Welcome to May! It’s nice to kick off a new month, especially this nice time of year 🙂
Now, today’s the first Tuesday of the month, which means it’s time for a podcast review/recommendation. Last month we covered Hello from the Magic Tavern, an odd and quirky fantasy-themed talk show. Today we’re going to cover something with a completely different tone: The No Sleep Podcast, a horror fiction podcast.
About The No Sleep Podcast
I’ve been listening to the No Sleep Podcast for about a year and a half, maybe two years now. I first came across it when I stumbled on /r/nosleep back when I was just learning about reddit. The nosleep subreddit is a forum where people post original horror/unsettling stories, but everyone pretends it’s real. Thought maybe some of them are real. You never know…
Anyway. The subreddit is a ton of fun, and a few years ago it became so big that someone decided to start a podcast just to share stories from the sub, and give them the production they deserved. That’s the first thing you need to know about The No Sleep Podcast: it’s not a serial podcast written by the same 3 or 4 people. Every episode has individual stories written by different people. In most cases, those people just wrote the stories for the fun of it, because they love horror and wanted to share their talent with a group of people online who would appreciate their hard work. The stories are a production of love, made without any expectation of monetary gain or the certainty of it being appreciated.
Not that the podcast doesn’t pay writers. The podcast is free, and you can listen to weekly episodes without paying a single cent. However, for a few seasons of the podcast now there has been the option to purchase a subscription to an extended version of the episodes, which means you get the same stories as everyone else, plus an extra hour or so of other episodes non-paying members can’t listen to (though they can still read the original stories on /r/nosleep.)
The premium membership is there for mainly three reasons: to pay for the high production value of the show (it really is excellent, particularly for something so independent,) to help promote the podcast and reach a wider audience, and to pay the writers of the stories and the voice actors.
Yes, voice actors, plural. This isn’t some guy in his basement reading off stories from a website. The podcast has an ensemble of professional voice actors who lend their considerable skill to make the episodes really come alive. Listening to it, you’d never guess this wasn’t financed by a wider podcasting network, or major sponsors.
But enough about the background of the podcast, what is it actually like?
The Feel of the Podcast
Do you remember having sleepovers when you were little, when you stayed up till midnight then broke out a flashlight and, light shining directly under their face to give your features a sinister starkness, a friend told a scary story that definitely happened to their cousin’s friend?
Yeah, this is exactly like that. At its core, it’s a group of people who all enjoy scary tales coming together to enjoy them together, and allow themselves to get scared, or listen to some horrifying, gristly story.
Some of the narratives are a bit ridiculous, but just like you never mentioned how you didn’t think your friend actually had a cousin, it’s easy to suspend disbelief while listening to the show. Particularly if you listen to it late at night, or before sunrise while walking down an empty street on the way to work. Uh, hypothetically speaking of course.
Most of the original stories are written first-hand, so that’s how most of the content each episode is. A guy narrating a terrifying thing that happened when they and their friends explored an abandoned cabin in the woods years ago, or a girl sharing her stay at a hotel in which the concierge tried to kill her. You know, stuff like that. There’s everything from trans-dimensional monsters, to serial killers, to internet zombies (yes, seriously.)
Sometimes they’ll cover one story in a series, and it’ll get you hooked enough that you then go on /r/nosleep and spend the next four hours reading the rest of the story.
I remember last Halloween I didn’t have any plans, so I bought a six-pack and my favourite comfort food, and spent all Halloween night at home listening to the podcast. The lights went out around 7, and there was a terrible storm, which set the mood perfectly for a night of creeping myself out with the podcast. It’s probably the best Halloween night I’ve ever had.
The podcast can get a bit cheesy at times, just like with your friend trying to scare you. But if you can let go of your scepticism, and just enjoy it for what it is, you’ll have a ton of fun.
Do you enjoy being frightened? Are you a fan of horror stories? Then you are going to love The No Sleep Podcast.
Are you also a fan of The No Sleep Podcast? Did you listen to it after reading this recommendation? Please let me know in the comments section below or over on the blog’s facebook page 🙂