More People Should Check Out This Gripping Horror Anthology Series

In the “expanded cinematic universe” age, we regularly take as a right how troublesome it’s to inform a narrative that spans a number of generations and weaves disparate items into one grand narrative. Many have tried, many have floundered. 

Anyone with such sprawling storytelling ambitions, nonetheless, may take a lesson from the horror anthology podcast Old Gods of Appalachia from Asheville, North Carolina’s DeepNerd Media. Launched in 2019, Old Gods is an engrossing and otherworldly saga, set in an alternate model of Appalachia, the place the land is riddled with supernatural entities — so-called “haints” and whatnot — and the people who typically discover themselves tousled with them. After a buddy beneficial it, I powered by all accessible episodes in two weeks. 


DeepNerd Media

As of this writing, there are three seasons comprising greater than 40 free episodes (with much more for Patreon subscribers). What begins out as the story of a doomed coal city named Barlo, Kentucky, expands into an entire universe with narrative tentacles that attain again to 1756 and ahead effectively into the 1900s. The podcast’s penchant for nonlinear storytelling zips you backwards and forwards in time and provides you the sense there’s an infinite variety of individuals, and creatures, to fulfill in each holler the present visits. 

Maybe you spend three episodes with a small-town Justice of the Peace, or a younger couple that make a foul deal, or somewhat boy whose household meets a grim destiny. You would possibly go away these characters behind for a bit, however within the Old Gods world, they normally all get consumed again into the larger story in a masterful manner. 

So far, that larger story has grown to the tune of greater than 9 million downloads because the present’s begin, in line with the Old Gods web site. There’s additionally a role-playing recreation within the works, which rapidly bypassed its $50,000-fundraising aim on Kickstarter and is as much as greater than $2 million. The estimated launch date is March 2023.

Primal creepiness 

Then there’s the spooky stuff. Old Gods affords a legion of darkish creepy issues, as previous because the land they hang-out — creatures that shapeshift, put on peoples’ skins and are so evil perhaps you do not need to know an excessive amount of extra about them. Some stroll among the many people within the present, some do not. But by some means, they at all times appear to be watching. 

If you have ever checked out a darkish patch of forest and felt like there was one thing foreboding within the pines, that is the sort of primal creepiness Old Gods harnesses. You do not must be from Old Gods’ Appalachia to grasp that deep-seated uneasiness of darkish woods and secluded wilderness — that fact everyone knows on some degree that nature, if it actually desires to, can do us all in.


It’s additionally by these historical baddies that the present explores the area’s difficult historical past with the coal and railroad industries. A mine collapse in the actual world is horrifying sufficient, as are the long-term well being results of inhaling coal mud, or being trapped within the depths of debt to an organization. In Old Gods, predatory coal firms just like the fictional Barrow & Locke that would depart the land and its individuals depleted aren’t only a byproduct of ravenous capitalism. They’re literal evil, and their minions are smooth-talking and clad in costly fits. The hollowing of the mountains and its miners are actual.

The bullies from Barrow & Locke would run fully unchecked if not for the ladies of Old Gods — the grannies and the witches, just like the Walker sisters and the Underwoods, multi-generational households with plenty of spine and never solely a present for combating evil, however the want to guard those that cannot do it themselves. 

Made in Appalachia

One of one of the best elements of the present is that it truly comes from Appalachia. Appalachia runs alongside the japanese US, stretching up from elements of Alabama and Georgia, persevering with up by Eastern Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio, by West Virginia and up into Pennsylvania and even a southern portion of New York. The present’s creators Steve Shell and Cam Collins hail from Virginia, a reduction when it is no secret media representations of the world can typically be misguided at greatest, and harmful at worst (the 2018 documentary Hillbilly is a good dive into the harm wrought by stereotypes round poverty and lack of training).

Shell is the first voice on the podcast. Though he could also be speaking about creatures with glowing eyes and lifeless miners possessed by an evil from the mountains the place they died, his deep tones and {smooth} supply present some reassurance that nothing of that nature is coming for you so long as he is telling the story.  

Perhaps most of all, there is a richness to the world of Old Gods, a coziness regardless of the hazard, a satisfying fullness that may be in any other case tougher to create while you’re speaking about far-off galaxies and alternate dimensions. Old Gods feels lived in, layered and refreshingly contained — even when the previous evil within the mountains is normally about to bust free.  

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