Analog horror is one of my favorite genres that has spawned over the past few years. Well, not really ‘born’, as ‘found footage’ stuff has been around since before the Blaire Witch Project, but ‘analog’ is something on the internet in particular, creepy short videos to tell a story in a format I’ll go into momentarily, that is pretty new.
These stories tell of nostalgic locations or themes using old ‘video tape’ feelings, from the 1950s-2000s. There is a grainy, odd feel to these, sometimes bad sound quality, to make them feel authentic. The medium can tell a story about haunted animatronics/restaurant (Walton Files), Corrupted biblical figures & police warning tapes (Mandela Catalogue), alien invasions (Gemini project), and more. There’s a whole lot of ways you can piece together a story with it, and I really love it.
Here’s one of my all time favorite examples from the Gemini Project:
The common theme with these videos is that they start off feeling ‘normal’ or just somewhat ‘off’, and continue to build up getting more and more scary. Like a horror film in a smaller format, really. Or, something is off the entire video, and it is in a series of many videos. Though to be effective, it really can’t be that ‘in your face’ at first. As you can see with what I just shared, it can get pretty dark.
Here is another video from the genre that I simply love:;
Which is an example for a commercial with medication. It gives you a glimpse into an alternative universe much scarier than our own. A lot of this leans into the uncanny valley or ‘fear of the unknown or nonsensical’ itself.
People will make fun of or put down analog horror, but honestly, I personally really love it. We all have our tastes, and the more I looked into the big ‘names’ emerging (like the Walton Files, Mandela Catalog, Channel 58, etc), the more I enjoy it. There’s so much creativity to be had in the project.
What would the next decade be called? 2010s onward? Tech would have improved vastly since then, so we wouldn’t have the grainy effect. How could you do some good ‘found footage’ on a modern phone? I would love to see this explored, and to see how one would overcome some of the challenges. You can’t rely on distortion or blurriness, but glitching, odd messages, and website hacking/interruptions? Maybe. Perhaps: “Handheld Horror”, implying you’re using a cellphone. I’d say “cellular” but obviously that sounds like the biological ‘cellular’.
What are your favorite analog horror stories? Would you like me write an article covering my thoughts on the big ones I mentioned in this article? Let me know either here or on twitter @therealdesastr!
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