Creepy: 31 days of Horror

It’s October, and we all know what that means: the whole internet has gone pumpkins, and the things that go bump in the night have come out.

Creepy Presents the 31 days of Horror

By Lex Scott

It’s October, and we all know what that means: the whole internet has gone pumpkins, and the things that go bump in the night have come out.

That’s right, it’s Halloween season and Creepy – one of the best, most reliable regular purveyors of horror on the internet – is again giving us a spooky 31 Days of Horror Halloween countdown.

Days 1 – 3 Tales from the Gas Station

We start the month off with a seven part series following Jack, our plucky protagonist and the only full time employee of a weird gas station on the outskirts of a quiet town. Strange things go down in this place where, mysteriously, no phone or internet signals seem to reach.

From toilet cowboys to hand plants, doomsday cultists to dark gods, and even mysterious politicians who just won’t stay dead, this place has everything you need. They might even pump your gas if you need it.

The narration is simple and hypnotic, as of a man who’s so far gone with insomnia he just rolls with everything weird in his life. It perfectly captures the dull monotony of working the graveyard shift in the service industry; isolated from everyone normal and even normalcy itself, the bizarre becomes your new mundane and allows you to become very zen with your situation.

Day 4 Kisaragi Station

Our journey through the Gas Station situation is interrupted by this creepy pasta originating from 2chan, the Japanese message board. Presented as a simple dramatic reading of the original posts, we go on a journey with an unfortunate girl to an abandoned isolated train station.

With spooky strangers, ominous name translations, and improbably mobile reception, we’re taken on a late train journey you probably don’t want to go on.

Days 5 – 8 Tales from the Gas Station (cont.)

Back at the gas station we learn that Jack has deleted his original day 4 post and urges everyone not to seek it out. As far as we’re concerned “nothing happened” wink wink.

On a personal note I’ve always loved this kind of meta-narrative, where real world realities of publishing and timetables directly inform the stories presented. It brings the audience in in a special way, making us directly part of the story and co-conspirators with the author/ narrator.

Tales from the Gas Station continues and concludes uninterrupted on day 8 with a simple, somewhat expected climax and resolution.

I don’t say this to be critical, I’m simply saying that a modern audience will see this ending coming. The tone and turn are all familiar and expected, and dare I say, classic in their own way.

There’s a comforting familiarity with the conclusion that I am definitely okay with.

Day 9 The Quiet Child.

Here we’re presented with instructions on how to summon a dark god, aspect of stark truths and the primal fear of confronting and knowing the unknowable.

This episode mostly consists of deft atmosphere building, through the lens of painstaking descriptions of the steps necessary to invoke the presence of The Quiet Child.

It has echoes of other classic horror/ thriller child tales, like the twilight zone episode It’s a Good Life, but it feels more reminiscent of Faust or D’jinn: bargains struck by over eager mortals, only to be confronted by the very cost they’d been warned against.

Warnings they had ignored.

Source: Freeimages

Day 10 Voicemail Transcription [BETA]

New narrator, new writer, this genuinely affecting episode presents a horror that is all to real: a stalker.

Now there is a supernatural bent to this tale, but like all fairy tales/ fables it presents a very real and frightening danger it wants to warn us about. In this case, the fear and danger of someone following us.

It perfectly captures that feeling of terrifying vulnerability that comes with knowing someone out there can see us, but we can’t see them. Knowing that, because we can’t perceive them, any time they want to they could harm us.

It takes away everything that makes us feel safe and comfortable in this world, stripping everything away to make us feel alone and isolated. Then they strike.

Like I said, genuinely affecting. A powerful story.

Day 11 The Perfect Child

A new take on the classic tale of greed and the dangers of obsession. You’ll most likely recognize this story, but that makes it no less effective in it’s execution. This is a cautionary tale humans have been telling themselves for millennia, and there’s a good reason for that.

Day 12 Dear Scammer

Have you ever been the victim of your own generosity? What about just losing sight of the important things when an opportunity came along. This is a story that presents you with both sides of each of those situations, while maintaining a single solitary perspective.

It’s graphic and unpleasant, but that’s what you’re here for right?

