This is a podcast that I had talked about in the past, but never listened to. After hearing a particular episode mentioned on the Monsterfuzz podcast, I decided to check it out. What I wasn’t expecting was to find a series that dates back over 8 years, and clocking in at nearly 900 episodes!
I was expecting the rather usual fare of paranormal/true crime/gruesome history kind of podcast. To say this show caught me off guard was an understatement, but read on and I’ll explain my difficulty in rating this show.
So what’s it about?
The Last Podcast On The Left examines the dark side of life. From serial killers, war, folklore, the paranormal, pretty much any gory, scary or messed up subject has been analysed at least once over the last 8 years.
The hosts Marcus Parks, Ben Kissel and Henry Zebrowski vary in their depth of knowledge, and so each episode they get to learn about things at the same time as you do. Well, sometimes they do. They usually end up making jokes and some incredibly bad taste comments about the subject matter. This will be the dividing line for the listener. Either you will laugh along with the guys and let the last shred of humanity slough off your heart like ash, or you will turn it off and burn your headphones and electronic devices lest they have become tainted by what is quite obviously “The Devil’s Work”.
Is it any good?
Here’s where it gets difficult. In searching for the epsiode mentioned in Monsterfuzz, the first episode I listened to was about Japanese war crimes in WWII. To say that this series is in poor taste is something of an understatement. Having said that, I did find it very funny. I like dark humour, and this show has that in spades.
As they discuss the chosen topic, there are some gaps in their knowledge, and some things they just get wrong. I suspect this is more to do with misremembering rather than actual ignorance of the facts. They do have a wide range of knowledge, and I get the impression that this show is almost totally improvised. Thankfully Google is on hand to help clarify some matters.
The delivery of the episodes can only be described as “frenetic”. The hosts are so hyped up, a lot of the time there are interruptions and talking over each other. This can make things difficult to understand on occasion, but if there are any bits you miss, rest assured it will be a rather coarse joke rather than some nugget of new knowledge.
It seems that most podcasts now have trigger warnings at the outset for various things that would upset people. There’s none for this show though. To list the trigger warnings would literally take up more run time than the show itself.
This show gets three brains because most people with a moral compass would feel nothing but disgust at the humour here. My god has forsaken me though, and there have been some genuinely funny moments (if you find this stuff funny).
In short, I would personally give it 5 brains, but you need to be sure you want to listen to a show like this first. It isn’t for the faint of heart.
Seeing as Halloween is almost upon us, it would be remiss of me to not have another spooky podcast to review. This month seems to have been taken up with more earthly concerns so far. Well that, and the slew of advance episodes for release day reviews that I’ve been inundated with. Not any more though! To round October off I have my review of The Foxes Of Hydesville.
So what’s it about?
The Foxes Of Hydesville is a rather imaginative (and loose) retelling of the story of the Fox sisters. The siblings who literally kick started the spiritualism craze in 19th century America.
The story follows the abrasive, sarcastic and foul mouthed Leah Fox as she travels to rural New York State to investigate allegations of her sisters living in “The Spook House”. Leah and her friend Adelaide rescue her now notorious sisters Maggie and Kate and flee to the city.
Once there they gain even more notoriety, mostly due to Leah’s contacts, and Maggie and Kate’s strange ability to gain information about people from the dead.
Is it any good?
There are pros and cons with this series. The sound design is brilliant, and the more dramatic events in the first episode or two are very well done. As is the voice acting. There are no dodgy accents here, and no wooden acting either.
Nine episodes is probably the perfect length for any series, it’s enough space to develop the characters and storyline, but short enough not to pad things out and digress too much. As has been the case recently, I managed to get through the whole thing in a day.
Now for the cons.
I can see why this is so popular, but it fell somewhat flat for me. There is very little of the actual Fox sisters in this story. It seems like the whole story is an excuse for Leah Fox to swear at old men. Actually, it’s an excuse for Leah Fox to swear at anyone really.
