I have a very particular relationship with podcasts, I’m very picky and I’m very loyal. I tend to have the same few on repeat as I become familiar with the hosts and feel a sense of comfort in this recognisability. They often correlate to my interests as my favourite element of this form of media is the ability to deep-dive into topics in a manner that short-form content does not allow. However, there is one podcast that I return back to again and again, the only podcast where I relisten to episodes multiple times, and that is the Dead Meat podcast.
The Dead Meat podcast is an extension of the YouTube channel Dead Meat and is hosted by James A. Janisse and his wife Chelsea Rebecca. The podcast focuses on horror media, featuring a selection of film reviews, deep dives, and games. Occasionally the pair will have special guests but the majority of the time it will be the two of them sat opposite each other, discussing that week’s topic; yet that is all it needs to be successful. To explore why I have such an affiliation with this podcast, it seems logical to split their content into informative and competitive, and outline each in detail.
gives me an even deeper appreciation for the genre
Looking firstly at their more informative content, you can see why the podcast has become such a successful outlet for the pair. Chelsea will often do extensive research to ensure the content is factual and in-depth, particularly looking at their episode on “final girls” which heavily featured the research of Carol Clover. Far too often horror has been dismissed as low-brow or a genre not worthy of further discussion, the love and care that James and Chelsea show it as well as these in-depth discussions set out to subvert these expectations. For me, this is clearest in their review of The Human Centipede, a film that is now infamous for it’s concept. The pair do not dwell on the extreme concept that many assume to be gross and borderline unwatchable, but instead choose to respect the filmmakers’ choices and successfully highlight the positives of the feature. Chelsea opens the episode explaining her defence of the film, and that it is wrongly cast aside, often by those who haven’t seen it. In particular, the acknowledgement of the relationship between the front of the centipede being a Japanese man and the doctor being a German man is highlighted to represent the relationship between the two in the war, with the doctor telling the Japanese man to “bring him the world” (which in the context of the film is a newspaper). The choice of the podcast to bring light to directorial choices such as this one in film that have so often been pushed outside of the mainstream implores me to look closer at the horror content I love so much. I already adore horror cinema but listening to Chelsea and James discuss colour theory in Smile, or restaurant design in The Menu gives me an even deeper appreciation for the genre.
These more in-depth videos are often interspersed with more laidback videos, which involve challenges and games. These are always made interactive and even though you cannot communicate with the hosts, you can almost always play along. The more simplistic formats such as ‘guess the tagline’ are fun easy listening but where the pair really come into their own is when they place horror characters within hypothetical situations. One of their newer formats that really showcases this is horror survivor, which is based on the popular CBS show. They feature new and old horror characters and decipher who would form alliances, and who would do well in challenges before picking a winner. There is an acknowledgement that the concept is slightly absurd, but the serious level of decision-making makes these two-hour pseudo-roleplaying podcast episodes compulsive listening.
they are so comfortable with each other and their own opinions
Content is a massive component of why I listen to a podcast, and of course I love horror which initially drew me to Dead Meat. However, I have tried other horror podcasts and they have not gripped me in the same way. I think that is down to the personality of Chelsea and James, they are so comfortable with each other and their own opinions, in this way it feels like listening to friends, as cliché as it sounds. In my offline life, I don’t know many other horror fans, so I often engage in discussions on Twitter and Reddit, within these circles everyone has so much love and respect for Dead Meat and what they have done for the genre. As a fanbase, we have seen them go from boyfriend and girlfriend, to getting engaged to now being married. There is something so welcoming about the Dead Meat podcast, and it truly made me appreciate what the medium of podcasts can achieve.