Neuschafer: I did one about a renegade rooster on a rampage. “Well, we got Senator [Orrin] Hatch, Senator Nunn, Senator [J. Bennett] Johnston, they already confessed, would Senator so-and-so like to fess up?” It’s not nearly as hard as we expected to get written statements admitting they were aliens. Ivone: Eddie was a certifiable genius. That was good enough for us. Manes: I don’t remember the details but I definitely remember going down in that nasty old elevator with Alissa, in the dark, and getting really freaked out to the point that we turned right around and got the hell out of there. Olmstead: I went down a hallway there and there was no running water in the place. Kulpa: The senators played along.

Ranking these episodes in pure terms of how freaking terrifying they are, this instalment easily comes out at number one. Flynn: He came back, sat with me and Dawn, and said, “I’m quitting the show.” He felt he had been abducted by a ghost. You read a comic and believed the Hulk could have actually existed through radioactivity. We’ve listed 28 of the scariest episodes from across the franchise in order of just how much they freaked us out, so whether your preference is for deep space exploration, war-torn space stations, or the far reaches of the known universe, there’s something here for you. Neuschafer: It was an old-school kind of newsroom, cigarettes in ashtrays, manual typewriters banging away on desks, like a newsroom you’d see in movies in the 1940s, but it worked. Baron: MTV was pioneering with this. It was very organic.

He was so ahead of his time, before Rush Limbaugh in terms of being an out-there, over-the-top right-wing firebrand. No one thought about sticking to the facts after that. That just gave us stuff to work with. We drove around for about an hour. Ed Anger was a satire of conservative right-wing thinking. But however terrifying they seemed at first, they became so much scarier again when their main method of conquering was introduced – assimilation. Forsyth: Some of them got a lot of attention, like Bill Clinton catching Hillary with a space alien.

We shot for one night there.

Somehow it is entertaining... funny though, not scary. That’s not a good formula, either. Under the gleefully demented leadership of Eddie Clontz, Weekly World News came into its own in the late 1980s. Like, whoa, this is weird. MTV said, “We’re not sure the public really wants to watch this anymore.”. So someone says, “Climb up the ladder in front of you.” I got to the top and couldn’t see anything. No one tells them where they’re going. It became the iconic image of Weekly World News.

But I wrote it and people said it was actually quite touching.

The product was very successful.

We spent the day looking at newspapers throughout the world, clipping weird stories. Phillips: We had concepts for different experiences. Nobody knew I was there. Ivone: We kept a careful running tally on sales and noticed when we drifted away from celebrity stories and differentiated ourselves—went to bigger headlines and bolder stories—it worked. Watch the Danvers episode. Eddie was the editor-in-chief during most of the time Weekly World News enjoyed its greatest success in the late 1980s and into the 1990s. There were people who read Weekly World News and enjoyed it as a humor and satire publication, and there were people who read Weekly World News and wanted to believe every word in there. There was no such jet. I think I have a book of his called Let’s Pave the Rainforests. They wanted us to spend less money and have the same show.

Cassidy: Most reality shows don’t travel every week. Forsyth: It was the most fun when you stuck to whatever reality we had established. Berger: I remember doing a story about a guy who had been on a diet and got so hungry that he spotted a little person on the street, thought he was a chicken, and took off with a hatchet down the street after him. No one else ever saw it. One to avoid if you’re scared of: Gas, nebulas. Kunert: That episode had a guy climbing down into a pit and crying for his mother.

And the alien chest-burster incident that comes right after it. Olmstead: I felt a lot of weird things. Then Eddie was promoted to something else, and from that point on, there was a series of editors. We’d be on the road for seven or eight weeks at a time. Neuschafer: There were times when we had sources and reporters who did phone work or were sometimes on assignment somewhere. It’s a big, open room with nothing in it, just pillars. Neuschafer: I did a rafting trip in Colorado, took pictures of ancient hieroglyphs on the canyon, brought it back, and wrote a story about how they were made by space aliens. Larsen: I went to this island in upstate New York to look at a castle that had been built in the 1800s by a guy for his wife who died before it was ever completed. The end—or at least a version of it—came for Weekly World News in 2007, when American Media made the August 27 issue its last. Old tables, desks, vats, junk. Ivone: We picked Roanoke, Virginia. It was supposed to be fun. The ending is tragically moving, but the bulk of the episode is increasingly disconcerting, with O’Brien unable to trust anyone or to work out what could possibly have happened while he was away.

He was very mercurial. I called production right away and asked if they had sent anyone over. We used the same basic rigs. McGinness: I wouldn’t underplay the significance of the impact Weekly World News had to a generation of Americans. Then it swung the other way, where the higher-ups decided they wanted completely silly stories that no one would think were real.

Washington wasn’t like it is now, not quite as exciting. They would have to be a great actor to do some of the shit they did, bouncing off the walls and going apesh*t. Phillips: We wanted to do a werewolf episode and thought we could expand to the middle ground of a mythical monster.

The website is active and D'Alessandro has plans for the brand in other forms of media.

It had nothing to do with reality. Manes: If people realize I was involved in Fear, they usually ask, “Did you believe it? One girl vomited in her bag. I flew with an executive to a run-through for the pilot and he told me on the plane, “Listen, no one is going to die. The sitcom would be more about the reporters, like The Office. Kulpa: With fake news, we showed the world how, and sorry to say, people learned from that. Breier: I remember hearing wind or other noises, but the prison was so big and vacant with so many openings, the elements could have played a factor. He hated vegetarians, loathed the French, endorsed capital punishment. We had a picture of Bill meeting an alien called P’lod, who was hanging out in Washington. The problem was going underground into cellars with thick walls. We were walking a fine line. Now watch them freak out.”. Also this one includes a cute dog. Kunert: We had to make sure the places were safe so no one hurt themselves. And coming disasters, an apocalypse of some sort. For some reason, it was difficult for people to grasp the tone of what we were doing. When contestants freaked out, we went to the Clam Cam for that in-your-face Exorcist moment. That was an environment conducive to having that kind of experience.

C. Michael Forsyth (Writer, 1996-2005): I used to read it in college and get a kick out of it. I felt an awful, evil presence. Three covers went into a focus group area.

It was above him. Before we even started, she left. Flynn: It came out of nowhere. Flynn: I saw water shooting up from the urinal.

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