Freakylinks (2000 – 2001) – Horror TV Shows We Miss

This episode of the Horror TV Shows We Miss video series was Written and Narrated by Niki Minter, Edited by Adam Walton, Produced by John Fallon, and Executive Produced by Berge Garabedian.

Oh, the internet. It was the best of times and now possibly the worst of times, but the best times– oh were they something. No, it’s not Ghostwriter. No, it’s not Hackers. Time to hang up that phone and get into some freakylinks.

In 1999, The Blair Witch Project came out of nowhere and brought Horror into a new realm. Welcome to the internet – when there was still some sort of whimsy and anonymity. A time when a small group of college students could go and make an amateur documentary and make people feel like they had actually disappeared. What a wonderful time it was. The movie was an instant sensation. So what do you do when you have a hot property on your hands? You get to work on something in a similar vein and squeeze the juice out of it. Actually, in this case, the juice wasn’t completely squeezed. Sadly, there was still a little left at the bottom of the box. Oh, welcome to another episode of Canceled Prematurely.

freakylinks was the brainchild of Haxan Films. The same folks behind, yes, The Blair Witch. The series focused on Derek Barnes (played by Ethan Embry) who is running an underground website/business dedicated to exploring the paranormal and urban legends. Derek, joined by his very own Scoobies, investigate claims that come in through the site while at the same time attempting to find out what happened to Derek’s twin brother, Adam the creator of Then after 13 episodes and one season, it was gone.

I don’t think the world was ready for freakylinks. If you think about it, they were ahead of the curve. The website started three months before the show actually aired. You were able to interact with characters, even though at the time you had no idea they were characters on a soon to be show. There was a discussion board and I think even a chat room if I can recall. After each episode, new info would be uploaded that viewers could interact with and investigate further into. Derek was vlogging and blogging before it was cool. I don’t remember online journaling being a thing until a few years later. They were also filming their paranormal hunts and uploading them to the site. There are a billion different from those shows now, but Derek was out there with the handheld camcorder before Grant and Jason. The folks from Blair Witch know how to pull out all the stops.

Also, the cast is great together. They all vibe off of each other so well that it’s hard to believe that they haven’t always been friends previous to this. Embry is vastly underrated in most of the projects he’s in, and I will say that just seeing his name when the credits come brings me an overwhelming amount of happiness. Dennis Christopher, Karim Prince, Lizette Carrion, and the late Lisa Sheridan all deserve their own nods here as well.

The intro music by Decibel always gets stuck in my head even though it should have been Powerman 5000’s “Nobody’s Real”. I get why they changed it. A bigger act meant more royalties, but also the Decibel track has that hack the planet, cyberspace feel. I’ll leave that one up for discussion.


Favorite Episodes:

Subject: Fearsome (Episode 1): This episode is a fantastic start for the series. Derek is recording, or podcasting…the events of his day and then we are taken straight to how he all went down at the strip club with a huge neon sign of a nekkid lady with fire coming out of her nipples, we can say nipples, right?, and “Gimme All Your Lovin’” by ZZ Top strategically streaming underneath. Now let me tell you, I have watched the unaired pilot and it was a lot more bitchin than what actually aired – Powerman 5000 theme and all. The music was a major grab here for sure in addition to Powerman there’s Gravity Kills, Luscious Jackson, Soundgarden, and Massive Attack. They also had David S. Goyer at this point and while he can be hit or miss, I feel like this genre is definitely his strength. I think it’s hard to top this episode as it feels somewhat tonally different from everything else, but I’ve dipped my toe into that with the sentence before and will continue a little later. If you haven’t seen this, just go now and tell me that there isn’t potential there.

The Stone Room (Episode 9): Why are all of these old pasty dudes haunting Jason’s families law firm? Don’t tell Jason’s Dad – he obviously won’t believe it. Jason and Derek take a field trip to Philly so Jason can fill in at the law office while his Dad is in the hospital. Meanwhile, one of the interns, Tori played by Constance Zimmern who is looking a lot like Saffron from Republica shows off her belly tattoo and gets the bejesus scared out of her after seeing the ghost of James Monroe look alike. It takes ’til nearly the end of the episode to find out why the ghost ringleader is terrorizing members of the firm. I like that we got a little background on Jason, as he and Chloe are sort of the outliers of the group. Derek and Lan (great little techy name) make perfect sense, but I guess you gotta have a couple of straight laced normies in your paranormal squad.

