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  • Grace Stevens

The Scariest Form of Media

I should preface this by saying I am no horror connoisseur. I got into a certain horror medium about a year and a half ago. This medium is analog horror, and I will discuss why I think it is the best horror medium.

Analog horror series, as implied by the name, use forms of analog electronics like television and VHS to tell their stories. Many take on the form of "found footage," displaying the grainy visual aesthetic of television from the 1970s to the 90s and exploring its uncanniness. They utilize audio recordings and visual formats like animation, live-action, and VFX. Influences could be found footage films like The Ring (1998) and The Blair Witch Project (1999) as well as online creepypastas. Foundational analog horror works include No Through Roads and Local 58, and popular ones include The Backrooms and The Mandela Catalogue. These works are commonly found on YouTube, so they are more easily accessible than purchasable horror mediums like books, TV, movies, or video games.

Analog horror often gets a bad rep for cheap scares and silly distorted faces. I can't deny that there is an air of silliness around it all, especially since analog horror creators and communities like to use their popularity to make merchandise and memes. I think it's all about finding the right series. Some are solely meant to scare with jump-scares and unnecessary sensitive topics. There are others, though, that have complex, exciting stories to tell, and scares are merely a way to achieve that end. And yes, the trick of distorting a face can get old after seeing it so much, but creators are finding ways to innovate. I want to highlight some of my current favorite analog horror series to show how stories and scares can go hand-in-hand.

The Walten Files

If you know Five Nights at Freddy's, then you likely know it popularized the trend of animatronic-related horror. The Walten Files, created by Martin Walls, follows in its footsteps with a similar concept, but it takes it a step further. It's hard to say what the main storyline is. It's about two business owners but also about a girl discovering the hidden secrets of her family. It isn't only an intriguing mystery but a tale of loss, brokenness, and mistakes. The characters feel very human, from basic conversations to moments of anger or agony. Sure, there'll be a cheap scare every once in a while, but most of the scares are purposefully placed to display big moments, like the death of a character. I don't want to give too much away if you'd like to check it out yourself. This series doesn't scare me as much as it used to, but that's not to say it isn't terrifying. It's a worthy watch for any horror fan.

The Greylock Tapes

Greylock, titled after the real Mount Greylock, is a story by Rob Gavagan that tells the terrifying truth of a world where scientific exploration has gone too far. From creating monsters out of thoughts to ancient artifacts infecting people, the stability of the world of Greylock is falling apart quickly. One look at a video preview will show you this series depends more on its "creepy, scary faces" and body horror. It's less subtle than The Walten Files, the scares loud and in your face, but it doesn't reach the point of being excessive. The mystery of Greylock is intriguing while a bit confusing. There are a lot of threads, and so far in the series, not too many are connected. I'm not up to date on this series, but I recently revisited it. I get super scared watching, so I have to take my time pausing and unpausing. It's still a good series, while not my personal favorite, as it balances a solid story with scares in an effective way.

The Oldest View

The Oldest View was a side project of Kane Pixels, creator of The Backrooms. Therefore, it's short and already completed. The Oldest View tells the story of a man who finds a staircase in the middle of the woods. Upon discovering an abandoned mall at the bottom of it, curiosity gets the better of him, and he explores but becomes trapped with a monster. It sounds nonsensical, which is honestly one of my favorite things about it. There are so many recognizable elements in a place they shouldn't be. It's also uncanny and nostalgic because Pixels rendered a real-life mall that was shut down as the setting. While you're told a lot, the meaning behind all of it has to be inferred. There aren't many direct scares, but the atmosphere is so creepy that I felt on edge the entire time I watched it. It's one of the scariest yet best series I've seen, and it even inspired me to make this post. As it isn't super long, I would definitely encourage you to check it out.


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