Horror Podcasts Pt. 2

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The NoSleep Podcast

https://www.thenosleeppodcast.com/

“In the spring of 2010, a new forum appeared on Reddit.com. It was called “Nosleep” and the concept of this forum (or “subreddit”) was to be a place for people to post original scary stories about frightening experiences. It was an online version of telling spooky stories around the campfire.

A year later, as Nosleep was growing at a rapid pace, one member named Matt Hansen proposed the idea of doing a podcast where some of the top stories from Nosleep would be narrated in audiobook style. The response was quite positive and over the next few months a small group of members endeavored to put together what would come to be known as The Nosleep Podcast. On June 13th, 2011 Episode #1 was released.

David Cummings assumed the role of host and producer and it was decided to release a new episode every two weeks. Producing the podcast has been a learning experience from the start with many Redditors volunteering to narrate and help produce the shows.

The podcast has been well-received from the very beginning. Through word-of-mouth advertising the number of regular listeners has grown steadily. Reviewers on iTunes consistently rate 5 stars and the podcast ranks quite high in its “Arts” category.

The Nosleep Podcast has proudly featured stories from authors who have gone on to publish their stories. Notably, the “Penpal” series from Dathan Auerbach and “99 Brief Scenes from the End of the World” by T.W. Grim.”

The Nosleep Podcast is my favorite horror podcast by far.  The production is top-notch and the voice actors are amazing.  NoSleep has a free and a premium version.  The free version typically features the first three stories with an ad at the beginning of the episode.  The ad is acted out in horror fashion by the shows regular voice talent.  The premium version features an additional two stories, typically rounding out episodes to an hour and a half of content.  In addition, every season for premium subscribers features additional special episodes.  NoSleep also does tours where they do live shows across the US and Canada.  It’s definitely worth checking out!

 

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Pseudopod

http://pseudopod.org/

“You’ve found the world’s premier horror fiction podcast. For over a decade, Pseudopod has been bringing you the best short horror in audio form, to take with you anywhere. We pay our authors professional rates for original fiction and we reach more people every week than any other short fiction horror market.

In 2016 we celebrated our 10th Anniversary. For details, check out our YEAR10 page.

Are you new to Pseudopod? Don’t let our decade of content daunt you. We’ve assembled a list of stories that show the strength and diversity of our offerings. Check it out here (or at the “For New Listeners” link under “Episodes” on the bar above”

Pseudopod is an award-winning podcast that focuses on Sci-Fi and Horror.  Stories are user submitted and acted out by the podcasts voice actors.  Host Alasdair Stuart opens each story talking about the themes and meanings behind certain elements of the story.  The voice sometimes include recognized actors from TV shows and such.

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The Hidden Frequencies

https://thehiddenfrequenciespodcast.podbean.com/

“There are places in the dimension of sound where the walls between universes are thin. In these fragile pockets of static, lies the ability to hear the alternate realities of millions of maybe-people in countless could-be worlds; where the status quo is different from our own. With a keen ear and an open mind we may tune in to these sound waves of the strange, the bizarre and the otherworldly.

They are: The Hidden Frequencies.”

 

 

“The Hidden Frequencies Podcast was created to the great science-fiction/horror anthology shows that influenced a generation of American audiences: shows like The Twilight ZoneThe Outer LimitsX Minus 1Tales From the Dark SideTales from the Crypt and more.

Each episode of the show is a self-contained story: a journey to an alternate earth in an alternate time, where ordinary people must reckon with the extraordinary. Every week, The Frequencies reveal another strange, complex or horrifying world as created by skilled writers at the top of their game and brought to life by a star-studded cast of talented professional voice actors.”

 

Hidden Frequencies is AMAZING.  It’s a brand new podcasts, having debuted its first episode at the beginning of October.  It features some of the production team and voice actors of The NoSleep Podcast.  Having grown up on shows like the Twilight Zone and Tales from the Crypt, this podcast dredges up nostalgic feelings like no other.  Production is amazing.  It’s like a more horror themed version of Twilight Zone with all the weirdness and themes from the original.

