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Audio Play / A Voice from the Dark

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A Voice from the Dark is a 2019 six-part Audio Play co-written and directed by Lewis Lovhaug of Atop the Fourth Wall fame. The production is both a reunion and a Massive Multiplayer Crossover of the former contributors to Channel Awesome.

Linkara and several other Internet critics are invited to an abandoned mansion called Scarsdale Manor, but are uninformed of why they are there. Once everyone is inside, the floor collapses, trapping them in underground catacombs. Split into several groups, they must try to find an escape. But they are not alone, with monsters, unknown horrors, and a voice coming from the darkness...

Not to be confused with the comic book A Voice in the Dark.

This work contains examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: What the Voice's Herald considers their master to be, despite protests from the Critics.
  • And You Thought It Was a Game: Shaun thinks the anniversary movies and the critics' videos are scripted in-universe. Not even the others pointing out how many times they nearly died convinces him. It takes being on Linkara's space ship to convince him otherwise. To be fair to Shaun, however, this isn't something only he thinks. It doubles as a Continuity Nod to one of Linkara's reviews, where he had a crossover with The Nostalgia Critic, and the Critic assumed something similar, thinking everything Linkara went through was just a bunch of skits.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Diamanda, the Evil Overlord, is the one that kills the story's only human antagonist.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Right as Lotus questions who left the lit torches, Yomarz looks like he just had an epiphany about their situation, only to instead say he realized Linkara ate all the celery.
  • Battle Couple: It's not given much focus, and both couples are split up for most of the story, but Paw and Elisa/Maven and Dom and Calluna's respective real life relationships are acknowledged and they go into battle together at the end.
  • Big Bad: "The Voice".
  • Bizarrchitecture: Scarsdale Manor was built with designs in mind as one, big elaborate prison to prevent the Voice from escaping into the world. Unfortunately, imperfections in the construction left the Voice enough wiggle-room to influence anyone in the manor.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: An odd example, as it's being borrowed from another character played by the same person, but Dom uses Terrence's "I'm in Ravenclaw!"
  • Brains and Bondage: Scarsdale was a magical and occult genius and his library has an extensive and very kinky erotic fiction section that even Diamanda is impressed by.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Welshy's monkey that he likes to throw at people. It manages to slow down the knife Goofy Gary tried to stab him with, minimizing the injury, and then is thrown at Gary to stop him from fleeing.
    • In Part 1, Yomarz points out that the ballroom they're in has no chandelier. When they run out of the collapsing house at the end you can hear him say, "Oh, there's the chandelier!"
    • The celery.
  • Broad Strokes: The canon events of the anniversary movies happened, but then, seemingly so did much of the real-life abuse behind the scenes of said movies. This doubles as a Continuity Nod to Linkara's Clone Saga, in which Mirrorkara points out that he still keeps up posters of the anniversary movies despite the issues he had with Channel Awesome.
  • Broken Pedestal: Everyone feels this way when it's revealed that Linkara was the one who called them to the mansion. Despite Linkara stating he wasn't trying to get them in any danger, everyone isn't impressed at how he lied to them. Marz even accuses him of being exactly like the site for manipulating them. ERod in particular takes it hard, leaving the group and telling Linkara to "go to hell." Everyone forgives him by the end, but even he notes that it was a really bad move to not tell the others about his plans and he was a fool for trusting Diamanda of all people.
  • The Bus Came Back: Meta-wise, Paw Dugan and Welshy have since retired from reviewing, but the two return for the audio drama just for the chance to work with old friends again. Paw even brings it up in part 1, mentioning the fact that he has kids as his reasoning.
  • Butt-Monkey: Goofy Gary spends most of the story being beaten up, stabbed, and tied up by the protagonists.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Diamanda Hagan casually admits that planes don't fly near Haganistan out of the strange fear that she'll shoot them down. Which she then admits that she does. She needs a full clear view of the sky, after all. This doesn't change when it's revealed that she's The Mole. When Linkara searches for a possible explanation for her actions, she rebuffs him by saying she's doing all this because she's just evil. However, she doesn't deny that never having gotten to participate in any site events before may have contributed to her decision a bit.
    Diamanda: I sometimes get them to shoot at clouds too, since they also piss me off.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The fact that the party was supposed to have karaoke becomes vital.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Yomarz is rather..... odd. He focuses on some of the more random aspects of the manor like how the main hall seems to be lacking a chandelier and has a perpetual upbeat demeanor even in the face of a potential apocalypse. When Lotus Prince asks just how he functions, he acts Literal-Minded and says "With a keen awareness of my surroundings and a laser focused sight on the goal!", shortly before being distracted by some cracks in the wall that look like a smiley face. It also takes Yomarz a moment to realize that The Voice possessing Lovecraft is a bad thing and that they should be worried about it. His behavior even leaves Goofy Gary stumped.
