This is a post in the series re: speculative fiction podcasts, and the second interview for “Seven Questions with your favourite SFF podcast editors” (the first one, with Kevin Frost from the Gallery of Curiosities, is available here). This week I feature Manor House, in the words of his creator and editor, Rock Manor. Enjoy.
1) Describe what your podcast is about. What makes it special / different compared to others?
Manor House is a horror anthology audio series much in the tradition of other anthologies such as Tales From The Crypt and Creepshow. The show’s formatted much like an audio drama but with more intensity. I like to refer to it as an audio movie. It sounds like you’re listening to a movie rather than an old time radio program. We have writers, performers, musicians, audio engineers…so many talented artists collaborating together. Of course there’s our host, The Phantom Collector, who presents the ghastly tales from within the walls of Manor House. The house itself is a haunted tour spot with a macabre museum and hotel lodgings for the bravest of guests.
2) Why / how did you decide to start it?
I’ve been a horror fan since I was in grade school. I discovered it through film first and then ventured into books, television, comics, etc. While other kids in my grade school were putting up posters of their favourite cartoon characters or sports figures, I was the weird kid who pinned the grotesque posters from Fangoria magazine my bedroom wall. I also wrote horror stories for my fourth-grade class called “The Principal.” Heavily influenced by the Nightmare on Elm Street and Friday the 13th films, it was about a school principal who – what else? – terrorised the children of a grade school. My teacher allowed me to read these stories in front of class every Friday. I think it was the second Friday before she realised her mistake.
Fast forward years later. I had a fitness podcast I did in my spare time when I discovered horror fiction podcasts. One of the podcasts, The NoSleep Podcast, sought performers for its show. So, with both my love for horror and my background as a stage performer, I decided to go for it in late 2014. You can hear me on NoSleep, Tales To Terrify, Pseudopod, StarShipSofa, Chilling Tales For Dark Knights, and Sinister Smile. Although the media format of podcasting was never on my radar until these past five years, it was the one I chose to finally produce a show of my own. Hence Manor House was born. It’s also available in a web series format on YouTube.
3) Which particular brand of speculative fiction do you publish in your podcast?
Dark fiction. This can include horror, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, crime…as long as it’s dark and creepy and causes extreme distress.
4) Tell us something about your target audience.
They’re hungry for more original dark stories. They love film. They enjoy storytelling. They entertain art. But they come from all walks of life. Horror does not discriminate anyone. It’s an equal opportunity fright-fest.
5) Which qualities /characteristics are you after in the pieces you accept for publication?
There are endless opportunities for different types of stories here. We had so many great stories submitted for Season 3 but only so many episode slots we could fill. Unfortunately we can’t accept them all. However, one sure way to immediately grab attention and increase chances is to immediately grab our attention with the story. I often cite Elmore Leonard and Joe Lansdale as two of the finest writers one can read and learn from. They get right into the story starting on page one, paragraph one, word one. No pussyfooting around. They get right to it. They suck us in. Same goes for Manor House stories. Be the harness that straps us into the roller coaster, keeps resisting our temptation to look away, and cause us to scream as you plunge us into the story leaving us exalted by the time we reach the end of the ride.
6) Which ones among the pieces you have published you would recommend to people?
“The Invite” by Dominic Stabile (S2-E10) for sure. It had a two narrators telling the story from two different perspectives and settings, both crisscrossing one another before finally meeting in a shocking and disturbing finale. Others: “In Human” by Pete Aldin (S2-E14), “Snowbound” by Joseph Rubas (S2-E5), “What Stays Below” by David Barclay (S1, E15), “Life Perfected” by Jamie Simo (S2-E3), “Lumphead Road” by Diana Corbitt (S2, E1), “The Bosun’s Whistle” by AP Sessler (S2-E4)…the list goes on.
7) Anything else you would like to say?
Manor House is getting ready for Season 3. This season we are featuring our Fantom Zone Access membership section including stories not found in the regular version of the show. There’s also our basic Fantom Zone membership where members receive a monthly newsletter and updates. Manor House Productions is developing other shows right now in addition to our Manor House show. They’re under wraps for now but you’ll know it when they get close to release. Visit the website at ManorHouseShow.com for updates and more. Stay tuned!
This has been a pleasure. Thank you.