-Andre

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Horror Podcasts Pt. 1

Just in time for Halloween I’ve decided to drop a few of my favorite horror themed podcasts for scary stories to keep the scares flowing!

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Knifepoint Horror

https://knifepointhorror.libsyn.com/

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The Drabblecast

https://www.drabblecast.org/

We are a weekly audio fiction podcast featuring short and flash fictions from a variety authors. Our singular focus is off-beat, funny, eclecticism in science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

The Drabblecast ran its first episode in February of 2007. In the early days, Norm and college friends and then editors Kendall Marchman and Luke Coddington wrote most of the episodes. But soon a listenership grew, and the Drabblecast began publishing stories contributed by its fans. Later, professional authors got involved. Names like Tim PrattMike ResnickBen H. Winters, and Mur Lafferty have appeared on the podcast.

The Drabblecast is the winner of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Parsec Awards for Best Speculative Fiction Audio Magazine.”

Drabblecast has amazing production and Norm is one of the best hosts I’ve ever heard.  Stories are typically user submitted and the team chooses which one to produce.  Drabblecast is returning from a long hiatus, bringing its first new story to life on Halloween.

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Lets Not Meet

http://www.letsnotmeetpodcast.com/

“Let’s Not Meet is a true horror podcast. These are stories of real encounters with creeps, murderers and psychos. Told in the form of a campfire narrative, Let’s Not Meet sets out to prove that real monsters are not that of fiction novels or horror films. The real monsters are the humans that walk among us every day of our lives.
The tales told in this podcast are from the Let’s Not Meet forum of reddit.com. Join Andrew Tate every Sunday for new episodes.”
I love Let’s Not Meet for the simple fact that the stories are real.  The  reality of the storeis adds an extra level of creepiness to it knowing that people exist like this in the world and you’re one unlucky instance away from running into them and having your own story to tell.
-Andre

Beyond the Gates

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Beyond the Gates is a 2016 horror adventure film.  Two brothers reunite to clean out their recently deceased fathers old VHS store.  In the midst of exploring the old building they find a board game that their father had played just before their father’s death.  Once they begin playing they find themselves host to the perils of horrors from the other side.

This movie was a chore to get through.  For the first half of the movie absolutely nothing happens.  Once the main characters put the game in even the lady in the game does nothing but stares at them from the TV for the most part.  I literally had a conversation about rice during this movie that was more entertaining than anything that was happening on the screen.  The acting is mediocre and awash with blank stares and facial expressions.  The best actor was probably the creepy curator guy but he was just overly cheesy.

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The story actually has a good premise, it’s basically trying to be the horror equivalent to Jumanji except if falls flat on its face attempting to emulate it.  The game itself is just dumb.  The characters have to collect four keys that the game inserts inside of a couple of people and then forces the main characters to remove them, killing the person.  So the game punishes random people for having the audacity to know the main characters but the main characters survive no problem.

This movie is boring and not worth your time.  The best thing going for it was that some of the special effects in the kills were pretty cool.  Other than that it’s not worth the hour and a half to sit through.

1/10

-Andre’

Annihilation Review

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Annihilation is a 2018 sci-fi/horror film about an unexplainable event called the “shimmer” taking place near the southern coast of the US.  After multiple investigations into the effected area yield no results, a team consisting of five women with various specialties is sent into the shimmer to find out its cause.  Inside they find horrors that challenge everything they’ve ever known about life.

