SyFy Channel turned head in 2016 with the first season of its horror anthology series, Channel Zero. With the series’ Fall 2017 return now imminent, series creator/executive producer Nick Antosca spoke to journalists about the process of bringing a new story arc of the subtly menacing series to the screen.
Channel Zero draws its storylines from Creepypasta – a genre of short horror stories that have turned into viral internet urban legends. Following the success of a first season based on Kris Straub’s Candle Cove, the series has returned with a new, self-contained story based on Brian Russell’s tale No-End House. The eponymous house of the story is a semi-mythical haunted house attraction notorious for being so terrifying that no one can complete a trip through all of its ever-changing rooms. In SyFy’s iteration of the tale, the No-End House will test the already-strained relationship of lifelong best friends Margot (Amy Forsyth) and Jules (Aisha Dee). But just as Candle Cove was expanded far beyond its original premise to fill six hours of television, No End House will likewise be transformed for television viewing.
In the story, the No End-House is truly weird, but deals with familiar supernatural threats such as witches and demons. Channel Zero’s version will take the horror in a more surreal direction.
“The most powerful part of the story is the existential horror aspect,” Antosca said, speaking to reporters via phone. “We wanted to explore the aspect of the house where the deeper you go inside the house, the deeper it goes inside you. We took inspiration from Sleep No More, escape rooms, and interactive art installations. The story had more of a traditional Halloween funhouse. This is more of an art installation.”
When asked to describe the house in three words, Antosca replied, “Psychological, eerie, sinister.”
To help meet the goal of turning the No-End House into such a bizarre place, Antosca tapped horror veterans Don Mancini (Child’s Play) and Harley Peyton (Twin Peaks) for the show’s writing staff. In addition to the talented up-and-comers portraying Margot and Jules, No End House is bolstered by the presence of veteran actor John Carroll Lynch (American Horror Story, The Walking Dead, Zodiac) in a prominent role.
“We had [Lynch] in mind very early on,” Antosca said. “It’s a difficult role to cast because the character has to be so many things. The guy who plays Mr. Gunderson in Fargo and the Zodiac killer, he was the perfect choice… He was our dream casting.”
But for the past, present, and future of Channel Zero, the show’s creator believes that the Creepypasta genre itself is the most powerful tool of all:
“Creepypasta is this gathering pool of modern nightmares. Without mainstream attention, this thing happened in the background where people felt compelled to put down their nightmares and put them on the internet. The ones that struck a nerve went viral… There are millions of these things, they’re thematically connected and speak to universal fears. They speak to a lot of people… The best ones open up a world. I wanted to explore that and bring these nightmares to a larger audience…. I want every season of Channel Zero to be the nightmare you have after you read the stories.”
Channel Zero: No-End House returns to SyFy on September 20th, 2017. The previous season, Candle Cove, is available for streaming on SyFy’s website.