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When Everything's Gory, What's Scary?

Heather Donahue starred in 1999's <em>The Blair Witch Project</em>.
Getty Images
Heather Donahue starred in 1999's The Blair Witch Project.

Pop Culture Happy Hour listeners know that we invite a variety of NPR folks on the show, and further know that two of our very favorites are Audie Cornish and Ari Shapiro, who are both now hosts on All Things Considered. Despite this position of great dignity, they're lots of fun on the podcast, and this week, they invited Stephen and me to their show to bring a little bit of PCHH to the radio.

Specifically, because we're coming up to Halloween, the four of us talk in this segment about the state of scary things in light of how explicit both horror movies and horror TV have gotten. How do you achieve an actual scare? What's the distinction between scary and creepy? Scary and suspenseful? Where does a short story about a finger coming out of a drain come into the picture?

It's always fun to talk to Ari and Audie, so join us for this discussion of found-footage horror, whether Audie likes zombies, and lots more.

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Linda Holmes is a pop culture correspondent for NPR and the host of Pop Culture Happy Hour. She began her professional life as an attorney. In time, however, her affection for writing, popular culture, and the online universe eclipsed her legal ambitions. She shoved her law degree in the back of the closet, gave its living room space to DVD sets of The Wire, and never looked back.

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