When your writer asks Channel Zero: Candle Cove star Paul Schneider to tease tonight’s season finale of the Syfy anthology horror show, he answers with two words.
Would he care to elaborate further?
“No, no! I won’t!” says the actor, whose other credits include Parks and Recreation and the new Warren Beatty movie, Rules Don’t Apply.
Fans of Candle Cove will not be surprised by the extremely ominous nature of the actor’s preview. On the show, Schneider plays Mike Painter, a child psychologist who returns to his hometown where, when Painter was a kid himself, several of his peers were murdered at the the same time a creepy and mysterious pirate-themed puppet show was broadcast on TV. Painter’s arrival home coincides with the return of the show and, to name just one of the show’s many creepy sights, the appearance of a monster made entirely from children’s teeth. As you might expect from a series created by Hannibal veteran Nick Antosca and directed by Craig William Macneill — the man responsible for 2015’s unnerving serial killer film, The Boy — Candle Cove is far removed from the deliberately preposterous creature features for which Syfy has become synonymous over the past few years.
“We are definitely interested in atmosphere,” says Schneider. “When I wrote down my list of top five horror films, I realized that the movie Irreversible was on there, and Under the Skin was on there. I realized that a couple of the movies that scare me the most have this otherworldly sense of dread, and were more atmospheric than they were violent or slasher-oriented. After getting on the phone with Nick and Craig, I knew that we were of the same mind as far as taste was concerned, and I was very happy to get involved with a series that was a horror-based series, but one that I knew was going to be left-of-center. I’ve talked to a few people, and they’ve said, ‘Paul, I know you’re doing this show, and it looks amazing, but I can’t watch it because I know it’s scary.’ And I’ve been saying to them, ‘Well, it’s different, it’s fear in a different way. It’s sort of like remembered fear instead of shock frights. I feel what the guys did very well is capture that dreamy feeling of fear and not so much the slap-you-across the face version.”
Schneider says the season finale will wrap up loose ends but “in a way that opens up the possibility for lots of different things. It’s a little bit like those Kubrick endings, where things are wrapped up in a way hopefully that people are not expecting, but still feels natural to the rules of the show.”
Fine. But this is what we want to know: Did the actor take any of those creepy-as-Hell puppets home at the end of the shoot?
“Absolutely not, no,” he says. “I don’t have any any room for puppets in my life!”
The season finale of Channel Zero: Candle Cove screens on Syfy, tonight, 9 p.m. ET.
Watch trailers for the show, below.