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Author Topic: Pseudopod 377: Showcase: The Dark Audio Tone Poems of The Spectre Collector  (Read 5035 times)

Bdoomed

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Pseudopod 377: Showcase: The Dark Audio Tone Poems of The Spectre Collector

by Ron Jon.

“Barking Mad”
“Shortcut”
“From The Deep”
“Quite Mad”
“Christ, I Think It’s Death”

RON JON has written and published children’s books; scripts and screenplays for animation and live action; musical lyrics and libretti. He is a student of strange phenomena/parapsychology, horror and children’s literature.
You can hear more of his work at The Spectre Collector Blog and The Spectre Collector Page. Also, be sure to check out the Killer Blood Shroom Cult hymns at The Fruits Of Madness.



Essay features short clips from Disney’s Thrilling Chilling Sounds From The Haunted House (1964), Terror Tales By The Old Sea Hag (1959 – date dubious), Scary Spooky Stories (1973), A Coven Of Witches’ Tales (1973), Nightmare!! (1962), Alfred Hitchcock’s Music To Be Murdered By (1958) and Silica Gel: 50) Noisy Children Party.




Listen to this week's Pseudopod.

I'd like to hear my options, so I could weigh them, what do you say?
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littlepossum

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I like these. I feel like they're infiltrating my brain. And the reading/production(?) was brilliant.



MacArthurBug

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While I wouldn't want something like this to become the norm, these absolutely blew me away!

The repetition, the sound effects, the backgrounds, Every single piece just fit perfectly into place. Odd tasty beautiful little horror tidbits! I'm going to play them while driving to mess with the teen daughter during our ridiculously long drive to Seattle the end of this month!

Oh, great and mighty Alasdair, Orator Maleficent, He of the Silvered Tongue, guide this humble fangirl past jumping up and down and squeeing upon hearing the greatness of Thy voice.
Oh mighty Mur the Magnificent. I am not worthy.


Gray

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This was insanely good. I can't say I've ever heard anything like this. Have in quick sucession subscribed to Ron Jons woefully undersubscribed YouTube channel and instapurchased his album Haunted. Am off for a 90 minute walk down the abandoned railway line alongside the estuary into town and am hoping to arrive there thoroughly freaked and not to be disappointed!



Thundercrack!

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This was insanely good. I can't say I've ever heard anything like this.

Agreed. Although, I did keep thinking of Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, with Richard Burton swapped for Rob Newman's "Jarvis" character. Actually, as I write this, I'm put in mind of "I Spy", by Pulp!



Unblinking

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I enjoyed.  Then again, I could listen to Ron Jon read just about anything all day and be pretty happy about it.  He's got a great narration voice.

My favorite was probably "Christ, I Think It's Death." but I would've preferred that the title be something different because that actual line came late in the poem and it would've been a cool reveal if it had happened on its own.

Anyway, not something I'd want to see every week, but quite enjoyable.



Moritz

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I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, it's a nice change of format, and I thank Pseudopod to have given us the context after the short pieces. The "Audio Poems" themselves didn't quite work for me, even though I am quick to scare with sudden noise or scary sounds - which this didn't really have - and have bad childhood experience with audio plays which makes me slightly afraid of such productions. (I was in a youth camp and some teenagers played horror cassettes for which I was a bit too young). Actually I was a bit more afraid about what could happen than about what actually happened, so that was a huge let down. I think the production quality was OK, but not that great, e.g. the music sounded a bit too much like 1990s computer audio programs.

So overall I don't mind having this kind of story once in a while, but it really didn't work for me.



Thundercrack!

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Some more detailed feedback:

I really liked what Barking Mad and Quite Mad were doing, although they were very similar. I mean, more than just in relation to the literal subject matter; they both explored the subtleness and suggestiveness -- and horror -- of throw-away, idiomatic phrases. The "y'know" in the latter poem was particularly menacing!

As with Unblinking, I would have enjoyed Christ, I Think It's Death more if the end had not been given away by the title. But it was also excellent.

The other two, Shortcut and From The Deep, left less of an impression on me. I might have been a bit distracted when listening to those two (was driving into work), but I wasn't entirely sure what was going on.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 01:00:05 PM by Thundercrack! »



davidthygod

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The tone poems were fine and I enjoyed this, though it was definitely difficult to get used to the sheer amount of noise/sound/tone.

What I really enjoyed was the history lesson, and I really did not want that part to end.  I found the background and snippets from various historical sources surrounding this type of work fascinating.  I am sure it was no small feat to put that together, so huge thanks to all involved.  I would definitely be in favor of this type of work being an infrequent visitor on Pseudopod, specifically some of the Vincent Price / Hitchcock contributions.

The man is clear in his mind, but his soul is mad.


Sgarre1

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Thank you for your kind words - it was a lot of work but I'd written it in my head years ago, so it was all down to the assembling!  Keep an eye on the PSEUDOPOD LISTENERS Facebook page, later in the year, for "A Pre-History Of Pseudopod" - Ugo Toppo and Dreadful John want to welcome you into the vaults of history!



Just Jeff

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Killed it after a minute. I can't listen to podcasts with those kinds of audio effects. I just want words well spoken.



