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Creepypasta is short-form horror fiction that gets uploaded and shared on the internet, sparking myths that feel terrifyingly real. Some of these viral stories, which get remixed and retold along the way, have provided TV execs and documentary filmmakers with fascinating fodder for series and films. Here are two to stream this Halloween … if you dare.

(Want a taste of creepypasta before you dive into these shows? Check out the Reddit NoSleep forum. It’s got over 12 million subscribers and bills itself as “a place for realistic horror stories”. But beware – you might not be able to lie comfortably in bed at night after reading some of them!)

TV series: Channel Zero, S1-2

“Channel Zero does more than adapt creepypasta for TV audiences; it enhances the story by diving even further into what makes the tale terrifying in the first place,” says The Verge. This anthology horror series takes a popular creepypasta or online myth and uses it as a writing prompt for each series.

Seasons 1 and 2 are both on Showmax, and will legitimately give you nightmares.

Season 1 is called Candle Cove, and deals with a spooky children’s TV show from the 80s, which is somehow linked to the disappearance of children in a small town. A child psychologist returns to his hometown to investigate, and gets way more than he bargained for.

It also features one of TV’s most viscerally horrific villains: the tooth monster.

Channel Zero on Showmax

Season 2 is called The No-End House, and starts off fairly tamely – a young woman and her group of friends visit a “house of horrors”, but then quickly realise that this is no ordinary tourist attraction. It has six rooms, but no single person can go into all of them, and each of them contains a very personal kind of horror. Will they ever find the exit?

Channel Zero comes first and only to Showmax in Africa.

Documentary: HBO’s Beware the Slenderman

Beware the Slenderman is on Showmax
Image: HBO

This HBO true-crime film explores something even more terrifying than the subject of the internet’s scariest crowdsourced horror myths – a real-life murder attempt that was inspired by one of the most popular figures in creepypasta.

You may have heard of the Slender Man, the tall, skinny, faceless bogeyman that proliferates in all kinds of fan fiction on the internet. He was originally created in 2009 as an entrant into a Photoshop competition on the forum Something Awful.

But here’s where it gets properly weird – in 2014, several readers in different parts of America were spurned to commit violent acts, allegedly to impress the Slender Man.

The most serious of these became known as the Slender Man Stabbing, in which two 12-year-old girls in Wisconsin lured their friend into the woods where they stabbed her repeatedly and left her for dead.

Beware the Slenderman delves into the crime and investigates how this could have happened. What kind of mental state were these two completely ordinary children in when they tried to kill their friend? And what’s to prevent this kind of thing from happening again?

Start watching now »

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