Channel Zero Creator Nick Antosca Shares 5 Fantastic Short Horror Stories
Tomorrow marks the finale of the second season of Syfy’s “Channel Zero: No-End House”, which was created by Nick Antosca (“Hannibal”, “Teen Wolf”, The Forest). The series, which adapts an internet creepypasta into a six-episode season, has garnered a lot of acclaim and love, due in part to its high production value, serious tone, and beautiful visuals.
To celebrate the end of this season, we asked Antosca to share with us a few of his favorite short horror stories to see what makes his skin crawl. Below are his answers. Also, make sure to check out IGN’s piece on Antosca’s favorite creepypastas right here!
Make sure to tune in Wednesday, October 25 at 10/9c on SYFY for the season finale of “Channel Zero: No-End House”.
“The Clown Puppet” by Thomas Ligotti (read an excerpt)
Our narrator lives a quiet, strange, “normal” life… except that every so often, a life-sized clown puppet “visits” him. The story asks us, in the strangest of ways, what it means to be alive, and the answer here may be the most horrifying part of all. Ligotti writes existential horror. This is the kind of story that lingers with you for years after you read it. I recommend it and everything else in Ligotti’s collection Teatro Grottesco.
“The Hortlak” by Kelly Link (read here)
This eerie, surreal story takes place in a world where there’s a chasm is in the street, but no one knows what’s inside. Where a girl takes dogs no one wants in her car and kills them after a drive. Where zombies walk into the all-night convenience store, babbling word salad, but never buy a thing. All narrated in a dreamlike voice, each character and supernatural occurrence treated as utterly mundane. This is a different kind of existential horror, strangely soothing and beautiful.
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been” by Joyce Carol Oates (read here)
A precocious teenage girl, Connie, catches the eye of a man named Arnold Friend. Then he shows up at her house while her family is away. Insisting they had a date to go for a drive, and that she must get into his car. Inspired by a real-life serial killer and dedicated to Bob Dylan, the story suggests terrifying impulses at work beneath cultural shifts. It might be the scariest story I’ve ever read about predators among us.
“The Other Place” by Mary Gaitskill (read here)
Is evil a heritable trait? In this story, a father notices his son displaying the disturbing behaviors of a budding sociopath. The son is fascinated by any kind of violence. Draws pictures of men hacking each other up with chainsaws. Gets excited by women hurt and screaming on TV. The mother and father have tried to balance the son’s fascination with family dinners, exploring in nature, playing sports. And maybe the son will be fine. But will he? The father wonders. Because he knows he has, even though they’ve never spoken of it, where his son got these impulses.
“The Wendigo” by Algernon Blackwood (read here
The original Wendigo classic. A group of men are moving through the woods when the Wendigo begins to stalk them. It calls their names in a chilling, familiar voice. And eventually, it appears. Pretending to be one of their missing friends – it has his voice, his face. But not quite.