    Yomarz: I prefer to think of myself as an even, even man.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Each producer has a number of nods to prior works of theirs and their time as a part of Channel Awesome, though the latter tends to come in the form of Take That!.
    • The events of Atop the Fourth Wall: The Movie are also briefly referenced — Nash passively aggressively mentioning that some of the critics got to go to space twice.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot:
    • Bargain Boy points out that had Linkara just hosted the reunion in Comicron-1 then not only would everyone have been spared of the ghosts, zombies, and eldritch horror...but he would have saved himself a bit of money setting everything up. Linkara is rather embarrassed once he realizes this.
    • Mike points out that had Lovecraft just warned everyone instead of spouting out elaborate poetry, they might have actually listened to him.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Diamanda's minion breaks her pencil while copying down an erotic novel, so Diamanda has her use her own blood instead.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Suede never goes anywhere without his sword, despite the issues Customs gives him, and it comes in handy when his group has to fight off a bunch of zombies.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    Goofy Gary: Well, it seems it's time for me to once again get hit / There are days sometimes I think this job really is just full of—-
    Marzgirl: Nella, find anything interesting?
  • Darker and Edgier: While not shying away from comedy, the whole story is taken far more seriously than any of the Channel Awesome anniversaries which leaned more towards farce and slapstick.
  • Deadpan Snarker: True to form this applies to everyone except some of the bad guys, Lovecraft (mostly) and Hagan's minion.
    Lovecraft: Shall I continue trying to be uplifitng now?
  • Defiant Captive: ERod is remarkably casual about being tied to a slab by a Mad Scientist, calling it relaxing and mocking him over his Phony Degree. Helps that he's completely confident that his friends will rescue him, and he's capable of teleporting out of his restraints. He even heavily implies that he's capable of escaping, although Vivisen doesn't pay attention to it.
  • Demonic Possession: The goal of the Voice is to regain its physical form. After the vessel created for it to possess is destroyed, it opts to use Lovecraft as its temporary body, though Possession Burnout means it is planning to Body Surf into ERod when Lovecraft breaks down.
  • Deus Exit Machina: ERod, the only member of the group with genuine superpowers, gets captured and separated from the group in Part 4 and doesn't escape until the final battle.
  • Didn't Think This Through: As well as the examples under "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot, Lovecraft's group didn't account for the possibility of the Voice simply finding a new host should they destroy the Creature it would inhabit...
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Implied with Diamanda. Linkara questions why the ruler of Haganistan would allow anyone else to be number one, although she herself implies that her agenda is simply to survive the ensuing armageddon. And to get back at the other reviewers for not inviting her to the previous anniversaries.
  • Dramatic Irony: Welshy claims that Rob the monkey has backstabbed him before, and in his Scream reviews was a perpetrator. Rob saves Welshy from an otherwise fatal backstab by taking most of the knife.
  • Dwindling Party: At the end of the first episode, the critics all fall into the maze beneath the manor in groups of four-to-five, forced to face monsters willing to kill them.
    • The first group consists of Linkara, Diamanda Hagan, one of her minions (Omega Geek), ERod, and Dena. ERod however goes off on his own after learning Linkara set the initial party up and accidentally got them trapped there, and is subsequently captured by zombies.
    • The second group consists of Suede, Calluna, Lotus Prince, Ryan, and Yomarz. They are later joined by Sally, the Sole Survivor of the party's technician crew, who later gets zombified, restoring the original lineup.
    • The third group consists of Nash, Elisa, Dom, Luke, and Shaun.
    • The fourth group consists of Nella, MarzGurl, Welshy, Jin, and Bargain Boy. They later restrain and take Goofy Gary with them.
    • The fifth group consists of Lovecraft, MikeJ, Some Jerk with a Camera, and Paw Dugan.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • After learning that Minion copied down all the erotic fiction before the mansion collapsed, Diamanda forgives her for the earlier 'betrayal' without any punishment.
    • The rest of the group also seem quite willing to let Diamanda herself off for setting them all up for the Voice after she switches sides due to boredom. A few mudballs to face and that's the last anyone bothers her over it. Then again, they do know she's evil, it's likely not all that surprising.