Spoilers

Annihilation has a few good things going for it, but they’re undone by the bad parts.  The cast is excellent, the visuals are amazing, and the atmosphere is great.  For me though, the writing just wasn’t up to par with everything else.  The visuals in this movie look amazing.  The shimmer is being caused by a meteorite that crashed into the area.  As a result all surrounding life begins to be mutated, both plants and animals.  As explained by a member of the team, it has effects similar to a prism, except it refracts everything, including DNA.   This leads to some pretty great scenery and designs.  The group encounters strange sights ranging from an alligator with shark-like features to plants that take the shape of a human.  My favorite effect caused by the shimmer was the zombie bear that captured the voices of those it killed.  After it attacked one of the ladies, it lures the other women to it when it screams for help in her dying voice, tricking them into believing she’s still alive.   annihilation-2018-monster-bear-review-600x300

The weakest part of this movie was the writing.  Even though this is an unexplainable, alien event there’s a lot of things that happen that really make no sense.  There are far too many moments where common sense and logic are absent when these people are supposed to be smart, on paper.  Towards the beginning its shows that the military has been sending teams into the shimmer for a few years and none of them have ever returned.  So what do they do?  Continue to do the exact same thing for years, producing the same “results,” letting them learn nothing about this thing.  When Oscar Isaacs character is shown to be the only person who’s ever returned from the shimmer he begins to spasm and cough up blood hes quarantined immediately as his health starts to fail.  The very next group that gets sent into the shimmer goes in without so much as a dust mask on with only one having prior combat training.  Obviously something inside caused him to have that reaction just as something else claimed the lives of every group sent in before yet there’s no further preparation, not steps taken to do anything different to get results.

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Some of these girls are pretty dumb.  They have a paramedic among them and when the group sees a video from a previous group, they see a soldier with his insides squirming and moving under his skin as though his intestines are alive.  The paramedic says it’s just a trick of the light and everyone looks at her like she’s an idiot.  Another scene that makes you scratch your head is when the group is attacked by the mutated alligator at the edge of the swamp.  This is a giant alligator, roughly thirty feet, highly aggressive and really strong.  They manage to kill it, and the next scene shows them in tiny boats traveling through the swamp.  I guess they were taking the risk that was the only alligator in the entire area.  At night they hole up in a facility and station someone at a guard shack to keep watch.  The facility their sleeping in is a large tower and the guard shack is roughly three hundred feet from it.  So obviously the person in the guard shack gets attacked and killed and no one even sees what happened or what did it because it was so far away.

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The ending is…… it’s so weird that a description really cant’ do it any justice, but here goes.  Portman gets to the initial crash site of the meteor and finds Leigh there who vomits out a rainbow rock, which transforms into a humanoid shape.  This humanoid shape proves impervious to harm when Portman shoots at it, then it chases her culminating in a weird scene of mimicry and hugging before it turns into a copy of Portman.  The ending is left open-ended as to whether the person we see outside in the real world is actually Portman or the alien thing.

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Overall, this is a movie that had great potential but ultimately fell on its face.  I liked it for the fact that it’s the closet to a modern adaptation of one of my favorite stories, The Colour out of Space and its interesting to see such a similar concept on-screen.  Other than that, this movie is ultimately brought down by the poor writing and sheer dumbness of the plot.  Basically this movie is dumb and made no sense, but it was amazing to look at.

5/10

-Andre’

The Endless

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The Endless is a 2017 horror movie following two brothers a decade after they escaped what they described as a UFO death cult.  The two brothers struggle to adjust to a normal life.  Justin, the elder wants to continue to try and fit in while his younger brother Aaron longs to return to the cult where he had a sense of belonging.  Once they return they come to realize that things aren’t all lies and brainwashing as they’d previously believed.

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The Endless is a strange movie.  Its portrayed in a realistic way yet manages to portray this otherworldly weirdness at the same time.  The plot is unique, well written, and well paced.  The movie starts with more subtle strangeness, giving you the feeling that things aren’t right here then it escalates the weirdness as the movie progresses.  From the beginning you notice how Justin and Aaron look around the same age as everyone at the camp, despite them having been kids and everyone else adults when they left ten years ago.  We find out that the “leader” of the group rescued the two from a car crash that the boys lost their parents in years ago.  Once the movie hits the midpoint, that’s when whats really going on becomes more clear.  The camp is under watch by an ancient entity that can manipulate space and time.  This entity has trapped everyone in the vicinity in time bubbles that repeat ad nauseum.  Camp Arcadia is trapped in a bubble that repeats every ten years, ending with the entity consuming them only to bring them back to repeat the cycle over again.  As such the camp members don’t actually worship the entity as a cult would, they realize that they’re trapped there and they accept it as they try to live as best as they can, forever.

