Tasha and Rosalind discuss the LGBT creepypasta horror stories they have narrated, how they produced the episodes, and what they learned along the way.
Narrations and Creepypastas discussed in this episode:
The Skeletal Grin by Queerpy Tasha
There Is A Hidden Video On Netflix Called Congratulations38.avi by 5thDimensionFreak
Queer by Polonium Poisoning
Am I In The Wrong For Standing Up To My Mom? By Captain Raffyoli
Erasure by Max Lobdell
I Was Just A Child When Someone Stole My Reflection
I Believe In The One by icantbreatheanymore0
Jim Henson’s Storyteller
Spinsters of Horror, I Spit On Your Podcast
Nightmare on Elm Street 4
Special Thanks to
Tasha: How’s it going, everyone. I am Queerpy Tasha.
Rosalind: And I am Rosalind Saville. Hello.
Tasha: And you are listening to the Queerpypasta Show! Yay!
Tasha: We’ve made it. We’ve got our pilot series out, the six episodes we wanted to get out by the end of the year, so what we are doing now, with the Queerpypasta Show is something we are wanting to do, maybe monthly? Where we can go back and talk about the stories we have narrated. We can also use this time to bring on guests and talk about queerness in horror fiction. And just a chance to speak to you peeps as well.
Tasha: So, Rosalind, how do you think it’s going so far?
Rosalind: It’s going well. How are you
Tasha: I’m doing well. We’ve had a busy day to day listening to every episode we’ve produced so far.
Rosalind: Oh dear.
Tasha: I know. it’s been a ride. Its great listening to your own voice. But I think we can both agree that the other one is the better narrator. It is definitely you, so I’m glad we are agreed on that.
Rosalind: If by you, you mean you, then you are correct.
Tasha: I do mean you. Hahaha. Erm yh. It’s a great collection of stories. I think every single one of them we got from the NoSleep subreddit and it is such a great community.
Rosalind: You say we, but full disclosure here, you did a lot of the foot work finding the stories.=.]
Tasha: Well, it’s interesting how we found the stories actually. On NoSleep and various other creepypasta subreddits, I made some posts saying, hey do you know any stories with LGBTQ representation we would be able to narrate. As you would expect there was a mixed response from most creepypasta groups, but the response was on the who very good, and with NoSleep there’s never been any problems there. In fact, I think 5th Dimension Freak was one of the authors who offered their story that way. I think the first few stories we found that way, the first was Erasure, then it was Queer. You also had a look for some stories and you did find one that you narrated didn’t you?
Rosalind: Yh, but unfortunately we couldn’t release because we couldn’t get in touch with the author at all.
Rosalind: Yeah. I really wanted to do that one as well. I quite liked that one. Can we shout out a recommendation for it maybe?
Rosalind: Yh, it’s called….
Tasha: I believe in the one want it?
Rosalind: Yes! I believe in the one by I can’t breathe anymore0. I quite enjoyed that story. I wish we could have done a proper narration of it and released it.
Tasha: It’s just a shame we couldn’t get in touch with the author about it. I think it was gay representation?
Rosalind: Yeah, it centres around a gay male couple. And I don’t really want to ruin the story for anyone but I quite like the way it goes.
Tasha: For sure. We are definitely going to be going through spoilers on all the stories we have narrated so far. So if you haven’t listened to any of our narrations yet, I would recommend going back and listening to those stories first.
Rosalind: Although if you want to be a rebel and listen to this anywhere and then go back to listen to them fair play to you.
Tasha: Hahaha. So, the first story we narrated is called the Skeletal Grin. Who’s the author of that one? I can’t remember?
Rosalind: Oh I don’t know, someone I’ve never heard of.
Tasha: Some obscure nobody. Oh it was… it was me wasn’t it?!
Tasha: That’s right. Skeletal Grin. That was the first story we released anyway. That wasn’t the first story I narrated. I actually narrated another story I wrote call I Caught A Hare which we haven’t released yet. We might release it further down the line. It is recorded anyway.
Rosalind: I really liked I Caught A Hare.
