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

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.

ENDING

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’

A Quiet Place Review

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A Quiet place is a 2018 sci-fi/horror  movie starring John Krasinski and Emily Blunt.  The film is about a post apocalyptic world in which blind aliens that hunt by sound have managed to effectively destroy human civilization.  The story follows a family of five as they struggle to stay silent and avoid the monsters roaming around them.

Spoilers

A Quiet Place is a movie that thrives off of the dark tone that it sets.  Within the first few minutes of the movie we see the youngest kid get killed as he activates a toy rocket whose noise immediately draws a monster to him.  This sets a somber tone for the film as it shows just how vulnerable and how quick things can go bad for them.  After the youngest child’s death we see how each family member blames themselves for it in their own way.  The parents struggle to prepare the remaining two children for survival in this hostile world while preparing to give birth to a baby and the danger that would immediately place them in.

The atmosphere and use of silence in this movie is extremely effective.  For the most part you only hear the sounds of the wind blowing and rustling trees or the sand shifting under footsteps.   The family is alone, and they are trapped.  The father works in the basement of the house attempting to establish contact with governments from various other countries but hears nothing.  All along the walls around him are newspaper clippings giving small glimpses of what led to the current predicament of the world.   There’s personal notes he has indicating that there are three creatures in the area, information documenting how they hunt, and his search for any weaknesses they might have.

This film uses great attention to detail to show how the family survives day to day in a silent world.  Early on when the family is scavenging through a store for supplies we see that they all use sign language to communicate, Krasinski and Blunts acting shines during these scenes since the only way they can convey emotion is through their body language and facial expressions.  The entire family travels barefoot all the time on paths that they’ve made by laying sand on the ground.  They lay sand through the grass, on concrete, an on the bridge that they cross.  There’s even tiny details like when they’re scavenging the store, from the appearance of it, its been scavenged quite a few times yet there is an entire section of unopened bags of chips that remains untouched as the noise would draw monsters.

Although this film is great in many other areas, there were a few plot inconsistencies and unrealistically dumb decisions made by the characters that subtract from the movie in my opinion.  For example, the monsters hearing tends to fluctuate.  In one instance we see them come from however far away they were to kill raccoons that were squeaking, yet in other scenes when a character is a few feet from them they don’t react to heavy breathing or a heartbeat.  The monsters also don’t react to each others sounds.  You’d think if one monster went tearing through the woods to hunt down the source of the sound it just heard that other monsters would be attracted to the first monsters sounds but that doesn’t happen.  There’s also another instance of inconsistency where a creature rips through a grain silo as though it were made out of tissue, yet the same creature has difficulty trying to get into a car.  Perhaps the biggest plot issue of all is that these creatures managed to topple every government and kill everyone.  From the fathers notes and the news clippings its stated that they’re completely bullet proof because they have armor yet towards the end one of the creatures is killed when shot in the head with a shotgun.  Granted it’s head flap things were open because it was listening, but through the whole movie we see that they constantly open these things when they’re hunting.  During their takeover of the earth, at some point, someone had to have shot one of them in the head and realized that they’re vulnerable when they’re listening, which is what they’re constantly doing.  I just have a hard time believing that creatures that cant rip through a car and die from getting shot in the head can kill off most of humanity.

Then there are the decisions that make no sense.  When the kid is killed off at the beginning of the movie, its because he’s trailing behind the family and no one sees that he has the toy.  Why would you leave your youngest child to bring up the rear when there are monsters that hunt by sound running around you?  Towards the end of the movie the father is killed by a monster when he screams to draw its attention away from his kids trapped in a car by it.  The father was shown to easily be the smartest character in the movie, when the monster was going after his kids, they weren’t making any noise in the car, the slightest distraction would’ve drawn its attention away.  The movie shows them stop to go after white noise on a TV, or a ticking egg timer before it even goes off.  The guy could’ve thrown the ax he was holding off into the cornfield as a distraction without getting himself killed.

Overall I was a fan of this movie.  The acting from the two leads was great, the atmosphere and the tone really draw you into the movie.  If not for the inconsistencies I would rank A Quiet Place as one of my favorites.

