Like the previous two seasons of SYFY’s horror anthology show Channel Zero, the latest tale Butcher’s Block (premieres Feb. 7) was based on a Creepypasta story. In this case, the inspiration is Kerry Hammond’s Search and Rescue Woods, a supernatural saga whose memorable elements include mysterious staircases (or should that be scare-cases?!) in a national forest.
“I have always been a fan of the Search and Rescue stories, particularly the staircase element of them,” says Channel Zero creator and showrunner, Nick Antosca. “I loved the idea of mysterious staircases being associated with disappearances of people. We always wanted to adapt Kerry Hammond’s stories, and then we got into the writers room, and we were talking about flavors of horror that we hadn’t done before. We found ourselves particularly inspired by Argento films, by Candyman, by Nicolas Roeg films, and then when Arkasha Stevenson, the director, came into it, she’s very influenced by David Lynch and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me. All those things kind of came together to create this new and particularly bizarre flavor of Channel Zero.”
That does sound bizarre. But what is the season actually about?
“Butcher’s Block is about two sisters with a traumatic history who move to a new city and discover something really dark is going on there,” says Antosca. “More so than the previous seasons, Butcher’s Block is kind of about a world, it’s about this city, it’s about predators and prey. I think of it as kind of a deranged fairytale about these two sisters entering this dark world.”
Holland Roden (Teen Wolf) and Olivia Luccardi (It Follows) play the siblings; Krisha Fairchild (Krisha) portrays the pair’s landlady, a journalist with more than a passing interest in the nearby woods; and Blade Runner legend Rutger Hauer is Joseph Peach, a sinister meatpacking magnate.
“We wrote this character and we were like, ‘We’ve got to get somebody amazing to play this person, somebody who, his very presence means something,'” says Antosca. “It was actually Harley Peyton (Channel Zero writer and co-executive producer) who suggested Rutger. As soon as he said that, I was like, ‘Oh my god, that’s perfect.’ The experience of shooting with Rutger was an experience I’ll always remember. Rutger’s a wonderful guy and he’s really really really smart. He would think very exhaustively about his scenes, and he would come up with little extra things to do, and ideas that really enhance the show. The stories about him, and Blade Runner, coming up with the stuff in his monologues, clearly 100 percent true. And he’s just full of endless stories. You could sit down with him, and talk about a scene, and then after forty minutes we would have figured out what we were going to do, and then we would keep talking for a couple of hours, because he’s such an interesting person. Me and Arkasha would be there, listening to great stories from decades of an incredibly colorful life.”
Antosca and the rest of the show’s writers are currently working on the scripts for the fourth season of Channel Zero, which he plans to shoot this spring. The showrunner says he has “no idea” whether SYFY will renew the show for a fifth tale but that, if the show does go on, he will not be lacking in tales to adapt. “There’s so many,” he says. “I’ve got a long list I would love to do.”
Watch the teaser trailer for Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block, above. The third installment of the anthology series premieres Feb. 7 on SYFY.