Channel Zero – No End House, Episode 4: “The Exit”

Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 2, Episode 4: “The Exit”
Directed by Steven Piet
Written by Nick Antosca & Katie Gruel

* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Beware the Cannibals” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “The Damage” – click here
IMG_0316Margot (Amy Forsyth) and Seth (Jeff Ward) wake the next day, after becoming intimate. Dylan (Sebastian Pigott) is still trying to show Lacey (Jess Salgueiro) the truth about what’s happening, that they’re actually married; however, that’s just us going on what he’s said, it isn’t necessarily true. Although currently his word, the strangeness of the No-End House, these are all we have to go on.
Of course it gets a bit nasty because she’s “not remembering anything” and she’s attacked him with his own knife. And out in the middle of the nearby neighbourhood is still that cul-de-sac, a group of people stuck inside. Everybody else is strange, like they’re all lost. Of course, they are, in various ways. “Theyre part of the house,” Dylan tells them, and they’re not keen on the group’s trying to leave. A parade of people follow behind them as they go.
Naturally, one of them is John (John Carroll Lynch), who’s looking paler, more awful than ever. He heads further after them while the rest of the neighbourhood stays behind.
IMG_0317On their way, in a field, the group finds a decimated man lying on the ground. He’s one of the cannibals, unable to feed and wasting away. JD (Seamus Patterson) questions Seth, as to why he hasn’t said anything about his peeling skin; the former threatens to expose the latter if he does say a word. Because something fishy’s going on, either way. Regardless if Seth is one of the doubles.
Soon they come across a corn maze. Within are people calling out, all kinds of them. They stop outside for the night and light a fire. Seth tells Margot he’s not who she believes him to be; “someone who doesnt belong.” He claims he lives in this place, or that he came there before and that living there can “be beautiful.” Meanwhile, Dylan ties JD to Lacey as he goes to check out noises in the dark. Then a woman comes from out of the darkness, digging her fingers into Lacey’s eye sockets before walking back into nowhere. This is when an angry, grief-stricken Dylan sees the withering skin on JD’s arm.
Dylan stabs him, telling the others to keep away. “Hes not real,” Seth says. So Dylan lights the cannibal JD on fire while they all run into the maze. Yet Margot tells them all that Seth lives there, that he can’t come. But now they’re all divided, so many eerie things culminating at once. Not to mention surrounding them in the corn maze is a sea of lost voices, calling out to their loved ones.
IMG_0319IMG_0320Soon they’re all lost themselves. Margot can’t find Jules (Aisha Dee) anymore. Then she comes across one of those black pools, a person materialising out of it. She stumbles onto her friend touching another big, fleshy orb. She takes Jules away from it; simultaneously, we see the person sinking back into that black pool of blood-like substance.
Just as they get away, dad shows up to plead with Margot. He needs a taste. To tide him over, y’know. He needs something on which to subsist, a cannibal, a junkie. He tells his daughter to flee before anything bad happens, so she does, with Jules in tow.
John: “Im only a reflection that lived in you
The remaining trio come to the No-End House. Where Dylan says they have to go on alone. He wants to burn the place to the ground. Inside they find more of the masks, only this time a bit different; each of their faces is a mask with a cracked open head, one hand hauling a dark face out from within, a visual metaphor of what we’ve been seeing already. They go further, into Room 2. The place goes dark, when the light returns a black pool expands across the floor almost like it’s alive, chasing them both, spreading in arm-like streams. Jules attempts jumping across to Margot. They manage to get out as the pool takes over the whole room.
Outside, Dylan’s not so lucky. John finds him, sinking a knife in his guts and ripping his throat open. Leaving him to die in the grass, as dad heads on towards his daughter.