7/10

-Andre

Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies

With each new year, the date is starting to resemble those in Science fiction movies. Our reality is close to those futuristic ideas in classic novels.  In honor of that fact, here’s a list of my top Sci-Fi movies.

*Note: Quotes taken from IMBD.

1. Event Horizon (1997) “A rescue crew investigates a spaceship that disappeared into a black hole and has now returned…with someone or something new on-board.”

2. Aliens (1986) “The planet from Alien has been colonized, but contact is lost. This time, the rescue team has impressive firepower, but will it be enough?” Aliens designed by H.R. Giger. Oscar Winning film.

3. Pandorum (2009) “A pair of crew members aboard a spaceship wake up with no knowledge of their mission or their identities.”

4. Sunshine (2007) “A team of astronauts are sent to re-ignite the dying sun 50 years into the future.”

5. Minority Report (2002) “In the future, criminals are caught before the crimes they commit, but one of the officers in the special unit is accused of one such crime and sets out to prove his innocence.” Oscar Nominee.

6. Abyss (1989)”A civilian diving team are enlisted to search for a lost nuclear submarine and face danger while encountering an alien aquatic species.” Oscar Winner.

7. Star Wars – All of them. Episode IV: A New Hope (1977) Won 6 Oscars.

8. Terminator (1984) &  Terminator 2 : Judgement Day (1991) “The cyborg who once tried to kill Sarah Connor must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from an even more powerful and advanced Terminator.” Won 4 Oscars.

9. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) One of my favorite movies of all time. How far would you go to get over a relationship? Would you erase the memory of that person? Won an Oscar.

10.  Matrix (1999) “A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.” Won 4 Oscars.

Want more? Check out this great post of the Top 40 Greatest Science-Fiction Films or IMDB’s Best/Worst Sci-Fi Titles.

Leave your favorites in the comments!

-Sabrina

Who? That’s Who!!

William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Christopher Eccelston, David Tennant and Matt Smith…. who are these people? They are a long list of actors who have played everyone’s favorite time traveler, The Doctor, known to fans as Doctor Who! I first caught this show about 25 years ago, on Channel 11, Sunday nights at 11pm. I lost plenty of sleep waiting to see how “The Doctor saves the universe!” Doctor Who first started on November 23, 1963, on BBC television in England. It ran until the mid 80s, when it was canceled. There was a TV movie in 1996 and then the show was revived in 2005 and is currently still on the air. The BBC official site is a great place to get information on the new series as well as the older series, spoilers, news and even some fun and games. One Christmas they had an Advent calendar posted! The revival of the series has brought in so many new fans and delighted fans of old. It has always been part of pop culture in England and its wonderful to see it catching on here again!

The first Doctor (we never find out his real name) was a mysterious, curmudgeonly old gentleman who lived in a “blue police call box” with his Granddaughter, Susan, in an old junkyard. Susan’s school teacher’s were curious as to how this 16-year-old girl was so intelligent, so above the norm, that they went to see where she lived. What followed was both Ian and Barbara, the teachers, finding out the police box was actually a TARDIS(Time and Relative Dimension in Space), a time machine and spaceship used by The Doctor. Oh and it was bigger on the inside then on the outside! All four ended up travelling in time and space, encountering many aliens and eventually the evil Daleks, the Doctor’s archenemies. At some point, Susan stays behind on a future earth, and it is revealed The Doctor is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. Time Lords are an alien race that can travel through and manipulate time with their vastly superior technology. The Doctor, it turns out, grabbed a “TARDIS” and left the planet to pursue his own adventures. TARDIS’s can be “cloaked” to resemble everyday items. The Doctor’s TARDIS, being old, got stuck as a 1960s Police call box.

