Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor
Just imagine it: You’re at home, watching a show on TV. Suddenly, the broadcast gets interrupted. You are shown a typical commercial that advertises a new prescription that’s supposed to improve your mental health, only for the commercial in question to turn out unsettlingly wrong.
That’s one of the many highlights in analog horror videos. They tend to start off normally before twisting into something terrifying. One such example is the Blue Channel. In this three-minute video, we watch a seemingly normal infomercial from the late 1990s for a drug called Thalasin. At first, the commercial pitches a cure-all that promises to restore “lost emotions.” Then we’re introduced to a recreational variant called Thalasin Plus, which can create new and disturbing emotional experiences, all accompanied by grotesque, inhuman-looking faces. The video is brief, but effective. It sets up an expectation only to subvert it and leave the audience shocked.
Another notable feature of analog horror is there aren’t any characters to follow in the story. Instead, the genre has to rely on worldbuilding and atmosphere to produce scares. Local 58 merely showed the channel’s various hijackings, leaving the audience to wonder what’s going on. Gemini Home Entertainment takes a similar approach, presenting various guides, documentaries and advertisements that gradually reveal a world that is being taken over by strange, extraterrestrial creatures. This removes the barrier between the onscreen scares and the viewer; what’s happening in the video is happening directly to you.
Not all analog horror series follow this format, however. The Walten Files by Martin Walls is a standout in the genre for having an identifiable cast of characters and a story about a family tragedy. Similarly, The Mandela Catalogue by Alex Kister documents the terrors of various people in a world overrun by demonic creatures called “alternates.”
The concept itself is not new, but analog horror has taken the internet by storm, even catching the attention of Netflix with the creation of series like “Archive 81” and “Incantation.” The genre has provided an excellent avenue for new and young creators to tell new, frightening stories. The best part of it all is that almost all the great horror series can be watched easily on YouTube without costing a penny.
So, take your Thalasin, tune to Local 58, lock your doors and windows, and be ready for a sleepless night.