    • Despite everyone's initial anger, everyone appears to have forgiven Linkara for his part in bringing them to the mansion by the end. This is almost certainly due to his sincere apology, the reveal that his plan was merely an over-the-top surprise party with no malicious intent, and his genuine ignorance of the danger the mansion posed.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After going through six parts of trauma, reopened old wounds, and evil monsters, the special ends with the producers safely enjoying a proper part in Comicron-One.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The titular "Voice" is one. It's an inhuman creature from a parallel dimension looking to conquer our world, but its body was unable to exist in ours, leaving it as living sound. It can influence people that hear it, either telling them to construct things for it, such as Scarsdale and his manor or Dr. Vivisen and his "creature", or can create monsters, such as the party technicians turned into zombies and Goofy Gary.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: What will happen if the Voice escapes Scarsdale Manor.
  • Energy Being: The voice used to have a physical form, but now exists purely as living sound. The Logical Weakness this gives it is what eventually allows the heroes to beat it.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!:
    • When ERod voices concerns that the get together might be for nefarious purposes, Some Jerk tells him to relax.
      Jerk: We just got a mysterious summons to a house out in the middle of nowhere without any idea who our host is or their intentions nor were they at the door to greet us when we arrived and there's no one around for miles who could possibly help us and- we're all gonna die, aren't we?
    • Yomarz offhandedly explains that The Voice is possessing Lovecraft, and doesn't seem to realize how big a deal that is until Jerk reacts in surprise.
    • Linkara realizes that the Voice is stimulated by the presence of a group when he's recalling how he scouted out the Manor alone.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Hagan says she won't kill any producers, Linkara adds "or anyone else," foreshadowing that there are other people in the building that Linkara knows about.
    • In the first episode, Yomarz notes some bizarre elements to the architecture, such as the hall lacking a chandelier, yet the lights for some reason coming from the walls, or the ceiling pattern making it look like the ceiling consists of a bunch of loose tiles.
    • When Suede's group comes across a bunch of torches on the walls in the maze, he remarks how strange the torches were fully lit as if someone was both expecting them, and leading them in a certain direction. Lotus then wonders just who even left them there. Calluna tries to rationalize it as their host having them play a game. Calluna was right about their host wanting them to play a game, specifically a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax themed party, she was wrong about the torches. They didn't set them up.
    • Welshy's group also comes across candles being lit already, but get sidetracked by Nella going on a tangent about a Christmas special. Soon after, they here a disturbing voice, and Welshy discovers speakers hooked up to play it, causing them to wonder why they were set up. Welshy rationalizes it as their host using them for a reality show. He does, however, note how strange the set up it. It's later revealed this was part of the set up for a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax themed surprise party before things went nuts.
    • A big hint that Linkara was the one who invited everyone to the haunted house for what was supposed to be a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax themed surprise party can be found in the notes that MarzGurl's groups found, as one of them mentions that the combination to the safe is 10-26-08, a nod to the date the first episode of Atop The Fourth Wall premiered.
    • Lampshaded when someone tells Linkara his plan to defeat the Voice is sound. It's literally sound, specifically the song "Time Warp".
  • Forgot About His Powers: An interesting variation: immediately after saving Linkara from falling to his death by teleporting, ERod gets called out on not teleporting everyone up the collapsing stairwell. Specifically, this can be explained by ERod not knowing the specifics about how his powers are affected by the Voice.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: After the producers are separated at the end of the first episode, each group spends the next four episodes handling one of their own subplots that connects the greater plot, occasionally using group calls to compare notes. The second half of the fifth episode and the final episode have the groups reconvene to try and fight "The Voice".
    • Linkara, ERod, Dena, Diamanda, and her minion look through Scarsdale's study and journals in hopes of finding out what's going on.
    • Suede, Calluna, Lotus Prince, Yomarz, and Ryan try to navigate through the maze underneath the manor. They later run into the Sole Survivor of the party group, Sally, as she is being chased by zombies, and are forced to flee with her.
    • Nash, Elisa/Maven, Shaun, Luke, and Dom try to figure out how to help the ghosts of Emma and Anderson escape their Living Memory and pass on.
    • Welshy, Nella, MarzGurl, Jin, and Bargain Boy fend off the Killer Doll Goofy Gary.
    • MikeJ, Some Jerk with a Camera, Paw Dugan, and Lovecraft discover Dr. Vivisen creating a body for "The Voice" and try to destroy it.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: Welshy. He frequently comments on whether something sounds like a trope and frequently engages in Lampshade Hanging.
  • Funny Background Event: According to Calluna, during Scenes where a lot of the producers are talking at once, there is a storyline happening in the background about Calluna trying to get Suede's sword.
