Tag: Imperative Entertainment

The Devil in the details

Deviltown review

Production company – Imperative Entertainment

Rating –

Deviltown logo

As I mentioned in my review of Hoaxed, there seems to have been rather a glut of “satanic panic” podcasts recently. I’m not too sure why. The latest of these to make it to my review list is Deviltown. I’ll be honest, I subscribed just because of the cool name before I even read the synopsis. This series is set in small town America, a seemingly endless source for crime podcasts. The chosen, sleepy community here is Gilmer, Texas.

As I said, there are plenty of incredible true crime podcasts set in small town America. Particularly The Piketon Massacre, which I will be reviewing in due course, but that is for another day.

So what’s it about?

The series is essentially two stories. It starts with reports of the disappearance of local girl Kelly Wilson. She vanished after finishing her shift at a video store, seemingly into thin air. As the investigation kicks off, one family is singled out, an arrest is made quite quickly, and the children come forward telling tales of ritual abuse, cannibalism and dark sacrificial rites in the forest. This secret cabal includes local police and politicians. I mean, they always do, don’t they?

As news of these atrocities spreads, the details become more and more outlandish. I will spare you descriptions, not because they are horrific, but because they are ridiculous and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. I guarantee though, that when you get to that point, you’ll wonder why the investigation wasn’t immediately stopped and the affected parties released.

After the allegations were revealed to be ridiculous works of fiction, and the families were allowed to try and rebuild their lives, one question remained. What exactly did happen to Kelly Wilson?

This is where the second, less fantastic story starts. 

Is it any good?

It’s certainly a gripping series. Whilst my tone may be rather glib at the wild tales told by the children, there is definitely a very real case of abuse here. Unfortunately (probably the wrong word to use there), it isn’t at the hands of some mysterious group of satanists, but rather the people charged with looking after them in the care home. The way they were coerced is absolutely shocking and is the real horror story at the heart of this investigation. The damage done to that family when they should have been looking for a murderer is a real travesty.

Final thoughts

I don’t think I will ever get bored of learning how adults in positions of authority get completely fooled by stories of devil worship. I absolutely understand that children’s confessions should be taken with total seriousness in most cases. They should however, be used to start a proper, forensic investigation where the facts can be established.

These are modern stories, not some centuries old witch hunts. The ability is there to find even tiny traces of blood in murder scenes. Nowadays (and I use that term to include the last 3 decades) surely an eyebrow would be raised at some parts of this story? Or maybe that’s why I’m not a policeman.

At this point in the blog post, I would ordinarily link to the podcast or production company website with a helpful link to the episodes. Unfortunately, Imperative entertainment and the podcast dont seem to actually have any online presence. I guess you’ll just have to hope that your podcatcher of choice has it (I’m sure it will)

Corrido’s of power

Standoff review

Production Company – Imperative Entertainment

Rating –

Standoff Logo

This is yet another recommendation from a friend, thanks Matt (you were right!) I managed to get through this whole thing in two days. It would have been a whole lot less. With the current shenanigans in Westminster though, I’m spending almost as much time listening to political commentary as I am listening to podcasts. But I digress….

So what’s it about?

In 1974 the Huntsville Prison in Texas was the home of cocaine and heroin kingpin Federico Gomez Carrasco. After a dramatic shootout at a small town motel (following on from a previous prison break), he was incarcerated and sentenced. This was something that Carrasco was not prepared to accept however. With the help of some accomplices, he prepared once more to escape.

The group of inmates took hostages and holed up in the impenetrable prison library. Over the next 11 days Carrasco and the prison authorities negotiated for Carrasco to flee the country in an armoured car. Needless to say, despite Carrasco’s gang taking all eventualities into account, A1 things didn’t go according to plan.

Is it any good?

Absolutely. I’m becoming quite a fan of true crime podcasts, and this one really has a twist. Most series you hear will be told from the perspective of hindsight. The parties concerned will tell their stories in the usual fashion. What sets this apart from the rest though, is the sheer amount of recorded footage from the actual event. Carrasco allowed the hostages to use the phone to speak to their families, and he was on the phone to his attorney and the prison officials, and everything was recorded.

When being told a story, there is usually a disconnect from the raw emotion. Time, as they say, is a great healer. These events are no doubt still harrowing to recall, but the people concerned have no doubt told their stories many times and it shows (or whatever the audio equivalent of that is). The fact that a great portion of this is actual footage from the time really adds an emotional weight to the story. Most of the time they make small talk with their families and make plans for when this is over. The producers don’t shy away from playing the calls that truly convey the terror of the situation though. This is the unique thing about this series.

Federico Carrasco has become something of a folk hero apparently. There are stories here that will give him a kind of Robin Hood mystique. There are even parts of this series when you almost root for the plucky little Mexican, standing up to The Man™. As the series progresses though, these moments are fewer and fewer. Ultimately you accept he was a killer, and he wasn’t fussy about who he killed.

The episodes are broken up with Mexican “corrido’s” (see i didn’t spell the title wrong!). Theae are folk ballads from the time telling Carrasco’s story. They are plaintive and solemn, and I know just enough Spanish to get the gist of the lyrics, although they are explained by the narrator. These songs were being released almost daily as the siege went on, not to glamorise the events (although they certainly do), but more as a “news update” for the cantinas and Spanish radio stations. The musicians would listen to the news, write and record the songs and broadcast them. The more popular ones would get pressed to vinyl and released to the bars for their jukeboxes.

Final thoughts

I can’t recommend this series enough really. It was compelling and heartbreaking in almost equal measure. It’s 10 episodes that you’ll fly through in no time.

As I said previously there is always a part of society that will glamorise the criminal. They add some romance to the crimes, whilst glossing over the gorier elements of their past. There is not much chance of that here though. By the end the events have taken a very dark turn indeed, and there is no way you’ll forget the events of the final night.

You can get Standoff here:


Or wherever you get your podcasts.


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