Tag: Grim & Mild

This ol’ Blumhouse

Production company – Grim & Mild/ Blumhouse

Rating –

This was probably my first introduction to Aaron Mahnke podcasts when the first series came out two years ago. Almost immediately though, I also found Haunted Road, and realised that there were some pretty big shows in the Grim & Mild camp. Series two was last year, and season 3 is scheduled for this year. It’ll be interesting to see where they go. The title of this series is also apt for this time of year, so it gets slotted in nicely here.

So what’s it about?

13 Days Of Halloween is a horror anthology podcast, with each season being completely different to the last so I think to make life easier, I’ll break this up into two parts.

Season 1 is an Amicus style portmanteau story that sees a voiceless stranger (possibly meant to be you, the listener?) “You” arrive at the sprawling and spooky Hawthorne Manor. You are met at the gate by The Caretaker, played by the outstanding Keegan-Michael Key. A talented actor, you may recognise him from the sketch show Key and Peele, or from his film roles. The caretaker guides you round the house where you meet the residents. Each episode takes place in a different room. Are the people you meet there real, or ghosts, or figments of your imagination?

The story unfolds like a puzzle as the motivation of the caretaker becomes apparent. But what will be the outcome? The many threads of the present weave with the many elements of backstory to create a very expansive universe and a gripping story indeed.

Season 2 takes a different path. This is more like a regular horror series. The main character now has a voice, and the setting has changed (and expanded) to encompass a whole town. In this case, the wonderfully named Direbrook, a sleepy fishing village in New England.

This has more of a folk horror/Lovecraftian feel, the quaintness of the setting offset somewhat by the strange greetings used by the locals and the veiled warnings to the main character. I said this was more folk horror, and like Midommar or The Wicker man, you have a feeling early on that there will be a sinister climax to it all.

A nameless woman regains consciousness on a beach, and is found by an older woman and local, known as “Mother”. As the series progresses, this duo explore the town and amongst the standalone stories (as in series 1) are clues that reveal the identity and reason for the unnamed woman to be here. The Lovecraftian elements develop quite early on, with similarities to stories like The Shadow Over Insmouth, and even films like In The Mouth Of Madness.

Is it any good?

Season 1 was very good in its own way. As I said earlier, it is reminiscent of the 70s movies by Amicus, in particular it reminds me of the film Asylum. Keegan Michael-Key is his usual eccentric self, and seems to be channeling Tim Curry from Clue. This in itself is no bad thing, although it does grate a bit during the higher camp moments.

Season 2 is certainly bigger, although maybe not better. As I said, the protagonist now has a voice. This is something that seems a tad redundant, because she hardly ever says a word. As in season 1, the protagonist is guided through the story, this time by the mysterious “Mother”.

I’m currently listening to this season again, because despite finishing it relatively recently, I can’t actually remember anything about it past episode 2. I think that says a lot about this show, which is a shame.

Final thoughts

This is something of a mixed bag. Having the production clout of Blumhouse and Grim & Mild sets this head and shoulders above lower budget productions, but ultimately this is a show that leaves me wanting. On paper this should be my ultimate podcast, one that would have my “brain” rating increase to 6 or 7, but it misses the mark somehow.

Now that season 3 is almost halfway through, I’ll give it a go. Hopefully third time’s a charm.

You can get 13 days of Halloween here:

https://www.grimandmild.com/13days

Or wherever you get your podcasts

Beware of the owl

Bridgewater review

Production company – Grim & Mild

Rating –

Bridgewater logo

I am currently revisiting this series after a long time. I’ve listened to so many podcasts in the meantime though, for the sake of this review I felt that a “refresher” was needed. Does this mean that the series isn’t memorable? Somewhat, but read on and I’ll explain in more detail (now that I can remember the story!)

So what’s it about?

Folklore lecturer Jeremy Bradshaw has built his reputation on depth of knowledge and extreme sceptical attitude. He teaches in his hometown, a sleepy backwater called Bridgewater. This is a place that has a somewhat notorious reputation though. The locals call it “The Bridgewater Triangle” owing to the number of strange phenomena and disappearances in the area. So I guess the term “sleepy backwater” isn’t such a good one eh?

During a lecture, one of the students starts asking about Jeremy’s father, the town sheriff, who had disappeared 30 years previously. Apparently a sheriff’s badge has recently been found in the area where he vanished, this is news to Jeremy who hasnt been informed of the discovery. Initially he suspects this to be some strange and cruel prank. When he sees the badge, it is like new, certainly not like something that should have been in a swamp for decades. And so the adventure begins.

As the clues are revealed and fitted together, they uncover strange pagan cults, ancient folklore, strange creatures and voices from beyond the grave. His friends either wittingly or unwittingly put themselves in great danger as they try to discover what really happened to his father all those years ago. As the story progresses, Jeremy has not only his faith, but his grip on reality tested.

Is it any good?

Yes. I listen to an awful lot of shows like this, that vary wildly in quality. Thankfully, this is one of the good ones. The voice acting is very good and the characters are all interesting and likeable (even the ones who aren’t supposed to be!)

The more eagle eared among you will recognise Vipin’s voice as that of Karan Soni, who also voices Jeet, the ever alert intern and superfan of Terry Carnation. Also appearing is Will Wheaton as (the quite frankly ridiculously named) Captain Haddock. I remember Wheaton as the fresh faced Wesley Crusher from Star Trek TNG. To be honest, if you didn’t tell me that he was in this I’d never have known.

Aside from the actors, this is a very good audio drama. It’s a nice twist on folk horror without trying too hard. The production values are high enough that there are no cringy sound effects or outdoor monologues that were obviously recorded indoors. Those things appear more often than you’d think and they are a real mood killer.

Some of the characters verge on the cliché. Not just Vipin who seems to be playing Jeet again, actually that should be the other way round, but I’m sure you understand. There is the skeptical lecturer with a dark past, the plucky assistant and the hard boiled ex-cop who has seen it all before. Despite this, they avoid scenery chewing too much and it won’t get in the way of your enjoyment too much (unlike the cast of The White Vault, for example).

Final thoughts

This is a good, solid audio drama. A good paranormal yarn set in the modern day with enough suspense to make sure you listen to “just one more”, before you realise you’ve binged the whole thing. Are there better shows out there? Of course, but there are a whole lot worse to be found. Not only that, but there are worse that regularly get recommended to people.

Do yourself a favour and subscribe. I think you’ll like it a lot.

You can find Bridgewater here:

https://www.grimandmild.com/bridgewater

Or wherever you get your podcasts.

© 2023 THE PODCAST GEEK

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