While her choice of language and forthright attitude may be intended as “empowering”, she just comes across as a bit of a twat. I apologise for my turn of phrase, but I can’t think of any other way to say it that would do it justice (and I did try, I promise).
I’m not sure what to make of this show really. It’s not funny enough to be a comedy podcast, and while the more dramatic supernatural events are certainly cinematic, they are not truly scary.
This series just seems like a missed opportunity. The story is written from the perspective of the sisters actually having mediumistic skills (despite deathbed confessions that it was all a hoax). I wonder why then, didn’t they either tell the story like that, as a straight spooky story, or play it knowing that it was all a con. Maybe it’s just me. I’m sure that Leah would have some rather robust assessment of my intelligence and parentage.
This series gets three brains because of the quality of the cast and the sound design. It would have been a two brain show otherwise.
It would have been nice to have devoted October solely to horror podcasts. Maybe I’ll clear my schedule next year and we’ll have four spooky reviews (or five, depending on how the Sundays land).
People have hunted monsters since the days of “here be dragons” appearing on the edges of maps. I can’t say I blame them, the field of cryptozoology is a fascinating one, depending on your worldview. Of all the strange beasties said to lurk around the world, there are two that surely stand head and shoulders over the rest. This is about the other one (I mean, you can see that from the title).
So what’s it about?
Andrew Benfield has been on a mission for decades. After reading a book about the Yeti (should that be capitalised?), he decided that he was going to be the one to discover it. Since then he has travelled all over the Himalayas in search of the elusive cryptid. The term “Yeti” is far from a catch all term. The area is so vast, and the descriptions are so varied, that if you ask the wrong question you could never find what you’re looking for. Most cases don’t involve giant bipeds with shaggy white hair wandering the snowy mountain peaks. A lot of these new sightings are in remote woodland areas, and the creatures themselves are more like brown haired apes, albeit seemingly with greater intelligence.
His latest expedition sees him teaming up with close friend (and sceptic) Richard Horsey, as they head off to the remotest areas of the Himalaya to investigate modern sightings of the Yeti. These aren’t just reports of distant, indistinct shapes though. There are stories of Yeti chasing people, and even attacking them.
Is it any good?
It reminds me a lot of other BBC mystery and paranormal shows, mostly Death In Ice Valley and Danny Robins‘ various spooky shows. In fact, the BBC seems to be on a bit of a run of paranormal shows at the moment, in part no doubt to Danny Robins’ runaway successes in the genre.
Being a BBC show, the production value is high. The music is evocative, and the binaural field recordings really put you in the far flung places that the guys explore. From remote villages clifftop temples and bustling marketplaces to terrifying journeys on narrow mountain passes, you feel as though you are right next to Andrew and Richard.
The quest to prove the existence of the yeti is many decades old, and what sets this series apart is that it is investigating new sightings. It’s very easy for monster shows to dwell on the classic tales of this strange creature. It would be remiss of them to gloss over these stories, and they do get mentioned, but the main part of the investigation is following up leads on new encounters.
This series is short and sweet. While I don’t consider it being too much of a spoiler to say that you can probably guess how it ends, it’s enjoyable nonetheless. Having said that, I suspect that if this show had been any longer, then there is a real possibility that the actual hunt for the yeti would have taken a back seat to Andrew’s growing obsession with the quest. This is an equally interesting look at how friendships can suffer when one person’s enthusiasm escalates too far.
This is a bit of a different post this week. As I write this I have 72 unfinished podcasts, with 538 downloaded episodes! I thought my phone felt heavy. Some of these podcasts have already been reviewed, some have reviews half written, languishing in my Google docs folder blinking at the light as I start yet another queue jumper review. Some however will never get a full post review. Usually this is because I don’t like them enough to dedicate my time going through all the episodes. So in the interests of doing some general housekeeping, I’m writing this with an aim to clear these shows from my podcast lists.
