Why I cancelled The Dark Web Podcast and what comes next for The Spiders Lair

It took me a while to get to the point where I was ready to admit the truth, my podcast was a bad idea.

I set out to launch my latest attempt at a podcast in the summer of 2017. After a few short episodes I realized I had a better idea for a show and cancelled it with the promise I would revamp it with a complete refresh after just a few short weeks. I went out of my way to reach out to guests and tried to give the show a big push. I even took out ads in the local newspaper and the school yearbook. It was all my attempt at putting out a show that would have a real radio show production value. I even launched a broadcast TV style companion show on Youtube that I quickly killed after just a handful of episodes.

The truth is the show was a mess from the start. I kept going back and forth on how raw or real I wanted to be. I was torn between keeping it radio friendly or being more mature. I never could lock down a format. I tried having recurring segments that rotated on a regular basis to the point I eventually gave up. After just a few months I tried to reformat it into a 5 day a week 30 minute radio friendly show I could try to syndicate to broadcast radio stations. After a couple of months it  became obvious that was not a viable option I then took it back into an 2-3 hour marathon of me mostly yelling/cussing into the microphone. I went back and forth it it would have video or not. I tried doing it with an expensive mic and lights, then I got lazy and did it entirely from my cell phone.

The real reason the show failed was I never could decide what I wanted it to be. To be absolutely honest the show wasn’t a complete failure in the audience department. After two years I managed to garner over 20,000 downloads and was averaging 150 per week. The problem was retention was abysmal. In fact it was basically 0 percent most weeks meaning I wasn’t building a loyal audience, I just hand 150 random people stumble into my web once a week each week never to return. The fact there was zero audience participation on Twitter reinforced my belief the show was basically dead.

This past month with the ongoing health crisis causing me to go stir crazy I decided once and for all to kill the show for good. That doesn’t mean I am done entirely with podcasts or YouTube it just means this show, the Dark Web Podcast, is no more.

So what comes next? For the website, this blog, nothing changes. I will write articles on topics that interest me as I either find the time, inspiration or both.

The YouTube channel is where I intend to do some new things. Well, actually old things. In other words my plan now that the podcast is dead is to refocus my energy on doing shorter vlog style videos. Basically just me picking a single topic and digging into it. I might keep doing pickup and collection videos as I find the time.

I don’t want to reveal what my future plans are because right now they are influx and could change before I do anything meaningful. The actual truth is I loved doing a podcast but it became a chore with little reward. It also doesn’t hurt that I landed a job as a TV producer removing the need for me to produce a web series. I think I will take a step back and try to figure out what I want to do next. I have another confession regarding the ‘retro witch’ coming soon so stay tuned. And as always, Stay Cool.

The DC Universe mistake fans keep making

I’ve talked a lot over the last couple of years about streaming video services and the crowded Market. One of the services that people are quick to point out has very little value as a streaming service is DC Universe. And within good reason there’s just a few superhero shows published by DC and a handful of movies they themselves do not produce enough content to justify an $8 a month streaming service they just don’t. But that’s the fallacy of DC Universe and the discussions people have about it.

If you look at DC Universe as a streaming service it’s not worth the price of admission $8 is way too much for what you get barely enough content to justify it. But if you look at it the opposite of that it’s not a streaming service that gives you access to comic books it’s a digital comic Service that has movies and TV shows as a bonus then it has a tremendous value at $8 a month.

I started reading digital Comics recently as a way to have a little bit more variety than just videos because I’ve missed reading comic books and the Health crisis has me pretty much isolated at home for more hours than I’m used to and I’m looking for new ways to occupy my time. The first thing I noticed is you have three digital Comics Services Marvel Unlimited, comixology unlimited and DC Universe. All three services offer basically the same thing a catalog of digital Comics that you can read at your leisure and a variety of new Comics that come out through a time-lapse after enough time has passed they get the new comics.

Now comixology as a service only lets you borrow comics for short periods of time they have a limited number of comics and then you have to return them. Or you have the option to buy them and keep them in your digital library permanent so long as you have the comixology app I guess.

But DC Universe offers something a little bit better you get a complete back catalog of all of their old comics with new ones being added all the time and the new Comics as they come out get added after certain amount of time so you’re getting quite a bit of comic books and because it’s a DC service and they are the publisher they own all the rights the stuff that’s there theoretically should expire. This is good news for the reader.