  • Genre Savvy: Being the Trope Codifier of the Cosmic Horror Story genre, Lovecraft was fully-aware of the Voice and the reason why the Scarsdale Mansion's anomalous properties did not activate until everybody was there. Not only that, but he accurately predicted that it was the massive influx of people entering the house that would empower the house's supernatural properties. Unfortunately, he decided to explain this to everyone in elaborate poetic syntax, making everybody think he was just being dramatic about their situation. He also never thought about any alternative methods.
  • Grand Finale: Several people in the production, including Lewis Lovehaug himself, have described A Voice From The Dark as being the the last of the big internet reviewer crossovers that were common with the era of Channel Awesome. There's a general sense of moving on from the site, and several of the critics featured in this stopped having their content be in the the "Reviewerverse".
  • Happy Rain: It's raining outside when they finally escape the house. No one cares because they're too relieved, and they cheerfully start a mud fight.
  • Haunted House: Scarsdale Manor, the setting of the story.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Diamanda Hagan starts out on the Critics' side, but is then revealed to have been The Mole, only to then turn on The Voice after finding it boring being on the villains' side.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Implied with Anderson, as he kills himself after shooting Emma. By killing himself after the other survivors had escaped, there would be no one to act as a new host for the Herald.
    • Linkara finds himself hanging over a ledge while the building collapses. Rather than let anyone risk themselves to save him, he chooses to let go and fall to his death. Immediately becomes a Senseless Sacrifice when ERod teleports down and saves him, pointing out that Linkara seemingly forgot about this ability.
  • Historical Domain Character: H.P. Lovecraft appears, having been resurrected some time ago.
  • I Hate Past Me: Lovecraft doesn't like talking about how racist he was in his first life.
  • Internal Deconstruction: Twofold even.
    • The audio play's usage of Broad Strokes pretty much tears apart the style of Black Comedy that was so prevalent in the previous specials. Rather than the villains and situation being Played for Laughs, the monsters and evil within Scarsdale Manor are legitimately dangerous psychopaths devoted to an Eldritch Abomination seeking to destroy the world, and Linkara's reflecting the past behavior of the Nostalgia Critic, albeit unintentionally and for far more altruistic reasons than anything the Critic ever did, very nearly fractures the producers for good rather than being brushed off, and forms a good chunk of the character drama in the story.
    • The audio play taking place after the specials retroactively deconstructs the behavior in those specials as well. In-Universe, the producers all had to be tricked or bribed in some way to participate, and the reason why is very apparent; their "leader" at the time was an egotistical asshole whose antics put them in real danger and he showed no remorse for any of it. Even Critic's Heroic Sacrifice would later be invalidated by his return, and he clearly learned nothing from his experiences, with the producers still being mistreated afterwards up until they had enough and just left.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "Goofy Gary is here to play in grass or dirt or mud. Goofy Gary is here to stay, he's come for all your blood."
  • It Amused Me: Hagan's other reason outside of being evil. She also changes sides back when the apocalypse by the Voice doesn't live up to her standardsnote . The Minion uses this to convince her to change sides - since she helped the Voice for shits and giggles, why not help the Critics for shits and giggles?
    Diamanda: Good enough reason as any. Gun!!
  • It's All About Me: MarzGurl and ERod accuse Linkara of getting everybody together not because he missed them, but because he wanted them together and play off being the hero like he usually does. Linkara, of course, denies this, only wanting to get together with his old friends like last time. Of course, MarzGurl points out they all could have just gotten together for a party instead.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Once Shaun is on Comicron-1 he realizes that all the 'stories' about other reviewers having super powers and magic and fighting demons and other nightmarish horrors were all real, and his first action after unfreezing is going to find some booze.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Diamanda points out to ERod that Linkara might have deceived them all to get them to come to the manor and unwittingly bring about the end of the world, but everybody who came took a mysterious, anonymous summons to a haunted mansion with the vague promise of rewards at face value. Just like they did when they were all promised a free car.
  • Karma Houdini: None of the critics really care that Diamanda betrayed them all and nearly destroyed humanity, with the worst she gets being a mudball from Suede.
  • Killer Doll: One named Goofy Gary appears at the end of part two and tries to kill Welshy. Though as noted below in Surprisingly Realistic Outcome, once the element of surprise is gone the thing is taken down quite easily, albeit temporarily. It's also made of wood, so quite flammable.
  • Kill It with Fire: Ghosts can be killed with Molotov cocktails, as Shaun figures out.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The villains of Scarsdale Manor do have some comedic quirks to them, but the audio play does not sugarcoat or make fun of the fact that they're a troupe of lovecraftian worshippers helmed by an Eldritch Abomination who are out to sacrifice/kill the producers. While Malachite and the Executor certainly had grandstanding plans and were threats to the producers in the past, their plans and defeats had a heavy element of comedy and meta-comedy to them note , traits that are completely absent from Scarsdale Manor.