The acting is done surprisingly well for a low-budget indie film.  None of the actors are even b-listers but they play their roles well.  My favorite was Carl, he provides more of a comedy relief aspect because he’s so over being this entities plaything.  He’s constantly agitated and yelling off in the distance at the entity how much he hates it, only for the entity to make things worse for him.  He was crazy before being trapped by the entity, and hes even worse after, but hes funny.

I really like the portrayal of cosmic horror in this movie.  The characters try their hardest to overcome something they have no idea how to understand.  They’ve been at it for decades yet nothings changed for them.  Everyone struggles to live their lives while realizing that they’re mere playthings for this unknown entity that has them in an eternal prison.  We’re led to believe that the two brothers manage to escape before the time loop resets, trapping them in Camp Arcadia, but there’s subtle things in the film that would lead to other conclusions.

Overall, The Endless albeit a low-budget indie film is actually a pretty good horror movie.  I find myself enjoying the indie horror movies a lot more than the big studio productions.  The Endless does its own thing and builds off of its own ideas to make it a unique film.  It’s a weird movie, but in a good way.  I can’t wait to see what the director puts out for the third installation of this series.

8/10

-Andre

Mandy Review

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Mandy is a 2018 action/horror film starring Nic Cage and Andrea Riseborough.  Nic Cage is Red, a logger living in the wilderness with Riseborough who plays Mandy.  They live a good life until one day Mandy catches the eye of a psychotic cult leader, setting in motion a gruesome revenge story as Red rampages through the cult.

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The acting in Mandy is excellent.  There are no cheesy or over the top performances in this one.  My favorite performances are those of Cage and Roache, who plays the cult leader Jeremiah Sand.  Cage delivers a solid performance as he portrays a broken man consumed by a hunger for revenge as he slaughters hellish demon bikers and crazed cult members to avenge his wife Mandy.  There was one scene that takes place in a bathroom that can best be summed up as “classic cage.”  Roache on the opposite end portrays Sand as a manipulative, psychotic fanatic who I’m pretty sure is on LSD the entire time.  He manages to control everyone under him through intense psychological manipulation to the point where they would die for him or sacrifice each other at his will.  He’s also a failed musician who doesn’t take too kindly to criticism, hence his reaction to Mandy laughing when he plays his music as he tries to impress her.

The presentation of the movie is excellent.  Sound is slowed down, distorted and manipulated to help lend to the sinister feel of the person speaking or the events taking place.  For some characters their speech comes off as though they were underwater or as if it were coming from all around you.  The cinematography of this movie is amazing.  Scenes look like something painted by a skilled artist.  The use of color and combined with blackness in certain scenes gives more of a feel for whats going on rather than the actual spoken lines.  The movie also uses good-looking psychedelic animation when showing what a character is dreaming about.  This movie is all over the place artistically but in a good way.

The story is a fairly predictable revenge movie.  Red violently carves his way though all obstacles to get revenge on the man responsible for Mandys death.  There were a couple of more unique parts to the story though.  For instance, the biker gang that kidnapped them for the Sand.  They were supposed to be demons I guess.  They looked like cenobites from Hellraiser and I wish there had been a bit more focus on them as they were pretty interesting.  The movie also had an amazing fight scene with two guys battling it out with chainsaws of all things.  Also towards the end we see imagery indicating that the events occurring aren’t taking place on earth.  Perhaps Red died or he’s hallucinating everything taking place, we did see him use LSD earlier in the movie.