This post therefore is a way to kill multiple birds with one stone. I’ll give each series a paragraph or so of a review and you can be free to check them out if you wish and comment on how I don’t know what I’m talking about. In the interest of fairness, I will listen to 10 episodes of each. I have usually made up my mind after one or two, but I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. As such, this post will probably be longer than a regular review, but that can’t be helped. So without further ado, let’s take a dive into the less favoured series’ in my podcatcher.
So what are they about?
The Pantaloon Society is an ersatz Rivers Of London but with clowns rather than the police force. This is not as entertaining as it sounds unfortunately. The writing in parts had a similar “psychogeography” style in the vein of Alan Moore or Peter Ackroyd, although this seems to be a style that was as quickly discarded as it was adopted. The series is narrated “The Racontereuse”, who tells the story of Jen, a clown who works inthe childrens ward of a hospital. After some strange events, she is approached to join the titular “Pantaloon Society”.
The Exorcist Files dramatises the casebook of Father Carlos Martins. This is the podcast equivalent of those late night shows on Really. Most people here invite dark forces into their lives by accident or design. Don’t worry though, because the church is there to rush in and save the day. It’s also on hand to sternly wag a finger at any behaviour it considers unacceptable.
Tales Of The Echowood is a fantasy series following an as yet unnamed person (you, I guess) who walks through an ancient archway in a forest and finds an old inn owned by a fairy, or faerie as I reckon they’d prefer I spelled it. The question is whether a mute trespasser from the real world is able to save the Echowood before it’s too late.
Why don’t I like them?
The Pantaloon Society is a tough call for me to include here. The ingredients are all there for a 5 brain series that would have me recommending it to everyone. Just like all you need to make a cup of tea is tea, water, milk and sugar (if you like it like that), it amazes me that some people make the most awful concoctions with those four items. In a similar manner, The Pantaloon Society misses the mark, and leaves me wanting.
The Exorcist Files is possibly the biggest let down of the lot. I was hoping for something interesting, or at least spooky. What you end up with is something that is neither. It seems that demons are everywhere and they are just waiting for a chance to possess our fragile, fallible bodies. Apropos of nothing, I also find it irritating when people pronounce Ouija boards as “weejee”. Especially people who should know better. Catholic exorcists for example.
Tales Of The Echowood has nothing essentially wrong with it. The production values are high, and the music is epic in the manner of The Elder Scrolls soundtrack. I think my problem with it is that stories like this make me cringe. I had a feeling I wouldn’t like it before I even pressed play. As episode one started, I found my fears coming true. My first impression is that this is like season one of 13 Days Of Halloween, but for middle aged hippies who wear tie dye.
Originally this was going to be a one off post, where I would get through a few shows with one fell swoop. Unfortunately, this is going to be a two parter, maybe even three.
Part of me regrets setting the “ten episode” threshold, because some of these were very hard going indeed. I’m always pleased to be proved wrong though. I can be hasty in my judgement sometimes and I really want to enjoy every podcast I listen to.
Ultimately, there is nothing here that you can’t find better versions of elsewhere.
Another queue jumper this week. I have just finished watching the season one of the brilliant series Hellier. This particular nugget of high strange came to my attention after hearing a discussion about it on Some Other Sphere. I duly dug it out, and couldn’t stop watching (apart from writing podcast reviews of course). Since then I started following Greg Newkirk on twitter and I saw that he had a podcast with his wife Dana and their researcher friend Connor. Obviously I subbed immediately and downloaded the entire series.
So what’s it about?
Apart from making outstanding documentaries and investigating the paranormal, Greg and Dana run the Newkirk Museum Of The Paranormal, and it is artefacts from their collection that make up the main part of each episode.
The oddities in question (as far as the podcast goes so far) range from a plank of wood from the Amityville house, to some 1930s goggles to help you see auras. These items are just a jumping off point for discussion though. As the episodes progress, there are deep dives into the histories of the objects and the people connected to them, and plenty of digressions too. Of particular interest to me was the episode on the “Dybbuk box”, a story that I found terrifying when I first read it. I won’t spoil it here, but it’s a very good tale and full of the mystery and misdirection that categorises the Newkirk’s output.
