1. The Heyday of Horror Entertainment: I can't figure out which is the bigger nerd: the old timey radio nerd or the loyally-listens-to-over-30-podcasts nerd. Luckily for my wife, I am both. I mentioned in a post earlier this month, that I spent my Halloween listening to radio horror drama via Relic Radio's The Horror podcast. Most of the seven or so radio plays weren't terribly frightening, but the commercials for headache powders and iron supplements made them novel enough.
You see, radio horror story plots fall into two categories mostly: unhappy husbands who murder their rich wives at the behest of a mistress completely devoid of all humanity and haunted houses. These are not the subjects of every single radio play, mind you, but the great majority of them. I'm not saying radio playwrights were hacks, but most of them were obviously unhappy at home. Oh, and I have no qualms with haunted house stories. Haunted house stories are awesome!
Since Halloween, I have listened to approximately eleventy-hundred more episodes of The Horror, which posts a radio play from the golden years of non-televised entertainment each Wednesday and Saturday, and have thoroughly enjoyed myself. In fact, I've compiled a list of my favorite stories, a selection of spooky tales that anyone interested in listening to this sort of thing will probably enjoy. I'm even going to provide you with links!
1) The Beckoning Fair One: A writer moves into an abandoned mansion and meets the woman of his dreams, who is, unfortunately, a ghost that encourages him to do horrible things. Not only is this one totes creepy, but it's brought to you by Molle Shaving Cream, and their commercials are ridiculous.
2) Ghost Hunt: Kind of like a found footage movie, only without all that footage.
3) Casting the Runes: I already talked about this one in my Halloween post, but I thought I'd reiterate how good it is again. The penultimate scene on the train is legitimately intense, and had me on the edge of my seat, um, wheeled office chair.
4) The House Was A Sphinx: I avoided this one for a long time because the name is, well, kind of stupid, but, oh Doctor, when I finally gave it a listen, I was all kinds of into it. I hate when something has a twist ending and somebody tells you, "Oh, man, you are going to love the twist ending," and then you spend the whole time trying to figure out what the twist ending is going to be instead of enjoying the experience, so I'm not going to mention whether or not "The House Was A Sphinx's" ending has a twist or not. Or even if there is an ending. Maybe what makes this story so horrifying is that it never ends. Maybe I'm still listening to it as I type this. Maybe the experience has driven me utterly and irrevocably insane. BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!
5) The Furnished Floor: In a rare move for radio horror, the husband in "The Furnished Floor" is of the fiercely loyal, and not the pussy-whipped-by-pure-evil, variety.
6) Bells: A fun poltergeist story. Has nothing to do with popular actor/comedian Richard Belzer.
7) The Avenging Ghost of Kitty Morgan: A pretty great little haunted house/revenge story. Lures you into a false sense of security with talk of love, than smacks you square in the face with the harsh realities of what huge dicks men are most of the time.
2. Tell 'Em Steve-Dave!: Look, I like Kevin Smith as much as the next guy who is mostly completely sick of Kevin Smith. I like a lot of his movies, I saw him speak at a college for 900 hours and it was fine, and I used to listen to two or three of the 1,000 podcasts he appears on. He's great. I like him. Whatever.
One of the shows on his Smodcast network, Tell 'Em Steve Dave, featuring Smith's childhood friends Walt Flanagan and Bryan Johnson, along with former fireman/current True TV prank show participant, Brian Quinn, is the only Smith-related thing I'm still fiercely passionate about. To call it Smith-related is pretty inaccurate, as it is kind of it's own entity altogether at this point. Sure, the podcast was spun off into a television show that features Smith in its most unnecessary segment--seriously, I would be happier if Comic Book Men was simply TESD: The TV Show, but, I'll take what I can get, and I like what I get--but the TESD crew does their own thing and I've enjoyed it from day one.
The most recent episode features Walt and Bryan only--not even a cameo from willing punching bag Ming Chen on this one--and the tale of Mr. Flanagan taking his 10-year-old daughter to her first concert. The story is heartwarming and hilarious, and meant a lot to me as the father of a daughter who will probably one day want to be taken to a loud concert by an obnoxious band. I, like Walt, can't wait to watch Q enjoy her first show. I hope I have a story half as good.
I don't want to give anything away, because the story is honestly super funny and a great listen, but I will say the highlight occurs at a meet-and-greet with Paramore and the text frontwoman Hayley Williams receives while posing for a picture with Walt's flabbergasted daughter. A must listen for dads.