It’s almost Halloween and that means we only have a few days left to get into the spirit(s). Here are some appropriately spooky pods Roisin Moloney has chosen as her best podcasts for Halloween this year.
The Battersea Poltergeist
A BBC Sounds production exploring the goings on at 63 Wycliffe Road, narrated by Danny Robbins and starring the vocal mastery of actors Toby Jones and Dafne Keen. Discover what happens when a family in England gets haunted by a poltergeist, who the family nicknamed “Donald” and which captivated the nation.
Dafne Keen plays Shirley, the member of the family that “Donald” took a particular liking to, bordering on obsession, even following her when she moved out. When she was married with children, a medium approached her in the town she had moved to (where no-one knew what she experienced when she was younger), and remarked that she could see a little boy following Shirley.
Lose yourself as you question whether “Donald” existed, or was it Shirley all along? And the even more intriguing theory that “Donald” was Prince Louis XVI? Make up your own minds…
The Creep Dive
From the unerring question – “what do dead bodies smell like?” posed to former State Pathologist Marie Cassidy, to uneasy goings on in one of the girls’ Dublin apartment, to the story concerning the “poltergeist prince,” which sends shivers down your spine, these and many other spooky stories are told during The Creep Dive hosted by friends Sophie White, Jen O’Dwyer and Cassie Delaney.
Listen as these friends take a deep dive into the weird and wonderful happenings of our world and have fits of giggles at the same time.
For the film buffs among you, don’t worry I’ve got you covered too;
Wondery produced a fascinating series investigating the behind the scenes/genesis of some fan favourite horror films including:
Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous film, and the one we all thought he’d win an Oscar for, tells us the story of the genesis of one of the most famous horror films of all time. Based on Robert Bloch’s book and inspired by the real-life killer Ed Gein, listen to the masterful process of how the adaptation gets taken from literary genius to screen stardom.
From critics being outraged about the presence of a toilet (yes, a toilet), to a cross-dressing man, to them calling the movie “impossible”, watch Hitchcock cast Anthony Perkins take Norman Bates to a creep of the highest order. From subverting storytelling expectations through the killing of Marion Crane early on in the film and Hitchcock’s obsession with keeping the twist of Psycho secret (including cardboard cut-outs of him saying no one can be admitted into the theatre once a showing had commenced), Hitchcock wanted the audience to suffer as long as possible, much like Marion. (now we suffer anytime we take a shower, thanks Hitch).
Inside: The Exorcist
William Friedkin’s masterpiece based on William Peter Blatty’s novel (based on a real case of Robbie Mannheim), listen to how a priest tries to exorcise the demon out of Robbie and subsequently suffered massive bodily harm, and later retired from the priesthood.
The casting of 12 year old Linda Blair as Regan. The mysterious goings on during the film’s shoot include the set being burnt down and 13 other unexplained instances. Listen to how the voice of the demon, played by Mercedes McCambridge (who subsequently declined a screen credit for the film) was crafted and how she subsisted on raw eggs and bourbon to get her voice to a very particular place for the demon.
Listen to the audience’s adoration (and continuing love) for one of the most classic horror films of all time, and the critics responding with vitriol.
Eli Roth’s History of Horror: Uncut
Hosted by Eli Roth (of classic horror movie Hostel) where he speaks with masters of the horror genre (or just general horror enthusiasts), this fascinating series teases out why people love being scared and deep dives into some of the best horror movies of all time.
My particular favourites include master of horror Stephen King explaining that horror will never get you as much as it does the first time, and the purpose of horror for people to explore things in safety and as we get older, there is almost a reluctance to be (or show) that we are afraid.
Horror queen Tippi Hedren (of Hitchcock’s The Birds) tells us she convinced Bladdy to write the book of The Exorcist, to Meghan Fox remarking upon the resurgence of (now) cult hit Jennifer’s Body. Meghan extoles the similarities between herself and Jennifer at the time due to how she was treated by women with “vitriole” and almost rejected by the feminist community, and the emergence of Jennifer as an “unlikely hero” through the film being so ahead of its time and to also make cogent what a lot of girls are feeling at that point in their lives.
Director of Hereditary and Midsommar, Ari Aster also sits down to talk about his two hits and his binder of images from horror movies he kept as a child, and obsession with body horror and David Cronenburg (director of body horror classics Videodrome and eXistenZ. Also, definitely check out the sit-down with Jamie-Lee Curtis where she talks about reprising the role of Laurie Strode for Halloween (2018).
If you’re interested in writing podcast reviews for our site, or if you want to shout at us for missing your own personal picks for the best podcasts for Halloween send us an email at [email protected]!
A brand new show has joined the HeadStuff Podcast Network – Welcome to They’re Only Stories. The podcast that celebrates storytelling and the people behind those stories. In our first season we are celebrating all things horror. Each week we have a new spooky audio drama, followed on by an interview with the writer, so make sure to sit back, relax and just listen…