INVASION OF THE POD(CAST) PEOPLE, Part 1
Podcasts are something I missed the boat on for many years for two main reasons: 1) I’m not hip, and; 2) If I sit down for more than a few minutes, with headphones on trying to listen to something, I fall asleep. It wasn’t until the conjunction of reading Gemma Files’s positive comments about the KNIFEPOINT HORROR podcast on Facebook and my awesome wife mentioning that a good time to listen is while either driving or washing dishes, that this whole new form clicked for me.
Since then, I’ve come to LOVE a whole bunch of horror podcasts, and haven’t looked back. (Guess I’m hip now?) Later this month I’m going to opine the crap out of KNIFEPOINT HORROR in a separate post (including an interview with it’s creator and mastermind Soren Narnia), but for now here are a few awesome ones to check out, if you haven’t yet…
THE MAGNUS ARCHIVES
This podcast is my second favorite overall, and an amazing feat of creative moxie. Written and performed by British storytelling genius, Jonathan Sims (with a troupe of great guest voice actors), it tells the story of the new archivist at the fictional Magnus Institute, a research entity dedicated to looking into stories of the paranormal, and is based around his audio recordings of past statements by witnesses.
Firstly, Jonathan Sims is a freaking GENIUS! I don’t know how he comes up with so much fresh material, but each episode is crammed with great, creepy ideas and energy. The guys is a force of nature. Secondly, the seemingly non-connected stories begin to tell a cohesive story that slowly builds in a manner that’s both organic and super entertaining. Really, just check this one out. There isn’t a better performer out there, and the writing is great.
This one unfolds as if you are listening to a multipart journalistic radio expose by Lisa Haddock on “American Public Radio”, dealing with the mysterious disappearance of 300 people from the titular research community. The overall realism in this particular p-cast is impressive as hell. There are times when the show feels so much like a real NPR show that I found myself lost in the story as if it were really happening.
I love this one’s overall moxie, and the way each episode sucks you further into the mystery of just what happened in Limetown. Supposedly, there were no known survivors, and yet Lisa Haddock keeps getting contacted by folks who claim to have lived in the community, each with a new wrinkle to the story. To top it off, each episode ratchets up the dread and stakes.
I wouldn’t say it’s perfect, but it’s a ton of fun, and a good example of what makes podcasting such a great horror delivery.
THE BLACK TAPES
A similarly well-done mockumentary style podcast, The Black Tapes follows a radio journalist from the fictional PACIFIC NORTHWEST STORIES, who is sucked into an ongoing mystery while working on what was supposed to be a podcast about interesting careers and the people doing them.
This one feels SO amazingly real, that it’s nearly impossible to tell that Pacific Northwest Stories doesn’t really exist, and that the host, Alex Reagan, is a character and not an actual person. The brilliance of that blows my mind.
The overall story begins when they attempt to do a show on paranormal investigators, which ends up leading Ms. Reagan to a famous debunker of the supernatural, Richard Strand, and his institute which offers a reward of one million dollars to anyone that can prove something paranormal.
So far, the Strand Institute has managed to debunk everything that’s come their way, except for a dozen or so “black tapes”, which are cases they haven’t quite gotten to the bottom of. Reagan ends up convincing Dr. Strand to allow her podcast access to the un-debunked black tapes, and these inform the overarching mystery of the show. It’s an impressive brew of the supernatural, famous mystics, music theory, etc., and things just keep getting worse and worse. I pretty much love this p-cast, with a few caveats dealing mostly with the ongoing coincidences that move the story forward. Overall, though, a ton of fun!
I’ll geek out about a few more podcasts before October is over, but in the meantime—check these three out. I bet you’ll have a ball…