Horror Doc Series Primal Screen Examines How Pop Culture Can Scar You for Life

Illustration for article titled Horror Doc Series Primal Screen Examines How Pop Culture Can Scar You for Life

What scared you so much as a kid that you’re still afraid of it today? Rodney Ascher—who examined the horrors of sleep paralysis in The Nightmare, and obsessive fans of The Shining in Room 237—puts a pop-culture spin on that question in Primal Screen, and applies his trademark filmmaking style to it. We’ve got an exclusive clip to share.


Documentary series Primal Screen, which debuts today, is the very first Shudder Originals project presented by horror-centric streaming network Shudder. The official description:

Why are we simultaneously attracted to and repelled by the things that scare us the most? “Primal Screen”attempts to understand. In this first Shudder Original, acclaimed filmmaker Rodney Ascher (Room 327, The Nightmare) explores the pop culture that left dark impressions on us as children. Ascher asks real people to look back at pop-culture artifacts that traumatized them in their youth and describe the effect they had on their lives. A singular hybrid of documentary and horror, it’s time to stare into the PRIMAL SCREEN.

Anyone who’s seen Ascher’s 2010 short doc The S From Hell (watch it here) knows that lingering terrors with pop-culture origins have long been a subject that fascinates the filmmaker. In this exclusive clip from Primal Screen, two subjects recall in specific detail their unsettling memories of 1978's Magic—a film that features a very young Anthony Hopkins, and a very creepy dummy.

Here’s a brief trailer for Primal Screen, too.

Primal Screen launches today on Shudder.



Fuckin’ Muppets. This shit is downright apocalyptic. At the end of the clip, my four-year-old self assumed everybody on the television had just died.