From time to time, a person going by the alias Soren Narnia will put out a brand new episode of his podcast, Knifepoint Horror. With few exceptions, each episode begins the identical approach, in the identical, barebones aesthetic: slowly, with misleading calm, the person begins, “My title is ___,” then takes the listener on a mesmerizing first-person journey into the guts of terror.
I found Knifepoint Horror, a minimalist horror anthology podcast that has been scaring listeners for 11 years, by phrase of mouth, as I count on most of its tiny however loyal fanbase did. With no promoting, no podcast community, and no manufacturing studio — not even a theme music — to gussy up its narration, Knifepoint is about as grassroots as podcasting will get. The pseudonymous creator has not often used his platform to promote his different works; all of his creations are launched underneath a Inventive Commons license, so followers might re-record, remix, and make fanworks. The entire enterprise — an nameless creator intermittently dropping presents of spine-tingling campfire tales onto a choose band of groupies — appears like a one-man underground subculture. Typically, Soren Narnia has a visitor voice actor or two on the podcast. Typically, when he’s actually feeling adventurous, he makes use of sound results.
For essentially the most half, nonetheless, he simply talks right into a stiff, eerie silence, in a monologue that he appears to ad-lib or summon forth from a macabre assortment of fables that exists solely in his head. In each episode, his character for the night relays a story of Weird fiction — that Lovecraftian horror subgenre that necessitates a confrontation with the cosmos, of some darkish expansive evil too huge and horrible to grasp with out descending into insanity.
With no frills and no manufacturing frippery, Knifepoint’s effectiveness derives partly from its minimalism. Soren Narnia permits the silence to fill your thoughts with terror. The settings are all the time essential to those threadbare tales, with their full lack of decoration — only a man, a voice, and a journey someplace very, very scary. One week we would revisit a childhood faculty the place secrets and techniques lie buried or discover an deserted manufacturing unit with a wierd inhabitant. Maybe we’ll trek to an icy arctic wasteland, go to a city the place a horrifying cult has taken over, or discover an remoted European convent the place no gods dwell.
Our narrators’ ranges of reliability and sanity typically differ, however Soren Narnia’s masterful storytelling by no means does. There’s one thing in regards to the affect of that grave voice reaching into the darkish that’s generally so horrifying it turns into exhilarating. The primary time I heard “staircase,” a couple of disturbing house invasion, the story’s steadily deepening terror had me actually transfixed — bodily rooted in place, frozen with concern.
“You reside your complete life after which in a single second, you study what it’s like for primal terror to swallow you, thoughts and physique,” the narrator tells us — even because the story he’s in achieves a stage of primal terror, partially due to its vivid imagery, partially due to the simplicity of its narration.
The podcast at the moment consists of 64 stand-alone episodes starting from 40 to 70 minutes in size. Along with “staircase,” I’m keen on “rebirth,” “landmark,” “sisters,” “attic,” “legend,” and the latest “I was called Anwen” — although each story on this assortment would possibly wind up in your nightmares. A sampling of Knifepoint’s hottest episodes can be accessible on YouTube, together with different experimental stand-alone tales. New episodes are launched occasionally, every time Soren Narnia feels prefer it; a latest story about a most grisly tourist attraction simply appeared for Halloween.
Over time, Knifepoint Horror has gained a small however devoted fan following, and I feel that’s partially as a result of there’s one thing deeply courageous about Knifepoint as a artistic train. Lots of the tales really feel as if they’re being spun aloud, impromptu. Soren Narnia’s YouTube channel is stuffed with comparable spontaneous storytelling workout routines, and he’s mentioned earlier than that he typically works from a common define of the story somewhat than a full script.
That makes each story in Knifepoint Horror really feel like a triumph, a tough diamond of artistic expression that dares to talk itself aloud, flaws and all — to exist within the tense area between Soren Narnia’s mind and a judgmental viewers steeped in horror tropes. Besides by some means, defying all odds, the tough diamond is all the time good, glowing at midnight.