“Cycles upon cycles, stories upon stories” : contemporary audio media and podcast horror’s new frights

Hancock, D and McMurtry, LG 2017, '“Cycles upon cycles, stories upon stories” : contemporary audio media and podcast horror’s new frights' , Palgrave Communications, 3 .

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Abstract

During the last ten years the ever-fertile horror and Gothic genres have birthed a new type of fright-fiction: podcast horror. Podcast horror is a narrative horror form based in audio media and the properties of sound. Despite association with oral ghost tales, radio drama, and movie and TV soundscapes, podcast horror remains academically overlooked. Podcasts offer fertile ground for the revitalization and evolution of such extant audio-horror traditions, yet they offer innovation too. Characterized by their pre-recorded nature, individualized listening times and formats, often “amateur” or non-corporate production, and isolation from an ongoing media stream more typical of radio or TV, podcasts potentialize the instigation of newer audio-horror methods and traits. Podcast horror shows vary greatly in form and content, from almost campfire-style oral tales, comprising listener-produced and performed content (Drabblecast; Tales to Terrify; NoSleep); to audio dramas reminiscent of radio’s Golden Era (Tales from Beyond the Pale; 19 Nocturne Boulevard); to dramas delivered in radio-broadcast style (Welcome to Night Vale; Ice Box Theatre); to, most recently, dramas, which are themselves acknowledging and exploratory of the podcast form (TANIS; The Black Tapes Podcast; Lime Town). Yet within this broad spectrum, sympathies and conventions arise which often not only explore and expand notions of Gothic sound, but which challenge broader existing horror and Gothic genre norms. This article thus demonstrates the extent to which podcast horror uses its audio form, technology and mediation to disrupt and evolve Gothic/horror fiction, not through a cumulative chronological formulation of podcast horror but through a maintained and alternately synthesized panorama of forms. Herein new aspects of generic narration, audience, narrative and aesthetic emerge. Exploring a broad spectrum of American and British horror podcasts, this article shows horror podcasting to utilize podcasting’s novel means of horror and Gothic distribution/consumption to create fresh, unique and potent horror forms. This article reveals plot details about some of the podcasts examined.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Palgrave Communications
Publisher: Springer Nature
ISSN: 2055-1045
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LG McMurtry
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2017 08:16
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2017 08:21
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/43490

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