Margot and Jules hear more of the Russian, an old teacher of theirs; the old woman writes DON’T GO over and over across a chalkboard. Except it isn’t an old woman, it’s the creepy man from the hallway, from Margot’s earlier visit. He tries hauling her away, but Jules pulls her back to the next room with her.
This takes them into the gruesome sounds of John’s death by allergy, a mask of his swollen face in front of the girls. He chokes and coughs and sucks for air. A nasty experience. Finally, they make it to Room 5. “We got this,” Jules assures her friend. In there is a bloated, ghostly version of John, in a living room but with a bathtub. He runs his hands through the water, silent. Afterwards he lurches for a hug.
But the girls escape, out into the open air. They don’t see the white flowers anymore, instead a normal dandelion. Dudes are out front trying to get in, so Margot and Jules tell them the house is “finished eating.” They head back to normal life, in a normal neighbourhood. As if none of it ever happened.
Problem is, John’s escaped, as well. He has come back to the world. That can’t be good.
IMG_0326Oh, this is probably my favourite episode now! Wow. Just incredible how Channel Zero consistently ups its game. And here I was concerned there was no way they’d be able to do better than Season 1. Pfft. Amazing.
“The Damage” is up to bat next week.

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Channel Zero – No-End House, Episode 1: “This Isn’t Real”

Syfy’s Channel Zero
Season 2, Episode 1: “This Isn’t Real”
Directed by Steven Piet
Written by Nick Antosca (based on the story by Brian Alan Russell)

* For recaps & reviews of Candle Cove episodes, click here.
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Nice Neighborhood” – click here
COVER1We open on a neighbourhood, like any other. At the side of one house is a girl named Lacey (Jess Salgueiro), crying, looking petrified. Soon she walks out to the street, looking all around her, paranoid. And then we see the end of the street, where there stands an eerie, dark house. The girl walks quickly towards the place. Suddenly, a man is behind her. She runs, so does he. When he catches her, he tosses her hard into the ground, knocking her out. “Whyd you do this to yourself?” he asks. We see what looks like deep cuts in her arm reading: THIS ISN’T REAL.
Cut to an ordinary house, a family. John Sleator (John Carroll Lynch) and his daughter Margot (Amy Forsyth) when she wasa little girl, growing up with dad at her side. Although a darkness looms over them clear from just about the minute we’re introduced. Now Margot’s older. She and her friend Jules (Aisha Dee) are the average American teens, trying to figure themselves and their lives out. Mom Corrine (Kim Huffman) is the typical mom, looking out for her daughter, taking care of business at work.
Out of nowhere, both the girls get a video on their phone: images of the dark house’s door, a blooming flower, morphing into other sinister shapes. They pass it off, just some stupid viral shit. They go to the bar, meet a couple guys for drinks, pool. One of them brings up the No-End House. “It just shows up,” he tells them. Now it’s in their town. Jules figures it’s a “super bougie haunted house” but he insists terrifying things happen inside, even disappearances. Although they all laugh.
Pic 1Later we discover more about Margot. Her father died, complications from medication and allergies. She found him, too. All puffed up, sitting there dead. Worse, she blames herself for not being home on time that night, worrying that she might’ve been able to save him.
That night Margot sees the weird video on her TV. The No-End House appears, numbers, images, street names. Just as quick as it came, it’s gone. Cryptic messages calling her to the place. So, of course, they all hop in the car. Off they go to find the place together, the girls, Seth (Jeff Ward) and J.D (Seamus Patterson). When they arrive there are people everywhere, like a true carnival ride. Someone stumbles out and vomits, one guy heads in with a backpack on as if he’s heading on a journey. All kinds of people, lining up to go inside.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.28.35 AMFaster than expected, they’re in. They come into a room with some 1920s-style music playing through crackling speakers, as well as containing a bunch of moulds that look like they’re fashioned as their faces. Everybody has one corresponding to them. Guy with backpack seems to know more about this place than anyone, having told J.D. he’s been “looking for” the house. Hmm. And naturally, the lights go out.
When they come back on the music’s distorted. The moulds of their faces are now cracked in half, moulds of hands breaking them open; all except for J.D’s face. Behind them a wall opens up revealing a passageway. They stumble into a new room, almost like an empty pool but still a room, a couple doors.
Except they’re locked inside. In the corner is someone wearing a black mask, he circles the group. Until finally coming around to Margot, leaning in and whispering to her. And it visibly affects her. When the lights flicker, there’s a smear of blood running along the floor, into the wall. This sends one girl from their group running back out.
Welcome back, Martian.”

