Backrooms and the Horror of Liminal Spaces

Backrooms and the Horror of Liminal Spaces

“If you’re not careful and you noclip out of reality in the wrong areas, you’ll end up in the Backrooms, where it’s nothing but the stink of old moist carpet, the madness of mono-yellow, the endless background noise of fluorescent lights at maximum hum-buzz, and approximately six hundred million square miles of randomly segmented empty rooms to be trapped in.

God save you if you hear something wandering around nearby because it sure as hell has heard you”

The Backrooms is an urban legend and June 10, 2019 creepypasta which originated in a 4chan thread about unsettling images. It’s one of the first examples of liminal spaces — an aesthetic that creates unique feelings of eeriness, nostalgia, and apprehension when presented with such places outside of their designed context. They often involve pictures of familiar places that usually are busy – but are empty in the photo.

Super Eyepatch Wolf does a great little documentary on the phenomenon

The tread became hot, and in 2019 someone created a free indie game on Steam that let you wander the Backrooms. You wandered the generated space with nothing but the sound of humming lights and fighting for your sanity. Cue countless spinoffs and alternate takes – none of which were as good as the original.

Fast forward again to Jan 2022, and Kane Pixels created some amazing found-footage style re-creations that are some of the best entries since the original. Give it a watch to get that creepy feel of wandering alone in an empty mall or parking lot at night while getting the creeping feeling someone, or something, is following you…

Update 07/29/2023

Someone has created a free Steam game that lets you play this VHS style walking experience. The Complex: Found Footage

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