If you enjoy horror audiodramas, you need to be listening to The Magnus Archives


#1

I’ve listened to a lot of fictional podcasts. Liked a lot of them too. The Black Tapes, Tanis, We’re Alive, The Bright Sessions, Within The Wires, Night Vale, Knifepoint Horror, NoSleep. But while I enjoyed them, there are areas where I felt they could often suffer, especially when they’re going for dialogue and conversations rather than reading prose like Knifepoint.

But it’s the writing that has made Magnus Archives my favorite horror fictional podcast. The show masterfully delivers mystery. These stories are often from a limited perspective, so there isn’t really an explanation for why things happen or what the happenings are. We’re not trying to solve what’s going like in Black Tapes. The people telling the stories aren’t figuring what happened through ancient texts or folklore. These eerie things just happen and we’re left in the dark just like those people. Because of that, the story in Magnus Archives have such a great sense of creepy unknown.

The series’ premise is reminiscent of Archive 81, here the archivist of an organization that investigates otherworldly occurrences is reading the transcripts of those archives. The stories descend into lovecraftian/SCP-esque territory, weird horrifying happenings that eschew explanations for the terror of the uncertain and unknown.

I like how even from the first episode, the voice acting is consistently good. I have unreasonably high standards for voice acting in audiodramas; most of the time, the conversations and pace of the dialogue in them feels so fake and stilted (Archive 81, I’m looking at you). But the main narrator does such a good job from the get-go; his delivery is a big part of why the series succeeds as well as it does. The first episode “Angler Fish” works really well as a first episode and primer for the series. Short and sweet and just enough details to let you imagine things but not enough to lose the sense of creepiness. It instantly presents this sense of a normal world where unknowable and insidious things lurk just in the shadows off main street. The setting isn’t some creepy house or some haunting or an isolated cabin. It’s a city street corner and some guy walking home. If you’re not safe there, if something like this could happen in such an innocuous place during such an everyday moment…what else could be out there? Magnus Archives sets that foundation with episode one.

I can’t recommend this series enough.


#2

Do they ever use sudden shocking noises? It sounds like something that is right up my alley but I really don’t like being startled(Anxiety+Bad Heart).


#3

In some later episodes, a bit. But the overall format is a narrator reading transcribed statements, so the scariness and dread comes from scenarios and imagery rather than sound effects.


#4

Well I certainly don’t need MORE podcasts to listen to haha, but I’m always on the lookout for more good narrative pods. I already listen to Black Tapes, Tanis, Within the Wires and Night Vale, and if this one stands out as much as you say I’d love to give it a shot!


#5

The Magnus Archives is easily my favorite fictional podcast. For whatever reason I tend to stick with horror when it comes to fictional podcasts/audio dramas. No other horror podcast seems to keep the quality at such a consistent level. The single episode that sticks in my mind though is the cave one. I never considered myself claustrophobic, but I had strong reaction to that one.


#6

Black Tapes used to be my favorite, but the first second ended so weakly that I never even listened to season 2. Sayer and Fairy Tales for Unwanted Children are my current favorites, alongside Magnus


#7

I had just subscribed to the NeoGAF thread on this to check out at a later date heh, was that yours?

I dropped off of Nightvale as it quickly became overbearingly wacky and since then generally rely on audiobooks for some audio-drama horror but this sounds great.


#8

I’m really getting into this. I’m listened up to Squirm (episode 6) so far. Glad there is a place to keep talking about it!


#9

Someone else started that thread, but I’d been singing the praises of Magnus Archives there on various podcast recommendations threads.

Night Vale started off intriguing but then it leaned more and more into “throw everything at the wall” wackiness. There was potential for creepiness but it got way too campy for me

Audiodramas can be hit and miss for me, usually it’s the acting rather than the writing or premise that turn me off. My favorites are Magnus, Sayer, Fairy Tales For Unwanted Children, The Bright Sessions, Levar Burton Reads, Tumanbay, and Twilight Histories


#10

I listened to Night Vale for a while, but I got sick of the stream-of-consciousness style of writing. It just seemed to go nowhere.

I do want to give another recommendation for Levar Burton reads. I’m not going to lie, The Paper Menagerie made me tear up a bit. I think I liked every story actually. It’s amazing what adding a little bit of music to help set a mood can do.


#11

So I listened to The Piper this morning. Very solid, but Thrown Away remains my favorite of the few that I’ve heard so far.


#12

Yeah, Thrown Away works so well because you’re only seeing the outskirts of some unimaginably horrible and disturbing thing but just enough to make your imagination run wild with possibilities.


#13

Listened to the first three episodes last night. Genuinely creepy and very well delivered. Thanks for introducing me to it.

I will recommend this channel for some older stuff radio stuff https://www.youtube.com/user/ChillySunshine

Not always the greatest recordings but I really love those older mystery/horror radio dramas.


#14

Magnus is so gooood. My favorites are still the Man Upstairs and Arachnophobia, but the overall level of quality in this series is staggering and the meta-narrative is actually really interesting and moves right along. So hyped for season 3.


#15

Thanks for this, I just ran through Lore in like two weeks while working and I needed more stuff in that direction.


#16

If you like old timey mystery radio drama, I’m a huge fan of Decoder Ring Theatre, particularly the Black Jack Justice series

https://decoderringtheatre.com

https://decoderringtheatre.com/shows/black-jack-justice/


#17

The Magnus Archives is AWESOME!

I have one more for fans of horror. It is a Dark Fantasy podcast set in a dungeon RPG style.

The Iron Realm Podcast

It is an audio drama with a twist. Listeners can PLAY as well.
Lots of free extras to download and dozens of adventures.
Try it for yourself.


#18

Thank you so much for this recommendation! I’ve actually been looking for good recent horror fiction for a while now and struggling with most of what I discovered, but I’m on episode four of this podcast now and I adore it. I’ve made a note to check out some of the others mentioned here as well.

Can’t wait to dive into the next episode!


#19

Hey all, I just went online with my new horror fiction podcast. It’s called Horror Tales. The production is of high quality, as I am an audio professional, podcast and horror lover and wanted to create a new experience! :slight_smile: If you listen, let me know how you liked it! https://itunes.apple.com/fr/podcast/horror-tales/id1428843394?l=en


#20

Nice recommendation. I was worried the strong vocal affectation was going to wear thin but I gave myself to it and so far it’s fine.

I’ve listened to lots of the other stuff mentioned so far to various degrees of completion and enjoyed them variably. One thing I adore which hasn’t been mentioned yet is “Coyote Tales” by Jim Biyeh. I first heard it on the Pseudopod horror podcast, which is principally dramatic readings of original horror stories.

“Coyote Tales”, however, is only available in audio, read by “Cayenne” Chris Conway. Conway masterfully narrates the stories, which comprise an anthology set on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona and features a delicious blend of pragmatism and myth. Conway knows his way around the Navajo language and maintains consistent voices for characters.

Biyeh wanted to honor the tradition of oral history and so only released these stories as an audiobook. It’s available on US libraries at least through Hoopla and Overdrive. I highly recommend it.

Also I’m a pretty big fan of We’re Alive, warts and all. I’ve been through it seven times now I think.

Thanks for the recommendations y’all!