Tasha: I like it too. It’s my kind of humour in it. The Skeletal Grin I wanted to have one there because if I’m going to use one of my own stories, I want it to be one with the strongest LGBT representation. Of course The Skeletal Grin has a lesbian protagonist. It is one of my favourite stories I’ve written. That, and I Caught A Hare. I don’t think I’ve put I’ve Caught A Hare on the internet. So I should probably post it at some point.
Rosalind: I concur. Absolutely. How did you find comparative to the other stories that we’ve done, I imagine this is a bit different considering you are narrating something you yourself have written, so I imagine you know the right cadence and emphasis. The pacing of it.
Tasha: It’s great narrators narrating stories they have written themselves. When you are writing a story, you are often writing it in your own voice. So it is really easy to narrate. You know exactly how each line is supposed to be read. For other author’s work, you really need to go deep into the story and think carefully about who this character is and how do they sound. How are they actually saying each line. The Skeletal Grin was the story I narrated after I Caught A Hare, so the first two stories I narrated were stories I wrote myself, which gave me an easier time starting out I think.
Rosalind: Yeah it’s easier with some stories. Some are more descriptive about the way the speech is done.
Tasha: Hmm mm
Rosalind: Yeah, that was one of your first narrations wasn’t it. so looking back now after doing a few, and finishing the pilot series, do you think there is anything different you would do?
Tasha: I think, erm, I think I could probably do better on the production because there is a lot of voice acting which is quite loud. Like shouting. Like no no! and it’s harder to shout in a scared or angry way into a microphone when you are just doing a normal narrations because you’ll peak your levels. I don’t think I really had the skill back then to really balance out all the levels, or even move the mic away so I can shout at I loud amplitude, so it sounds like I’m shouting, but not blowing out the listeners eardrums. So I think I’ve learnt I can do a lot more on the production. I think I would have narrated it the same way.
Rosalind: I really liked your narrations of it. The way you conveyed the main characters… I don’t think their name was mentioned was it?
Tasha: No I don’t think I named the main character. The children and the wife were named.
Rosalind: Yeah. So when the main character is experiencing fear, panic, or even curiosity that does really come through in your voice.
Oh thank you. I tried to anyway. I mean there’s a lot of subtlety in the story. Like the whole metaphor with the butterflies. She’s in a room, well she’s terrified of death, and she’s surrounded by walls which are literally covered floor to ceiling with the bodies of dead butterflies. So she’s in this cage of death which she created for herself, and that’s kind of how ironic? That weird juxtaposition with her fear of death at the same time.
Rosalind: Yeah, I feel like I can sort of relate to that because, it’s like, as you know, I have quite a fear of spiders. I love looking at them though. I find them very interesting and it is kind of a morbid fascination, since I am terrified of them as well.
Tasha: It’s something along those lines, yeah
Rosalind: I also got the impression it also represented the fragility of life.
Tasha: Yeah, in fact it’s portrayed as the way that… it begins the way that it begins where, she is fascinated by this butterfly on her windowsill, which then dies. She cherishes this butterfly. This vibrant and youthful thing emanating… vitality, and it just dies, and even though it’s colours are still there it’s lost all that vibrancy. Then exactly the same thing happens when of course she is holding her wife in her arms, so it loops back on itself, straight back to that poem or verse.
Rosalind: I would say Skeletal Grin is one of my favourites personally.
Tasha: I would disagree haha. I definitely prefer your narrations. A couple of your stories…
Rosalind: You would say that though wouldn’t you?
Rosalind: A big no you.
Tasha: No you!
Tasha: Hahaha. So yeah, it’s kind of inspired by… well, I used to live in India when I was around 10 to 13, and I remember what life was like back then, like Madras, and of course Madras is now Chennai. I changed relatively recently. But I think that helped show it was in the before times. The long long ago. But the story is really inspired by Jim Henson’s the Storyteller.
Tasha: Oh I loved it. Even the theme tune I still have stuck in my head on loop from since I was like 5. Doo doo doo doo doo.
Rosalind: Jim Henson? Is that the guy who did the Muppets?
