I’ve been listening to speculative fiction podcasts ever since I stumbled across Escape Pod 10 years ago.
For a long time, I stuck to that, the other Escape Artists podcasts (Pseudopod for horror and PodCastle for fantasy), and the Drabblecast. It wasn’t until recently that I started branching out and listening to other podcasts — what a mistake that was. I should have started doing that much earlier.
Here are some of the best horror podcasts I was missing out on.
I still have trouble believing that each of these stories comes from a single writer — in this case, the magically named Soren Narnia. They’re so different, while still uniformly excellent.
As the writer himself puts it, each story “adheres to the most primal element of storytelling: a single human voice describing the events exactly as it experienced them.”
The result? A fantastic back catalogue of terrifying stories covering everything from demonic possession to deranged stalkers. Unlike the other podcasts in the list, Knifepoint Horror doesn’t have to be listened to in a specific order. If you’re looking for a starting point, fields is my personal favourite.
Another fantastic series of stories from a single author — some people get all the talent. Luckily, we can enjoy Jonathan Sims’s imagination (not to mention wonderful narration) in The Magnus Archives.
What initially seems like a fun frame story for a different scary story each episode soon develops into its own mythos, complete with an overarching narrative and delightful links between stories.
And another delight: the humour. Creepiness and laughs don’t always go well together, but The Magnus Archives managers to pull off both, without one taking away from the other. No mean feat.
Another podcast with a great frame narrative. Imagine House of Leaves meets The Blair Witch Project, featuring a protagonist with a trusty rat sidekick.
What I particularly enjoy about Archive 81 is the sense of place and character. The story is far from straightforward and there are plenty of major and minor players to keep track of. The podcast’s combination of excellent voice acting, writing and production makes it easy to follow all the characters as they weave their way through the overarching narrative.
I started listening to the first episode in bed. I to turn it off in order to get a decent night’s sleep.
Luckily for me, The Black Tapes turned out not to be a documentary, but an addictive audio drama with an expansive and evocative mythology. We follow intrepid reporter Alex Reagan as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding Dr. Richard Strand. Upside down faces, impossible sounds and mysterious monks are just a few of the elements that come together in this Serial gone weird.
From people who brought you The Black Tapes comes Tanis, a podcast that’s similar while also being completely different.
If The Black Tapes is the modern audiodrama equivalent of creepypasta, then Tanis comes closer to Arthur Machen and H.P. Lovecraft, with some hacking and conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure. It’s not as creepy as TBT, but it’s a lot weirder, and has a bigger cast of characters.
If I had to describe Tanis, it would be everything I enjoyed about the mythology episodes of The X-Files rendered through a classic horror lens.