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Casting Fear

A month or so ago we did a write up on Video Palace, the first podcast from online streaming service Shudder written by Ben Rock and Bob DeRosa of 20 Seconds to Live. It was a fun, entertaining listen that met at the intersections of old school radio drama and found footage horror film and was genuinely refreshing. I came into the whole podcasting thing late in life and it's only been in the last year or so that I've started to really listen to and enjoy podcasts. There is literally a podcast for everything and, if not, starting your own on the topic can be relatively simple. But I want to focus on Video Palace and other pods that are bringing horror back to a familiar medium.

There's a variety of podcasts available on any number of apps, sites, and platforms and all you've got to do is decide what you're in the mood for.

Lore is exactly what it sounds like. Every week Aaron Mahnke researches and shares with his audience a story about the strange and otherworldly events that have become consigned to the realms of folklore and urban legend. With a haunting soundtrack playing in the background, he tells stories about murder, mystery, and monsters all while exploring both their cultural significance and their continuing relevance to the world we live in today. He has a newer, more abbreviated version of this podcast called Cabinet of Curiosities that is equally chilling and strange. The show is so popular that it's even been adapted for television by Amazon, though the second season is a bit of a bust as it's all dramatization without the actual exploration of the stories.

I am unashamed to admit that I'm a bit of an Adam Green fanboy. As a writer, filmmaker, and actor he's just a lot of fun to experience and this podcast, born from the fictional horror hosting show on Holliston is an extension of the fun he brings into the genre. Co-hosted by Joe Lynch and Arwen the Yorkie, the podcast has been described as an "audio film school" as they discuss filmmaking from their perspectives and experiences. Each week The Movie Crypt welcomes in another film or entertainment veteran which often includes horror icons and legends. The interesting thing, as a writer with little ambition to jump from literature to cinema, is that the wisdom and encouragement shared each week on the show actually has inspired me, at times, to become more driven within my own creative work. Adam and Joe do an excellent job motivating and encouraging creators to go out and make their art.

Another great pod like Video Palace that we've written in the past, Count Drahoon's Feature of Fright isn't as well known as these other podcasts but it's every bit as good. Created by Taylor Gentry whose vampiric alter ego Count Drahoon regularly does interviews with artists and filmmakers is in itself entertaining and interesting. Where it differs, however, is that the Feature of Fright is often an original radio drama styled play in which the Count and his various creations and minions retell stories full of horror, mystery, and existential dread. The show expands upon one of the very first media entertainment experiences by creating these radio dramas for the modern era. Count Drahoon isn't the first podcaster to do this but he brings a unique, independent voice to the genre.

Making a friend who isn't a fan of scary movies endure your favorite slasher or creature feature can be a sort of twisted pleasure in itself. Now imagine doing a full on debriefing of them after they've been thoroughly traumatized. The Horror Virgin subjects Todd, the titular virgin, to an increasing number of classic and modern horror films each episode in which his reactions are gauged by his co-hosts and his opinions of these movies as an outsider to the genre is assessed. It's fun to reevaluate some genre favorites through new eyes and some of the descriptions offered by a first time viewer are pure gold. It's worth a listen for the fun and entertainment of reliving the classics from a fresh perspective.

This last entry isn't so much horror as just macabre and informative. Death in the Afternoon is a trio of morticians who are a part of the Death Positive Movement (which I'll be talking about in a separate article later this year) who share stories and information about death, dying, and the culture that surrounds it. Personally, I see the fear of death -healthy or unhealthy that fear may be- as an integral part of the horror genre and I know a lot of other horror fans who agree. Hosts Caitlin Doughty, Louis Hung, and Sarah Chavez take an unhindered look at a natural phenomenon that we all have to eventually face with levity and reverence in a way that few others could. With stories that are every bit as outlandish, bizarre, and even horrifying as any scary movie, it's entertaining and informative listening.

We try to share with you a good variety of horror related topics here on 52 Weeks of Horror. While so much of the genre and industry revolve around film and visual media, it's important to take a moment and look at how people are making that scary in all parts of the community. I'd highly recommend these and a few dozen other great horror and macabre podcasts to any of you. The best part is that all of the ones listed above are totally free to listen to. Of course, if you want to help them remain that way, most of the shows are also connected to Patreon accounts where you can support them and get all sorts of cool, behind the scenes extras each month in addition to the entertaining and terrifying new episodes being produced. Check it out and keep making that scary.


Dan is an author, editorialist, podcaster, and horror culture & lifestyle correspondent from the Southeast. You can find Dan's stories at Danno of the Dead Blog and through PDI Press.

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