  • Large Ham: Dr Vivisen, especially when the critics make him mad.
  • Living Memory: After hearing a woman scream, Nash's group finds a vision depicting two people playing on a loop, the male one shooting the woman and causing her to make said scream shortly before it restarts. Dena relays to Luke that according to Scarsdale's diary, the man was his friend Anderson, and the woman was Scarsdale's maid Emma, responsible for cleaning and caring for the artifacts. Anderson had some concerns about the artifacts they discovered, but upon meeting Emma, he demanded Scarsdale fire her, escalating enough that Scarsdale eventually had to kick him out. He came back one day however, shot the maid, then went to the main hall and killed himself. Scarsdale never learned why this happened, but theorizes that the two were at one point lovers before they had a falling out. Elisa soon discovers the ghosts react to when they break things in the room and convinces the others to help her make them pass on. This turns out to be a very bad idea, as Emma is actually trying to free the Voice, and Anderson shot her to prevent The End of the World as We Know It.
  • The Load:
    • Lovecraft does little to help his group, content to simply quote poetry instead. Even with the knowledge he was attempting to warn them the entire time about "The Voice", Paw Dugan rightfully points out he could have just told them from the start. Upon realizing this, he promptly becomes a lot more clear and helpful, for example, explaining why the Voice didn't become active or even detectable when Linkara was scoping the place out a few days before the party.
    • Diamanda and her minion don't do anything aside from reading Scarsdale's porn collection the entire time. Turns out its because they're the instigators behind "The Voice's" freedom. The minion becomes instrumental in stopping the Voice when she changes sides to make sure Hagan doesn’t die in the ensuing apocalypse.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: As a last line of defense, Scarsdale had the manor built over a bottomless sinkhole, and upheld by magic that would detect whether or not The Voice is still inside its chamber in the maze. If the Voice is not there, the Manor will collapse into the sinkhole.
  • Logical Weakness: "The Voice" is completely made of sound, and thus can be neutralized by an opposing frequency.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Given the sounds it makes when it dies and the reactions from everyone in the room, it appears this was the fate of Dr. Vivisen's creation.
  • Mad Scientist: Lovecraft's group find one in Dr. Vivisen, "The Voice" has manipulated him into constructing a new body for it.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: After Bargain Boy starts freaking out thinking The Burger King is back for him, Nella requests details. His explanation, that he reviewed a Burger King game and had his mind sucked into another dimension by the actual King, only confuses her more.
  • The Mole: One of the producers had been aiding "The Voice" the entire time, manipulating events to set it free. At first it looks like it's Linkara, but he is later revealed to have just been a Well-Intentioned Extremist. The real moles are Diamanda Hagan and her minion. Diamanda was the one who suggested the manor to Linkara and bankrolled the get-together, and it was she who let Goofy Gary free.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Since Scarsdale Manor was built in order to imprison The Voice, its walls are magic-proof, hence why Linkara and ERod's attempt to bust a hole in the wall doesn't even scratch the paintjob. Naturally, once the group uses regular explosives, the walls come down easily.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Linkara tricking his friends into attending the party at Scarsdale Manor? Bad. Linkara trusting Diamanda to help him with this plan without using him and the entire group to summon an apocalyptic Eldritch Abomination? Worse. In his defense, he carefully scoped the mansion out for any supernatural activity before he set up the party and did not find anything, the paranormal activity not starting until the house was full of people.
    • While ERod had every right to be pissed at Linkara, his decision to go off on his own in the middle of all this to vent leaves him open to be kidnapped by the zombies, and ready to be "The Voice's" second host once Lovecraft's body is used up.
    • Maven convincing her group to help the ghost Emma escape her fate of being shot by Anderson over and over. Turns out, she's an agent of "The Voice", and Anderson was stopping her from fulfilling her role in resurrecting it. Oops.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain:
    • Diamanda's brag that everyone will die when The Voice emerges makes her Minion realize (with help from Dena) that her Mistress will die as well, convincing her to switch sides and aid the critics in stopping The Voice.
    • By asserting that it will stabilize over time and not having the Herald complete the process, the Voice leaves itself open to a sonic attack.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Whatever the building is made of, it's strong enough to resist the energy blasts from Linkara's gun and ERod's powers. It's because it's a magical prison constructed to hold a magical being, so of course it's magic proof, but it goes down as any wall would the second they try mundane (and improvised) explosives.