Cheshire_Snark

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In the Sea Hag --- The voice actress was "the marvellous, marvellous, mad Mad Madam Mim", right? (From Disney's The Sword In The Stone).
--- well, I can't find a reference on IMDB *but* she is credited as the Witching Hour Radio Announcer in a Tom & Jerry short. And she was born in 1889! (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0921131/)
... oh wait, here she is - Yep, it's her!: http://scarstuff.blogspot.co.uk/2006/04/martha-wentworth-terror-tales-by-old.html

OK and the Baba Yaga story has to be Vincent Price...

Sorry, I'll stop getting enthused about rediscovering childhood favourites now :)

(well, except for mentioning that I found a Vincent Price "Hangman" board game in the charity shop yesterday, c.1975-ish.)
« Last Edit: March 23, 2014, 12:05:16 PM by Cheshire_Snark »



Cheshire_Snark

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Thank you for your kind words - it was a lot of work but I'd written it in my head years ago, so it was all down to the assembling!  Keep an eye on the PSEUDOPOD LISTENERS Facebook page, later in the year, for "A Pre-History Of Pseudopod" - Ugo Toppo and Dreadful John want to welcome you into the vaults of history!

Looking forward to the Prehistory episode too! Thanks :)



Unblinking

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Quote
In the Sea Hag --- The voice actress was "the marvellous, marvellous, mad Mad Madam Mim", right? (From Disney's The Sword In The Stone).

I thought so too!  I love her voice, and I love her Mad Madam Mim character.  The wizard's duel between her and Merlin is one of my absolute favorite cartoon scenes of all time, with each shapeshifting to outdo the other.



albionmoonlight

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Fun.  I like the length, too.  I don't know if this would work as a single 30-minute piece.  But as tiny bites of horror?  Awesome.



doctornemo

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Very lovely short pieces, with lush production.
The repetition of phrases worked well for some themes, such as madness.



Fenrix

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My favorite of the tone poems was "From the Deep". The casual response of "So do you." Chilling.

Loved the educational aspect to the outro. I had a couple of those albums. They would regularly go into rotation during October, and play on a loop during trick-or-treat times with the speakers pointed to the street. I know for certain I had the Disney one that was sampled. I just want to ask that if "A Pre-History of PseudoPod" is not a regular episode, that it go into the feed as a bonus.

All cat stories start with this statement: “My mother, who was the first cat, told me this...”


evrgrn_monster

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I absolutely adored these. I'm not normally one for reading poetry (I don't normally sub-vocalize when I read, so I think I have a hard time getting the beat and flow of much poetry down), so it's a treat to be able to appreciate it in a different way. I enjoyed the mix of music and sound effects adding to the weirdness of it all, and all together, it ended up being quite off-putting, which, given the contents of this particular show, I say as a huge compliment. 

I am officially beyond excited for a history podcast too. That was a great, well-researched outro that left me wanting more!


Sgarre1

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Thank you - more on THE PRE-HISTORY OF PSEUDOPOD when I get the time to actually plan/script it - it would be whole episodes by our illustrious predecessors... sometimes in less than excellent audio but... it is it's own field and worth commenting on in some historical detail... should I reach out to Ugo Toppo for an interview?



Scattercat

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I think "Quite Mad" was my favorite, with "Shortcut" and "From the Deep" close behind.  The use of repetition was intriguing in all three, generating subtly shifting shades of meaning throughout, though the background music did sometimes grate on me.  (I don't want to say "overproduced," but they were getting close to it in places.)

"Christ, I Think It's Death" felt a titch too on-the-nose for my taste.  (I mean, yes, supernatural horror is fundamentally metaphorical, of course, and oftentimes it is the fear of death that forms the basis for the creepy feeling it is meant to evoke, but coming right out with it like that felt a bit... soft, almost?) 

"Barking Mad" didn't do it for me at all, mostly because I didn't care for the way it posited an apparently abused and developmentally disabled child as the inutterable Other, too alien to ever be understood or related to in any way, and didn't work very hard to redeem that.  It felt like a cheap shot.  "Quite Mad" had the same premise, in many ways, but shifted the focus of the horror onto the narrator's own creeping fear of their own mental decay ("I ran for fear of the madness").  It's a shame I hit this one and got hung up on its handling of its chosen topic as the first poem; I'd have been thrilled with the whole episode, background music and all, if I hadn't had to overcome this initial bad taste in my mouth to appreciate the others.

Overall, I am solidly in favor of playing with sound and structure for effect and would happily see more like this.

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Marlboro

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These were interesting and a nice change of pace. They would make excellent supplements to episodes with very short runtimes.

 "From the Deep" reminded me of the flash story "Behold, the Drowning" from episode 538.

"Quite Mad" reminded me of The Old Dark House (1932).

 "Christ, I Think It's Death" is my favorite of the bunch. Like Unblinking, I wish it had a different title. Perhaps "Christ, I Think..." would have worked better.

I also really enjoyed the history lesson at the end of the episode. I used to have that Scary Spooky Stories record when I was a kid. What the hell kind of birds must that narrator have in his neighborhood? It had some fun kids stories on there. I can remember "Wait till Marvin Comes" and one about a kid visiting a graveyard, and another about a guy shooting off his big toe.

I had a music teacher in grade school who brought a record called Halloween Horrors that we all loved. It's on YouTube, but I'm afraid it won't be as good as I remember it.

p.s. Good catch Cheshire_Snark! I knew I knew that lady's voice from somewhere.