Somehow, I neglected to write about this in 2020. Six months into 2020, I was experiencing the worst chronic depression episode I’ve ever had. Given the name, chronic, I’d experienced depression for many years before that, but it never reached as low as it did in those first six months, where suicide was on my mind in a constant loop. I’ve written more extensively and spoke more extensively about what that time looked like, but suffice it to say, I felt taunted by the pile of plastic bags in my living room closet. However, around that six-month mark, I discovered the Halloweenies: A Horror Franchise Podcast. It is an offshoot, if you will, of The Losers’ Club: A Stephen King Podcast, i.e., the same people obsessed with Stephen King are also, naturally, obsessed with horror movies and its notable franchies, such as Halloween, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and so on. Started in 2018, the podcast is so named after Halloween (I think?!) and that was the first franchise they dove into. Horror franchises work nicely for their format: Covering one horror movie a month, and in this case, it was intentional to start with Halloween because the timeline was building up to the release of 2018’s Halloween. Heck, if I recall correctly, maybe they never intended to do anything beyond Halloween, but once they saw the interest, they dug into more franchises.
As a lover of horror films, and a particular lover of the Halloween franchise, their podcast helped to bring me out of the hole I had burrowed into. It was gave me purpose and something to look forward to: the next episode, the next movie, the next analysis. Not only was I obsessed with listening to their break-downs, but as I’ve alluded to, it spurred me on to watch the films as well, and then write about them. The latter is key: That reinvigorated my largely dormant since 2016 blog, and through the catharsis of these three things — Halloweenies, watching the films myself, and then writing my reviews on my blog — I had something to keep me going. It wasn’t therapy. It wasn’t antidepressants. But it was something. And obviously, the great thing with the podcast by the point I discovered it in mind-2020, is that they already had the entire Halloween franchise, A Nightmare on Elm Street (a few of those films I’d never seen, so that was an added opportunity), and some of the Friday the 13th franchise in the can, so I had a lot of catching up to do! I also love how long and analytical the episodes are — something to sink your teeth into. I’ve always preferred longer podcasts for that reason. I think I was caught up with the Halloweenies by the time they released their analysis of The New Blood, so I was at the point of eagerly anticipating the next “drop.” Before the next drop, I also started exploring the archives of The Losers’ Club.
These guys reminded me of my friend and I when we were younger: two horror nerds who loved watching movies and talking about them. I don’t know if we could talk as smartly as they do, but still. Also, the Halloweenies guys and gals are hilarious. It wasn’t just smart analysis, but laugh-out-loud enjoyable noise in my ear holes.
I actually Tweeted in December 2020 that the Halloweenies podcast got me through the summer, and I’m bummed I never elaborated on why with the above. But at the time, Spotify, as usual, was doing their year-end wrap, so you could see how many hours you listened to a podcast. I was listening to the Halloweenies podcast largely, but not exclusively, through Spotify. In total, I listened to 22 episodes through Spotify, or 3,016 minutes.
Those 3,016 minutes played a big part in the summer of 2020 in saving my life. It is wild, in many respects, that I’m more than two years out from a time when I thought I wouldn’t live to see the next day. It may seem silly to those who don’t understand the way depression (and certainly suicidal ideation) can warp your brain to suggest a podcast can play a role in keeping you alive … but Halloweenies played a role, a big role, in keeping me alive.
I don’t even remember now how I came across the Halloweenies podcast; it was probably a recommendation from my sister-in-law, also a Stephen King junkie, who knew about The Losers’ Club podcast before I did. But I’m glad I started listening. I don’t know what the summer would have looked like otherwise.
Thank you to cast of characters on the podcast. I needed exactly what you offered at that time.