  • Not Brainwashed: Diamanda quickly shoots down any assumptions that she's being influenced by the Voice: she's doing this of her own free will because she's evil. The fact that she openly snarks at the Voice as it speaks indicates she's telling the truth.
  • Not So Similar: The older contributors, especially the ones who took part in the site’s anniversary specials, compare Linkara’s actions to that of the people in charge of Channel Awesome. Considering he lied to them to get them all to Scarsdale Manor, which got them into this mess in the first place, it’s initially hard to argue. Bargain Boy, however, points out the biggest difference between them though: Linkara was legitimately trying to do nice by everyone — getting old friends to meet up for the first time in years and meet new people, albeit going about it the wrong way thanks to Diamanda — while the anniversary specials were because of someone else's selfish reasons.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Everyone when the manor is sealed and the floor collapses.
    • One of the groups when Welshy is stabbed.
    • Goofy Gary has one when when Jin points out that by his own rules (Goofy Gary was to act as a scout for The Voice, if he ran into someone who could kill him, then The Voice would know that It would be in danger) then all they have to do is try harder to kill Gary rather than restrain and interrogate him.
    • Linkara, when he realizes that the reason he never sensed the Voice when scouting out the Manor was because he was alone.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Welshy gets a knife In the Back courtesy of Goofy Gary, but his stuffed monkey Rob took enough of the blade to prevent him from dying.
    Nella: You're still bleeding.
    Welshy: (in pain) Yeah... I think some of the knife DID go in, but not too much.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: The zombies in the maze are slow, completely enslaved to the Voice, and can convert anyone by touching them.
  • Pet the Dog: Diamanda seems genuinely annoyed when ERod bitches about Linkara's "betrayal" and calls him out on it, pointing out that she herself deliberately betrayed them all whereas Linkara just wanted to see his friends again and set up a surprise party, not to mention that they were all foolish enough to accept the invitation without looking into it much further.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: ERod is captured by the Voice and his crew but they don't bind him with iron so he can still teleport out.
  • The Power of Rock: Our heroes manage to defeat the Voice by performing "The Time Warp". Justified, since the Voice is a being of pure sound, and the song just happens to have the exact frequency to cancel out the Voice's.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After things repeatedly go off the wall whenever the producers get together, MarzGurl takes out her frustrations on Goofy Gary.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Goofy Gary’s dialogue is almost entirely in rhyme, much to the exasperation of those who have him captured. Amusingly, he only stops when Yomarz’s own rhyming flusters him, and when on fire.
  • Running Gag:
    • The absence of celery at the party, and how Linkara is allegedly responsible.
    • Jerk being called out for making references at seemingly bad times and responding that "we all deal with stress differently!"
    • MarzGurl's group being more annoyed than scared by Goofy Gary's attempts at being sinister.
    • Diamanda ordering her Minion to hit herself in the head repeatedly for both failing and succeeding at tasks.
    • Dom repeatedly failing to understand that Luke doesn't want to be his friend.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: Subverted. It was supposed to be a mundane surprise party, but things went pear-shaped almost immediately, as the mansion is genuinely haunted.
  • The Scottish Trope: No one refers to Channel Awesome by name, only calling it "The Site" or similar monikers. When Linkara starts to say it during a toast, the floor gives way beneath them.note 
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Scarsdale and his assistant mention that "It" has been sealed away as they flee.
  • Seen It All: The reviewers - having seen numerous surreal things in both their reviews and crossover events - are somewhat desensitized to how weird the whole situation is. In particular, Marzgurl loses it after getting attacked by a creepy doll, angrily questioning why this keeps happening whenever they meet up.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Dena and Welshy's debate over the Saw films, if Dena is to be believed.
    Bargain Boy: How did this conversation get started, anyway?
    Dena: I think he said hello.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Linkara attempts this at the end to atone for causing all the events of the story to happen. ERod fortunately is on hand to remind everyone he can teleport, and prevents it.
  • Sequel Hook: Discussed by Lotus Prince, Nella, Welshy, and Jin. Lotus Prince questions if they really succeeded in killing the Voice, and Welshy points out how if they hadn't, the manor collapsing anyway would have been a big design flaw. Nella tries to reassure them that even if it survived, it should be stuck in the sinkhole. Right before the credits roll however, a faint whispering can be heard from the wreckage, implying "The Voice" still lingers. Welshy himself lampshades this by calling it "sequel baity".
  • Serious Business: Between Linkara and Yomarz, the celery.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The seemingly frozen fireplace, the group repeatedly burning things to discover that the flames only move when burning something are and the dust that moves back to where it was swept form are shout-outs to the Doctor Who audio play "The Chimes of Midnight".
