Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013's Best Dark Discussions

2013 is a year I will be happy to be rid of. Yes, I grant that it is naive, foolish and superstitious to place any emphasis on a largely arbitrary calendar turn, but for once I will bow to the convention and flip the year the finger as it recedes in the rear view mirror. My normal procrastinatious (well it should be a word) tendencies were compounded by various work, family, feline and health related stresses, which is why I haven't written anything these past six months.

And so it is that I am even more grateful than ever for those fans who support the Dark Discussions podcast (whether that it because of or in spite of my efforts remains a mystery). For a couple of hours every week or two I can set aside the rest of the world and just chat with friends and fellow fans. It has been my pleasure to be a regular contributor since Phillip Peron invited me aboard for episode 6 back in 2011, and its a bit of a surprise to see us going strong 2 and half year later, creeping up on episode 125.

In recognition of the show, I thought I'd take a moment to dwell on the positives, and pull out my five favorite episodes from 2013 (listed chronologically). All episodes feature myself, Phil Peron, and Eric Webster (also host of the excellent Askancity podcast). While Abe Spinney became a regular co-host later in the year, he didn't feature in any of the five I picked as my favorites. That should not be seen as a reflection on Abe, and you "reely" should check out his reviews at .

Mike's Five Favorite Dark Discussions Podcasts of 2013:

Episode 97: Evil Dead (2013) 
Controversy is good for ratings, or so they say, and this provided plenty of fodder. It started even before the podcast, with Phil exploding on the film on our Facebook page (we normally hold back out thoughts until we've done the episode). Author MJ Preston (The Equinox) came aboard to pile on the remake, and when the real Ice Road Trucker kicks a film, he does it hard and with steel toed boots. Without question this was our hottest topic of the year.

Episode 100: The Exorcist
It's my wife Pam's favorite movie, a benchmark episode for the podcast, and prompted DD UberFan Michelle Barkely to unintentionally launch the Great LaserDisc Quest. It is always nice to revisit a classic, and one this rich gave us plenty to chew on. Once again, author MJ Preston joins in the fun.

Episode 103: World War Z
Noteworthy for being the first (and to date only) gathering of the Dark Discussions hosts. We had been talking for almost two years and finally got the chance to meet each other in the flesh. Perhaps those good feelings colored our opinions of the film, which we all seemed to enjoy more than the other reviewers. Recorded "live and on location" immediately after viewing the film, it captures one of the better days from 2013. As a bonus, Pam gets to join in as a guest host.

Episode 108: The Conjuring 
Author Kristi Peterson Schoonover returns to Dark Discussions and brings along her husband Nate, podcaster and Demon Hunter. They add much needed balance to the skeptical views of DD's regular hosts, and really enriched the discussion about a fine film and the events that inspired them.

Episode 120: Gremlins  
I don't know if this episode is as fun to listen to as it was to record, but it was a great walk down memory lane for the DD hosts - a long, winding walk that often went off the beaten path. Kristi joins us again to discuss Disney, Speilberg, the 80s, and occasionally the Joe Dante classic.

All in all it was a good year for the podcast, and I again want to thank our fans for supporting us. Special thanks as well to my wife for making the Monster Mania episode possible (, and to Frederic Dominguez for inviting me to cohost the Man of Steel episode of Dirty Bay Horror.

Dark Discussions home page:
Eric Webster's Askancity Podcast:
MJ Preston's Page:
Kristi Peterson Schoonover's Page:
Nate Schoonover's Page:


  1. Haven't listened to the Evil Dead episode yet, but the other four are all solid 'casts. Thanks for a strong year of horror discussion!

  2. I would be hard-pressed to pick a top 5 from you gentlemen, because I have a long list of favorites I have in rotation. My all-time favorite show is The Conjuring. I have listened to that one more times than I can even count, now. I love it when Kristi and MJ are guest hosts, they both bring so much to the table. And as badly as I feel about starting the whole Great Laserdisc Quest, I have to admit that I was in tears from laughter as you explained how the whole event played out episode after episode! Keep up the great work, you gentlemen are truly the cream of the podcasting crop. It is THE place I go for intelligent, witty, and sometimes downright comical talk about a genre I love dearly. I look forward to another year with you gentlemen helping me weed through the films out there to find the ones worth watching! Thank you!