Three horror writers and their guests riff on objects, inspiration, and those ideas that scratch at the door, miaowing to be let in.
Season 1 guests include JS Breukelaar, Ellen Datlow, Brian Evenson, Kathe Koja, John Langan, Garth Nix, Dan O'Malley, Lynda E. Rucker, Melinda Smith, Paul Tremblay, Sean Williams and more!
The Cat gets cosy in the cubby house with special guest, author of All The Murmuring Bones, The Path of Thorns, Castle Full of Blackbirds, and more – so much more! – Angela Slatter. While Joseph reads another bogus biography and Aaron holds in a sneeze, Kaaron is delighted by a biscuit tin. Angela revisits the traumatising books of childhood. Solipsism is discussed, as is Nabokov’s dream Russia, and the USA of his imagination. Places of the imagination with no real-world existence. The idealisation of a place that becomes more real than the place itself. A toothless man is the telling detail. Not to mention, all the reasons why children should – nay, must! – be traumatised with dark tales. Aaron and Angela resurrect the ghost of Myrtle. Joseph makes a misguided commitment. Kaaron loses a ham bone.
Note: The story Joseph is thinking of is in fact The Happy Prince, which is a fairy tale written by Oscar Wilde – not Hans Christian Andersen at all.
Grimaces and grimoires referenced in this episode include:
Lila Azam Zanganeh’s The Enchanter Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita Angela Slatter’s Flight Struwwelpeter Encarta ’95 Check out the episode page for more pics and bits.
The Cat gets titular in the first episode of a brand new season, with special guest Jason Nahrung, Australia's number one vampire and author of Blood and Dust and The Big Smoke. While Kaaron takes a creepy clown as her plus one and Aaron gets unwholesomely into napkins, Joseph gets a lift with a stranger to knifey-town. Jason shares his abiding love of New Orleans, and everybody learns about the life of pirate Jean Lafitte. Titles are discussed: titles from nowhere; titles by consortium; titles as a story's guiding light. The comfort of titles on a bookshelf. The dangers of writing as a tourist. Everyone agrees you shouldn't be a wanker. Kaaron and Aaron fall out over Love Story. Jason wonders where you got dem shoes. Joseph gets into jazz—wankily. Everyone agrees on the Bloody Mary.
Po-boys and beignets from this episode include:
Harlan Ellison's I have no mouth and I must scream Yukio Mishima's The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs Spoon's Lafitte Don't Fail Me Now and The Agony of Lafitte Check out the episode page for more pics and bits.
The Cat gets confessional in this last episode of Season 2, with the triumphant return of star special guest... Aaron Dries. While Kaaron looks beneath the surface and Joseph makes a snap judgment, Aaron touches his face thirty-two times. (Lah-de-dah!) Observations about strangers lead to an insight. Translation of quirks leads to obfuscation leads to ideas. Anxiety is processed into art. Also, Rebecca... again. The telling detail. The craft of observational comedy. Readers and the catalogue of reality. Aaron brings a bag of mystery. Kaaron and Joseph get literal chills.
Imponderables and consumables in this episode include:
Emmanuel Carrère's I Am Alive and You Are Dead Terence Mallick's Badlands Kaaron Warren's Slights Aaron Dries's House of Sighs and Damage Inc. J. Ashley-Smith's The Attic Tragedy Check out the episode page for more pics and bits.
The Cat gets chimerical and discourses upon dreams with special guest Paul Mannering, award-winning author of the Drakeforth and Tankbread series, among many other fine stories. While Kaaron revisits some old dreams and Joseph gets obsessive, Aaron is scuttled sudsily by Shrek in his first Turkish bath. Paul puts his hand up for the teacher. Dreams are discussed, as is David Lynch, and that movie from the nineties where Steve Buscemi calls for more dwarves (only he doesn't – about which, more below). The potency of first images. Capturing the weirdness and emotional weight of those images, while ensuring they make sense in this world. "It's wearing your face!" Joseph, Kaaron and Paul appear in Aaron's nightmares. Paul heals himself with a lucid dream. Aaron performs a (classic) Driesian wrap-up.
Figments and follies from this episode include:
Joseph's story The Attic Tragedy David Lynch's actual story about the origins of the Red Room (in the opening paras of this article) 'That movie with Steve Buscemi' is, of course, Tom DiCillo's Living in Oblivion, and the line is "Oh! Make it weird: put a dwarf in it!" excellently delivered by Peter Dinklage in this (extended) scene. Don't forget to check out the episode page for more pics and bits!
The Cat gets intangible, discussing liminal spaces with special guest Sarah Read, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Bone Weaver's Orchard and Out of Water. While Joseph clambers through the brambles behind an old tyre yard, and Kaaron applies to be writer in residence at an all-night pub, Aaron looks up to find himself alone in a doctor's surgery waiting room. Sarah receives a warning from an empty room and unboxes a 200-year old bear pelt. Spaces are discussed, also places, and whether or not people or events leave a residue of energy in them. Also flower sack dresses, abandoned coal towns, and the eternal smouldering beneath the ground at Centralia. Aaron finds a pigeon in the ball pit. Everyone Frankensteins their locations.
Uncanny valleys and other in-betweens whispered in this episode include:
Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House John Hughes's The Breakfast Club Sarah Read's The Hope Chest Check out the episode page for more pics and bits.
The Cat gets definitively morbid with special guest, multi-award-winning author and editor, the ever-unquiet Lee Murray. While Aaron obsesses over Elmore Leonard's first hundred pages and Joseph deconstructs the double-helical structure of DNA, Kaaron finds some postcards and investigates a death by shark. Lee loses her box of things and opens the door to an interactive mystery. Defining moments are discussed, as are agency, mythology, and the internal and external factors that determine whether a story or its characters resonate. Also death, funerals, and relationships defined by tragedy. Kaaron digs deep to find the point of interest. Lee tells her own story in her own voice. Aaron thinks about Olivia Newton-John and OnlyFans a lollipop.
A few of the long polynucleotide chains untangled in this episode include:
An article on the story of Rosalind Franklin. An article about the plagiarising of Zelda Fitzgerald. Jaws: The Revenge, both the movie and the novelization. Literally any book by Elmore Leonard. Check out the episode page for more pics and bits.
If you want to know horror
These three know every aspect of it and so do their guests. If you are a writer or a reader and you want to understand how it all works and get some awesome laughs along the way please listen.