So now I look at DC Universe and I think it’s a pretty good service if you consider it as a Comics streaming service that includes some movies TV shows and cartoons as a bonus I think it works but the people who keep saying once HBO Max launches the service will no longer serve a purpose are out of their damn minds and it’s irritating to me that people keep treating it like a streaming service that has a few Comics like the comics are quaint and not that important. When did the comic book industry get to a point where the actual books themselves are seen as a licensed property or an ancillary product instead of the actual main driving force? This is bad news for Publishers and frankly it’s bad news for comic book fans.

Comic book industry is fragile just like all of the print Publications right now. Digital Comics can’t sustain or replace the print Publications because digital Comics subscriptions are very small source of revenue for $8 a month I get access to everything versus $30 a year for one book it’s a big difference in what I’m paying for a comic book. But the key difference is the digital comic just feeds me the panels that contain the story there are no advertisements whereas is if I buy a book that comes in the mail there will be ads on the page that Lawson advertising dollars is a tremendous blow to the bottom line of the comic book industry.

Now as a part of a big conglomerate DC can make money off of movies and TV shows licensing video games toy t-shirts Etc the comic books are just a another way to make money as readership declines.

But they need to find a way to make the core comic book product profitable and enticing for readers so that they can continue on producing the Legacy Media that started the whole industry in the first place as well as to continue on coming up with stories that can Inspire or be the source material for movies and TV shows video games and everything else.

I’m thoroughly enjoying reading back issues of DC Universe comic books. I hope the service sticks around as a digital Comics service for some time to come my hope is that it will help put some money back into DC’s coffers so that they can continue to feed the comic book fandom so they can stay in business stay profitable.

Comic book fans are fans of comic book stories I should say have more options than ever movies, TV shows, anime, video games and so much more. It’s good for the comic book industry in that you can see some really good at aptations of these stories an animated form or even live action stories but it’s bad for the comic book medium because people think of the comic books themselves as inferior to these other types of stories when it was the comic books that launch them to begin with.

My hope is more people will discover DC Universe as a digital Comics platform and we’ll see the other stuff as bonus material because I imagine a lot of people who have it are going to drop it and favor of HBO Max when that service launches later this month or next month.

And I find that to be sad I really think that there’s enough room in the market for three digital Comics stores Marvel to have their own and then DC can have their own comixology will have everybody else and if you pursue digital Comics that way it’s a good service the problem is that still pricey for some people. but it’s an actual tremendous bargain if you think about it $8 a month and you get all the back issues of DC Comics now not literally every issue they’ve ever published but every story you’re going to want to read for the most part is there and you can’t get some of those comic books for $8 a piece let alone $8 a month. the value of DC Universe cannot be stated enough. Most people don’t recognize how important it is to the industry and how much of a value you actually get for $8 a month even if you only buy two comic books a month or spending more than $8 at the newsstand or the comic book store.

I’ve even heard commentators comic book fans who trash the service because it streaming options are so thin and they even say things like the comics aren’t is important to them or they get their comics from comixology or some other free service which is too bad because you’re not supporting the publisher when you do that and it’s not that difficult to try to help support the publisher that is producing the content you are consuming and enjoying.

I’m doing my part I’m doing the best I can because I want to see the comic book industry survive and I love reading comics and I hate that we’ve gotten to a point that people see comic books as a secondary or even lower product on the scale as the movies and cartoons. I love the Marvel movies I like a lot of the DC movies but I still prefer the comics I love the comics the best stories are always going to be in the comic books because your less restricted in a comic book you don’t have to worry about an actor taking off his mask because he has to get face time on camera. you don’t have to worry about changing actors or recasting or fan backlash when you cast the wrong person for some reason or another.

you’re limited by your imagination and comic books and you’re limited by big budget and a whole bunch of other issues when it comes to film and television. comic books need to be profitable in order to continue to provide Source material for the video games and everything else and those things can subsidize the comic books but you have to have the comics.

what I’m doing personally is budgeting one new title a month every payday I will add a new subscription that way it’s $30 for an annual subscription every two weeks I’ll spend another $30 adding another new subscription so that I’ll have 12 months of that book and then every month in a rotate a new book each month. I’m going to subscribe to all three Digital Services and then I will support my local comic book shop by buying back issues as I come across them and if they start selling new issues I’ll buy the ones I don’t subscribe to that I can afford.

at the very least if every comic book fan would subscribe to all three of the Digital Services you would be doing a tremendous service to the Publishers the writers artists the creative people that make your stories possible at the very least get the three services and read the digital Comics you can afford.

the biggest takeaway is think of DC Universe as a bargain for digital comics and all that other stuff is bonus material.