 


But Margot must go on, compelled by the words of the masked man. She heads in further, through a revolving door and into a hallway. A creepy man lurks partway through, half-laughing, half-screaming. She makes it past, though finds herself in a room like in an attic. She sees the morphing visions, her father. Then she goes into the next room, which leads her back to where she found her father on the couch. His corpse is there, puffy, grotesque. While Margot watches home movies playing on the TV, the sounds repeat, her father’s voice loud, calling to her. His corpse comes alive, trying to grab her, standing and reaching out for her, as if wanting a hug. And he does grip her in his arms, holding her against his bloated body while she struggles, repeating: “I want to go home.” But she’s reminded: “You have to go through to go home.”
She makes it through to find Jules outside. They can’t find the guys, assuming they went on home without them. After a long night comes morning, following a walk home when the car won’t start. It’s almost as if Margot’s been cleansed, having confronted part of her darkest fears. However, at home, life isn’t exactly the same as before. From the kitchen she hears the happy whistling of her father, cooking away. Like he never ever left.
Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.45.19 AMMan, I loved Channel Zero‘s first season. This is already shaping up to be just as interesting. Love these stories, and love how the directors bring out the visuals so well. Some of this episode was downright creepy as fuck.
“Nice Neighborhood” is next week. I’m already dying.

Channel Zero – Candle Cove, Episode 6: “Welcome Home”

SyFy’s Channel Zero
Season 1, Episode 6: “Welcome Home”
Directed by Craig William Macneill
Written by Nick Antosca, Don Mancini & Harley Peyton

* For a review of the penultimate episode, “Guest of Honor” – click here
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Here we are at the end of the road to Candle Cove.
Mike Painter (Paul Schneider) sees himself laying in bed with his brother Eddie (Luca Villacis). They read about Long John Silver, as Eddie talks about understanding “why he does what he does.”  Then Mike is in a field with Eddie. He talks about how the other kids, the bullies, let out the bad spirit in him. All the still living brother wants is his daughter Lily back. Eddie becomes the Tooth Child, stuffing a hand down Mike’s throat.


Still through the television, Lily speaks to Mike in his hazy state underneath the static. At the same time, Amy Welch (Luisa D’Oliveira) and Gary Yolen (Shaun Benson) search for Francis Booth (Marina Stephenson Kerr). They head into the woods to find her from where last she was seen. They hear someone walking in the trees nearby, Alex Fry (Keenan Lehmann). Seconds later they see Mrs. Booth, as well as her band of creepy kids, which include Gary’s own children Dane and Katie. He tries talking to them and tells the kids about their mother’s death. Yet the other children approach with knives in hand. Eventually he convinces the two to walk away with him.
Mike and his mother Marla (Fiona Shaw) argue about what’s happening next. He tells her that it involves giving himself over to Eddie a bit in order to get his daughter back. When Mike’s estranged wife Erica (Kristen Harris) shows up things get worrisome. She wants to know where Lily is, right now. It all sounds insane to Erica when Mike says she’s in a place “where only I can go.”
Further into the forest Amy discovers a small trailer. Inside is Alex, hiding in a corner. Silent and eerie. So she heads out to try tracking Francis down once more, that tricky old broad.
In the meantime, Mike heads out to the Crow’s Nest with Erica. They see Lily lying in a clearing, as the Tooth Child – Eddie – appears from the bushes. It reaches a hand out towards Mike, who goes to it. He kneels in front of the thing, as it puts a hand inside his mouth to take the toll which needs paying.


After Mike passes out, he wakes… somewhere else. A television set plays static. Outside, a storm crashes with thunder and lightning. Mike goes out into a hallway, a familiar one we saw in a flash during the first episode, and he tries the various doors until one opens. There he sees students sitting in their desks, bloody little faces and hands. They hiss at him. So back out he goes, as one would. Then at the end of the hallway something appears. It wears a wide brimmed hat, making growling, animalistic noises in the dark. It shakes free the hat and whatever else is has on. It slams against the walls, violently. When the thing runs at Mike, it disappears into thin air.
But something else is still at the end of the hall, made of straw or wicker, and it burns, walking towards Mike with a head full of fire, beating hands against its face. That creature too retreats into darkness leaving Mike by himself. He goes on down the hallway to another room. This one is covered in skin, hung and dried from the ceiling. Some fresher, some much older. Further in he sees Eddie lying in bed. Not only that, the Skin Taker is there, the other creature from the hall. A vile creature. “Hes part of me,” Eddie explains. The Skin Taker (Olivier de Sagazan) rips its face open to take Mike “inside.”
He finds his daughter in that dark hallway, pleading with his brother to let them go. Eddie says he made that place “for both of us.” And he’s pretty pissed that Mike killed him. He wants to trade places and go back to the real world. So Lily crawls through the television into reality, free from the clutches of Eddie and Candle Cove‘s influence.
What of Mike? Eddie prepares to go back home, and Mike tries to keep him there. He wants to finish their never ending card game. Can he manage to get himself out of that terrifying place? Can he thwart Eddie’s plan of becoming him, to be the one that “everyone trusts” with their kids? Yikes.

