Channel Zero: Butcher’s Block is a tour de force of mental and psychical horror within a most surreal tale.
Butcher’s Block is the third season of the supernatural weird fiction horror series Channel Zero based on a creepypasta. This time it combines mental illness namely schizophrenia with weird fiction horror which results in a gripping and enthralling tale with lots of truly creepy images. It’s strangely weird and scary with gore and surrealism that is intertwined with fear and individuality in a most compelling way. It has outstanding cinematography, a unique stylistic tone and voice that creates a nightmarish tale.
This third season consists of 6 episodes with each a duration of 45 minutes. It has a continuous storyline that spirals into a visceral and carnal nightmare.
Sisters Alice and Zoe Woods move to a small town after their difficult childhood. After a violent incident with their mother who suffers from schizophrenia, they are on their own. Now Zoe has been diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 26, Alice is afraid to one day get the same diagnosis. Until then she has to take care of Zoe and she has found a job as a social worker. They stay with a landlady Louise who tells them the strange story about the Peach family who owned half of the town which was called Butcher’s Block due to their meat factory. The story goes that lots of people went missing and that the Peaches practiced witchcraft or something occult.
When at her first case a young girl Izzy goes missing and Alice notices some strange things she goes searching for the girl and stumbles upon the terrible secret of the Peaches.
Why you should watch it
First of all Butcher’s Block looks amazing. The cinematography, the music, the storytelling, the art design, the creatures, it all looks incredible. It has a surreal style and a weird tone. The story itself is highly visceral in nature but the images and the execution are very carnal and physical. The story combines both the psychological horror, the schizophrenia with the physical, the carnal horror in a very tangible way. It’s a daring combination but works so well, that it becomes very fascinating and intriguing. And more importantly highly horrifying and creepy.
The focus is on both sisters who have dealt with schizophrenia their whole lives in such a manner it controls them in multiple ways. This mental illness is the theme of the story and is handled with care and respect in a very realistic way. It makes you a different person, but at the same time, it’s also a part of who you are, which you have to accept and live with. You can’t cut it out, how much you want to. It poses the daring and philosophical question who you truly are.
This theme is connected with the strange Peach family who isn’t in fact really gone. Joseph the patriarch is an enigmatic man, while his son Robert is a creepy weird man who is terrifying and comical at the same time. Robert and his wife Edie have several disfigured children and with Joseph’s mother, and wife Eveline and his brother Aldous, they all live in a different plane that can be reached via a big white marble stairs in Medallion Park that leads to a door.
They bring in a most disturbing atmosphere and they anticipate on Alice’s fear of schizophrenia and Zoe’s wish to be cured in a most frightening and carnal way. Symbolic to that is a monster the Meat Servant and the Scuttling Father Time. Who bring in some horrific creepy images.
The horror is also shaped by the cannibalism through which the Peaches stay alive. It’s a metaphor of both the illness and fear of it, that both can eat you alive and at the same time of the devouring of that fear and illness to be freed of it. This results in some gory scenes. But there’s also plenty of room for psychological horror that is very atmospheric and is invigorated by the music of Philip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi to give it a splendid surreal vibe.
Butcher’s Block is an amazing creative and imaginative tale that is very fascinating and scary on multiple levels. Although the surrealism and weirdness is paramount, it doesn’t overrule the story itself. The story and its message and meaning come across in a very clear and understandable way. It’s excellent storytelling with consideration for the characters, the creepy story itself and what it symbolizes.
My favorite part
Although not a huge part of the story, Robert was a truly creepy character. His movements and manner of speech and in fact what he said were creepy and disturbing. But the Scuttling Father Time in all his different forms was a real creepy monster too. As was the Meat Servant.
But they only formed half of the story. For the true horror lies in the fact that one day Alice’s life as it was could be over. Living with that fear might be as cruel as the real illness itself.
In short, I liked everything about this story. How it was told and shown, what it represented, how it all was created and looked like. The incredible imaginative characters and the realistic tragic but strong real characters. How the story unfolded and how it ended. This was the best story of Channel Zero so far, that was so rich and scary and thought provoking, while telling a real weird fiction horror story at the same time, complementing each other. I loved it.
Gore factor: ★★★★☆
Scare factor: ★★★★☆
Drama factor: ★★★★☆
Surreal factor: ★★★★★
Originality factor: ★★★★★
Read more about Channel Zero:
- Channel Zero season 1: Candle Cove review
- Channel Zero season 1: Candle Cove explained
- Channel Zero season 2: No End House review
- Channel Zero season 2: No End House explained
- Channel Zero season 3: Butcher’s Block explained
- Channel Zero season 4: The Dream Door review
Cast and crew
Channel Zero: Butcher’s Blockis based on the creepypasta Search and Rescue Woods written by Kerry Hammond. The series is created by Nick Antosca. It stars Holland Roden (Zoe), Olivia Luccardi (Alice), Rutger Hauer (Joseph Peach), Trisha Fairchild (Loiose), Brandon Scott (Luke) and Andreas Apergis (Robert).
Music: Jeff Russo. Cinematography: Isaac Bauman. Production company: Universal Cabel Productions. Original network: Syfy.