I don’t know about you but the best part of any horror film is the sound. It’s what helps really place you in that space and is what introduces those paranoid, fear ridden, pee running down your legs chills. A timeless example everyone uses are the screams and sharp stabbing sounds from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, but I’m sure horror fans can think of some other great examples. Ones like that horrible Tiny Tim song from Insidious, the sounds of bodies ripping and tearing in every mutilation scene EVER, the entire soundtrack from Suspiria…the sound of Ghost Mask over the phone… What’s your favorite scary movie?
While that might take a while for me to answer, I can definitely tell you my favorite horror podcasts so far (beside our Nerd Confessions Podcast of course): Archive 81 and The Deep Vault. Both of these masterful creations are brought to us by Dead Signals, a production company that claims to “challenge what’s possible in sonic storytelling.” Something I can promise they accomplish within the first episode of either program. So let’s talk about the first.
The Deep Vault
Set deep beneath the ground and in an ALMOST post-apocalyptic America, this audio drama follows three longtime friends (Alex, Carson and Jeremy) who make their way past a couple obstacles in an attempt to find a safe place to wait out this apocalypse. After they meet an extremely opinionated Josie (and you best believe 95% of what she says is just shit-talking capitalism), they descend into this dark vault only to be greeted by a slew of horrible robots whose purposes seem to vary – but none seem any good. They do the best they can in every fight, and although you may not be able to see all that happens, the audio is enough to feel it all. The gore, the loss, the pain, it’s all in their voices. And as they communicate with one of the demented creators of the vault, they begin to delve deeper into childhoods, histories, and possible futures for themselves and for this world. All of which seem to not be guaranteed after being faced with some audibly nasty creatures.
Now, aside from the gory glitter of the aforementioned drama, we have a more calm but subtle, suspense building horror in Archive 81. This particular story follows a man who took a job to document audio tapes in a rather confining within a cabin-like atmosphere, far far away from civilization. The problem? The audio tapes he has to listen to are from an apartment building there’s no account of, his communication with the outside world is limited and monitored, even he is restricted to this place and this place alone and oh yeah, did I mention all the creepy shit on the tapes? The playwright who specializes in Operas that combine real, torturous sounds with ominous, chilling music that is indescribable but instantly vomit-inducing? (She’s my favorite). Or what about the sweet kid that runs errands for the shut ins? Getting all sorts of things like toothpaste or – what was that – a vial of his own tears? Or the weird yoga instructor from across the way who meditates himself into the building only to be met with horrors he cannot comprehend? It is incredibly, audibly mesmerizing and with each episode you too can descend into madness.
The creators of both podcasts have yet to let me down. I just wish they could bring me more sooner! These two dramas are a hard recommendation for any sci-fi or horror addict in my opinion. But be warned! If you love horror but are an extreme chicken (like yours truly), you might just start feeling like you’re seeing things or being followed. Fair warning. That being said, what do we have to look forward to? New episodes of The Deep Vault will be releasing soon (JOY!) and I believe so will season two of Archive 81 (WHAT? DOUBLE JOY!!) And that’s about it for right now. Though, I don’t mind the wait if it’s for something great.