An interesting case of semi-scary media comes from an excellent Gothic manga. Junji Ito, the madman behind Uzumaki series, published "The Enigma of Amigara Fault" (NSFW ads, probably) (Wikipedia) in 2002. It's a fine short story with a creepy premise, the exploration of which I'll leave to the reader.
What I wanted to draw attention to in this post is a very odd use of technology. The story's horror isn't about digital tech (although there's an interesting ancient tech possibility hinted at). Instead it's the motivational use of older digital tech.
One character's awful fate is apparently driven by television. The heroine appears because of tv. Ito insists on this:
For an American reader, there's a fun/sick joke about the old "I saw it on TV!" label. "I saw it on tv, and so I had to buy it/thrust myself into a fatal tunnel of mutilation!"
So is this a case of fearsome media? Perhaps not. Television drops away from the story right after these panels, never to appear again. The horror is instead based on geology and analog human construction. It is mediated by dreams (both of which are prophetic), crowds, science (some useless "university researchers") and oral conversation. Arguably a better use of technology could have saved lives. Imagine long fiber optic cameras, robots, sensor networks, or just metal barriers to keep people from their deaths.
The narrative's tv motivator is a necessary spur. The Fault is located in a remote location, reachable only by hiking, it seems. The story's opening scene portrays the narrator wandering alone for some time, wondering if he's lost, without any human indicators. No other media draw people to the Fault and its cruel horror: no mention of radio, print, internet, or even urban legend. If the back end of the Fault is a twisted output hole, then the front end is a television set.
Can we still see tv as uncanny, in this age of internet mediation? Or has it been thrust back into the real of trusted media, naturalized and even romanticized (for example)? Imagine how this story would read differently if the main characters discussed learning about it on Facebook, or if we saw one plunger's final tweet.
"It kind of made me restless..."