Day 13 Midnight Dancer

Who likes clowns? No, I mean it I’m genuinely asking. Who are they for? Why do they persist after over a hundred years of entertainment? I seem to remember once reading an article claiming that clowns were never actually designed to be funny and charming, that they’re supposed to be tragic and at least mildly upsetting. But I’ve never been able to find it again and check it’s sources.

I can’t help feel like this tale, or the title at least, was inspired by Pennywise. He is after all, probably the most famous dancing clown. One thing I can say about it is that the ending is perfect.

Day 14 Cupcakes

This is the one episode that Jon Grilz – creator and lead narrator of Creepy – specifically mentioned when I reached out to him.

“On the 14th we have a story that I’m really curious to hear listener feedback about. It’s one that we’ve had requested before, but I was never sure if I should put it as its own weekly episode. It’s dark in the weirdest possible way.” – Jon

It may seem bright and sparkly (can you guess it? I managed to) but be prepared for plenty of body horror.

Source: Freeimages

Day 15 Moonface

This episode brings us back to a primal aspect of childhood I think we all experienced: that profound sense of unbridled joy, coupled with the disconcerting realization that sometimes people just don’t want to spend time with us. It’s a saddening and confusing realization, but anyone with siblings can probably relate.

Hopefully it didn’t go as badly for you as it did for this young boy.

Day 16 What Was In The Store With Me?

Is there anything more mundanely otherworldly than a retail store after hours? Maybe a supermarket, but you probably won’t run into any ghouls there; just the weirdos buying ice cream at 2 am. Not so for this unfortunate night owl employee restocking for the holiday season.

Day 17 Little Red Ranger

Once upon a time, the older traditions of All Hallows Eve said that ghosts walked the earth that night, and if you left your home you would encounter them. People took to dressing up as monsters to avoid being recognized by these ghosts, instead being seen only as fellow spirits.

This story has echoes of that old tradition, with one small boy eager to show off his latest obsession, and another who just doesn’t want to be lonely anymore.

Day 18 Chatroom 98

Who among us hasn’t found and old unmarked CD in their house, put uncaringly into their drives to search for interesting things? It’s the modern day version of looking for buried treasure, and it’s usually harmless.

Hopefully next time you boot up someones discarded old discs you’ll have some solid protection in place. Not much else I can say without spoiling things unfortunately!

Day 19… Subscribe to find out!

So there you have it, all episodes so far of this years 31 Days of Horror as presented by Creepy Podcast. They will be continuing with a new one every day for the entire month of October. I asked Jon Grilz if he had any words or thoughts he could share about how he’s planning to close out the month and he only said this:

“We have a mix of everything from classic creepypastas and listener submissions that I think people will really enjoy. I don’t want to give anything away, but as far as how we will close things out, I guess it will be like last year. The devil’s in the details.” – Jon

Make sure you check out Creepy right here so you don’t miss their 31 Days of Horror series before it ends.


 

Lex is a professional writer from New Zealand. He’s studied copy writing and social media marketing, and is known for his outstanding web series, Reggie’s Case Files.

 

To learn more about Lex and the rest of the team visit our About Us page.

News Desk #2

w/e Sept. 23rd 2018.

This Weeks Playlist

What's The Frequency?

With the first season of What’s the Frequency? coming to a close last week I decided it was time to venture down this rabbit hole. I listened to episode one back last year when it was first released, and quickly realized this wasn’t going to be your average thoroughfare. I was hooked! But with episodes being released once a month I decided to sit back and wait for season 1 to end, and then go on a binge. What a wait! And what a show! Review coming soon. If I can just find the words… the words… the… words…

1994 podcast

1994 is the brand new from Thoreau Smiley the creator of Attention Hellmart Shoppers! As expected this is a laugh a minute road trip/ coming-of-age extravaganza that doesn’t disappoint. I highly recommend subbing to this show! Again as above, we bump into James Oliva. At this point, I wouldn’t be shocked if he appears in our next pod.

Serial podcast

Serial season three. So yes it’s back and I listened… Finally! Hailing from England I had been up waiting, like all day, and then two turn up at the same time. So that’s what you guys call justice?! Wow! Words just fail me. Impartiality much? Rather than just one off reports and stories, I hope that this season will, as it progresses, shine a bright light on the system and somehow kick start a reformation. Though I’m not holding my breath ‘Merica.

