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Jordan Peele is an important Black filmmaker and a horror nerd’s horror nerd. His 2019 film Us is packed full of references to obscure classics—but does that make it less original? Boston and J from one of our favorite podcasts, Race Trader, join us to discuss it (along with a little sidetalk about Get Out and Tyler Perry).…
 
Glenn Danzig’s Verotika (2019) is a failure. But has it failed in an interesting way? That all depends on how much you like boobs. In this episode we discuss bad acting, bad effects, bad music, and bad films. We also touch on things we like: Tommy Wiseau, outsider art, The Mandalorian—and yes—boobs. Also, keep your ears alert for Marc flexing on th…
 
Gather ‘round boils and ghouls, it’s our annual Halloween episode! This year we’re covering It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966). Short and sweet like a peppermint patty, we talk about television, made up holidays, bad boomer ideas, belief, trash cinema, The Boys, and renting movies in the 90s.…
 
Writer Michelle Tea, writer Meg Elison, and composer Lawrence English join us for a trio of COVID-19-era conversations. We ask them each, “Is this how you thought it would all end?” All three guests have great perspectives on the apocalyptic vibrations affecting us all, but are any of us truly ready for the end?…
 
Rick and Morty is one of those shows people love making video essays about. It’s smart, it uses philosophical ideas to deliver dick and fart jokes, and it includes a lot of high-level sci-fi/cosmic horror. This classic Scary Thoughts adventure is just Chad and Marc. Depending on what universe you’re listening to this in, that might be a very big de…
 
Shudder’s Zoom-based film Host (2020) is the belle of the COVID-19-horror-film ball. This fun and imaginative movie is a great way to spend an hour at the end of a depressing work day. But is it actually good? Or are we just starved for options? We are joined by Madeleine Koestner, the co-founder and programmer of the Unnamed Footage Festival. She’…
 
Joe Dante’s 1989 film The ‘Burbs has been our most requested film to cover since we started this podcast. It’s great and so is our guest Nathan Thompson. He’s a writer and journalist and hosts the Yoga and meditation podcast Escaping Samsara. We get into the occult, genre films, living in the suburbs, longing for nostalgia and the joy of strong cha…
 
Cormac McCarthy’s bleak, apocalyptic father-son road trip novel, The Road (2006), won both the Pulitzer Prize and the admiration of Oprah. Daniel Coffeen (Zero Books, Renegade University) rejoins us to discuss if the book deserves all the praise and whether or not the movie gets it right. We talk a bit about Blood Meridian, too, if that’s your thin…
 
Max Brooks nailed it with his 2006 fictional oral history, World War Z. It’s a fun book with lots of original ideas, which makes it a blast to talk about; especially since there are so many parallels with our own current COVID-19 lifestyles. We give the movie as much attention as it deserves (not much) and touch on our own survival tactics. Episode…
 
The Wicker Man (1973) is British folk horror at its best. It’s got weird townsfolk music, a mysterious and sexy monarch, bizarre occult practices, and nude pagan dance numbers. We’re joined by Steven Intermill, the Director of the Buckland Museum of Witchcraft & Magick (Cleveland, OH). We get deep into the well-researched details of the film, the h…
 
What better time than a pandemic to cover Safe (1995) by Todd Haynes? This illness thriller is on a lot of “best of” lists even though it’s rarely talked about now. In this episode we’re joined by author K.M. Soehnlein. We cover AIDS activism in the 80-90s, the weirdos of the wellness scene, cults, 80s yuppie decor, Christian Science, and Moore.…
 
Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (1994) is his best film and Johnny Depp’s best performance. Your inner goth teen might bristle, but everything about it is near perfect. Joshua Grannell (Aka Peaches Christ) joins us again to talk about why the great weirdos of film matter and what it means to be in love with the people who create the strange and unusual.…
 
In the age of COVID-19 there are only two popular subjects: Trump and the Tiger King. We are tired of both. But the memes remain strong. We talk about the saga of these cat-addicted mutants, how well the story works as a doc, and the inevitable reality show dominance of streaming services. Fair warning: this is a rantier than usual episode. And our…
 
Steven Soderbergh’s 2011 Contagion is eerily prescient because of the filmmakers dedication to research and realism. The cast, cinematography, and script are excellent. But it’s not exactly an uplifting watch, considering the news. We recorded this episode the day before the Bay Area was ordered to shelter in place for COVID-19.…
 
