Monday, August 15, 2011

Marble Hornets review

Yesterday on Facebook I had a mild spaz fit. It was because I discovered a certain YouTube series was going to have a third season. Unfortunately, said YouTube series actually being good, not many people have heard of it. Therefore, I am going to spaz about it on my blog as well.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a guy on SomethingAwful named Victor Surge. This mad genius was given the task of creating “paranormal images”, and he came up with a being that gave even hardcore horror fans nightmares. This is that being:

Yeah. The creepy faceless thing in the back. Surreal, to say the least. Well, this little image has become an Internet phenomenon, spawning countless Alternate Reality Games and a number of interconnected blogs. However, I am here to talk about just one little video series. You see, an amateur filmmaker and his friends were inspired by Victor Surge’s little abomination, and decided to make a YouTube series. “Marble Hornets”.

The basic premise is simple at first. The protagonist Jay had helped out his friend Alex on making a pretentious student film. However, Alex quit abruptly before many months were gone, a nervous wreck, and was intending to burn every bit of the material. Jay coerces convinces Alex to give him the tapes-there are far more tapes than needed for a few months of filming. Jay, however, forgets about it…until he spots a certain image on SomethingAwful...

Jay decides to go through the tapes, and post anything of interest on YouTube. It doesn’t take him long to find something. Something terrifying. And Jay soon finds himself caught up in the same thing that drove Alex to the brink with an enigmatic YouTube user named totheark posting downright terrifying responses to his entries.

Despite being low budget, this series is actually much better than some mainstream horror films. The makers are masters of psychological horror.  Not only do the videos seem low quality, as they would if you were realistically fleeing an eldritch abomination; in certain entries, absolutely nothing happens, yet they manage to key up the tension so much you are sitting on the edge of your seat, just knowing something is going to happen. And when something does happen, it is terrifying. There is little blood, little violence, very little swearing, and no need for nude chicks to go running about shrieking. It combines elements of Hitchcock, Lovecraft, and House of Leaves to great effect. And it delivers Mind Screw after Mind Screw. It helps that it is something of an Alternate Reality Game. People have been able to figure out, by certain landmarks in the videos, where the videos are actually set; Jay interacts with the viewers via a Twitter account (going so far as to give hints through Twitter); and of course being a user on SomethingAwful and using something we ourselves have seen to set the stage. It helps the horror, because it makes it seem real. Does that eldritch abomination stay exclusively in Alabama? Does it? DOES IT????

To this day, we still have little to no answers to such questions as “Who is this totheark and why does he not understand grammar?” “Can Masky do more than tackle everything?” and “What does that wacky abomination the Operator want, anyways?”

Obviously, with so little answers, they really need another season just to clear things up.

So I’m quite happy that I have more to look forward to, and since we have another entry coming up on Wednesday, I suggest you start watching. NOW.

Here is the first entry:

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