Tasha: Yeah! And Sesame Street. He also did The Storyteller, oh, and a few other movies. God, why can’t I think of them now… Oh! bluh bluh bluh Dark Crystal! …And Labyrinth.
Rosalind: Yeah, I loved the Labyrinth. Surprisingly I’ve never seen Dark Crystal.
Tasha: Wow. I absolutely loved the series they did on Netflix. It might even be better than the movie. When I heard they were going back to it of course you think, urg, they’re gonna ruin it all with CGI, and they did use CGI but it was really well used, and they still relied mostly on physical puppets and sets. Which is really great. We are going slightly off topic here haha.
Tasha: The reason I bring up Jim Henson’s Storyteller is that there was one story called… The Soldier and Death, and awh it was a really great story, great characters. It was about a soldier and he think he does a favour for someone while he’s coming home from war and this person rewards him with a sack, which anything he commands will get in the sack. So he just says to anything, like, hey geese, get in my sack, and a whole flock of geese will just get in the sack. It’s kind of like a Bag of Holding. Y’know from Dungeons and Dragons? It can hold anything. Then erm oh without going through the full plot, at one point he orders Death to get into his sack. And the way death is portrayed in the series, he’s a short, erm a short man, white. with black robes and he sits at the foot of people’s bed, then as they get closer to death, Death moves closer and closer to the head of the bed. So he finds Death at the head of someone’s head so he commands death to get in his sack.
Tasha: Then nobody dies any more! Everyone lives forever! And it was great for a few hundred years until everyone was bored and tired and just waiting for Death who never comes. So the man let’s Death back in the world, but Death never returns for him because he’s scared he’ll get put back in his sack.
Rosalind: Hahaha. that’s brilliant. I mean no one wants to be put in a sack with a flock of geese.
Rosalind: Geese are evil!
Tasha: Death vs Geese, who would win?
Rosalind: I have an interesting time actually trying to figure out why the Grim Reaper appeared to the main character. I don’t know. I’m sort of in two frames of mind. It could be the main character herself is close to death in a way. She’s very ill at the time of the story. I though maybe that’s how she was able to perceive him. It could even, I don’t know, be a total fever dream.
Rosalind: But I enjoy that about certain stories. Just leaving it out there in the open.
Tasha: Yeah. It’s not explained at all. And there’s no logical explanation for it. It’s just, you could just make connections that it is just this fever dream. That’s it’s just a fever. It could be this connection to butterflies. That her life is just going out and murdering butterflies and crucifying them on her wall. So it could be that connection. But there’s also the question about why does Death not come back for her. It could be that Death is just trolling her. And she was on her death bed but she was really cocky to him, so he was like Fuck that. haha. Y’know, you deal with it now.
Tasha: So yeah, that was the Skeletal Grin.
Rosalind: Next up in the series was congratulations38. Sorry, we refer to the stories between ourselves by truncated names. The full name of the story is There’s a Hidden Video on Netflix Called Congratulations38.avi. This was my first narration that we published. It’s also our shortest.
Tasha: It is our shortest. What is it, 6-8 minutes.
Rosalind: It’s about 6 minutes. It’s strange after doing a few different narrations now and going back and listening to my first attempt, because I had tried narrating things before, but this was the first one when I tried any production on it.
Tasha: I really liked it. And you did a great job on the sound effects and the ambience as well. It really took me by surprised and it was your first time doing anything like this. It wasn’t just the narration. I though you did a great job, and you were so worried about it and it turned out fantastic, and I was very jealous because it was better than mine.
Rosalind: Sigh. Well Tasha’s bias aside…. I did work quite hard on it at the time. To be honest I still get very nervous doing then, but I am quite happy how I’ve done the ambience in it. My only bug bear with it is the way I, I don’t know, the spacing between my lines. Also I can also tell I’ve not normalised the loudness.
Tasha: Well, sure. We’ve learnt a lot about production since then. Big thanks and shout out to Marisa Ewing and Nico Vettesse from Rusty Quill who gave us a lot of advice and support when we were starting out. So with the spacing in this story, did you edit it at all or was that as read?
