The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Film Features

Outer Space: Hexus Journal Pick An Experimental Horror Bakers Dozen
The Quietus , October 13th, 2017 10:06

To start our run up to Halloween, Thogdin Ripley and Philippa Snow of avant-horror publishers Hexus Journal pick thirteen films that blur the worlds of horror and the avant-garde to frightening, funny and sometimes shocking effect


Petscop (Unknown creator, ongoing)

Stretching the boundaries of what a film can be — not just by my classifying these mysterious Youtube videos as a film (though by golly if Lynch can do it…), but also taking in the fact that that the ‘film’ is 90-odd minutes of watching someone play a computer game — Petscop is, at the time of writing, a confounding enigma which is as complex as it is bizarre. Using a framing narrative every bit as effective as the classic Victorian ‘message found in a...’, or the Lovecraftian ‘I tell you I’m not mad and this is why…’, Petscop opens with commentary from ‘Paul’ (ostensibly the player) over clips of him playing a Playstation game (which never got commercially released and is possibly not ‘real’) which slowly unfolds as having a terrifying secret.

That the snippets of the game have been released intermittently — the internet is currently holding its collective breath for part 11 — only adds to the layers of intrigue, and even if the sprawling plotlines which play out never converge, or indeed if the series is ‘complete’ at the tenth clip, Petscop has already succeeded in pushing a supposedly simple visual narrative beyond itself, far into a kind of metafictional nadir that could only exist right now.

The simplicity of the visuals; the dearth of information about the game, its maker, and their intent; its pointing toward tragic and very real events; and the fact that it’s playing out in an episodic series that’s entirely irregular all elevate the paucity that lies at the heart of the ‘film’ into something genuinely disturbing — a puzzle that co-opts the viewer inside of itself and is, perhaps, best left ultimately unsolved.