Jon Grilz is a writer and podcaster from Minnesota. His first podcast Small Town Horror led him to create what has become the hugely successful horror anthology Creepy. He is currently working on his first mainstream horror novel.
Here is a list of the shows I love, mixing humor and horror, as well as the podcasts that inspired me when I first started out.
My Neighbors Are Dead
Easily my favorite podcast. And I mean it’s not even close. There are A LOT of amazing podcasts out there of one medium or another, but no podcast has burrowed its way into my dark little heart like My Neighbors Are Dead. Host Adam Peacock interviews the people in horror movies that might not have gotten the attention they deserve. Like the guy who sold the camping gear to the fated crew of The Blair Witch Project, or the legal rep for Zenith televisions arguing that his TVs are not responsible for the deaths in The Ring. I’ve relistened to every episode, some a good half dozen times. The quality of guest and improv comedy mixed with my favorite horror movies is the perfect blend for even the most casual horror fans.
Kill by Kill
I’m a huge fan of classic drive in and grindhouse horror movies, especially Friday the 13th. Kill by Kill, as the name suggests, goes through ALL the kills in the series, movie by movie. And what happens when they run out of kills? They find more 😉 A wonderful mix of both the love of slasher and action movies and comedy, this is a perfect listen for October or anytime of the year you want to relax with some killer commentary…yeah, sorry about that last one. Couldn’t resist.
Are You Scared of These Stories?
Probably the most irreverent podcast I listen to. Hibbs, Jenkins, and Owens are three friends telling each other scary stories around the campfire. Stories that go off the rails almost immediately and usually end up with some of the most insane scenarios you can imagine. Another show that relies heavily on improv comedy, the humor gets more than a little explicit, but the sheer craziness of the stories and the story tellers make for some of the best podcast episodes around. Warning: irreverence ahead.
Wandering away from the comedy podcast but staying in the horror wheelhouse…I got my start in podcasting with serialized horror, so I’ll always have a soft-spot in my heart for it. Also growing up in the 80s and 90s I will always miss the days of the video rental store. Enter Video Palace. A serialized audio drama about a set of mythical “white tapes” that hold a dangerous secret and the man who becomes obsessed with finding them, this is a top notch production with a storyline that will get you hooked. Plan on binging this one and begging the creators on twitter (like I have) for another season.
This is one of the first podcasts I got into after hearing an interview with Kevin Smith while he was on a press tour for his movie Tusk. Not only is it one of the funniest podcasts I’ve ever listened to, one that I will still binge over and over, but Kevin Smith’s message of “just try, you never know what could happen” has changed my life.
This is one of the best voice acted podcasts I’ve ever heard, and also one of the only Old West themed podcasts I know of. #TeamClaude It was first listening to this podcast that really opened my eyes to finding an audience for my writing. This one is a true hidden gem that NEEDS more attention.
The NoSleep Podcast
Every genre and medium has the gold standard – say hello to the gold standard. What David Cummings and his crew have put together is nothing short of monumental. Not only for their quality and for introducing horror to a whole new audience, but also for their constant growth and improvement in audio and giving so many amazing narrators a chance to shine. I wish I could pick just one episode or story to really exemplify their talent, but it would do disservice to all the rest of them. Dive in, literally anywhere, and prepare yourself…
Campfire Radio Theater
This is another gem that deserves all the praise. Early on, when I was first thinking about getting into narrating, their episode “Night Delivery” truly inspired me. In fact, my first drafts of Small Town Horror were set at a radio station because of it. The work that John Ballentine has done in audio is nothing short of magnificent. You can even hear his wizardry on the Creepy episode “The Pastel Man” from our first 31 Days of Horror in 2017. That voice of the Pastel Man? Yeah, it’s me, but the magic is all from Ballentine. Magic he does with every episode of his show. LISTEN WITH HEADPHONES for an extra binaural treat!
Audio Drama Production Podcast
No list of my inspirations could be complete without the early episodes (at least) of the ADPP. When I first found them in late 2016 it opened my eyes to podcasting and audio drama. I had already been listening to them, but NEVER could I have imagined that I could actually make one. But their advice of online resources and a community of creators who could help and guide was invaluable to me early on and I will always be grateful to them for it. If you are looking to get into audio drama production, add this to your list!
Audio Fiction with Paul Sating
This one wasn’t an inspiration for me early on as it’s a more recent podcast, but I’ve known the creator, Paul Sating (also the best name in podcasting), since I first got started. Paul’s passion for creating in both podcasting and writing is beyond compare, and no list including inspiration would be accurate without him. Think of it like that song from Hamilton, “Non-Stop”. The man is non-stop. Between all of his podcasts and self-published books, Paul is a creative force unto himself. His drive and ambition is something everyone in podcasting who is even mildly interested in creating content needs to check out. With over a half dozen podcasts and another half dozen books under his belt, you have plenty to choose from.