Rosalind: Oh it was edited. I have a lot of out takes when I do it. Most of the time in my production is just taking out the out takes, then spacing the different sections of audio correctly. Then I think with that one, I did attempt to manually normalise some of the spikes. Go through and de-amplify them as it were. I think now I have more of a rhythm with it, now that I’m getting more experienced, I have a way of tracking the beats of it, when I do it.
Tasha: Absolutely. It was also an interesting story in terms of it’s LGBT representation. What do you think about the LGBT representation in this story?
Rosalind: It is the least front and centre for LGBT representation out of the stories we have so far. The main character, Trinity, is non-binary. This is never mentioned in the story.
Tasha: Not once.
Rosalind: It is really interesting. There is one bit where Trinity is at a sleepover trying to find congratulations38.avi, and they state they were at a sleepover with girls, everyone else at the sleepover are girls. That’s really interesting, just that it is not mentioned that they are non-binary. But knowing they are non-binary we can get more of an idea about the character. Are they out? They sound quite young if they are at a sleepover? Femme presenting? I don’t know.
Rosalind: I do think that it is alluded to in that line, though. In terms of, when they are going through and trying to find the video, they reference “none of the girls could get past creeped out then it was my turn.” As well then, Trinity is not exactly a very masc sounding name.
Rosalind: I suppose.
Tasha: It is one of the non-binary names I think.
Rosalind: “One of the non-binary names” haha
Tasha: Haha. Yeah, like when Elliot Page came out everybody was thanking him for choosing one of “the names”.
Rosalind: Carrying on the trans man tradition. haha.
Tasha: Yeah. I think Trinity is one of “the names” for non-binary people.
Rosalind: Along with Sam, Alfie, Aiden, etc.
Tasha: Yeah, and Kit. I know a lot of Kits. We know quite a bit about the author actually. Some of the authors that we have coming up, there’s very little information online about them, so I’m wondering if I should explore the authors a bit more because we really want to highlight LGBT authors as well. I do not know for sure which of these authors are LGBT themselves, but for this author at least we do know. They describe themselves as a lesbian horror writer from the 5th Dimensions.
Tasha: Greeting Interdimensional Travellers! My Name Is Bree And I Am The Mastermind Behind All Of The Stories On u/5thDimensionFreak. I’ve Been Writing Since I Was 7 And I’ve Been Writing Horror Since I Was 8 But Never Published It (Because It Was Horrible). I’m A Cisgender White Lesbian Women But I’m Also Pretty Snazzy. Anyways This Is My Official Subreddit. You Can Find Everything On Here! From My Banned Stories To Narrations To Art To Anything In Between. Below You Will Find Some Information About The Subreddit So Give It A Look!
Tasha: So yes, go check out their other stuff on Reddit.
Tasha: Going back to the episode, it is kind of a classic creepypasta format. Kind of the Lost Episode style. You know like Suicide Mouse? You know Suicide Mouse?
Tasha: Oh, it’s like one of the first big creepypastas. It’s about this guy who finds this old Disney reel of this old 1950s 40s Micky Mouse episode and as it goes on it gets more horrific. This inst exactly a lost episode but similar in that it is hidden on Netflix.
Tasha: Oh and interesting Queerpypasta fact about the video. It lasted about 45 minutes on YouTube before it got deleted.
Rosalind: Haha. Yeah, it got taken down pretty quickly. I think we got a warning for that.
Tasha: We did! We got our first strike. So we wanted to put out three episodes straight away so there would be 3 episodes for people to listen to, then this one gets deleted straight away and YouTube gets all snarky with us about it going against its community standards. We were really sorry for the author as well since we wanted to get their story out there. Though I guess the podcast was still up. So anyway, we contested it, with YouTube. The Strike.