I’ve not really been interested in the docurama genre, but I must admit I enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to more. Now subscribed and deciding to explore the genre a little more. I found this little listicle over at Discover Pods that I thought might be of interest. While we wait for episode 3, What are your favorite shows? Let me know down below.


In The News

So the big movers and shakers of the industry are still at it, getting rid of unwanted podcast production that is. Last week it was Panoply, this week it’s Buzzfeed. On Wednesday they announced they were cutting back to focus on video.

This week Apple released a ‘best practice’ toolkit for marketing your podcast, which to be perfectly honest is not really that helpful to anyone but the greenest of the green. All it gives is a handful of info bites of things to consider such as creating a brief, and making sure your website is designed for mobile. All important things of course but where is the follow up content? Nothing… zero… zip… well there are a couple of links to completely unrelated shows The Nod and Anna Faris Is Unqualified.

In Other news

Podtrac release the top 20 podcasts in the US for August. NYT The Daily, This American Life and Joe Rogan have the top three slots.

Hollywood Seeking Foothold in Podcast Industry

EU approves controversial Copyright Directive, including internet ‘link tax’ and ‘upload filter’

From Podcast To Broadcast–New Podetize Platform Makes It Easy To Shine


Articles

Who Killed Julie?

This weekend sees the release of Who Killed Julie? (Sunday 23rd.) This docudrama style show differs from the likes of Serial in one small way. It’s contemporary fiction. I had the opportunity last week to listen to the entire series and you can read what I thought about it here.


Further Reading

Want to join a Podcast Brunch Club? It’s like a book club but for podcasts.

Earbuds Podcast Collective Halloween Spooks suggested playlist.

Do you write blog posts about podcasting? Maybe you’re a podcaster that would like to promote your latest blog post/ newsletter/ transcript for the latest episode. Well here at Podern Times we would love to share your work and help grow your audience. Just email me a link.


If you are enjoying our content then please consider supporting it with a coffee, (it will stop me falling asleep at the keyboard at least). Click the image below to make a donation now.

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Review: Who Killed Julie?

It seems the world and his dog loves true crime dramas if the glut of shows on your podcatcher is anything to go by. Take the soon to be released third season of Serial, Sword and Scale, recently released Dr. Death, or… well the list could go on.

It seems the world and his dog loves true crime dramas if the glut of shows on your podcatcher is anything to go by. Take the soon to be released third season of Serial, Sword and Scale, recently released Dr. Death, or… well the list could go on.

Who Killed Julie?

Who Killed Julie? follows in the footsteps of many of these shows, in the form of an investigative journal that slowly unfolds week by week. The main difference here, this isn’t a true crime story, but a work of fiction from writer/ creator Paul Sating.

Paul’s first foray into this genre releases this Sunday (September 23rd), and I would argue has been a rather successful venture on several fronts.

Firstly it’s nice to see a writer tackling something new. Rather than sticking to the ‘tried and tested’, rather than staying within the parameters where he’s comfortable, he seems to push himself into unfamiliar territory with every new project.

Those that are accustomed to his work will know he’s worked all over the spectrum. Satirical comedy, (Atheist Apocalypse), horror, (Diary Of A Madman), and out this Thanksgiving, 12 Deaths of Christmas. Lore, (Subject: Found), dystopian futurism, and LGBT+ love stories to name but a few. Hell, I even have a poem of his in my inbox that I will be publishing next week!

I had the opportunity to ask him why his catalog feels so eclectic.

“I get bored easily, lol. Beyond that, I don’t want my writing to get stale.

“I’ve been dealing with a lot of horror. Diary of a Madman is a dark show. Who Killed Julie? Isn’t exactly a Sunday morning family program either. So I enjoy breaking away from those things from time to time. It keeps me growing and developing as a writer and it keeps me stimulated.

“I even have a new audio drama coming in 2019 that is totally different from everything else I’ve done. I’ve written 6 episodes thus far and it’s definitely a stretch for me. But it makes me excited when I work on it and it is forcing me to consider things I’ve never had to before, because of the story and target audience.

