The talking pirate ship Laughingstock always tells Percy, "You have to go inside..." But tonight, it is Mike Painter (Paul Schneider) who will have to look inside himself to face his past and potentially save his present in the finale of Channel Zero: Candle Cove. Ahead of the finale's premiere tonight on Syfy, Daily Dead joined several other journalists on a conference call with showrunner Nick Antosca to discuss The Tooth Child, the huge reveal of episode five, and what's to come in the final episode of the anthology series' first season. [Spoiler warning for those who haven't watched the first five episodes of Candle Cove.]

Nick Antosca discusses why Eddie chose to involve Mrs. Booth in his plans:

"She was a target of opportunity. He goes after children because they're his peers and because they're vulnerable psychologically, and it's like Mike says, children's minds can be molded. In the moment where Mrs. Booth has her seizure, she's totally psychologically vulnerable. He uses his ability to influence her."

Antosca talks about Eddie creating Candle Cove with his mind and emotions:

"It’s a psychological manifestation of his anger and his malevolence. The psychological torment that's brewing in him manifested as this thing that could reach out to other children."

On finishing the post-production process on the first season even as it airs and while they're working on season two:

"It's exciting. And it's interesting, too, because we haven't finished all the episodes before the show airs. I'm still finishing the season finale right now [on Thursday, November 10th]. In every way except for the fact that it airs on TV, this is a low-budget indie film. We had a very limited budget and a very limited production and post schedule.

So as we're shooting season two, we're also editing season one and posting season one as it airs. It's like putting out a book and people are reading the first chapter as you're finishing the second and third chapters.

And it's been gratifying to see people reacting to the show. It's a passion project and it's a labor of love and—as you know—it's an unusual show. It isn't The Walking Dead, it isn't American Horror Story—all respect to those shows—it's its own unique beast."

On maintaining a creepy depiction of the kids on Channel Zero:

"Children of the Corn is something that was referenced in the writers' room. We didn't want the kids to seem goofy or corny, so to speak. It’s a fine line to walk. There’s something deliciously entertaining and amusing about killer kids. But at the same time, you want it to feel legitimately disturbing and scary. And that scene out by the abandoned water park you want to be really creepy.

So we looked to some of the best movies with dangerous and scary kids. And as for the pied piper element, yes, that's exactly what that sequence is, of all the kids leaving their houses and walking up the street. And then I love that shot of the kids gathered around Mrs. Booth and heading off into the woods as she picks up her mask."

How early in the process of creating the show did Antosca come up with the idea that Eddie was the one who created Candle Cove?

"That's a great question, because it actually was the very first thing. The whole story comes from that, because when I was first approached about doing this, there were other versions of the adaptation that had been tried, because Kris [Straub]’s story had been optioned and they had tried to make it into a movie. There were treatments for entirely different versions of the adaptation. There were all sorts of different explanations for where the show came from. In some cases, it was something benevolent. Like something mysterious and benevolent trying to reach out to children and communicate with them.

And to me, those versions weren't interesting creatively because, first of all, if I'm telling a horror story I want the scary thing to actually be malevolent. Otherwise, it takes the air out of it when you get to the end. And I just don't find myself particularly compelled by horror stories where ultimately we learn that the forces of good are innate and prevail, because I don't believe that the world works like that. I wanted the source of the evil to be fundamentally human, even if it was supernatural, I wanted it to be rooted in human pain, human malice.

And so I thought it would be interesting if this show was the malevolent manifestation of something in a character’s psyche. So that was actually the root of the whole story."

Will viewers find out the truth behind The Tooth Child is during the season one finale?

"Yes. Based on what I've read online, what many people think about The Tooth Child is not the correct interpretation of what The Tooth Child is. Although I have seen some people correctly identify it. But yes, very early in episode 106, you'll know who or what The Tooth Child is.

Will the season finale answer every question from the show?

"No. I don't love shows where everything is neatly tied in a bow. However, I think we'll answer a lot of questions and you will know the answers to a number of questions that have been asked on this call today. There may be more questions, but you will have a complete story in terms of the characters who we've been following for this season."

Antosca on what he might have included in this season had there been more time:

"The great benefit of having only six episodes is that you don't have to invent storylines to tread water. The challenge of only six episodes is there are character-based stories that you could create that you don't get to tell because you have to focus on the main story.

If we had two more episodes or something like that, I probably would have spent a little more time on the private lives of some of the townspeople, on seeing what Marla and Gary and Jessica's lives are like when they're not menaced by Candle Cove.

And that's just part of the calculation that you do in the writers' room. I liked that in episode four, we got to see a moment of unusual romance between Amy and the other cop, Simon. And that's one of the few things that survived in terms of, you know, B story, C story character threads. But I'm very happy with how we were able to tell the story that we wanted to tell in six episodes."

On how Candle Cove doesn't affect all of the children in Iron Hill:

"I would say it's a relatively small percentage—a small but significant percentage. Back in 1988, it's not like everybody saw the show. And it's also not like everybody who sees the show becomes fully under its influence. This is maybe a little bit more nuanced and it's really necessary for a viewer of our TV show to put together. But back in 1988, some people saw the show and they really planted a seed in their head and they were haunted by it for a long time and they were more heavily influenced by it. But Jessica saw the show back then when she was a kid and was just like, "This is weird and creepy."

