Analog takes over the digital media

The rising trend of analog horror short films on YouTube.



The title card for well-known analog horror feature Local58 floats on a blue screen.


Analog horror is a long-time subgenre focused on the nostalgic look of “lost footage” usually taking the form of VHS tapes or old camcorder footage. Analog horror is also a different type of psychological horror, which targets mental and emotional states to illicit fear in a person. Some notable analog horror movies in mainstream media consists of the VHS anthology series and the Blair Witch Project.

The analog genre took a dip in quality after these movies. The horror genre became more focused on searching for who can make the loudest jumpscare instead of a slow buildup of tension, and then a release. But recently, analog horror is making a comeback on a different type of media platform: YouTube. It started in 2017 with the series Local58.

It was created by Kris Straub, who’s also known for the Chainsawsuit comics (popular for the All Houses Matter skit), Local58 is a fictional TV Station that mysteriously appeared in the county of Mason, West Virginia. The visuals of the series contain footage of what looks to be from an early nineties Panasonic television. The popularity of this one series turned into motivation for the creation of many others. Starting from late 2019, series like Gemini Home Entertainment, The Walten Files, Mandela Catalogue and the even more popularized Backrooms series, being based off the 4chan post of the same name, have nested themselves in everyone’s recommended feed.

Viewers all over YouTube have taken a huge liking to all of these analog horror videos, with the Backrooms getting an average of 5 million views with the first video almost at 40 million, and The Mandela Catalogue getting an average of 750 thousand views with the first volume video hitting 5.5 million, with both series being recognized by various popular content creators on the site such as Markiplier, MoistCritikal, EGHQ and CoryxKenshin. Some would ask, why the sudden surge for the demand of analog horror.

Maybe it’s the accessibility of these projects, as being on YouTube allows access to any of the analog horror videos for free, internationally, while still letting the creators of the media get paid through ad revenue. Maybe it’s the creativity and effort that goes into these videos and the result of them being a high-quality creation, despite being made by either a small team, or one person entirely. There’s also the notoriety that it gets from other popular streamers on YouTube; as reaction videos give exposure to the endless amount of analog horror projects out there for new viewers to watch. You don’t even have to create a Google account for YouTube to call your attention to one of the many analog horror titles that the site hosts.

Digital media has bested analog in the past, but now it’s time for the rise of analog horror. So go ahead, get hooked on Boisvert, become entangled in The Walten Files and endorse yourself in the faux pleasures of the Local58. You might just find a new horror fix.