Overall Mandy is a great movie, for certain people.  Its one of those rare really artsy horror films that’s an homage to eighties b-movies.  The story is a predictable revenge flick, there’s nothing surprising about it but the way its told is what makes it special.  The unoriginal story is more than made up for by excellent production and great acting.  Mandy is one of the best horror movies released this year and it’s definitely worth a watch.

9/10

-Andre

Kanopy

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Announced last month here, the library now offers Kanopy as one of our streaming options! Today I will be taking a look at this new and exciting service along with a few recommendations. Kanopy is a video streaming service specifically for both university and public libraries. Unlike Netflix and Hulu that focus on popular titles, Kanopy is geared towards Independent, foreign, and foreign films as well documentaries.  The service supports desktop and mobile viewing through its free application. Similar to Hoopla, users are only allowed to watch a certain number of movies per month (8). While this may be unfair to shorter titles (like the highly acclaimed animated short Coda which is only 9 minutes), the breath of options available more than makes up for it. Just learn to spend your monthly credits wisely. One notable highlight is that it carries much of the Criterion Collection, filled with such classics as Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’avventura. Here are a few films that are currently popular and show off the options available across many genre:

 

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Independent – Loving Vincent

“In the first fully painted feature film, 2018 Oscar-nominated LOVING VINCENT tells the story of the mysterious and tragic death of the world’s most famous artist, Vincent van Gogh. Featuring the voices of Saoirse Ronan and Chris O’Dowd.

Nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2018 Academy Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, and the BAFTA Awards.”

 

 

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Horror – My Friend Dahmer

“Former Disney star Ross Lynch stars as the awkward, adolescent Jeffrey Dahmer – before he became one of America’s most infamous serial killers. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel, this is the haunting, sad, funny, true story of Dahmer in high school. Also featuring Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men) and Anne Heche (Psycho, Wag the Dog).

Official Selection at the Tribeca Film Festival. Winner of Best Picture at Austin Fantastic Fest.”

 

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 War & Action – Oldboy

“Oh Dae-su is an ordinary Seoul businessman with a wife and young daughter who, after a drunken night on the town, is locked up in a strange, private “prison” for 15 years. No one tells him why he’s there or who his jailer is but he is kept in reasonably comfortable quarters and has a T.V. to keep him company.

While watching T.V., he discovers that he has been framed for his wife’s murder, and during one of the occasions when he’s knocked out by gas, someone has drawn blood from him and left it at the scene of the crime. The imprisonment lasts for 15 years until one day, when Dae-su finds himself unexpectedly deposited on a grass-covered high-rise roof. He’s determined to discover the mysterious enemy who had him locked up for all those years. While he’s eating in a Japanese restaurant, his cell phone rings and a voice dares him to figure out why he was imprisoned…

Winner of the Grand Prize of the Jury and Nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2004”

I chose to watch They Call Me Jeeg (Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot) from director Gabriele Mainetti.

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“Enzo, an ex-con from the poor outskirts of Rome, puts his newfound superpowers to use furthering his career as a delinquent, a fact which makes the local crime bosses far from happy.

When he falls in love with Alessia, an unstable girl who brightens her dark world with elements from a Japanese anime, Jeeg, Enzo learns the value of helping others. But what price must he pay to become a hero?

Nominated for Best European Feature at the Fantasia Film Festival. Official Selection at Fantastic Fest.”

Released in 2016, this Italian black comedy/superhero film portrays a “man of steel” who is a far cry from Superman as he bashes, breaks, and steals his way to fortune and accidental fame on Youtube.  Similar to Kick-ass, the the main character is a sorry excuse of a hero (there is one scene that may make you lose sympathy for him completely) and he doesn’t earn his mask until the last half hour of the film when he faces off against a similarly powered villain in a cliché, but appropriate final conflict. Still, the deeply flawed but enjoyable cast leads to many very entertaining scenes of suffering, personal growth, and comic ultra violence. Unless you grew up in Italy in the 70s, most references to the eponymous show will go over your head, but the contrast to the general idea of a superhero is used to great effect. If you liked Deadpool or Super, check this film out on Kanopy.

-Jay