Transmedia Influences

As my interest in understanding how different people are creating different transmedia bodies of work, I stumbled on Kris Straub‘s Local58 series of ‘nostalgia horror’. I’ve also watched a few others in the nostalgia horror genre but Local58 has stuck with me. The sense of dread from elements in the videos that scare me in particular (and I think audiences in general) are the biggest draw. What I found most disturbing is the emergency broadcast audio clip. That sound instills a sense of alertness, anxiety, and fear in me because generally it’s only used when you know something bad is about to happen – a severe weather event, usually, but, you never know, do you, when worse is around the corner.

I have to admit that the moon series (and I like how the moon plays a part in the first cartoon style clip, Cadavre, and carries on as a main element in succeeding videos) unsettled me nights after I first saw it. I wake up often in the middle of the night and Local58 ended up being in my head at 2am (don’t look at the moon!).

After watching Local58, I discovered that the videos are part of a world-building universe set in rural West Virginia. Ichor Falls and Broodhollow are two fictional towns and are brought to life via website stories about Ichor Falls lore and a book of comic adventure in Broodhollow. The Ichor Falls website is where the unsettling Candle Cove message board posts takes a seemingly nostalgic post about a kid’s TV show from the past and turns it on its head in just 18 short posts. Candle Cove was adapted by the SyFy channel into a series.

Other transmedia influences are from shows which I love. Mr Robot, which produced websites for the series (a list can be found here) and Elliot’s ‘found’ journal from season 2. Westworld also delved into transmedia as a form of marketing and even ran a session on it at SXSW detailed in Kyle Koniewicz’s Medium article.

Although I get drawn in by the world-building of transmedia, I’m not sure how I feel about it used as a mass marketing machine as opposed to the organic work of Straub. It’s an interesting journey to discover which bodies of work expand further than their original medium, either through pure artistic endeavor or as a means to create interest and give fans a deeper experience.

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