Tasha: We said, hey! there’s nothing wrong with this video! What are you doing? And YouTube wrote back to us and said Nope. The strike will be upheld. We’ve manually reviewed it and it definitely goes against our community standards. But they wouldn’t say why. So we were like. OK, fuck you. We’ll upload it again and just remove any mention of Netflix in the title since that was the only thing we could think they would have a problem with. So we upload the new video then the next morning, the old video was reinstated! They don’t even message us or anything about why. It’s just back up and our strikes are gone. I think its all a conspiracy to stop us finding congratulations38.avi.
Tasha: How was it you were supposed to find congratulations38?
Rosalind: As I recall, you start with Boss Baby Back In Business.
Tasha: Hang on. I’m gonna bring up Netflix. Now… it might not work in all countries since we have different Netflix.
Tasha: Ok… Here it is. Boss Baby Back In Business.
Rosalind: And I think you go to the recommended thing from that. So the next one was Creeped Out.
Tasha: Ok… yeah. There’s Creeped Out. So we go into the recommended there.
Rosalind: Yup. Then… Black Mirror.
Tasha: Ok…. Black Mirror. And… What’s that… hmm. Oh god. What…
Rosalind: Oh no.
Tasha: Wow. Ok. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Ok.
Rosalind: Moving on! So Queer.
Tasha: Queer! Yeah! By Polonium Poisoning?
Rosalind: I believe it was.
Tasha: Yeah. Queer by Polonium Poisoning. We were really happy to narrate Queer because they are a pretty big creepypasta author. Their stories often get thousands of upvotes, and they have this rule that they don’t allow narrations for free of stories with over 700 upvotes. Queer, when we found it, had 1,800 at the time. So we explained that we’re two queer people who would like to narrate it, and they very generously allowed us to. So that was one of my narrations. What did you think of it?
Rosalind: This was one of my personal favourite.
Rosalind: Yeah. It stands out because this is the first story that we narrated together. And it has the queer aspect of the character centre focus in the story. Whilst before, up until this point, everything is kind of background. Which is totally fine. I think we’re pretty happy with any LGBTQ representation as long as it is not problematic. But that was really cool.
Tasha: It was really cool. And it raises a good question, what is the best form of LGBT representation. Like if we go back to congratulations38, the fact the person’s non-binary identity isn’t mentioned in the story, is that perhaps one of the best forms of representation, even if it is still invisible? It’s a story that includes LGBTQ people but it is not a story about their queerness. Whereas with this, it it, yeah. It is in your face. And their queerness is kind of manifested in dark and monstrous ways as well.
Rosalind: I’ve got to say one thing that hit close to home is the character Dennis.
Tasha: Urg. Dennis. We all know a Dennis don’t we?
Rosalind: We do all know a Dennis. And it makes it all the more cathartic what happens to him in the end!
Tasha: Yes! Yes! Like when I first came out, I was working for a chain of pet shops as the personal assistant to the proprietor. And the manager of the building, who wasn’t my boss, I just worked for the proprietor. He was a very vocal National Front supporter and for anyone outside of the UK, the National Front are kind of like our Ku Klux Klan. They are an extremist far right group and basically hate anyone who isn’t a straight white cis guy. I had problems with him for years, then of course I come out as trans and yeah it went about as well as you’d expect. He refused to use my new name or my new pronouns. But he was also telling other people in the building not to. And my boss was telling me “oh, he’s just saying those things because you are the way that you are” so basically blaming me. Like if you weren’t trans, he wouldn’t be acting so shit to you. Even when I legally changed my name, he still didn’t change his behaviour so I just walked out. That was my Dennis. Did you have a Dennis?
Rosalind: I just wanted to say the way your boss reacted to it mirrors the story quite well. Like when they went to the police and they just said “well maybe you should stop being androgynous, kid.”
Tasha: Yeah! Exactly!
Rosalind: I don’t have a workplace, Dennis. I have had some similar instances when I was at college. At times when I first started experimenting with presenting female. And yeah, I remember getting into some altercations with some less understanding students and also being taken to a meeting and being reprimanded for distracting all that boys.
Rosalind: Yeah! and another teacher told me I should maybe try acting less gay.
Tasha: Oh wow. Ok.
Rosalind: Yeah, it’s not good.
