What Is Analog Horror

Analog horror has surged in popularity since the beginning of the 2000s. You may have heard about analog horror, but don’t know all the details yet. Analog horror, in simple terms, is a form of transmissive horror using old technology. Analog horror can be featured in short films, video games, and narrative stories. Something that makes analog horror different from your average movie genre is how it leaves a lot up to interpretation by the viewer/reader. In a way, you are part of the story, having the possibility to influence it with your views.

Found footage is some of the most popular types of analog horror troupes when the perspective is through the lens of an old camera, rather than a third view. You can find footage in movies like Grave Encounters (2011,) The Blair Witch Project (1999,) Paranormal Activity (2007,) and As Above, So Below (2014.). These themes are prevalent within these popular movies because of the uneasy feeling it emits. As if you are experiencing everything with the character–at least you are getting a look into these people’s everyday lives, which makes it disturbing when something happens.

As mentioned, Analog horror is not limited to a film. Most stories follow similar themes that make analog horror its genre with low graphics, user involvement, and the use of the internet, making it very popular in video games. Lethal Omen was a game released in 2020 by the producers of Alpine Arts. The game follows a simple 90’s style shooter that slowly unravels with new enemies and unexpected and alarming turns that turns the simple-looking game much deeper. What makes this game special is its tie with Gemini Home Entertainment, an analog horror web series for users to enjoy and divulge within. This Lethal Omen may be the best example of analog horror with connections outside the game and a much more complex mystery.

When talking about analog horror, The Mandela Catalog web series must have its own section–maybe even deserving of its own article, being the first introduction to analog horror for many. The Mandela Catalog is an episodic horror series featuring an alternate world with unexplainable beings trying to integrate themselves into our society. It takes advantage of the ‘uncanny valley effect’ when seeing something try to imitate a human but not being quite right. An example of this can be seen in robots trying to speak and act like humans or the beginnings of animations like the Polar Express. Even if they have some of the basic mannerisms of humans, something gives an uncomfortable feeling within the Uncanny Valley effect.

The Mandela Catalog has many unofficial video game spin-offs by creators, including Assessment Examination. The Assessment Examination has the plot of the Mandela Catalog, risking if an unknown person should be trusted, fearful of the ‘alternates.’ Games like Mandela Invasion and Maple County were inspired by the Mandela Catalog, showing how devoted the franchise is to the series and influential. But, it is not the only Youtube analog horror web series.

The Walten Files doesn’t have a physical being coming out to get you, but rather the horrors of the internet. It had been originally a Five Nights at Freddy’s fan game but readapted into the currently loved online series with its horrific delivery. The series has an overlaying mystery that has been fun for fans to try and crack. Another example includes the creepypasta character, Ben Drowned. Less thought about, but the creepypasta Ben Drowned is considered a part of analog horror. By following the idea that media can integrate itself into our physical world, the overarching games, and the subculture of Ben Drowned, it must be noted for the development of analog horror.

 Analog horror can be spotted everywhere once you know what to look for. What may have started as a couple of movies with VHS effects and the lens camera perspective has become a very unique and fun subculture for the internet. Much of analog horror has a mystery, and your interpretations make it all the more fun. While only some of the more popular examples were mentioned, there is much more to explore considering the topic. If you enjoy an overarching mystery, some good chills, and an old 90s style, consider bringing some of the many pieces of media to come with analog horror.