Sunrise at Sunset Streams (Episode 12): Derek is the most Derek in this episode and this is why I love it. He’s giddy about a skunk ape, he has an active seniors fan club, takes on a wannabe Shooter McGavin, and befriends Mrs. Voorhees herself, Betsy Palmer. Derek is tasked with going to the seniors community to investigate, or deny a possible skunk ape sighting. This episode is also Chloe-centric as things have finally come to a head regarding losing her therapy license due to helping Derek with one of the investigations. Oddly, the skunk ape incident will save everything. Who is the skunk ape? A dirty old man who likes to drink swamp water and steal panties. Well, now I feel like I’m in an episode of Beyond Belief. This one is goofy and fun with my favorite scenes being when Derek tastes some of the magical sewer water and the scene in the shower when they subdue the skunk ape with Chloe yelling, “Drink it you smelly bastard!” You guys are gunna love this one.

Live Fast Die Young (Episode 10): Did I choose this episode because Jeffrey Combs plays a character similar to Herbert West? Perhaps. Or is it a bleached blonde Eric Balfour? Possibly. Derek receives a video that shows a guy named Chapin played by Balfour, jumping off a bridge and falling to what looks to be his death until the guy starts to get up. Of course, Derek has to find out the how and even tries to get close to Chapin. My guy is dedicated. He winds up in a car crash, handcuffed to a wheelchair and shot. How is this all possible? Joy juice. The secretion of fear from humans which Chapin is slowly draining Derek’s friends of. Combs is the medical examiner and as I said, plays a less intense version of West. All of this played out over a soundtrack with the likes of Soulfly and Fear Factory. Oh, and throw in an appearance from Rhonda from Tremors aka Finn Carter and Big from Booking Dogs aka Zahn McClarnon – it’s a full house. There’s also a small Can’t Hardly Wait reunion with Embry, Balfour, and Paige Moss, who plays Claudia. This is one where you should have predicted the ending, but winds up leaving you slightly depressed.

The Harbingers (Episode 6): Suddenly Angus Scrimm! I mean, that’s the best kind of surprise, right? I think one of the best things about this series is who pops up in the episodes. The Tall Man is not one I would have expected myself. While most of the episodes tend to be monster of the week (don’t worry there’s still a globulous entity), sometimes we get clues on what was going on with Dereks’ twin, Adam. This episode is centered on that. Adam comes to Derek in a dream with a book called The Harbingers written by Wilson Ashcroft, played by Scrimm. The author happened to once reside in the very place they have planned a trip to. I love the run in with Derek’s competitor Stu Carmichael, webmaster of You will instantly recognize Stu as he is played by Daniel Roebuck, who is probably in every movie or TV show ever made. Also, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed up to this point, but Derek seems to be a bit of a chick magnet. Since episode one, he’s been eyeballed by most of the ladies that cross his path. He’s using those Nick Pappagiogio skills.

After each of the episodes, even though they were aired out of order, each of the songs were highlighted so you knew which bands to check out. I always loved that.


Where to Watch:

Ugh, I feel like this series is sort of fading from existence. Right now, the only place you can find it is YouTube. At one point the series reran on the Chiller Channel which is when I caught it again and actually got to digest some of the episodes. Sadly, the quality of the series on YouTube is not the best – it seems like actual VHS rips. I’m just happy it’s somewhere for the time being. The series was never released on DVD, but there were some bootleg boxsets being sold at one time.

What happened:

It was ahead of its time and wasn’t marketed as it should have been. I’m slightly bitter. When the show came out, it had a good bit of buzz. They had the website which served to build it up in a fantastic way, but in the end, it wasn’t enough. The ratings did not get as high as the network wanted, so down it went. There was also some talk that the scene with Adam in the tub was too much for Fox so they focused Goyer. After that the studio continued to insert themselves into the series with much back and forth between the creators. Haxan wanted it to be more frightening and Fox, well, wanted more comedy and less scares. Embry even said himself that the original showrunner got focused at the beginning and the tone was changed, and they were just trying to find the tone of the show while they were filming it. Critics shot it down, or remained cautiously optimistic, but who gives a shit what they think, right? I can’t help but think that freakylinks could find a more permanent home a few years down the line. Hell, even now, though I’m not entirely sure that modern freakylinks works, I’m willing to entertain it if Ethan is. Not that I make the decisions around here, though I am free to float them. Sure, everyone jumping off the boat due to creative differences didn’t help the show much, but it was still entertaining for what it was.

Look, part of my reason for taking on this column had much to do with shining a spotlight on shows like this one. I wouldn’t say that this one is entirely gone or forgotten, but there’s just not enough out there. I hate the idea that it just falls through the cracks, never getting the credit it deserves. Not only that, but freakylinks is a perfect snapshot of the early 2000s. It reminds us of what could have been and maybe what could still be. I hope that somewhere Derek is still out there, researching the darkest corners of the internet.

A couple previous episodes of Horror TV Shows We Miss can be seen below. If you’d like to see more, and check out the other shows we have to offer, head over to the JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channel – and subscribe while you’re there!