With less than a week before Syfy unveils its first season of new horror anthology show Channel Zero: Candle Cove they've already announced a second season set for 2017. Fueled by the creepypasta (read: internet scary stories) that populate many an online forum, Channel Zero has no lack of inspiration for future seasons and they've already announced that Season 2 will be called Channel Zero: The No-End House.
The first season is based on a popular creepypasta featuring a fictional online forum where a group of adults reminisce about the strange show they watched as children only to start to realize their shared TV-watching experience was far more sinister and supernatural than they initially realized. And as the teasers show, it looks like it's going to be creepy. as. hell.
Season 2's inspirational creepypasta is from a longer story written by Brian Russell and, like the first season, is being slightly altered and expanded upon for TV. The season's synopsis is below:
'Channel Zero: The No-End House' tells the story of Margot Sleator (Amy Forsyth), a young woman who visits the No-End House, a bizarre house of horrors that consists of a series of increasingly disturbing rooms. When she returns home, Margot realizes everything has changed. John Carroll Lynch plays John Sleator, Margot’s father, whose whole world is his family, but below the surface he is a troubled and complicated man. Jeff Ward also stars.
So what is the original creepypasta story The No-End House, how might it differ from the show Syfy has planned, and does it have any grounding in reality?
Not Your Average Haunted House Tale
So we know that Amy Forsyth (Hulu's The Path) has been tapped to play the show's lead, so already the story differs slightly from its origins. In the original story — written by Brian Russell and posted to 4Chan around six years ago and later poached to various creepypasta forums — the story is written from the first-person perspective of a young man named David.
David reconnects with a college friend through the internet who tells him about a haunted house on the outskirts of their town that offers a $500 reward to those who can make it through all nine of its continuous rooms. Peter has tried and failed to get through the house, warning David to stay away. David writes off Peter's failure due to his drug addiction and decides he wants to try.
So David goes to the house and finds in the lobby a note explaining that one simply need walk through all nine rooms to reach the house's end and be rewarded the $500 cash prize. David laughs off the cheesiness of the lobby and enters the first room. It's a typical haunted house room, complete with fake scares and obvious gimmicks. He moves easily on to room two where he's greeted by a fog machine and a cheap soundtrack of haunted house noises.
Filled with confidence, David moves on to room three where the house starts to show its supernatural abilities. In that room he finds only a single chair and a lamp in the corner. What's unusual is that shadows cross the room in places they couldn't possibly be, and David himself casts no shadow. It's in room three, also, that David realizes the doors have been locking behind him and he's being forced to continue forward, whether he wants to or not.
I won't ruin the story, which you can easily read online, by re-telling it all, but let's just say from room four onward, David is presented with increasingly terrifying and mind-bending impossibilities. His entire perception of reality is skewed and tested and the house earns its nickname in more ways than one.
Altered For Television, But Keeping The Twist
By casting a female lead with family roots, Syfy is clearly expanding on the simple online story, which tells very little backstory around its protagonist David. Either David will now be a female instead or Syfy has chosen to pick up the story in Part 2. Without revealing much, part two of this three-part tale picks up with Maggie, David's girlfriend, who is lured to the No-End House and forced to face the house's many challenges, which appear to adapt depending on the person. That part of the story is told from her perspective and reaches a slightly different, but equally chilling, conclusion.
The main indicator that the show will be following the story at least somewhat closely is in the synopsis's inclusion that when Margot returns home everything is different. This reflects David's experience in the original story. If you've read the story, you know to what I refer, and if not either read the story first here or click on the spoiler below to read about the story's twist end and how it may play out in the show.
In the story David reaches room nine and makes it out of the house, though barely and with his sanity deeply frazzled by the experience. One thing he discovers while making his way through it is that the house has the ability to alter his perception of reality, even tricking him in one room into believing he has escaped the house before he actually has. In the end, David escapes only to return home and find a tenth door waiting for him, indicating that the house never truly ends. This ability to trick the person walking through the house into thinking they left is what will likely play out in the show, as Margot may make it home to her father only to find he and the rest of her world aren't the way she left them because really they all are just illusions projected by the house.
So the show could take an interesting turn if it plays around with the ongoing effects of the haunted house on the lives of those who go through it, and furthermore, how those effects might ultimately be reversed.
The Truth Of The Matter
Like most creepypasta tales, The No-End House isn't a true story, though these kinds of stories are often told from a first-person perspective in order to make them seem more plausible as firsthand accounts. But the idea of a haunted house so terrifying a prize is offered to those who complete it is an urban myth circulated for many years. Every region of the U.S. — and probably other countries as well — have word of mouth tales of such underground haunted attractions.
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There are certainly plenty of haunted house attractions where one can pay for the privilege of being scared shitless by people touching you, covering you in blood, or holding you for hours until your mental stability starts to break down, but it makes no profitable sense to offer refunds to those who finish a haunted house. Those who can barely make it through the front door, on the other hand, might have a case for a refund.
That said, haunted houses will never lose their appeal (American Horror Story knows all too well) and it will be interesting how far Syfy goes with some of the downright nightmare-inducing imagery presented in The No-End House's original scary story.
Will you be checking our Channel Zero when it airs on Syfy October 11? Which season sounds most spooky - Season 1 or 2?