Is it any good?
Absolutely. This series is (like Mary Poppins) practically perfect in every way. The episodes are brilliantly researched and expertly presented. They are spooky in all the right places, and light hearted enough so that you don’t get that brain fog so typical of serious paranormal podcast binges. I say “light hearted”, I mean this show is absolutely hilarious. There have been many laugh out loud moments, especially Dana commenting on how thicc the mothman statue is. Actually, Dana commenting on anything is usually good for a laugh.
The team, (now recently joined by Keelin Mathews) have such a great connection with each other. I think this helps with the telling of the stories, and you really have the feeling that you are sitting in with a group of friends as they happen to be talking about cursed black mirrors and painting that will burn your house down.
I guess all those sigils that Dana has charged over the years are working, because I honestly love everything the the Newkirks are putting out. Maybe that’s because their sense of humour is the same as mine. I think that must be it really, because there are many paranromal podcasts out there that fall short of my complete admiration and fanboy drooling like this one recieves.
I first heard of the Newkirks quite a while back after reading about their “most terrifying exhibits”. I can’t remember where this was, although I suspect it was while I was using the “stumbleupon” browser addon. Over the years, they drifted from my memory (sorry guys). Even after hearing mention of Hellier I didn’t make the connection. In fact it wasn’t until I actually went to the website to hunt for an email address I had that AHA! moment and realised that the museum was the same one I’d read about all those years ago.
I can’t really recommend this series highly enough, unless you really don’t like anything paranormal. But then I can’t recommend Hellier enough either. You should check both out immediately. So close this window on your browser and get on the case. DO IT. RIGHT NOW!
I’m gutted now that I’ve got through the whole series so far. The best thing about missing the launch of a podcast is being able to binge the whole lot. The bad part is I’ve got to wait for the next episode now. At least I’ve got half of series two of Hellier to binge.
Allow me to tell you one of the most terrifying experiences I had when I was a child. I remember me and my brother going to bed a bit early because my parents had some friends coming round. We’d been in bed for a while when I heard shouting coming from the living room. Not just like an argument, this was more frantic. Something horrible was happening, but I couldn’t hear what.
Anyway, it turns out that a group of them were rehearsing for an amateur production of The Monkey’s Paw. I didn’t know what that was at the time, but it planted a seed in my brain. A few years ago, I developed a love for the 70s supernatural TV plays. I’m quite happy to put this down to that night when I was young. Shows like Dead Of Night and Beasts told terrifying stories in contemporary settings. Usually revolving around unloved women on the brink of a nervous breakdown. These shows were experts in building tension. But what does this rambling have to do with the review? Well read on and hopefully I’ll elucidate.
So what’s it about?
Ghosted follows the story of Beth. She is the owner of a lighthouse that she has tried, with varying degrees of success, to turn into a luxury B&B. Helped only by her mysterious aging housekeeper, Beth is finding the stress of running a business and the isolation of the lighthouse increasingly stressful. This isn’t helped by local stories concerning the lighthouse itself.
Her already tenuous grip on her sanity really starts to slip when an old university friend books in for a break, but using a pseudonym. The two friends try to rebuild their friendship after Beth’s unannounced departure from the university course years ago. As the two friends start to defrost their estrangement, events in the lighthouse start to escalate. As they increase in intensity Beth’s grasp on reality becomes increasingly tenuous.
Is it any good?
As I mentioned in my somewhat long-winded intro, it’s very reminiscent of 1970s TV horror stories. For some reason the one that really springs to mind is an episode from the Dead Of Night entitled The Exorcism. I think mainly because of the stress of keeping up appearances despite the occurences becoming increasingly bizarre and terrifying. This ratcheting of tension also reminds me of the climax of The Telltale Heart.
