Analog horror: creepy, nostalgic, and terrifying short videos

Analog horror is a niche subgenre where horror is portrayed through found VHS footage. Instead of rely on jump scares or gore, it inserts unsettling elements into a familiar format to create a sense of dread.

One of the first, and best, examples is Local 58, a YouTube series presented as recorded broadcasts from a fictional public access television station, WCLV-TV, located in Mason County, West Virginia. The videos are made to look and sound like real broadcasts, complete with degraded video and audio for added realism.

I've watched a few episodes (they are all just a couple of minutes long). The creepiest is "Contingency" which the station signing off for the day circa 1967, only to be interrupted by an emergency alert from the "Department for the Preservation of American Dignity" (DPAD). The alert claims that the U.S. military has been defeated by a foreign nation, and calls upon all Americans to commit mass suicide to prevent their capture.

Using cold, bureaucratic language, the terrifying broadcast details recommended suicide methods, encourages viewers to euthanize their children and pets, and even suggests a ritualistic posture for suicide.

The best part comes at the end. The station airs a retraction, claiming the previous message was a hoax. However, a second slide instructs the station to claim the footage was a hoax in the event of an accidental broadcast, implying that the disturbing message was a genuine contingency plan.