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) is debut director Ana Lily Amirpour’s stylish Iranian vampire spaghetti western. It’s more or less everything we like here at Scary Thoughts: it looks cool, it has a great soundtrack, a mesmerizing cast, and it’s about the undead. We talk about why we both loved it, we disagree about Amirpour’s follow-up film…
 
H.P. Lovecraft’s work has been largely poorly adapted for film. So we were relatively excited for Richard Stanley’s 2019 take on Color Out of Space. He is a legit occult weirdo with a deep love of horror. And Nicolas Cage is basically our Vincent Price. The end result is, well, not all cosmically horrible. We’re joined by Jeremy Lassen (Sci-Fi/horr…
 
Our friend Daniel Coffeen (Zero Books, Renegade University) returns to help us appraise Todd Phillips’ 2019 Joker. We survey the various controversies surrounding the film while discussing class, resentment (you can use the fancy critical theory/French pronunciation), alienation, and Joaquin Phoenix’s dancerly grace and peculiar improvisations. And…
 
When the ghostly yarn, A Christmas Carol, came out in 1843, it revived Christmas traditions all over the world. There have been countless versions of the story made since then, and some of them are quite ghoulish. But is it horror? Well, not really. However, it does involve the supernatural and it’s critical of the dreary machine of modern industry…
 
Elizabeth Gilbert’s 2006 memoir, Eat Pray Love, is thoroughly likeable. It also represents a certain kind of 21st century spiritual journey that remains popular in Oprah book club circles, but is viewed with suspicion in today’s privilege-obsessed culture. We talk about why we love this book, why it’s not premium mediocre, whether or not failing at…
 
In 1994 The Crow unfurled its celluloid wings and took flight in the imaginations of teenage Goths everywhere. 25 years later, does it still hold up? For the people who love the remarkable comic and are still ride or die for the soundtrack, the answer is a resounding yes. But the film has not aged well. In this episode we cover James O’Barr’s perso…
 
2019’s Child’s Play reboot took some heat from die-hard fans, but it’s fairly successful as a Black Mirror episode. It replaces the supernatural with the technological, which allows it to address modern anxieties about connected devices and AI. We talk about Shoshana Zuboff’s book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, how children play in the YouTub…
 
Predator (1987) is a big movie. The actors are big. The guns are big. The campiness is big. Marc had never seen it; Chad is obsessed with it. And that friends, is a recipe for hilarity. We discuss 80s action tropes, masculinity, hockey violence, and whether or not Arnold Schwarzennegger is the greatest human to have ever lived.…
 
This is the first episode of our newest podcast, Self Help for Nihilists. It’s a departure from our focus on horror, but fans of the main show, especially those caught in soul-crushing existential despair, should enjoy it. We discuss the problems associated with a nihilist worldview, some of the philosophers that helped shape it, and make some sugg…
 
In this episode, we finally take a look at Stranger Things 3. With some distance from our 4th of July weekend binging, we’ve found ourselves a lot more critical of the season. Even though we both enjoyed it on first viewing, we bristle like crusty old haters at our old frenemy: nostalgia. We also discuss the film classic Predator and whether or not…
 
Drag legend and horror director Peaches Christ (Joshua Grannell) joins us for Poltergeist (1982). We talk about the effectiveness of sweetness in horror, the controversy over who directed the film, the franchise’s curse, and what makes this PG flick an iconic horror movie. Peaches also gives us some insight into what it takes to create an over-the-…
 
Jim Jarmusch’s meta zom-com, The Dead Don’t Die (2019), wasn’t exactly loved by genre fans. We discuss what we liked, what we didn’t, and why watching Game of Thrones and reading Harry Potter might not be the best way to spend your few remaining years on Earth. This episode is saltier than usual, perhaps caused by the ambient dread created by polar…
 
In this episode we cover all things Naked Lunch: the 1959 book by William S. Burroughs, the 1991 David Cronenberg film, and all the surrounding mythology. If you’re into drugs, writing and weirdness, this is the episode for you. We’re joined by self-described sophist, Dr. Daniel Coffeen. He’s a former professor of rhetoric at UC Berkeley and teache…
 