The acting is great, but in a very retro manner, if that makes sense. When you see old TV shows, the acting style is a lot different to modern techniques. Maybe because in the 60s and 70s, actors got their chops on stage rather than going straight to TV. I don’t know, I was only young, and I’m no media expert, but that’s my opinion.
The plot is also very tight and the drama between the two leads is great. As their backstory is revealed and secrets exposed, you really start to wonder exactly what is going on here. There are multiple layers to the story that keep you guessing and produce real surprise when they come to light.
If you’re a fan of old TV mystery and horror, then you will absolutely love this series. Particularly the work of Nigel Kneale. Having waxed lyrical about how this drips with retro vibes, I don’t actually know if that was the intention here. At the end of the day, these ramblings are just my thoughts, and hopefully you agree.
This was a great way to kick off a podcast. The second story has just launched, and I’ll be interested to see how that one plays out. I haven’t started it yet, but then I have so many podcasts on my list, it’s not possible to get through every new epsiode as it drops. Rest assured, I will reiew it when it’s done.
Back to the world of the mysterious this week. I can’t remember how I heard about this show, but it probably cropped up on my twitter timeline. That seems to be how I usually hear about podcasts nowadays. Well that, and people interviewed on podcasts like this. But read on and we shall rend the veil between the magical and mundane.
So what’s it about?
Some Other Sphere is essentially an interview series focussing on some different, mysterious subject. Or “exploring our strange world, one conversation at a time” as the host puts it (in a much better and concise way if I do say so myself).
Each episode sees host Rick Palmer interview somebody in a different niche field. I can’t really make it any more specific than that, the interviewees range from authors, to occultists, from cryptozoologists to tarot readers and paranormal investigators.
Think of it as The Fortean Times, but as a podcast and you won’t go far wrong.
Is it any good?
I really like it. It reminds me somewhat of the old school programs we’d watch in the 80s, when the giant old TV would be wheeled into the classroom. This feeling of nostalgia is helped with the electronic theme song that really gives it that hauntological edge. There is still a part of me that waits for the instruction to “take out your workbooks”.
Rick’s enthusiasm for the subjects really comes through, and despite his knowledge of the subject matter, his excitement when some connection is made is obvious (and that makes two of us!)
So far the whole thing squeaks in at just under 100 episodes. I know that nearly 100 episodes can’t really be described as a “squeak”, but compared to a lot of the similar shows, it’s pretty fresh faced and I’m having no problems ploughing through it in 7 hour chunks.
There are a few subjects where there are a few real holes in his knowledge. The one that springs to mind was early on when he interviewed Matt Hopewell about discordianism. I was waiting for them to bring up the work of the KLF, or even Chris Morris’ TV show Brass Eye (which certainly falls into the ballpark of “Operation Mindfuck”, especially the episode about drugs). In other podcasts, I start thinking I’ve caught the host out, because I know something that doesn’t get brought up, but they’ll invariably mention it before the end. Not here though. I can’t expect someone to know everything about everything, so I won’t mark the show down for that. But seriously WATCH BRASS EYE!
There are many folklore and mystery podcasts out there. Unfortunately they vary wildly in quality of style and content. Some Other Sphere straddles both of these with ease. It’s never boring, and the choice of guests is varied enough to keep even the fussiest listener entertained for at least a few shows.
There’s a lot to be said for these cosy talking head style interview podcasts with no sound effects or adverts. Producing the show inthis way really give the guests a chance to shine without anhy distractions from the subject matter.
This podcast really reminds me of The Folklore Podcast by Mark Norman. Although, whereas that show veered more towards the academic, which is fine in its own way, it did tend to get a bit stuffy at times. This is a brilliantly accessible, entertaining and well made podcast that will have something for anyone with even a passing interest in the more leftfield subjects.
I stumbled across this podcast quite by accident recently on twitter. Somebody had complained that despite the early episodes being interesting, they were now too horrible and gratuitously gory. What more reason to subscribe did I need? Much like being young and trawling the Radio Times for horror movies to watch, I quickly realised that the ones that got two and three stars out of five were the best ones. Was I wrong in my assumption though? Read on and I’ll tell you.
