If you’ve read the new Popcorn Horror magazine you’ll be aware I gave my five recommendations for every horror fan’s essential audio accompaniment. Still hungry? Good. Stay hungry. Here’s three more essential horror podcasts.
When you were little did anyone ever tell you a bedtime story in a sweet and reassuring manner? One that, as you drifted off to lullaby land, your mind twisted into something sour, eventually becoming an unshakable saccharine nightmare? Perhaps you just had a horrible/awesome older sibling who told you terrible things in a soothing voice? That’s what Aaron Mahnke sounds like. The writer, host and producer of Lore takes you on an audio journey each week into a historical event or element of folklore and uses beautiful language to educate you in the arcane. From the superstitions that arose from the deaths of trapped tunnel miners in 1865 to an entire highway being diverted for fear of disturbing the local elves, Lore is a fascinating, well researched and eerie exploration of the power of scary stories and the very real effect they have on our world. Catch it before it’s turned into the forthcoming TV adaptation. Lore is what the word ‘spooky’ was invented for.
Now come on, don’t tell me you’re not drawn to the dark, more grisly news stories that float around the web. We’re all fans here. Of course you do, it’s a slice of real life horror. It’s the same reason I watch Crimewatch and get more chills during the reconstructions than I do during most horror films. Should I be admitting that?
Criminal, as the title suggests, is about true crime. It’s cooly hosted by the excellent and appropriately named Phoebe Judge who lends a real authority to her presentation that lets you believe she could’ve been a CSI regular. It’s not trashy, nor does it focus on serial killers or blood and guts. There is real appeal to the horror fan though as it explores genuinely odd cases: you’ll be hooked from the first episode, Animal Instincts, which looks at the death of a woman found in a pool of her own blood. While the husband is accused of the murder, the neighbour comes forward with his own, unusual but very plausible theory that demands the following investigation. SPOILER: #KillerStrigiform. [Seriously, don’t look up what that is unless you really do want to spoil it]
TANIS is from the same people that bring us the wonderful The Black Tapes (check out the Popcorn Horror magazine for my thoughts on that one) and it is similarly enthralling.Bearing the Pacific Northwest Stories branding as well, you can tell that TANIS too is a quality product. Indeed you’ll even get cameos from The Black Tapes’ Alex.
Nic Silver is our guide into the world of TANIS, a kind of semi-physically existent concept that’s also a place, and perhaps also dimension, and the possible cult that surrounds and keeps it secret. It gets very trippy, very fast and it’s wonderfully metaphysical in a way that really shows what audio drama excels at beyond most other platforms. It’s a longer form of storytelling, with a less episodic structure than The Black Tapes, stringing a fully serialised tale together from episode one. Yet it also learns from its sister podcasts early stumbles, gripping you right from the start. It’s got a strong cast of supporting characters like the deliberately irritating hacker Meerkatnip, as well as a mixing up its presentation between different audio sources. Fellow conspiracy nuts, this is the ultimate podcast for you.