Secondly, Paul’s work just keeps getting better. Even though this story covers very adult themes (you have been warned) to include domestic abuse, murder, and prostitution, the story is both realistic and sensitively told.

Julie may not have been a “model citizen” (in even most liberal eyes) but she was, as the story shows, a very sensitive and caring person. To her children first and foremost, and to everyone (even her detractors) in the wider community.

“Julie has been living in my head since I worked in a military sexual assault response office. I understand the sensitivity of the topic. That experience opened my eyes to the dichotomy of sexual assault; who the friends and enemies of sexual assault survivors are. After the show runs, I’ll release my reason for writing Julie’s story, but she came to life from that experience.

“I thought I understood sexual assault, but that job showed me just how much I didn’t know. Julie is an amalgamation of the survivors I had the honor of serving. Her story is a real story; it’s something that no one should have to live, but far too many do. And I felt it was time to tell it.

Third, and most importantly, the story lends itself as a platform in which real social issues are put into the spotlight rather than swept under the carpet. It shows the very real fear of admitting to being abused for fear of becoming shamed or shunned. It boldly holds up a mirror to society, and shows us how ugly we really can be. As Emerald poignantly reminds us, “This is the story of us!” Add to this fact that the show aims to raise money for Safe Place, Olympia, a 24 hour shelter for victims of domestic violence, for me, puts this show in the must listen category.

Safe Place, Olympia

The story starts slowly with episode 1. Maybe that’s because I’m used to hearing shorter episodes from Paul, but I found myself drifting off a little towards the end. Episode 2 however picks the pace right back up, and keeps you on the pulse throughout the rest of the entire seven episodes, with brilliantly written dialogue that slowly unfolds the story and it’s characters.

The cast, though small is superb. Ashley Litsey as Emerald Johnson, takes the lead perfectly, giving us a full range of emotion. Dealing with others character flaws professionally and with empathy, when alone she switches from angry, to heartfelt, and emotional, to downright sassy.

In support, Rhiannon McAfee plays a hard-faced, bad mouthed Rachel. Robin Siegerman takes to the role of Julie’s self-centred, uncaring mother Angela. John McClain the saddened, doting father, and Christopher Rocco portrays the ‘one true love’ Caleb wonderfully. All of them have nailed these characters perfectly.

One or two of the ‘phone call’ conversations are a little too distorted, something I can live with if it’s just a two minute call, but when a call lasts beyond five of minutes I find it becomes a distraction.

A couple of places, early on in the story, I also found distraction in a lack of background noise. Sure, that sounds a little odd, and possibly picky, but distracting nonetheless. You could probably get away with not noticing the ticking of a clock, or the occasional passing car under a short dialogue, but there are some weighty monologues throughout which you would feel background noise would become a distraction to. However for me, not having that white noise present made the conversations a little more oppressive. Not sure if this was the intention, but with a dark topic such as this I feel it’s not needed in this case.

As I stated earlier, Who Killed Julie? is NSFW. It uses adult language to describe adult themes. If you are at all worried about this, then I suggest you don’t listen. I will say however if you managed to get through the latest trailer, then you have already heard the most graphic part of this whole story, something that isn’t repeated again.

That being said, this story is a very important one. It’s a story I feel everyone needs to hear, and a conversation we all need to be a part of if we are to grow as individuals, and as a society. You can catch it’s release this Sunday (September 23rd), and every fortnight after that.


 

You can check out Who Killed Julie? and all of Paul’s other shows over on his website, or on your podcatcher of choice.

If you have a new podcast/ audio drama season coming up and would like us to take a listen, then feel free to drop us a line.


Podern Times is powered by coffee. Do you like what you see here, then please consider donating a cup of Joe for yours truly by clicking the Ko-Fi image below. Thanks!

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Welcome To Podern Times

It feels very strange that I’m here again, especially as this is the first ever post from Podern Times, and yet it feels remarkably familiar. Like that favorite jumper you love to wear on those cold winter nights, curled up in front of the television watching Groundhog Day over and over and over, until you finally realise that you haven’t been watching Bill Murray repeat the same day ad nauseum, but you’ve actually been watching Ghostbusters. Then you realise your favorite jumper is actually a dalmatian onesie, and your owner is yelling at you to get down off the couch you “bad doggy!”