The 2019 documentary Hail Satan? by director Penny Lane is not a horror movie. It’s more of a political comedy. But the work of The Temple of Satan and its nefarious relation, The Church of Satan, are of interest to us, and hopefully to you. We cover the film itself, a bit of the conversation around the split with activist Jex Blackmore, and as alw…
 
For fans of supernatural comedies, 1984’s Ghostbusters is as big a presence as a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. It has some of the best comedic acting ever recorded. It also has some interesting things to say about the role of government in paranormal small business development. We get into the libertarian slant of the film, whether or not Dr. Pe…
 
Srđan Spasojević’s 2010 Serbian exploitation film joined the ranks of horror’s most controversial efforts the moment it came out. It’s not for everyone, or really anyone, but criticism of the film tends to be rather pedestrian and reactionary, even among so-called horror fans. We spend almost as much time talking about Maggie Nelson’s recent book, …
 
Suspiria is a beloved classic no one really needed to remake, but if you have to do it, you may as well do it with some style. Lucca Guadagnino’s 2018 version is a bold vision that divided horror fans. Dance performer Monique Jenkinson (AKA Fauxnique) joins us again to discuss remakes, contemporary dance, fierce witches, Butoh (the Japanese Dance o…
 
The 2013 horror-meta-comedy This is the End is, on the surface, a great ensemble cast stoner film. But it also traffics in the kind of fart/dick/#nohomo/bro-humor the modern finger-wagging class disapproves of. In this episode, we explore the potential of a new masculinity, whether or not James Franco’s cronies are cinema’s zeitgeist, and what it m…
 
2003’s remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre isn’t often lauded for much beyond its presentation of Jessica Biel’s assets. So when Andrew Sheets (AKA Meredeath) mentioned it was their favorite horror film back on our Babadook episode, we were perplexed. Were we missing something? Are we now too old to understand what appeals to millenials? Is this …
 
Erik Davis (Techgnosis, Nomad Codes) joins us for a take on the first season of HBO’s True Detective (2014). We cover philosophical pessimism, cosmic horror, police procedurals, serial killers, gnostic notions, and the great state of Louisiana. We barely scratch the surface of what makes this series so thought provoking.…
 
Mandy is way out in front as our favorite film of 2018. But not many people have seen it. It’s probably because Nicholas Cage has put out some real stinkers lately and the trailer looks way too much like Ghost Rider. Not to fear! This is Cage turned up to 11 and it works magnificently here. We also discuss homage vs. nostalgia and our two favorite …
 
Academy Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow’s 1987 film Near Dark is a truly great vampire story. However, it had the misfortune of being released the same week as The Lost Boys. Though it was the superior film in every way that matters, it didn’t have the same tween star power or marketing budget, and was mostly forgotten except by hardcore gen…
 
Chad and Marc turn treats into tricks by eating the world’s hottest chocolate bar before attempting to discuss: Hallowe’ens past and present, the true gothic of New Orleans, their best Hallowe’en costumes, Peaches Christ’s haunted house The Terror Vault, Marc (and Fauxnique’s) show ‘Girl’, and the state of horror in the wake of 43 Scary Thoughts ep…
 
You should just go watch Murder Party (2007). It’s a fun Halloween movie full of laughs and mayhem. This episode also has its share of laughs and mayhem. We discuss what we like about this film, then head back into a longer discussion about conceptual art (carried over from the previous episode), the ways comedy and horror work together, and whethe…
 
To say that Kevin Smith’s 2014 film Tusk is polarizing would be overselling it. Most people hated it. Chad is a diehard Smith fan and considers him something of a nerd folk hero, but even he isn’t completely #WalrusYES anymore. This conversation covers what makes a good-bad film successful, Kevin Smith’s legacy, and the value and legitimacy of perf…
 
We had the best intentions of having a straightforward conversation about Steven Soderbergh’s 2018 film Unsane. Instead this episode will take you on a strange journey involving Gavin de Becker’s book The Gift of Fear, using iPhones to make films, the strange popularity of Jordan Peterson, self-help literature and the concept of premium mediocrity.…
 
This episode is about Werner Herzog’s 1979 undead flick, Nosferatu the Vampyre. It features special guest Alexa Fraser-Herron. She’s a San Francisco based independent filmmaker, who was introduced to Herzog’s films by her mother at an early age. It’s an unusual and interesting film, the conversation is much the same.…
 
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