Per my wall-sketti listening approach to podcasts, my hope is to have a pod-noodle that clings.

The Faculty of Horror is the first such noodle for me.

The Hosts

Common things I notice when I listen to a podcast, which Andrea and Alex achieve stunningly well throughout:

  1. How long does it take to get to the meat?
    1. Is the intro too long? Could glaciers move meters in the time the hosts take, catching up in such a way that would have been better to do before hitting record?
  2. Is the mic quality clear and consistent?
    1. Some podcasts seem to have different microphones and levels for each person.
    2. There are a couple episodes where Andrea (if I recall correctly) has to raise her levels in post because of some flub in the recording process, but she was honest about the error and did such a good job repairing it that it was easy to forgive.
  3. If they’re asking questions, do they have their own answers/guesses, or are they just trying to seem interesting just because they asked?
  4. Do they take turns or do they talk over each other?
  5. Is there an obscene amount of background noise (including music) that fights for my attention over the words actually being spoken?
  6. Is it trying to be a drama?
    1. I am biased against dramas/roleplaying, which made how well-executed the Gremlins episode was, a happy surprise to me.
  7. Are the hosts just what they seem to be or do they have some unexpected character aspect to make them more personally-relatable to me?
    1. Most people don’t know I’ve casually enjoyed roller derby, so Lady Hellbat was a pleasant surprise.
    2. Aside from looking for that link, I dislike researching hosts. I want these personal pieces to sneak in during the conversation.
  8. Do their personal biases inform an interesting perspective on the meat, or does it stand in front of it and obscure focus?
    1. Though the Faculty of Horror is informed by feminist theory, I rarely felt there was some kind of feminist agenda being forced on me throughout.
    2. The Ghostbusters episode felt agenda-y, but it’s really really hard to discuss that remake without revealing your stance. However, I didn’t feel cheated because the hosts are feminists, but just because I’d come to expect more discussion of the film’s content than the circumstances of the film’s creation.

The Meat

The majority of episodes take a comparative format. Two movies which handle a similar setup. If the first episode had just been about Halloween, I probably would have winced a little before I tried the podcast for the first time.

Because I was curious about Black Christmas anyway, I was far more curious than I’d been about other podcasts I’d tried to get into.

I learned something about the relationship between the two films through their directors which I hadn’t known previously.

What really makes each podcast transcend being merely an audio delivery format of film reviews or facsimile of company (both of which I really enjoy) is that they’ve managed to make me excited to watch the films I haven’t seen before because they’re so similar to my views of the films I have seen.

Their discussions about The Witchfinder General as well as The Wicker Man really stood out to me as moments of appreciation for films that I’ve very rarely felt positive solidarity about. I’ve been really surprised about how negatively these films have been received when I’ve put them on or tried to talk about them. The best I’ve gotten, with one exception, has been along the lines of: “I can’t believe Vincent Price/Christopher Lee would be in such a boring movie.”

This is probably the first podcast to elicit an emotional reaction other than boredom or bad-disgust (I’ve listened to some icky true crime podcasts where the grossness is fascinating). It inspired me to continue observing and analyzing films the way that I do, and I’m excited for more from these women.

Specific Recommendations

I listened to all the episodes available in chronological order, skipping the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode because I haven’t watched it yet and they specifically recommended I stop listening. Maybe they were joking, but I know I wouldn’t re-listen to the podcast even if the spoilers didn’t bother me.

Spoilers don’t bother me. I think it just seemed like their discussion was going to be specific enough, having a third person, that I’d rather brush up on Buffs.

I do recommend simply listening through as I did. There’s no serial reason to do so, other than their move to the Rue Morgue vault there’s no continuity to really keep track of. I’ve added all of their reviewed movies (even ones I’ve seen) to my queue and by October I’m sure I’ll have forgotten all the spoilers.

I do wish their website were easier to navigate in chronological order so it wouldn’t be such a frustration to specifically recommend episodes to new listeners.

  1. Episode 1: Halloween vs. Black Christmas
  2. Episode 2: Fatal Attraction vs. Fear
  3. Episode 3: Jennifer’s Body
  4. Episode 10: Carrie vs. Ginger Snaps
  5. Episode 11: Texas Chainsaw Massacres (original vs remake)
  6. Episode 13: Monster Brides (made me consider this as a game mechanic)
  7. Episode 18: Friday the 13th vs. Sleepaway Camp
  8. Episode 19: Black Swan vs. Drag Me to Hell (eating disorders theme)
  9. Episode 20: Blair Witch Project
  10. Episode 21: Rosemary’s Baby
  11. Episode 25: The Cabin in the Woods
  12. Episode 26: The Wicker Man (both versions) + Paranormal Activity 3 (matriarchy theme)
  13. Episode 27: The Witchfinder General vs. The Crucible vs. Inferno (witches theme)
  14. Episode 31: The Exorcist
  15. Episode 32: Shivers
  16. Episode 33: The Shining
  17. Episode 36: The Babadook vs. Goodnight Mommy (“mommy” theme)
  18. Episode 42: Calvaire vs. Martyrs (2008)
  19. Episode 43: Creepshow vs. Trick ‘r Treat (anthology films)
  20. Episode 45: Gremlins (this one can’t be search on their site)
  21. Episode 47: The Descent
  22. Episode 48: I Spit on Your Grave vs. Elle (rape/revenge)
  23. Episode 50: Audition
  24. Episode 52: Wolf Creek vs. The Loved Ones (Australian theme)