So what’s it about?
How Haunted? is a paranormal podcast by Rob Kirkup, a ghost hunter based in Newcastle. That’s Newcastle, England, and not one of the other namesakes scattered across the former colonies. I wouldn’t normally bother with such clarification, but according to Google analytics, the majority of my meager readership is based in the US.
Each week he examines a different location from across the British isles, although owing to his location, there is a higher proportion in the north of England and Scotland. There is a lot of research involved in every episode. Even with well known locations, there is plenty of new information (for me at least) that adds much more depth to the locations rather than just repeating all the well known tales.
Is it any good?
Well, yes and no. I’m a big fan of paranormal podcasts, particularly ones that avoid needless hyperbole. Haunted Road springs immediately to mind as a good comparison to this show. Maybe get in touch with Amy Bruni in the future to swap stories?
Having said that, there are some parts of the stories discussed that really set my Sceptic-o-meter® buzzing. I do believe in ghosts, and I’ve had many strange experiences, but some stuff here has me asking questions about the validity of some claims. Unfortunately some events get glossed over with not much in the way of efforts to debunk, and some of the reports had me thinking, “yeah, but did that really happen?” To be honest, this doesn’t happen with Rob’s stories, but in the interviews with other people.
There are also some episodes that verge on being history lessons, with some ghost information tacked on at the end. In fact, the episode on the Colosseum in Rome doesn’t actually have any ghost story attached if I recall correctly. That’s not to say that it isn’t interesting, it absolutely is, but to say that a building is one of the most haunted in the world and then not offering up any actual paranormal information seems like a bit of a bait and switch.
I really like this show, and because I usually listen to four or five different podcasts a day, I’m not as far through this one as I’d like to be. I really am looking forward to hearing how this develops as it goes on though.
When I was younger, I found a video called Billy Roberts Investigates The Paranormal. It was a low budget affair with Billy traveling to various haunted locations and seeing what was there. The investigations were interspersed with interviews, and despite being very low budget, and not what I was expecting, it was rather interesting. This podcast reminds me a lot of that. Don’t take that the wrong way Rob!
I think that nowadays, there is a real push for paranormal shows, and by extension ghost walks and suchlike to offer some “bang for your buck”. That way lies the path to “creating” a haunted experience. Every paranormal investigator I’ve heard says that a lot of the time absolutely nothing happens. I love that. Especially when they visit somewhere where the walls are supposed to drip blood and your hair will turn white with fear. The contrary part of me loves for the final report to be “absolutely nothing happened”.
If you are into paranormal podcasts though, this is definitely one you should check out very soon, particularly if, like me, you grew up on the Usbourne ghost book and the multitude of similar tomes that filled the libraries of the 70s and 80s.
A bit of a different post this week. Something of an epic undertaking that hopefully will work. I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed three podcasts at once, there is however a reason for this. I listened to Roanoke Falls when it was first released, and never got round to reviewing it. Rather than following on with something similar, Series two was called Black Friday and departed from the original style altogether. Series three, called Beatrix Greene, was another curveball. My thoughts on all series were similar, so I figured I’d tear all three plasters off at once. So buckle up, this may be a long ride.
So what are they about?
Series one, entitled Roanoke Falls, is a fictional retelling of the events at the eponymous American settlement in the 17th century. In real life, nobody knows what happened there other than the entire population “disappeared”. I put that last bit in inverted commas because obviously back then there was a huge delay in communication and travel. Needless to say, time has turned these events into a rich source for folk horror and conspiracy.
The story takes place in the second Roanoke settlement, the villagers are desperately clinging to their faith in the face of disappearances, allegations of witchcraft and murder. It follows the downfall of Agnes, the wife of village priest Thomas. She finds a diary of one of the women from the original settlement of Roanoke, an outcast during a plague, who apparently placed a curse on the village. These events seem to eerily mirror what is happening to the villagers in the new settlement. Sightings of a tall man with a skull face are causing tensions within the community. Agnes faces accusations of being a witch, even from her own husband. The body count rises, and the truth is exposed.
