With Halloween fast approaching we are in full spooky mode here at Set The Tape, and we wanted to remind you that there is a whole other way to get your thrills and chills this October other than movies, television, books or games: podcasts! During the long weeks of lockdown a good number of new podcasts came out, from outlets for celebrities and writers who were not able to work in their usual way, but there are plenty that started in the ‘before times’ and have stuck around drawing more listeners in. Whether you are a seasoned podcast listener or this is a format you have only recently discovered, here are five spooky shows that we recommend you give a listen to this Halloween.
Created by Alan Manke, founder of Grim and Mild Entertainment and creator of the Lore podcast, and written/directed by Lauren Shippen, creator of The Bright Sessions podcast and writer for the Passenger List podcast, Brightwater is a fictional tale about the very real Bridgewater Triangle, an area of land in the south-eastern part of Massachusetts that is a alleged to be a site of all manner of weirdness, from monsters to aliens to ghosts.
The tale in this podcast is about the mysterious disappearance of police officer Thomas Bradsaw (Nathan Fillion – Firefly, Castle), and how forty years later his son Jeremy (Misha Collins – Supernatural) a professor of folklore, gets caught up in the weird goings on in Hockomock Swamp.
With a stellar cast, which includes Melissa Ponzio (Chicago Fire), Karan Soni (Deadpool), Kristin Bauer van Straten (True Blood) and Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation), Bridgewater has you hooked from the get go and each episode leaves you wanting the next.
All ten episodes of the first season are available now and we really, really hope there will be a second.
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There is a reason solitary confinement is used as a punishment: it is a form of torture that is reported to cause headaches, dizziness, intense anxiety and other side effects associated with the sensory deprivation. 7 Lamb Productions manages to capture all of these feelings in the dizzying fictional tale Tower 4.
Written and directed by Robert Lamb and Dylan Whitehead, Tower 4 follows Mike Archer (Jack Austin) as a newly appointed fire watcher in the deep woods of Wyoming. Having recently suffered a bereavement and wanting to have some peace and quiet so he could work on his new book, it seemed like the perfect job for him. His only real contact with the outside world is with Amber (Gina Coyle) over in Tower 3 as he does not have signal strength to reach any further.
His peace and quiet soon becomes less than ideal though when the strange occurrences begin. Strange interference on his radio at night, including classical music, seeing signs of something big moving through the woods at night and hearing all manner of creepy sounds. Is there something out there or is he going stir crazy, and is Amber someone he can really trust?
Each episode of Tower 4 – there are nine in season one – causes us to ask just as many questions as Mike as we get caught up in the mystery, and thankfully Season Two is coming soon.
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The Call of the Void
Another fictional tale, this time produced by Acorn Arts and Entertainment, The Call of the Void is created, written by, and also stars Michael Alan Herman and Josie Eli Herman and is set in modern day New Orleans.
It follows tour guide Topher and palm reader Etsy (yes, like the website) as they get caught up in an ancient evil that has been festering in the Louisiana swamps. As madness and insanity begins to grip the residents of NOLA it is up to the unlikely friends to solve what is happening and how it might link to Etsy’s past.
Drawing on a lot of folklore and Cthulhu Mythos influences, the first two seasons of The Call of the Void are downright spooky and terrifying and we are desperately awaiting the third that is coming sometime next year. With all its jumps and scares, The Call of the Void is also a story of family, love, courage and forgiveness and it is well worth a listen to.
Moving away from serial dramas now we come to Thirteen, a monthly podcast that showcases one or more spooky tales to entertain and scare us.
Starting out featuring tales written by the creators, Ian Epperson, Brooke Jennet, Bridgett Howard and Liz Walker, these full length stories premiere on the thirteenth of every month and listeners are now invited to submit their own stories for the team to dramatise. Often presented in an ASMR tone, these stories lure you in and once the terror has you in its grasp it’s impossible to escape.
The stories range from classic style ghost stories, serial killers, cursed dolls, to a stray cat saving the day. Each one is very different from the next but the team presents them in such a way that none of them have missed the mark. So sit back on the thirteenth and get caught up in these atmospheric gems of escapism.
Tales from Beyond the Pale
Last but not least, and sadly on hiatus for now, is Tales from Beyond the Pale, a collection of audio dramas presented in a style reminiscent of old radio pulp tales but also like Tales From the Crypt.
Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid have been creating together since 2010, releasing audio CDs, and performing live until the podcast was launched in 2019. There are forty seven unique and uncanny stories, leaning heavily into black comedy and real scares, that still draw new listeners today and have veterans hoping that there will be more to come.
Mostly written by Fessenden and McQuaid, with some shows featuring guest writers, Tales has featured a number of famous voices lending their performances to these macabre stories, including Misha Collins (Supernatural), Doug Jones (Star Trek: Discovery), Billy Boyd and Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings), Ron Perlman (Hellboy) and Tony Todd (Candyman).
You could pick any of the forty seven tales to play on Halloween night and we guarantee you will not be disappointed.