What to make of We Are What We Are?

Every once in a while a film comes along that gets inside my mind in a way that the only cure is to spread it to as many unsuspecting individuals as humanly possible. Horror movies can be especially infectious in their spread. Like a disease the effects can be slow but impactful depending on the nature of the film.

The first time I watched “We Are What We Are” it was very much like being overtaken by a new virus. It started out like a slow, almost boring movie about a family with a cult-like belief system. Slowly the story began to unfold. The disease began to spread. By the time the movie ended I was thoroughly infected with its images. It was firmly seeded in my brain ready to spread throughout my tribe.

The film itself is nothing special. In fact it’s really just a remake of a film imported into the United State from our neighbors to the south. In fact I recently found myself stumbling upon the original during an online search to revisit the film recently. Yet like many remakes it does leave its own mark on the world.

It starts with a simple opening. A woman in what appears to be a small town falls suddenly to her death with no explanation. The majority of the movie centers on the family both coping with the loss of their mother while also preparing for a gut-wrenching ritual that involves kidnapping, dehumanizing and ritualistically cannibalizing a young woman.

During the course of the film the viewers psyche is infected with images telling the origin of the practice via flashbacks. It tells a tale of a frontier family struggling to survive a particularly harsh winter. During the course of the winter the women are eaten as a means of providing food for the rest of the family. The gruesome scenes are only the beginning. The remainder of the film is a blend of verbal abuse the children must suffer as the father continues preparations while one of the daughters begins to question the practice. The other plot thread revolves around the local authorities investigating the suspicious death of the aforementioned mother from the beginning.

What ensues is a story involving a young girl using her sexuality to throw the scent of the law enforcement officer off the trail in a disturbing scene that reinforces certain stereotypes of those who choose to live a simple, country lifestyle.

The film culminates in a scene that provides a thoroughly satisfying wrap to the events depicted. Between the family’s treatment of their captive as a wild animal, to the borderline incestuous relationship between the father and his children, the film is absolutely daring enough to entangle the viewer in grotesque tale sure to leave a lasting impression upon them for years to come. While not the most shocking film I have ever seen it is surely high on the list.

Like “The Ring”, the cure for watching the film is to spread it to its next victim. I have done my part. Stay Cool.

Discovering Shudder and the world of horror streaming

I’ve always been a fan of Horror. I wouldn’t say I’m a casual fan but I’m definitely not the type of person who only watches War. I’d say it’s a high priority but not the only thing I want. Still I watch enough of it that I want more than the typical offering in your usual streaming services.

When I first signed up for Netflix and discovered streaming I was amazed at all of the awesome horror movies they had. Eventually as things have changed with Netflix facing more and more competition the one thing I have noticed as well some of their horror movies have gone down in terms of their available Classics and specially they’ve actually done a really good job focusing on horror on the platform and that’s commendable to me it’s the one thing that keeps me coming back to be honest. All it takes is one look at stranger things to know that Netflix cares passionately about horror films and fans.

So when I learned there was a streaming service that was nothing but horror focused my first instinct was to write it off as too narrowly focused to niche. But as social distancing caused by a real world Horror Story a global pandemic has left me at home fairly isolated I’ve been looking for more content to stream to view to watch as is most people these days.

So the first thing I decided to do was download the app sign up for the free trial and browse through the selection. Now as a fan of the slasher genre I was immediately relieved to find some of the best slashers available right off the bat.

At this point in time they currently have all of the original Paramount Friday the 13th movies, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, a couple of the house on Sorority row type horror slasher films, a mixed bag of modern and old, some of the Halloween films and a handful of others far better variety of that particular genre than the other streaming services.

I was immediately disappointed at the shallowness of their selection. Being a genre specific streaming service their offerings are very tailored to a certain taste which I definitely appeal to that’s Me I’m Their audience however I quickly realized that they don’t have the numbers but I’ll not let that bother me at this point there’s still plenty to watch.
I was impressed with the 6 hour long Friday the 13th documentary narrated by Corey Feldman who had been a staple in the Friday the 13th series at one point and is an 80s movie icon himself.