    • Additionally the design of the Creature meant to serve as the Voice's body is based on the body created for Morbius, from the Doctor Who serial "The Brain of Morbius".
    • When the group are initially trapped in the Manor, Some Jerk With A Camera tries to find an exit, and jokes that "(his) Chilling Challenge is to find a way out!"
    • One of the first conversations heard in Part One is a discussion of vampires in Doctor Who, referencing the episodes State of Decay and The Vampires of Venice.
    • Jerk says that if Linkara wanted to get a bunch of reviewers together, he should have just done it at Disney World. No way that could go wrong.
    • Near the beginning, one reviewer worries they've been lured into a "most dangerous game" situation.
    • MarzGurl's group repeatedly referring to Goofy Gary as a knock-off of famous evil dolls, such as Chucky.
    • The Time Warp.
    • Possibly unintentional, but the way Dr. Vivisens says "The Voice" is similar to how Ms. Li says "Lawndale High" on Daria.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis:
    • Luke is not fond of Dom and threatens him repeatedly whenever Dom annoys him. Dom can't take the hint though.
    • Diamanda really hates Welshy, so when he starts messaging her, she sends back what she plans to do to his testicles in detail. Welshy takes pride in this reaction.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • ERod and Some Jerk with a Camera are initially more focused on filming their situation rather than helping.
    • Diamanda is more focused on bossing around her minion and reading Scarsdale's porn collection than actually looking for a secret passage. As it turns out, there's a very good reason for this — she's in on the Evil Plan.
    • Lovecraft constantly reciting bad poetry predicting everyone's doom, initially seems to be this, but it turns out he was trying to warn everyone, albeit in an incredibly roundabout way.
    • When MarzGurl suggests breaking down a door, Bargain Boy voices concerns that the owners might sue them for damages. Welshy counters that 'when the house locks you up and almost kills you, the owners have given up any right to sue you'.
  • Sole Survivor: Sally is the sole surviving member of the party company hired by Linkara, with most of her colleagues being affected by "The Voice" and turned into flesh-eating zombies. Unfortunately, she eventually gets turned into a zombie as well, but they are all freed once The Voice is stopped.
  • Spiritual Successor: One to the Channel Awesome anniversary movies many of the producers partook in or were intending to while still on the website. Even stated as such in-universe. Interestingly, the haunted house plot seems to be based on the cancelled tenth anniversary special considering Tony Goldmark's claims that it was originally to parody horror films.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Goofy Gary is creepy and has a knife, but A) he's maybe a foot tall, B) still feels pain even if extremely difficult to kill, C) MarzGurl has fought far nastier things and D) is utterly fed up with get-togethers with her friends going weird like this. Result: Goofy Gary is soon restrained and helpless.
    • Though Linkara's intentions were nobler, the older ex-Channel Awesome producers are not happy that he used similar tactics the Nostalgia Critic would use to bring everyone together in the anniversary specials. As opposed to just asking them if they wanted to meet up and hang out. Additionally, it turns out that managing to get away from an abusive company doesn't suddenly make the emotional scars disappear, especially if something similar occurring just ends up ripping open old wounds.
    • By the same extension, they all forgive the host (Linkara) in the end because the host never intended any anniversary style antics to happen and this was simply meant to be a fun party, and more importantly, Linkara actually apologized.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Diamanda Hagan's nameless minion is absolutely and happily devoted to her mistress's every whim. No matter what Diamanda tells her to do, minion will do it, and do it with a smile even if it means her likely death. The only reason she would ever turn against Hagan is if obeying her mistress would result in Diamanda's death. Which is what Dena pointed out in order to Logic Bomb minion into switching sides temporarily.
  • Take That!: Channel Awesome is repeatedly mentioned (often in backhanded ways) in the dialogue, though the company is never mentioned by name. And if it wasn't obvious enough, there's a blatant moment when Bargain Boy points out that Linkara at least gave everyone an actual apology for lying and manipulating them, along with having an understandable motivation for it (instead of the ego-driven, single character focus of the previous anniversaries, this was intended as a surprise party/reunion for the former producers that just ended up backfiring due to an overly specific detail that could be easily missed by anyone).
  • Taking the Bullet: Welshy's monkey jumps on Welshy's back as Goofy Gary tries to stab him, blocking most of the knife and saving Welshy.
  • Team Dad: Everyone tends to defer to Linkara for plans and emotional support when things get crazy. This makes it all the worse when he turns out to be (albeit unintentionally) partially responsible for the whole thing.
  • Team Mom: While Linkara is seen as the leader, in the Story, he later admits that he considers MarzGurl the real leader of the group.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In the prologue, Obed Scarsdale and his assistant pray that no living being will enter Scarsdale Manor ever again. Cue the critics.