Series two, entitled Black Friday is a “comedy” horror podcast. I got to about 2 minutes in and realised I was not going to like this series at all. In the interest of fairness though, I gritted my teeth and ploughed on.
This follows an eccentric group of shop staff, who are stuck in work during Thanksgiving. A group of demons get summoned by a ritual for a job promotion gone wrong, the hapless employees struggle to fend off the gruesome demonic foes.
Series three, follows fraud medium Beatrix Greene. She takes a challenge to investigate a notoriously haunted house. As is the trope for stories such as these, she soon realises that she has bitten off way more than she can chew, and the party of brave investigators is in grave danger indeed (pun slightly intended).
This story has so many references I can’t count them all. Way more than season two, and more subtly done as well. There were points where I wondered if I’d heard it before. It’s like ghost story bingo, but not in a bad way.
Roanoke Falls is a good attempt at folk horror, particularly films like The Witch, but it never quite hits the mark. I’m not sure exactly what it is. Possibly the strange way that the story is told. It’s not wholly a drama production, and not a narration either. It’s somewhere in between. For me it doesn’t work.
The acting isn’t great by any means, despite their best efforts. The blacksmith in particular seems to be incapable of portraying anything approaching real emotion.
The story itself is not so bad, it’s a nice concept, despite the weird way it’s told. As the story winds up, there is a nice “circularity” that seems to tie things up, only to veer off in a remarkable twist that reminds me instantly of the film “The Boy”.
By god do they like their adverts. Each 20 minute episode has 4 advert breaks, including one right before the end credits. I knew there was something that really irked me about this series, but it wasn’t until I re-listened before writing this that I remembered.
Black Friday casts a wide net. Taking diverse inspiration from modern slasher films, particularly Hellraiser, and comedy series like The Office, this is like a pick ‘n’ mix of references, with too many winks to camera at how they jammed all the horror references in.
Again, the acting isn’t great, although I suspect that in this case it isn’t supposed to be. It has more chewed scenery than Crufts, and the characters follow every cliche so beloved of modern horror. There’s the stoner slacker, the over eager yet overlooked management wannabe and the sarcastic cynical knowitall who only puts up with everyone else because she ultimately has nowhere else to work.
Calling this series a “comedy horror” is something of a con. It is neither funny nor horrific. Apparently the writer was inspired to write this story after working one too many thanksgiving shifts at a store. Whereas some people can pull this off (Kevin Smith, for example), this is just a grab bag of tired clichés and predictable characters.
Definitely my least favourite of the three.
More tropes on the way in this series. The plucky tomboyish Beatrix Greene has made something of a name for herself as a fraudulent medium. It does an ok job of setting the scene, but it’s more “Houdini and Doyle” than “Carnacki”. They even slipped a “Do you see?” in there, but I’m not sure if that was intentional or not.
This, like season one, has a strange way of narrating the story that I’m not too keen on. Like Roanoke Falls, it is 50% narrated, 50% acted. The problem is, is that the narration switches from Beatrix narrating, to sceptic James Walker (her nemesis at the beginning of the story). This gets rather confusing, especially where there is some overlap in the plot. I wonder whether this is done for any reason other than trying to be deliberately clever.
This is one moustache twiddle away from silliness. It does it’s best to cling on to the coat-tails of Shirley Jackson and William Hope-Hodgson, and to be honest, this was my favourite season so far. I say favourite, what I mean is that I didn’t lose interest before the halfway mark and feel like I was slogging through it just to write a review. The story is the most derivative of the three, even more so than the first season.
Maybe it’s the 1920s setting I like, but despite this, it’s still not enough to rescue the low rating here.
