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Home made and highly disturbing Alternate Reality series where viewers are invited to do things to keep a hostage alive.

The Human Pet is about as far as you can get from inoffensive corporate web drama. It is a series of disturbing videos, blog posts and websites many of which contain encoded messages. Sam Deercot (anag) aka the Codemaster has kidnapped Eric Taylor and is documenting the experience. He states:

"If my identity is Ever Revealed or compromised, Eric will die. This is my masterpiece, and you will play by my Rules.
p.s. - Art is a mystery to be unraveled"

There are impassioned vlogs from Eric's father and sister which Deercot then re-edits to humiliate and taunt the desperate family members. Eric is held hostage in a room containing just a filthy mattress. The audience are told that Eric's fate is in their hands and are instructed to, for example, work out how Eric can clean infected drinking water and not starve. The best suggestion is passed on to Eric in the next episode.

The film making is often stark - a locked off shot - but the threat of violence from the masked man makes it riveting. In other episodes he makes strange animations - offerings from the mind of a deranged artist. In others he is cruelly playful. In the final instalment (see below) he shows how Deercot became psychotic. The film making steps up a gear into classic dark deserted house horror.

Several things make this work stand out. Firstly it is counter cultural and subversive. It is not afraid to shock and this is refreshing in an age of conformity and innofensiveness. It is genuinely interactive in a very original way - the audience keeping a prisoner alive. It uses ARG techniques of hidden messages and codes very well. I also love that we still don't know who made the series.

An example of the hidden messages is on a seemingly innocuous blog post in which he describes himself as "Amateur filmmaker, animal lover, outgoing, world traveler, artist, keeper of secrets, loves walking on the beach, quiet places and dark nights, believer in the Lord our Saviour, waiting for someone special..." Hidden above picture postcard images of Paris is a hidden message that says : "Dig too deep and you might not like what you find..."

Some of the websites have disappeared now but these remain: