Podcasts that I need to survive: horror and crime

The title may seem melodramatic, but it’s not far off. A few years ago, I went on record as disliking podcasts over 20 minutes in response to a post on the Rue Morgue Podcast’s site. They attempted an attitude adjustment by speeding up a portion of the response to my critique to save my precious fucking time and hilarity ensued. Mostly because Dark Mark hated it so much. A few years later, I switched jobs and dialed back a lot of my extra-curricular activities. Seemingly unrelated, but compare a ten minute commute to an hour on a city bus. Twice a day. And I can’t read books while in motion. Suddenly, the podcasts I had been into only casually became an almost daily routine on my ride. It’s easy to listen to an episode, or most of one, on the way in and the rest or another on the way home. I can listen aloud in the office after hours too, so I sometimes find an episode in between music.

The commute though, would be mind-numbing without them. After rifling through likely hundreds of crime, horror, writing and paranormal podcasts, I have a short list. Not only are these really fun and informative shows, I think they are incredibly important shows every horror fan should check out.

So. The 20 minute thing? I take it back.

I’d be a far more aggravated person on public transit without them, so I thank you. Therefore, the public at large thanks you. My twitter followers who don’t want to hear about Uggs, side-eyes, mouth-sounds, drunk people and creepers thanks you.

I know it is hard work. Thank you.

This is Horror – Hosted by Michael Wilson (Owner and Managing Editor at This Is Horror) and Deputy Editor Dan Howarth, this is the premiere horror fiction podcast. I was into this early. Probably around the suggested episode. The one that really hooked me was a review of the Best in British Fantasy as their opinions were honest and at times damning. They both had a lot of questions about the state of the genre, the intentions of publishers and the future of authors in the hands of both. Since then, the podcast has focused on in-depth interviews, news and recently, short dark fiction read by authors. If you like dark fiction, noir and horror by authors like Joe Hill, Stephen Graham Jones, Jack Ketchum and David Moody, try this.

Suggested episode? Lords of Salem. Even though I had reviewed the book on typicalbooks, I have only watched the film recently, so I should give this one another spin.

(Honourable mention goes to The Wicked Library. My alma-mater in the realm of having my work read in a fiction podcast, and only fitting I would align these two. )

Faculty of Horror – Hosted by Andrea Subissati and Alexandra West I have been there for roll call since the first class. Since I had followed Rue Morgue and other mutual haunts, I saw links and such around the web early on. This is horror film review from steadfast horror fans who are both seasoned writers and academics. Coming from these backgrounds lends a slightly more serious tone to this well planned and intensely informative podcast. My horror-academia friends must have a listen. This means you, Amy Vosper, Derek Newman-Stille, Sean Moreland and Aalya Ahmad.

Suggested episode? I Thought There’d Be Stars (The Cabin in the Woods). This is their most recent, though they cover classics, cult picks and new releases so there is not one episode without an A+. Another runner-up was the Black Swan and Drag Me To Hell episode. Further, they have been recently named the (not official as I had thought) feature podcast on Rue Morgue~ very fitting, so congratulations!

Bind Torture Kast – Hosted by Chris Ligrest with co-hosts Luke Ramer and Steve Taiclet, this is my hands-down number one super best most favorite podcast of all time, amen. This entire blog is basically an excuse to make you go listen to it*. From NEKRomantik to Martyrs, Aftermath to High Tension, they have hit on so many underground or extreme horror titles it’s a veritable honey bucket of fucked up film fandom. Then, of course, are the steaming handfuls of films I’d have not heard of otherwise (Septic Man, Sleep Tight). Selected news, calendar releases and the best music selection I’ve ever heard on air; what’s not to love. I discovered this while I was working in housekeeping at a hotel and between trying to get the high score in a little game I called P5 (finding piss, puke, pubes, plasma, and poop and all in one room) I’d listen when I could. For atmosphere.

Suggested episode? This is an impossible decision. If you want a gentle introduction (well, as gentle as this gets…) Baxter. It’s also pretty recent, so you can scan back through a very impressive body of work, as it is basically a weekly gig with over 70 episodes to date. If you know my interests well, try their review of Lucifer Valentine’s documentary I need to see entitled Black Metal Veins and scan way back to episode four on NEKRomantik.  Follow Bind Torture Kast on fakebook. and stitcher and itunes too.

Last Podcast on the Left – Hosted by Ben Kissel, Henry Zebrowski, and Marcus Parks don’t let the word comedy here fool you. Yes, it is a comedy podcast. A Very Dark (read: VERY DARK) comedy podcast about serial killers for the most part. And Hitler. And Axe Murder – which is the most straight up comedy one I’ve heard so far – and just about any twisted conspiracy theory or violent crime you can imagine. (Runner up goes to Darkness Radio, True Crime Tuesdays)

Suggested episode? Playing with the Dead. Necromancy, necrophilia and the connections between the two. Because we might as well get the deal-breaker out of the way, right? They are weekly as well, and have over 170 episodes to date. This one is pretty recent, as well as another favourite on Fred and Rosemary West.

BONUS ROUND – Two of these podcasts are very likely not suitable for mixed company or your place of employ. NSFW. Two are fairly benign. Try to guess which ones!

It’s not all about gore, kids. Each one of these is a darling of mine because of consistency, worlds of information, eclectic interests of mine, and of course dark and well-researched subject matter. The presentation, programming and personalities contained herein are honest and entertaining, which is all you can hope for. I suppose it would be weird to not mention my own (half of a) podcast Dead Air with Wes ‘Dead Air’ Knipe, as we strive for the same kind of mandate. You’ve seen links here, fakebook, twitter and anywhere else I can post them, so no need for me to be redundant.

If there is anything out there you feel is on par with these, let me know, I think you may be hard pressed to find shows of this caliber or beyond.

* okay, not really. I had meant to post a follow-up to my “Why I Don’t Listen To Your Horror Podcast” article that was lost in the great server suicide of 2013 along with blog posts dating back to 2004 from my first blog, LiveJournal, MySpace, a defunct Tumblr, two incarnations of wordpress and a horror film review page I had on GeoCities in 1995. Sad, I know.

tl;dr? Thank you to the people who make these shows happen, and if you are looking for something to listen to, follow all the links in this post.