In a similar vein to Netflix having a library of catalog titles they do have also a handful of TaylorMade selections that appeal to her fans which I have not yet had an opportunity to check out but have been impressed that they do exist.

As a service as a whole it will not be enough to satisfy my bloodlust obviously. But I’m very glad that I finally took the opportunity to invest in a streaming service that has a focus on content that does heavily appeal to me. When Netflix was new I envisioned specific Services similar to this service.

I picture to service that exclusively cater to horror fans and had the best horror films you could get. I also envisioned one that had a focus on sci-fi films, anime, a different one that focused on superheroes and comic books the list goes on I thought that would be a good way to go about it if they could get enough content to satisfy individual fans each service wouldn’t appeal to the masses but they have it tailored audience that would be loyal and I think that works probably better with our society’s tastes then the studio model where you have your entire catalog but it’s a little bit of everything which gets boring and tired after a while because you still have to sign up for multiple services.

I understand we’ll never be at a time where you have everything at your fingertips at your disposal and nothing ever expires I’m I’ve accepted that movies and TV shows rotate in and rotate out as long as they rotate in and out quickly that they are constantly giving you enough variety and their Library to keep it fresh I think that works especially for a genre focused service.

What I’m looking for is a service like this that gives me all the best horror movies hand-selected by fans. So far that’s what I’ve seen and I like that. It does work for me better to have a variety a mix of old and new so that you can watch the new stuff and keep fresh if you’re a longtime fan but also explore the Retro classic stuff the origins if you’re a new fan or somebody who wants to revisit old favorites.

My first complaint is probably limited to some of the other streaming services that are out there competing with them but there’s no public domain films and there’s not a lot of the classic horror films the really old ones you know like the Universal Pictures and that Realm which is disappointing a little bit to me.. basically reminds me that as Studios push for their own everything catalog service it will take away the ability of services like this to even exist for example if Paramount launches their own streaming service in the future and with holds all of their Friday the 13th and the like it becomes even harder for service like this to get access to the good stuff limiting us to original content an indie film switch to be fair can be some of the best horror movies but it will limit their marketability to bring in new fans such as myself who was hesitant at first.

I also wonder if once social distancing is no longer than normal we go back to our regular lives will I still have a craving for all this additional content is this the service or one of the services I intend to keep. I have to decide that.

Now let’s actually look at the content itself.

Not too long ago I watched a movie called Phantasm 2 I had on a DVD and was looking for the first Phantasm 2 stream and I didn’t find it on any of the mainstream streaming services so became disheartened slightly and gave up. I log into shudder for my free trial and lo and behold to have the whole series – the one I actually have on DVD. They have an assortment of Halloween films which is nice and they also have a few documentaries and originals and TV shows that I think are worth checking out, I’m curious to see what there are like.

Again going back to licensing I’m slightly disappointed that they don’t have Friday the 13th the series the TV show or Freddy’s nightmares the TV show I think this would be the perfect streaming service to house those to permanently but it might not be in the cards.

I will say for me personally that 6 hour documentary chronicling the entire history of the Friday the 13th franchise was well worth the price of Entry itself. I have plenty of films in my list to browse and I have plenty of things to discover as time goes on my hope is I can watch what’s there before it goes away and new stuff will arrive in a consistent fashion that will keep me excited for the service.

One thing this service has as far as an advantage over Hulu or Netflix is that horror fans tend to be incredibly loyal and I believe that if there is sufficient content satiate that taste they will not only stick around but advocate for its success.

That was out getting into Fanboy territory I would like to say there are flaws in the service that can’t be helped likely due to licensing issues. And while my biggest complaint about Netflix is the vast majority of their horror selection does appear to feel like or appear to be low budget Indie fare, which I can’t say is necessarily A Bad Thing. So I can’t necessarily say that’s a bonus or Plus for shudder if I’m going to mark it as a down grade for Netflix or a strike against Netflix rather.

Only time will tell if the service provides a satisfying selection of content available to me in a manner which justifies the price. For the time being I’m gladly willing to try it out for the trial. And contemplating seeing how things go from there.

At this point I will say that the service has promised and I’m very glad that it exists cuz I’ve always envisioned a streaming service similar to this I just hope that it remains profitable enough to continue to curate content that will satisfy the taste of those who patronize the service for the duration of this Digital streaming world we live in.