Maybe I’m getting old and grumpy (I know I’m getting old and grumpy), but I can honestly say that every few episodes, I was wondering whether this was worth it. Should I stick with this podcast just for the sake of writing what I knew deep down would be a rather scathing review. As season two got underway this feeling got stronger. I’d already started writing this though, and I was rather pleased at the thought of a triple header. Also, I tend to review podcasts I like, so I felt I needed to take one for the team so to speak and suffer through.
Mitch Hedberg had a joke that went “The other day, I walked into Target and missed. I think the entrance to Target should have people splattered all around.”
Unfortunately the entrance to “the good podcast list” has Realm podcasts splattered all around.
As I finish this rather long winded stream of consciousness, they are currently three episodes into season four. Honestly, I can’t bring myself to start it.
You can get the Fear series here if you really want to:
December 2nd marked the 1st anniversary of me launching this blog. In a rather preemptive strike on the traditional end of year lists that will invariably clog up all your timelines in a few weeks, I thought I’d get in with my rather unofficial awards celebrating the best (in my opinion) podcasts you can get. So, ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the first annual podcastgeek awards ceremony!
Some shows I will have reviewed, and I’ll be adding links to the reviews where available. Others will be reviewed as soon as I get round to it. Each category will have a shortlist of five entries in no special order apart from how they spring to mind. At the end of each shortlist we will have the winners. I hope you have the patience to read all the way through. It shouldn’t take too long!
Now, there may well be some glaring omissions, especially if you’ve been following this blog for a while, but seeing as this will be an annual event, there is always next year, and I promise no series will win more than once.
The drinks are flowing here at the podcastgeek enormodome and the guests are waiting with bated breath to see who takes the gongs home. So without further ado, I’ll roll out the red carpet as the spotlights rake the night sky, put on my best bib and tucker and heap praise on a multitude of shows. DRUMROLL PLEASE!
Another tough one. Another 5 incredible shows, but there’s only one winner tonight. This podcast won just for the fact that there is some resolution to the crimes, and the fact that there are no real trigger warnings.
I had originally intended to spend a month or so only reviewing this rather niche area of the podcastverse, but I didn’t want to lose either of my regular subscribers, so I decided against it. Anyway, these are five very worthy podcasts, but for the sheer range of subject matter there can be only one (as the highlander would say).
Originally I avoided science podcasts, thinking they would be stuffy and boring (despite having an interest in science). How wrong I was. The podcasts here are all very accessible and very entertaining.
Over the years, I have listened to plenty of “comedy” podcasts that are as funny as standing on a plug. The shortlist here though are all very, very funny indeed. That said, in much the same way the The Magnus Archives was a rather predictable win, so is this. This one is a very sweary win “fae Dougie, Lee and John the dug”.
I could have happily had four of Danny Robins’ podcasts and one other to make up the numbers, but that wouldn’t be fair, especially with so many interesting paranormal and folklore podcasts out there. The winner of this category really takes top spot, like hypnogoria, for the sheer breadth of subject matter. This really is a great series.
Possibly the hardest category to judge, due to the catch-all nature of the title. Again, the shortlist entries are all worthy of your time, and I recommend you check them all out. The contrarian in me has decided though that it has to be heroic.
The winner is HOW TO BURN A MILLION QUID.
Phew, that’s a lot of podcasts isn’t it? And I’ve obviously done a load of listening. That is only a small selection of the podcasts that I’ve pumped into my brain over the last few years. If the best idea is to “write about what you know”, you can see why I started writing about podcasts can’t you?
“Ha! Mr podcastgeek” I hear you scoff. “Why don’t you get a life?”
In response I will click my fingers and out of the shadows a group of no-necked toughs in suits will have these hecklers ejected from the venue.
We have had some great shows mentioned this year, and despite missing out on a win, I really need to give an honourable mention to The Good Friends Of Jackson Elias. When I posted my review of that podcast, it had so many shares and comments, it is BY FAR the most popular post I’ve written. So thank you to all the Call Of Cthulhu and Chaosium fans who took the time to help grow my blog. It is greatly appreciated.