The rise in popularity of podcasts in recent years has led to an explosion in the world of fiction podcasts. This is a unique medium for horror enthusiasts to utilize. After all, now there’s no way to see the Big Bad’s face and ruin any built-up suspense. We deserve stories that are unsettling – stories that make us reach for the nightlight. So, in honor of the days growing shorter, here are five horror podcasts that will have you doing just that.
The Left/Right Game
The Left/Right Game, written by Jack Anderson, is based on a Reddit /r/nosleep piece posted in 2017 by Reddit user NeonTempo going by a similar title (Has Anyone Heard of the Left/Right Game?). Seemingly-unreliable narrator Tom opens an email from his long-lost friend, Alice Sharman, and finds a collection of audio files. He fears she might have accidentally recorded her own disappearance. Alice (Tessa Thompson), is a young journalist who finds herself following a group of paranormal investigators. They’re following directions found on a paranormal message board. Get in the car. Take a left; then, take the next available right, then the next available left, and so on. Repeat until satisfied. While the directions are easy enough to follow, the trip is anything but easy to survive. According to IMDb, The Left/Right Game won the 2021 Ambies Podcast Award for Best Design Production & Sound Design and the 2021 Ambies Podcast Award for Best Performer in Studio Fiction. Listeners can get more information from the website and can listen on most podcast streaming services.
Last Known Position
Last Known Position takes advantage of one of the most underutilized spaces in horror: the open ocean. The storyline follows Mikaela Soto, a submarine pilot hired by a mysterious and obscenely wealthy benefactor. Mikaela’s job is to assist a crew in locating Flight 7963 that crash-landed in the Pacific. Things seem fine until Mikaela finds an ominous recording of her deceased predecessor warning her to get off the ship. Mikaela finds herself at the mercy of her twisted benefactor as the true mission is slowly brought to light. So, which is scarier – the sea, or seeing what immeasurable grief and loss can push people to do? Last Known Position was created and written by Lucas Passmore and directed by John Wynn. Listeners can find it on Spotify, Apple Music, or the podcast website.
The White Vault
If the unsettling vastness of the ocean wasn’t your cup of tea, maybe the unsettling vastness of the polar ice caps will be. K. A. Statz’s The White Vault uses bits of found footage to follow a group of researchers to an outpost in Svalbard, a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole, to determine the source of a mysterious incoming signal and complete a few repairs. Due to a raging ice storm, the team becomes stranded at the outpost. They take this opportunity to explore the outpost in its entirety and uncover a small town-like structure under the ice. Soon they find they are not the only ones seeking shelter at the outpost. The White Vault has won the Webby Award for Original Music Score and Sound Design two years in a row, as well as a third Webby Award for Best Scripted Podcast according to IMDb. The White Vault is a Fool and Scholar Production, a team consisting of writer K. A. Statz and producer Travis Vengroff. It’s a great addition to any found footage fan’s collection and can be found on most podcast services as well as their website.
The best horror stories happen in the quiet little towns tucked deep in the woods, and QCODE’s Blackout is no exception. The story takes place in the small town of Berlin, New Hampshire, just outside White Mountain National Forest. Narrator Simon Uotani (Rami Malek) lives with his family and works as the beloved local radio DJ. One morning, the power goes out all across town. In fact, the power goes out across every town – as far south as Boston and as far north as Canada, and with winter quickly approaching, Simon has to fight to keep his family and his community safe while he works to figure out what happened to the nation’s power grid. In season two, How To Get Away With Murder’s Aja Naomi King joins the cast as Wren, a long-time friend of the family who appears after escaping the mess that has overtaken Boston. Blackout won the iHeartRadio Award for Best Fiction Podcast 2020 and the Webby Award for Scripted Podcasts 2020, according to IMDb. Blackout was written and created by Scott Conroy and can be listened to on Spotify, Apple Music, and their website.
The Edge of Sleep
Rounding out the list, Internet streaming sensation Markiplier brings us The Edge of Sleep, a psychological thriller and pandemic nightmare scenario with an impending second season. Markiplier provides the voice of our narrator, Dave Torres. After getting off a long shift at work, Dave goes to a party at his friend Randy’s house. But when he arrives, Dave finds his friend out cold and unresponsive. He rushes Randy to the ER and learns that people are falling asleep and immediately flatlining, never waking up again. Now Dave must help an ER nurse figure out what’s causing this before anyone else falls asleep. The Edge of Sleep was created by Jake Emmanuel and Willie Block and can be streamed from most streaming platforms, including their website.
What spooky podcasts would you recommend? Have you tried any of these? Let us know in the comments below.