittable nature has made it a perfect vector for online horror, inspiring a variety of web series, blogs, and, now, shows. Channel Zero comes on the heels of Machinima announcing its own program, Clive Barker’s Creepy Pasta, which may or may not turn out to be the most spine-tingling Italian cooking show in the history of TV.
It’ll be interesting to see how Antosca and Landis adapt Straub’s story, which centers on a series of forum posters trying to recall details about a nightmarish kids’ show called Candle Cove. The story draws much of its appeal from the then-novel formatting, as well as Straub’s refusal to tip his hand or reveal too much about what was really going on with Percy, Janice, and the terrifying Skin-Taker. Descriptions of Channel Zero suggest it’ll delve into Candle Cove’s dark past, hopefully not ruining the slow, creeping subtlety of the original 1,200 word story.
If Channel Zero is a success, though, expect to see other popular internet horror memes making their way to the airwaves soon. Slenderman, for instance, who’s a tall, blank-faced creature with the ability to go from terrifying to overexposed in the space of about a week. Or the chilling tale of the guy who won’t stop telling you about the time he saw an episode of Dexter’s Laboratory where Dexter, like, kills himself, even though you’ve repeatedly asked him to stop. Or the worst of the bunch, the deadly, endlessly persistent figure of fear known only as… The Rake. It’s a terrifying time, TV watchers. Stay strong.