Here Be Monsters is about the things that we are afraid of, or at least the things that evoke fear in host Jeff Emtman. Emtman is a self-described artist who has worked on other shows and with other publications but is best known for this podcast. The things that scare Emtman are not universally frightening, but they are unknown to many and the stories we hear make most of us suspect there is something to be uneasy about. Picture the feeling that someone or something is watching you but you can’t see them, or the disquietude of lying in a grave, or the trepidation over what could happen at a seance. Either a producer or guest narrates the show and talks about the dreaded topic.
This show does a great job of making me feel like I am listening to a movie, I can so easily picture the person being profiled, the potentially horrific thing they do, the fear that they might have and how it so easily could be or already is my fear as well. The first episode I listened to was “The Scientist is Not the Angel of Death,” which is about a person who injects mice with cancer for research purposes. I wanted to stop listening because I thought, oh, this is sort of creepy, but I couldn’t. Then I thought, who cares if it’s creepy? It’s someone’s real story, and they’re just being honest and their story deserves to be heard.
Here Be Monsters is not going to be for everyone. There are episodes about the occult, death rituals, religious and anti-religious fanaticism, drugs, and disfigurement, so be warned if you are looking for something with rainbows and bunnies – this is not for you. It’s not depressing, but it’s certainly dark. And fascinating.
I was thinking this was going to end up a 4-star review, but the more I think about it, this is truly a 5-star show. The production team does a tremendous job of not just making the show listenable but creating a great website to go along with it. Here Be Monsters makes me feel, makes me think, makes me learn about things I don’t want to learn about because they’re uncomfortable. It stretches me, takes me away, and opens my mind.
What do you think of this podcast? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss!
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (5 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (5 / 5)
Host Listen-ability (4 / 5)
For me, the host’s voice and delivery is equally important to the content in a storytelling audio show. Jeff Emtman is an honest host. His show is about the things he is afraid of, and that lends a certain authenticity to the whole concept of the show. It’s very believable and Emtman is relatable. His presence is often minimal on air but especially after reading his website and his interview with The Timbre (see below), the show feels authentic to his stated reasons for creating the show.
Flow & Production Value (5 / 5)
Sound is great, from the sound effects to the actual recorded voice sound. Really well put together episodes.
Humor (3 / 5)
Investigation (4 / 5)
Storytelling (5 / 5)
Every subject is not necessarily the best storyteller, but the editing is done well, so it is usually very easy to listen to. And the anecdotes are honest, a technique used in many of my other favorite podcasts like The Longest Shortest Time, Awful Grace, and Death, Sex & Money.
Makes Me a Better Person (4 / 5)
Bonus Stars: ★★
Emtman’s website is great although a little trippy, and I also want to give him props for his excellent use of sound effects and music during episodes. It’s not overdone and usually perfectly complements the story. Fabulous work and props to Bethany Denton as producer as well.
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (5 / 5)
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