When the Doctor Who actor, William Hartnell,took very ill, the writers had to do something. Did the show need to end? What could be done? Bring in a new actor! How to explain it? Time Lords “regenerate”! When they are nearly mortally wounded, they change! Each regeneration brings a new look and personality to The Doctor. Many of us remember the fourth Doctor and his long, long scarf, that the fifth Doctor promptly unraveled when he appeared! Regeneration are not easy, in a sense the Doctor does “die” and is replaced by someone else. He is the same basic man, but what made one Doctor stand out, is now gone. The last Doctor to regenerate, stated “I don’t want to go”. It’s sad to see one Doctor leaving but then you get excited by the “new” one. The Doctor is also a bit “wobbly” right after a regeneration and needs a bit of time to get back on his feet. There is also the chance a regeneration might not look human.

He has spent a lot of time on Earth, was even stranded here for a bit and worked with UNIT (United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) that was assembled to protect the Earth from alien threats. He has also had some wonderful companions. My two favorites are the Brigadier and Sarah Jane Smith. Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart was a no-nonsense man, who commandeered the British contingent of UNIT. He had frequent run ins with the Doctor but in the end became one of his closest friends. He is also one of the few companions to appear with almost all of the Doctor’s regenerations and is the longest running Doctor Who character (by the same actor of course). Sarah Jane Smith is a reporter who infiltrates UNIT, sneaks aboard the TARDIS and becomes embroiled in an adventure set in the Middle Ages. She works with the third Doctor and then the fourth. She is confident and inquisitive and first and foremost a feminist! This was the 70s afterall! The Sarah Jane character was brought back for the tenth Doctor series and now has her own series “The Sarah Jane Adventures” where she helps save the Earth.

There are also some great aliens, some good some bad. The most famous are the Daleks, created by the evil Davros, mutants in tank like mechanical armor, who chase enemies with shouts of “Exterminate!!”. A close second are the Cybermen, robotic creatures created from humans who no longer have emotions, who it turns out can be killed with gold. There are many other enemies from the Silurians to the Loch Ness Monster. There are some good aliens, some have traveled with the Doctor, Leela, Captain Jack (who is in the Torchwood spin-off) and Nyssa are some examples. And of course as Sherlock Holmes has his Moriarity, the Doctor needs his adversary. Enter the Master. The Doctor and the Master, also a Time Lord, grew up on Gallifrey and were childhood friends. They are equals but complete opposites. The only person in a room that can match the Doctor’s brilliance is another one of his kind, and that is usually the Master. After the great time war with the Daleks, the Doctor, finding out the Master is the only one left of his race, tries to save him. Only the Master knows what its like to be alone.

A great web page to check out is A Brief History of Time (Travel), that in addition to Doctor Who history has news on the aforementioned Sarah Jane Adventures and Torchwood. There are also numerous Doctor Who books from TV novelizations, to missing adventures to the “lost years”, as well as audio recordings, for a complete listing try The Doctor Who Reference Guide. Of course through the years there have been Doctor Who toys (we own a remote control Dalek that shouts “Exterminate!”), clothing (many people hand knit Tom Baker scarves in the 80s) and then there were the conventions. I never went to one but I do have a picture of Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor) that my friend took, along with an autograph! Conventions not only had past Doctors but companions, enemies, show writers, costume designers and so on. There was even a Doctor Who song by the band The Time Lords with shouts of “Exterminate” in the chorus.

So what does the Doctor Who future hold? We just lost our tenth Doctor, David Tennant, who has regenerated (saving the Universe yet again!) and is now being played by Matt Smith. What kind of Doctor will the 11th Doctor be? What is going on with the TARDIS? Who will he travel with? What aliens will he battle? When will he have is inevitable Dalek story? So many questions! Of course fans speculate, insiders share and many spoilers abound. A great fan blog is Life, Doctor Who and Combom with all of those. Things can get a bid rabid, afterall, we love out Doctor, but it is chock full of great information for those just getting into the show or people like me, who have watched it for years. Sometimes, I think I know more about the Doctor then I really should!

The Doctor, I hope, will always be around. I love the character. Bless his two hearts. I can’t imagine life with no Doctor Who. The show is great fun! As he marches into his 47th year, I wish him many regenerations (past the 13 allotted a Time Lord). He is looking good for 906! Keep up the good work!

-Christine J.