Sy-Fy's Creepy Pasta TV Series Is A Fresh, Terrifying Take on Grief
Channel Zero’s second series, 'No End House,' takes a lot of risks with substantial payoffs.
All images courtesy Sy Fy
It’s not often that I have the opportunity to marathon games or TV series, these days, but on a recent, grim late-fall weekend, I marathoned all six episodes of Channel Zero’s Second season, No End House. Channel Zero is a smart Sy-Fy produced anthology horror series, of which the first season had a lot of promise (and truly creepy imagery), but it all fell apart a bit in the end.
I kept holding my breath and waiting for that to happen in No End House, which starts with a massive bang—a single episode that, in 45 minutes, successfully could’ve been a complete (and very scary) horror movie all its own. The story starts with Margot, a college-aged young woman who is still reeling from the suicide of her father a year before, her best friend Julie, two male friends, and one very, very twisted haunted house. The kids go in, and of course, they’re never the same again.
The premise is fresher than that short description can do justice to, but there’s a lot of truly disturbing psychological horror here, alongside some brilliant, devious, and very creative imagery.
While there are some (minor, in my opinion) pacing issues as the series goes on, it only gets stronger, weirder, and more fascinating as it goes on. And it finishes on a massive punch.
There’s so much going on here that it could support about six essays (or, hey, a podcast), but I’ll focus on one aspect of what it does so well: it confronts grief in a tangible, emotionally honest way. There are shades of The Babadook here, with the implications about the grieving process and the very, very bizarre and sometimes fucked up ways in which it can manifest (particularly in a horror reality). There are no unearned emotional arcs here. Every messed-up thing that happens is given appropriate weight and weird-but-somehow logical presence.
It’s refreshing to see a horror story that very much centers on the experience of young women, in a way that doesn’t feel exploitative, or that it looks down upon them. And, without spoiling anything, it is fantastic to see a young woman of color in a heroic role in a horror show, neither the victim of poor writing nor bullshit stereotyping.
I don’t want to say too much about the story, because it unravels in ways that are satisfying and deeply weird. But I do encourage anyone with a taste for horror to immediately seek it out, whether you’re able to actually marathon it or not.
How about you readers? Do you have any fresh takes on horror and the old Haunted house narrative you’ve been enjoying lately?