There are plenty, plenty of horror podcasts out there, good and bad and mostly boring – especially boring for people who have been watching and reading horror for a long time. In most cases, jaded old horror fans will come to feel as if they’re waiting for the hosts to catch up. But Talking Scared is a wonderful and underappreciated exception: a lengthy, good-natured, knowledgeable interview show with one horror author every week… and where you’ll learn something about the field (and about how to interview) with almost every listen.
Yes, there are some exceptions. I enjoy The Horror Virgin for its depth of knowledge and pure enthusiasm, and I’ve alredy waxed eloquent about Random Number Generator Horror Podcast Number 9 already. And I have a personal connection and real affection for the two ladies who do Kim and Kat Stay Alive …. Maybe, which is especially good for newbies to the genre. But sadly, the best fall off pretty quickly after that.
But back to Talking Scared. This is a straight interview show, an hour of the host, a writer about horror (as opposed to a horror writer) named Neil McRobert, who lives and works in the north of England and has thought deeply about the unique aspects of horror fiction – past, present and future – and has apparently read everything in the field at least twice. Hey, the guy’s got a PhD in Contemporary Gothic Fiction and writes regularly for folks like Esquire and Elle and The Guardian. And apparently, lhe knows everyone. You would be hard-pressed to find a writer of modern horror who hasn’t done his show at least once – everybody from Paul Tremblay and Chuck Wendig to John Langan and Nat Cassidy and Tannanrive Due and Clay McLeod Chapman – over 175 interviews.
And here’s the best part – he’s actually pretty good at it. Interviewing it an art in itself. Doing it sell requires preparation and thought and the ability to listen and think you your feet – trust me, it’s not nearly as easy as it looks. But McRobert has it down … and he’s got an obvious,, undeniable bottomless love for the genre that shines through in every conversation. Oh, and here’s the weirdest part: he’s actually read the books of the author he’s interviewing, and he has smart questions and isn’t afraid to both praise and challenge them. You can tell the writers are enjoying the interviews as much as he is, and – here, trust me again – that is very rare.
Do doesn’t stray into horror movies or TV; he’s strictly about the books. But he’s good, and if you’re a horror fiction lover, you’ll love this podcast… and get a list of books to read, too. He’s already pointed me towards half a dozen that slipped by unnoticed, and I owe him for that alone. Talking Scared is here.