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Marla ends up confronting Francis, who taunts her over Eddie. The two women trade jabs. A really great scene for Marla, the way she describes Francis and her ugly side. Things don’t play well for Marla, once Mrs. Booth starts hacking into her. Lucky, though: Amy comes out of the forest and shoots the crazy old bitch, calling an ambulance for Marla. What a wild little moment there!
The card game is finished. All those cards laid out. “You can do good in the world,” Mike tells his brother. But Eddie’s been lost so long in the world of Candle Cove, there’s no changing his mind.
A few months later, life moves on. Amy has stepped up as Sheriff, she gives a press conference concerning Francis Booth and her vicious crimes, cluing up the Iron Hill Murders of 1988 after nearly three decades. Gary and his children try to pick up and begin again fresh somewhere new. Marla is alive and well, Erica and Lily set to head back home.
On the television at grandma’s house Lily sees Candle Cove playing suddenly, and dear ole dad comes in to shut it off. Only he isn’t dad anymore, is he? Or is he even alive?


Now we switch back to those few months prior. Marla stumbles onto her son lying in that field. We go back to see that Lily whispered something to her grandmother after getting home safe. And when she rushed out, heading for the field, it was to hold Mike’s airways shut, to suffocate his body in an effort to keep Eddie from returning.
Stuck together, the boys are left in that dreaded place with the Skin Taker, forever to live out their days with only themselves as company. In the real world, Marla goes on knowing that Mike was a good man, and now his daughter has a chance to live a normal life free from the reach of Candle Cove.

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What a fucking fantastic finale! It truly clued the season up nicely, the storyline and its plot weaved nicely together right to the finish. Very happy. Also, super excited to see the next season that’s already done filming, I believe. Looks intense, and judging by this season and its quality we have much to enjoy.

Channel Zero – Candle Cove, Episode 1: “You Have to Go Inside”

SyFy’s Channel Zero
Season 1, Episode 1: “You Have to Go Inside”
Directed by Craig William Macneill
Written by Nick Antosca
Based on the story by Kris Straub

* For a review of the next episode, “I’ll Hold Your Hand” – click here
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SyFy’s new series is based on the stories from popular horror website Creepypasta, so it’ll be curious to see if they unsettle all of us in the same way.
Dr. Mike Painter (Paul Schneider) is man who has seen his share of tragedy. At twelve, in 1988, his twin brother was missing, a part of the Iron Hill Murders when several children disappeared. So Mike hasn’t been back since. Appearing on a television talk show promoting his latest book, he ends up talking with a young boy over the phone, one who’s experienced a tragedy, too. The boy is silent until he starts laughing eerily. “Why are you scared to come home?” the boy asks after a television show’s music plays in the background.
Except everything seems… dream-like. Or nightmarish, better yet. And then Mike wakes up after the image of a strange burning straw-type person, walking through a dark hallway.
Already I’m thinking this might be some creepy shit.
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Of course Mike has to revisit his hometown, so the memories flood in quick on him. Then his mother Marla (Fiona Shaw) is surprised when she sees him show up. She evidently hasn’t seen him for a long, long time. Marla filled her life with other kids after her son left, obviously her other boy Eddie gone, no husband around anymore. “I hope you havent come to rip open a wound,” she tells him. People come around Iron Hill every so often to try putting a lid on the murders and she assumed he would, eventually.
Over at the police station, Mike meets with Sheriff Gary Yolen (Shaun Benson), someone he knew once upon a time when they were much younger. Now Mike wants to look at the files on those murders. We get a slight bit more information – 28 years ago, the missing kids were found dead in the woods, in a tree, without teeth. The obligatory invite to dinner after coming back to town is extended from Gary, his wife Jessica (Natalie Brown). And Mike reluctantly goes. Lots of talk around the table, about kids and how dangerous – or less dangerous – things are today. Gary apparently worries about his kid, as well. Thinks he’s “growing up a little bit strange.” Says that his boy Dane is obsessed with David Bowie. Hilarious. Turns out that Mike and Jessica were actually close, along with his brother Eddie. Old times get brought up, a little bit of awkwardness. Y’know, dinner parties!
Upstairs, little Katie watches a television show. But something interrupts a moment, the static giving way to a brief but terrifying image. When Mike happens by her, she only says: “It went away.” This looks to really shake Mike up. He heads downstairs and talks about the old kids TV show Candle Cove; that Katie was watching. Jessica, Gary, a bunch of them talk about the show. Until Mike can’t handle it anymore and has to leave.

