I’ve had to rethink a lot of the scariest things I’ve ever seen in a video after .gif and .webm were brought into the same realm as .mp4, .mov and 35mm. The horror that really stuck with me over the years from VHS into RuTube was Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler's The Last Broadcast (1997). It was a photo finish release with The Blair Witch Project, which beat Last Broadcast into theaters while it took the home video market first. It lead to a race between two formats—Blair Witch with its grassroots marketing-fiction-as-reality and Broadcast gaining steam through word-of-mouth and “you have to see the ending.”
This would be turned upside years later as Weiler would experiment more with world-building digital narratives, like the transmedia project “Pandemic,” and its companion short Pandemic 41.410806, -75.654259--both of which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival for curious festival-goers.
So it goes without saying that the scariest video I ever saw is one I come back to on October 1st: “Local 58-Weather Service.”
Created by and posted in 2015 by Chainsawsuit Original, the "Local 58" videos are a twisted look into the public access channels that became warped with age and the advent of digital decomposition. I started thinking about it more and more over the year as "Weather Service" plays up to the fear of a pre-recorded message made for the worst-case scenario. The absolute worst version of an obituary being uploaded by accident or the recent job posting for a photo editor with the fear the editor may quit.
Though one of the final lines sticks with me and is apt for the start of a spooky month:
"This message will repeat until there are none to read it"