And so, the way I think about it is the more vulnerable or troubled kids are more influenced by it. Some kids around town are seeing it and some of those kids are falling under its spell and they're the ones who get up and leave the house and walk down the street and answer this call."

On how Mike's daughter Lily ended up in Candle Cove:

"It's more of a supernatural thing. Whatever the world or realm of Candle Cove is, she is now in it instead of the real world. We don't see how she was taken there, but we see in the motel room that The Tooth Child—which is clearly associated with Candle Cove—came to her and she started to fall under its spell. And the next thing we see, she's inside the TV in Candle Cove."

Antosca talks about what Eddie showed Mrs. Booth with his mind and how it made  her feel good:

"That's a really cool and illuminating moment in terms of understanding what Candle Cove does to people, because the way I imagine it is, it's not just that people are seeing something pretty. It's how it makes them feel, too. Clearly when Gene was shown something in his head and he closed his eyes and started laughing, it was affecting him in some powerful way.

It made him feel something that drew him under a spell. Same with the creepy guy in the TV station in episode two, who talks about, "That's what a TV show is supposed to do, isn't it? Supposed to transport you and make you feel something."

And for Mrs. Booth, when she talks about her life back then and what Eddie did to her and how she changed, it's a story about somebody who lived a very mundane and unfulfilled life and didn't really understand how to escape it, and then was shown something and made to feel a certain way and felt like this was the answer. So, to me, that's a very scary kind of fanaticism. And it's one of my favorite scenes for that reason."

On casting Marina Stephenson Kerr as Mrs. Booth:

"She was actually the very first audition for any role that I watched. And Mrs. Booth to me—along with the kid roles—was always going to be the hardest role to cast because we can cast our leads out of the United States or out of anywhere, and the other roles we had to cast out of Canada, which, there are many great actors in Canada, but the pool is smaller. And in a lot of cases it's out of just Winnipeg, where the population isn't even that big. So finding somebody who could play this role who wasn't a name actor out of L.A. was really scary.

And, incredibly, Marina is a stage actress and she travels around and does different stuff. But she was in Winnipeg and she was the very first person who I saw audition period, and I was just like, "This is incredible." I could not have asked for a better person to play this role, it's perfect. And then I knew we were going to be okay."

On how Eddie came to acquire and utilize his powers and how Mike helps make him stronger:

"Well, the way I think of it is they were just born with it. It’s like somebody having a little bit of the Shining. And this is a world where supernatural elements exist under the surface of everyday life, and some people have a certain potential. And in Eddie's case, it was unleashed by how he was treated and by his own anger and resentment. And I think that Mike has the same latent capacity. And he never manifested the way that Eddie did. But the two of them together makes it a little bit stronger. It's a fundamental part of the way we think about twins. They have this twin strength.

And when Mike comes back home, it makes Eddie stronger. Eddie's power has been lingering around, Eddie's spirit has been lingering around Iron Hill for 28 years, calling Mike back."

Antosca reflects on the moment Eddie created Candle Cove:

"He was born with it, so it was always in him. It's a latent ability. But it was unleashed—and you will actually see a brief flashback to this—but it's something that we've already seen. On that day when his finger was broken, right? If you remember in the pilot, that was the day that Candle Cove first appeared to them. And when we saw it in the pilot, it seemed like something reaching out to a kid in his moment of pain and vulnerability. But in fact, it was more like in his moment of pain and vulnerability, this thing bubbled out of him."

Was the tooth appearing in Mike's gums Eddie's way of trying to enter Mike's body from within?

"That's exactly what it is. And once Mrs. Booth says what she says at the dinner table, I think we understand that, "Oh, shit, Mike is being taken over." And there is some body horror coming up in the next episode. It's not like Eddie needs to transform Mike, in some horrific way to become him. It's literally we've heard that the only difference between them is that tooth. But there is some grotesque visual stuff coming up in the final episode."

Antosca discusses the ways you can travel to Candle Cove, including dying:

"You can go to Candle Cove by dying, or in Lily's case, you can be physically brought to a place where you appear in the show. And we've seen that when you die and end up in Candle Cove, you become a puppet. So when Gene died, later we saw a version of Gene pop out of the treasure chest in the Candle Cove show. When we see Lily in Candle Cove now, she is still the Lily that we know. And that's because she's still alive. And he's using Lily as a hostage or as bait for Mike. And you'll see that play out in more detail in the next episode."

Antosca teases what viewers can expect to see in the season one finale:

"By the end of episode five, we know the nature of what Mike is facing. And we know that it's all rooted in his brother and what happened in 1988. And so he goes into the finale knowing he's going to have to confront that. So we'll see that. We will also see the raw psychological stuff behind Candle Cove."


The season finale of Channel Zero: Candle Cove airs tonight at 9:00pm ET on Syfy. Stay tuned to Daily Dead for more updates on Channel Zero, and in case you missed it, check out our previous coverage. Below, we also have a promo video (via Television Promos) for the finale:

  • Derek Anderson
    About the Author - Derek Anderson

    Raised on a steady diet of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps books and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Derek has been fascinated with fear since he first saw ForeverWare being used on an episode of Eerie, Indiana.

    When he’s not writing about horror as the Senior News Reporter for Daily Dead, Derek can be found daydreaming about the Santa Carla Boardwalk from The Lost Boys or reading Stephen King and Brian Keene novels.