(Monday Blues: At the start of every other week, I’ll recommend a new world – a book, a game, a podcast, etc – to escape into. Or at least to look forward to after a hard day’s work.)
What It Is: A fictional horror podcast, created by Rusty Quill productions, which centers on the Magnus Institute, a paranormal research company that collects statements from anyone who claims to have encountered the explainable. The Institute’s new Archivist delves into one of these statements in each episode, recording them onto tapes. What starts as a simple task, however, becomes sinister as the lines between statements – and reality – starts to blur.
Why You Should Listen: The Magnus Archives is the total package – great writing with interesting stories and characters (and some beautiful wordcraft at times), quality production and performances, and an eerie atmosphere that inspires its own sort of wonder.
It also takes advantage of its medium with its conceit of recordings – made particularly effective by small details such as static and interference – and is genuinely creepy fiction. The stories themselves run the gamete of horror tropes, so whether you’re most afraid of spiders, ancient entities, or the inevitable approach of death, you’ll likely find something to keep you awake at night. Still, I’ve also found it to be less uncomfortable than some of the other horror podcasts I’ve tried out – thus far, there hasn’t been any sexual violence or…well, there is plenty of gore, but it’s used purposefully. Instead, it focuses more on atmosphere, psychological horror, and the supernatural. My only complaint is that some stories end anticlimactically after all the tension they build, but this varies depending on the episode.
Perhaps what makes this podcast stand out the most from others like it, however, is that it offers the best of both anthologies and serials – while each episode focuses on one self-contained statement from the archive, there is an overarching plot and lore that fosters a level of emotional investment and suspense not present in pure anthology structures. I’ve found myself replaying certain episodes, looking for connections between them and forming theories. It all adds up to a highly addictive show that I’ve binged late into the night…against my better judgement.