If you know horror, you know The No Sleep Podcast. Or, in my case, you recently discovered it and have spent a month and a half catching up on its vast back catalog of episodes.
This may be the grandpappy of all horror podcasts available currently. With four and a half years and hundreds of episodes, I can’t see this being any less than the Number One podcast to listen to for any and all horror fans. NoSleep was spawned from the bowels of Reddit’s /r/nosleep subforum, a place for authors to submit their horror fiction short stories for review, critique, and the morbid enjoyment of all. It is a horror anthology show, taking the best stories submitted from that forum and turning them into mini audio plays. The cast, crew, and authors vary widely so I won’t bother trying to cite them all, but showrunner David Cummings seems to be the driving force as well as host of the show.
The audio quality and production is professional and fits the mood for each individual story, which is quite the undertaking when you think of just how many stories there are here. I wouldn’t say it’s as clean as Lore, or as immersive as SAYER, but it finds a balance that makes each story a unique piece and doesn’t overdo the bangs and creaks to the point that they detract from the fiction. I find myself constantly in the image-world of the featured story while I’m listening and working, a result that takes a good ear to produce.
All of the content is sourced from outside authors, and so the style of writing and subject matter varies as vastly as it would in a three tier bookstore. The real feat here is the selection process. I’ve been listening for about six weeks now, made it through three years worth of episodes, and only been disappointed by a story wholly one time. There was another, but that was just a plot hole and I hope I don’t find any more of those, for my own sake. There are tropes, many tropes, but the stories selected for the show seem to flip them on their heads or play cat and mouse with them, very rarely supplying the expected conclusion. Whoever is in charge of picking the terrifying tales is doing one hell of a job.
NoSleep started as a fully free show and has evolved into a free show with an expanded subscription model that nearly triples the content for about twenty bucks a year. I find absolutely nothing wrong with this and once I’m caught up I may actually go back to buy the season passes so I have a few years worth of listening to binge on, which should take about three months at the rate I consume audio. From what I see in my podcatcher, once the season starts it keeps going until it’s done with nary a late episode. There are also “full” episodes you would normally only get with a subscription, holiday, and other bonus episodes published every so often as a thank you for the free listeners.
The Horror element is inherent in the show. It drips from the intro, oozes in the cracks between stories, and creeps into your blood like an I.V. drip while you enjoy the dark fiction supplied. From psychological to scatological, Bela Lugosi to Eli Roth, Lovecraft to Lebbon, unless you just hate horror in all its forms, there’s something here for everyone.
Audio Quality\Production: 9
5’th Element: Horror: 10
Final Score: 9.4
Everything you need to listen to, support, and connect with NoSleep is easily found on their website here.