Okay, I’m starting again!

Are You Sure? Is the latest episode from Welcome To Night Vale (133), and since its launch on the weekend (September 1st) I’ve downloaded and listened to it so much it has driven me mad!

“Why?” I hear you ask, if you are not one of their regular listeners. “I know it’s good, but why would you download the same episode multiple times?” you will also say. Well it’s all due to ‘dynamic insertion’, you know, the way they put advertising on podcasts these days. It turns out those crazy cats at Night Vale have used this technology to give the episode three different endings… or have they?

These endings are added purely at random, so unfortunately I’ve had to listen to this episode all week, but to date I have only heard two different endings. This has turned me into a cold hollow shell shivering in the corner, pleading with my family to give me back my favorite jumper so that I can curl up and watch a rerun of Bill Murray as Garfield. Apparently I’m not allowed to watch this either because I “bark at the cat on the TV all night long!” And why do they not take me to the dog park anymore???

If you have listened to all three, please let me know. Please… my nerves are shot!


 

You Me and the Big C

My condolences go out to the family and friends of Rachel Bland, host of ‘You, Me and the Big C’ who died age 40 on Wednesday.

Rachel was diagnosed with breast cancer in November of 2016, and had since worked tirelessly to raise awareness, and remove the stigma attached to cancer. She began with her blog ‘Big C. Little Me.’ documenting her journey through treatment, and then on to co-host the podcast with Deborah James and Lauren Mahon.

A tweet on her official account was posted on Wednesday morning saying: “Our beautiful, courageous Rachael died peacefully this morning surrounded by her close family. We are crushed but she would want me to thank everyone who took an interest in her story or sent messages of support. You’ll never know how much they meant to her. Steve and Freddie”.

The podcast deals with all the big questions you would expect, mental health, chemotherapy, alternative and complementary therapies, doctors, money, family, and death, in a frank and funny way. If you haven’t listened already, then download this amazing show now, and recommend it to everyone; especially those people who will say ‘what’s a podcast?’


Serial Podcast

After two and a half years Serial returns for season three on the 20th of September. They take a look at the criminal justice system and the litany of charges thrown at it by reformers. Where season one looked at one extraordinary case, season three spends a year in one courtroom, Cleveland Ohio, looking at many ordinary cases, and the problems they faced.

Check out the link above to hear the trailer, or follow this link for an interview with Sarah Koenig and Emmanuel Dzotsi over at Clevescene.


Audio Verse Awards

It’s that time of year again peeps! The Audio Verse Awards are taking your nominations now! All eligible productions that have “aired” between October 1st, 2017 and September 30th, 2018 are up for consideration.

The Audio Verse Awards are an annual awards show dedicated to celebrating the best in free audio drama around the world. It started as a thread on Audio Drama Talk, ballooned to a Facebook group, then shrunk to a dedicated group who sat down and helped make the Audio Verse Awards a reality in 2013.


 

Spotify

On Wednesday (September 5th), Turner Podcast Network announced that they would be launching their entire portfolio of over 60 shows on Spotify. This comes only a month after the Swedish music streaming giant announced a deal with the BBC for users in the UK. I have heard however that BBC podcasts have been appearing on Spotify in the US and other countries outside the UK.

This is hot off the back of them teaming up with NPR back in May, so it’s safe to say that Spotify are serious about taking the scalp of iTunes. Let’s hope they now take a more serious approach with the indie podcast world than they have in the past.


In other news:

Lime Link posts a video highlighting how the iTunes podcast chart is being manipulated.

Brands are set to double their spending on podcast advertising.

Science proves what we already knew, that audio is more emotionally engaging than film.

Well that’s it for now. If you enjoyed it please share it with your friends, if you didn’t then share it with your enemies.

If you have any podcast news you would like to share with the community, then give us a shout, or maybe send an email, (probably the better option).

Are you a podcast blogger? Would you like to be? We are looking to create a small team of full/part time writers. We are always looking to take on guest writers and feature the work of those in the industry. If you would like to contribute, drop us a line, we are more than happy to chat about the best way we can promote you and your work.


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