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In a flashback, young Mike watches his brother Eddie confront some kids. One of whom insults Eddie for being abandoned by his father. Kids pin him down then nearly snap off a couple of his fingers as his brother watches on. Vicious. At home, the boys witness Candle Cove on the television. What a god damn eerie show.
Sleeping on the couch, Mike finds the TV turn on by itself. When he gets up to shut it off, a voice speaks to him from the darkness. A strange thing lurks just beyond his line of sight. Or is it all another dream? Poor Mike, I say. Seems he was doing some sleepwalking and ended up elsewhere. He talks to his mother about recent nightmares, although she’s still not clear about why’s actually back home after all these years. Maybe she just doesn’t want to admit it, she must know.
Things start to get worrisome when Jessica can’t find her daughter Katie at home. Uh oh. At a diner, she finds Mike to start help looking. Everyone available is out searching. Bad memories for everybody must be coming up. Speaking of memories, we flashback to Eddie and Mike as their bully sends a nasty dog running after them. Strangely, the dog runs to Mike and calms down completely, eating from his hand. Weird. Back in the present, Mike is in a bit of a strange situation. Jessica asks why he was gone for five hours after dinner, getting home at three in the morning. We also find that Mike was released from a psych ward a few days ago right before going back to Iron Hill. Hmm. Suspicion’s been cast. Even Jessica thinks there’s something wrong now, and Mike can only think to run when she tries alerting her sheriff husband. He goes to speak to Dane, who talks about “the crows nest” and this so obviously spooks him.
Out past the signal tower in the woods, where the bodies were found years ago, there’s a place Mike remembers. It’s marked with a creepy skeleton, like from Candle Cove. When Mike finds it though, someone is in the costume, and gives chase. Yet he does get the skeleton man with a nice knife swipe. Mike loses him and wanders around. We see horrific memories of someone jumping off a cliff, of young Mike stabbed. All sorts of awful things. But luckily, Mike soon comes across little Katie, safe and sound. When they go, a strange and unnerving creature comes out to pick up a couple errant teeth bloody on the ground. What a crazy look to it! I love how we only get a blurred and wide shot of it mostly. Excellent suspense.

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Everybody’s curious as to how Mike found out where Katie went, Gary particularly. She tells dad it was the show told her where to go. Still, it’s all very confused. She has two teeth gone, so that’s a mystery, as well. For now, though – Mike is a free man. They can’t charge him with anything, and in all likelihood, even though we know nothing for sure right yet, he didn’t actually do anything. One thing Mike picks up on is who might’ve been watching from the woods by his mother’s place the day before.
Better yet, we see that Mike, in his wild psychiatric episode, carved MIKE COME HOME into his arm. A wound he still has to keep putting a bit of cream on every now and then, seeing as how it’s still quite fresh. He’s decided now to leave Iron Hill. He talks to his mother about Candle Cove and whether she’d been it again after he left. She says that it “wasnt real” and that he and Eddie would sit watching static: “It was just in your heads.” Oh for fuck sake! As if things weren’t scary enough.


Meanwhile, a couple young boys somewhere else, a girl in her house, a bunch of new kids are being lured by the appearance of Candle Cove. And I’ll bet they’ll soon go missing.
Later during the night, Mike receives a phone call, a boy asking where he’s going: “Were just getting started again.”
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I absolutely fucking love this show! The first episode is spectacular. So much eeriness, plenty intrigue and nice character development. Not too much exposition yet not too cryptic, either. Wow. Really good stuff from SyFy on this one. Next episode is titled “I’ll Hold Your Hand” and I’m beyond excited!