    • After the failed attempt to scare them with a speaker, Welshy is about to reassure them there is nothing really happening, shortly before he is cutoff and stabbed by Goofy Gary.
  • Token Evil Teammate: It's no secret that Diamanda Hagan is evil, overlord of Haganistan, prolific minion torturer etc. She crosses to Big Bad Friend in episode 4.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Subverted. Linkara 'did' do a thorough scan of the house before he had a party there to make absolutely sure there wasn't anything dangerous about it before having the party. The fact that the eldritch horrors of the house would only activate once there were enough people inside was a circumstance far too specific for him to consider.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom:
    • The host, Linkara, simply wanted to get the various former producers of Channel Awesome back together with a "Scooby-Doo" Hoax party, but their decision to open up Scarsdale Manor allows "The Voice" the opportunity to trap them there. To make matters worse, Linkara did try to make sure that this wouldn't happen, but the highly specific nature of "The Voice" meant that he unintentionally ensured it would happen once the other partygoers came along, much to the host's horrified realization.
    • All of the group's actions trying to get out of the Manor ultimately end up helping "The Voice". The only group not to be so is Linkara's group, and that's only because Diamanda is with them.
      • Suede's group constantly running from the Zombies in random directions allow them to herd the group into the room the Voice's original body is in. Once a group runs in a certain pattern then enters the room, the lock keeping "The Voice" sealed is unlocked.
      • Nash's group attempt to send the ghosts of Anderson and Emma into the afterlife, and figure they can do so by the stopping the repeating of their Living Memory and letting Emma get to the attic before Anderson shoots her. Emma was the herald of "The Voice", and Anderson shot her to prevent The End of the World as We Know It, so by stopping him, they're setting Emma free to aid "The Voice", her scream allowing "The Voice" to stabilize.
      • Welshy's group deciding to keep Goofy Gary with them for information rather than kill him. Goofy Gary was the scout for "The Voice", and should he come across a group that couldn't kill him, its a sign that "The Voice" needn't worry about the people who set him free.
      • Lovecraft's group try to stop "The Voice" from having a body by killing the creature Vivisen made for it. While they succeed in destroying the body, Vivisen says the body was meant to just be a permanent host, and that even without it, "The Voice" can still possess people and just Body Surf once their body burns out. And they've just given it five bodies to start with, Lovecraft beginning to hear it.
  • Villain Has a Point: Diamanda rightfully points out that ERod's resentment towards Linkara is ridiculous, especially since she was the one who actually manipulated him and everyone to play into the Voice's plan; Linkara just wanted to throw a surprise party for his friends.
  • We Used to Be Friends: While it was strongly hinted at in The Clone Saga storyline, this audio play revealed once and for all that this is the general sentiment of the producers towards Channel Awesome, with the fallout of the real life controversy being reflected in the story itself, the feelings of betrayal and emotional wounds in Linkara's own poorly considered plan unintentionally mirroring the Nostalgia Critic's own Lack of Empathy to the point that the other producers end up breaking into fury for him accidentally opening up old wounds. Much of the collective character arc for the cast is the question if this trope applies to them after being apart for so long. The ending confirms that no, it does not, and that they are all still True Companions with one another.
  • Wham Line:
    • Suede delivers one at the end of part 3:
      "Well, I've just got to ask you, Linkara, why did you do it? Why did you invite us all to this haunted, zombie-infested, demon-possessed Hellmouth of a house?!"
    • Another is delivered in the final scene of Part 4:
      Linkara: We have to warn the others. We could be inadvertently bringing The Voice back to life!
      Diamanda: You fucking cube. I was the one who recommended this place. I'm the one who bankrolled this trip. What makes you think this isn't exactly what I want to happen?
  • Writing Around Trademarks: Neither Channel Awesome nor any person still associated with it are mentioned by name, despite figuring strongly into the drama's backstory, just on the off-chance that doing so might have resulted in legal trouble.
  • Written-In Absence: Not every former-producer for Channel Awesome returns for the event, which is justified In-Universe by them not trusting the mysterious invitations asking them to fly out to a creepy mansion in the middle of nowhere, and therefore ignoring them.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • In other circumstances Maven's intentions to break the repeating Living Memory and free the soul trapped within would have been the right thing to do and her knowledge of gothic tropes would have served her well in doing so. Here she ends up freeing the Voice's main servant.
    • Dr Vivisen notices that ERod has some sort of power within him, but still only restrains him with rope, even when ERod himself heavily hints that he'll regret not using something stronger.