Shout Out – Crypt TV
It’s hard to find good horror in the modern era – the few outstanding efforts in that genre of late have seemed all the more spectacular because of their rarity. The Haunting of Hill House, Hereditary, Midsommar, Us, and Get Out have seemed all the more amazing because of what little quality they have to compare themselves to.
Much of this mire is a result of the corporate side of things mistaking style for substance which is a thing we do that we’ve talked about before. Good horror isn’t just cheap gore and jump scares, though that will turn a quick enough buck to ever-diminishing returns. Good horror builds a mythology that has something to say about our world and leaves a lingering sense of disquiet, if not outright dread, because of it.
The Haunting of Hill House is about family ties, good and bad, about loss and grief and depression. Hereditary is about the old eating the young for their own gain, never mind that they perpetuate the same cycles of abuse and destruction. Midsommar is about misunderstanding where tradition comes from and blind fanaticism and fatalistic determination. Us is about American Exceptionalism, privilege, identity, and the psychological construct of nurture vs nature. Get Out is about white privilege, racism, toxic centrism, micro-aggressions, and the slavery of everyone by the very wealthy.
These are all important concepts and they lend a sense of truth to the horror of their tales, regardless of how fantastic those stories may seem on paper. The same thing can be said about the slashers of the eighties (death comes for everyone and we don’t understand this sex disease that Ronald Reagan won’t talk about) or the meta-narratives of the nineties (cleverness will not save us from the horrible world we’ve inherited and are being blamed for).
I’m having trouble remembering if the aughts had any good horror movies. There were a handful, I think: the Others, Ginger Snaps, the Sixth Sense, the Strangers, High Tension, the Descent, 1408, the Ring. The common thread with them was a strong sense of being lied to, of authorities misrepresenting the facts or people not believing the truth until it was too late. I suppose we were dealing with the fallout of 9-11 and refusing to acknowledge the reasons why it happened so that we could be dragged into a couple of wars that finally killed the American Dream.
And maybe that’s why horror movies feel so empty now: we’re already living in a dystopian hellscape that grows steadily worse by the day. Maybe it’s time to cheer for the supernatural monsters as opposed to the ones that look human?
That’s been a staple of horror for what feels like forever now: make the humans annoying so that the audience cheers for the monster. But is it possible to do both? Is it possible to feel sympathy for the humans while also rooting for – and being terrified of – the monster?
Crypt TV is here to answer that question with a resounding yes.
A film company founded in 2015 with backing from Blumhouse Productions that uses Youtube as a point of distribution, Crypt TV produces and releases original horror content every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. They use practical effects for the monsters and shockingly good actors to drive their point across, and they deal with an impressive array of themes with a fantastic group of original horrors.
The most famous of those horrors has become the Look-See, an eyeless creature with a sharp-toothed grin who can appear from anywhere and has one purpose: to get people to let go of their pasts and live. It’s a monster that haunts those that mourn their past at the expense of their present, and it warns people that it’s coming with a simple message.
In essence, if you can’t give up the grief that is chaining you, the Look-See will come and put you out of your misery. Those that survive the Look-See are those that manage to give up the symbols and actualities of their grief. Those that cannot do this one thing find themselves butchered in horrible fashion.
My personal favorite is the Sunny Family Cult, a series that deals with the young member of said cult trying to balance her serial killer family with high school. It’s about how cycles of abuse move from one generation to the next and how parents can hurt their children when trying to do what’s best for them. This is a family that loves one another and cherishes the things they do while also being tied to death in an almost surreal way.
There’s a real sense of pride, community, and love among the Sunny Family Cult, a true inclusiveness that extends only to members of the cult. You get the sense that they probably do make the places they live a better place to be, even if the cost of their presence is an impressive amount of death. They are all of them both monster and victim and it’s hard not to sympathize for them while also knowing that they are horrible.
Recently, Crypt TV unveiled their latest monster in the form of Miss Annity, a spider-like horror that lives in shadows and plays to the worst aspects of mannered culture. Her victims are those that cater to the worst of societal expectations while hurting themselves or others, and she plays out their worst fantasies before taking them back to a shadowy nightmare world from which there is no waking.
But, if you can make your peace and transcend the horrors the world inflicts on you, well…
… she’ll take the people that enforce those expectations, instead.
This is a small sampling of what Crypt TV has to offer. You should definitely check out Stoneheart, Mordeo, the Door in the Woods, the Birch, and pretty much everything else they have on tap. Their casting is top-notch and those practical effects are stunning, lending the horror a gravitas that so many modern attempts lack.
Oh, and did I mention there’s hints that the whole thing is interrelated? These monsters all exist in the same world, and there’s a sense that the creators of Crypt TV are building towards something truly ambitious.