Tasha: Oh. I loved the reveal. It’s, yeah. The character does seem to be queer as in LGBTQ queer, but it also has this double meaning that there is this beautiful body positive monster that I love. I love the bit where Dennis, just finally makes his move against them and they reveal the horns on their back and their beautiful nipples of swirling galaxies.
Rosalind: I adored that. Triangular eyes and things. And that there is a much larger universe outside of the story. There is much that is alluded to that we don’t know. Where does this person come from. What is the significance of the dagger? It sounds like a traditional thing? Like in the culture of what these creatures are.
Tasha: Yeah. It sounds like their entire family is the way that they are. And there’s this really cool foreshadowing that they do it. They say that, y’know, when certain features started to develop. Of course as trans people, we interpret that as breast or facial hair and no. What it sounds like, erm, once we’ve had the reveal and listen to it again, it sounds like the “certain features” are the horns growing from their back and those kind of things. Those aspects of themselves. The actual monster rather than hiding their queerness. Because it sounded like they were actually very open about their queerness.
Rosalind: I got the impression that the character’s queerness was separate to their physical nature.
Tasha: Yeah, I mean, they are queer in the LGBTQ sense but they are also queer in the weird, odd monster, physically as being this lovecratian horror haha.
Rosalind: Do you have a head canon about that, because I get the impression that they were an alien.
Tasha: I didn’t imagine them as an alien. I thought of them more as a demon. I dunno. I guess like in Skeletal Grin, there’s no real explanation. In this there’s no real explanation. for why they have this dagger that’s passed down the generations that can cut people in half and they form into two of the same person. It’s curious.
Rosalind: One thing that leads into that. One thing I appreciate in horror in general is not giving all the information and letting your own imagination do the work. And I think that’s probably something that’s quite important in creepypastas given the quite short format.
Tasha: Yeah, totally agree. Well, it’s the same in any form of horror. Especially true in horror movies. They show too much. The producers have too much power with CGI they want to show you all these lovecreaftian horrors. There was a movie out last year called Underwater and they just straight up show Cthulhu.
Rosalind: Absolutely, yeah. And I think this is part of what made Lovecraftian horror itself, is that it’s all intangible. It’s not understandable.
Tasha: Yh, the way Lovecraft writes, it usually a guy who just can’t describe what he is witnessing. Like, I just saw something too horrendous for you to understand.
Rosalind: I glimpsed it slightly once and now I’ve gone completely insane.
Tasha: Yes! Hahaha.
Rosalind: Like in usual writing rules, they say show don’t tell. Maybe in horror we should show less?
Tasha: Yeah, I feel like this is reflected in games as well. If you take something like Dead Space for example. A lot of the tension is diffused when you see a shambling gory mess construct itself into an alien horror for the millionth time. Whereas I find that indie games, indie horror games leave a lot more to the imagination. Leave a lot more to the imagination. The tension gets to me so many times more.
Tasha: Like Silent Hill where they added all this volumetric fog just because the PlayStation couldn’t handle the draw distance, but it made the game so much scarier because you couldn’t see what was in the fog. Or Amnesia maybe, where you’re in the dark…
Rosalind: I was absolutely thinking of amnesia!
Tasha: Oh yeah?!
Rosalind: Good shout. And I think that the take away from that is, if you want to make good horror, do less. Cut corners. Be lazy. hahaha.
Tasha: Let readers do the work. So the next one we have, is one of your narrations, which I think might be my personal favourite out of all the narrations we’ve done. But of course, it was done by the better of the two Queerpypasta narrators. Erm…
Tasha: haha. So yh, one of your stories how about you introduce it?
Rosalind: Am I In The Wrong For Standing Up To My Mom?
Tasha: By Captain Raffyoli.
Rosalind: Captain Raffyoli. Absolutely right. I very much enjoyed doing this one. It is a very fun one to narrate. And we actually did this in the same room.
Tasha: We did!
Rosalind: Yeah! This is the first one, and only one, that includes voice lines from both of us. It was fun. The characters were very expressive. There was a great amount of foreshadowing in it. And it was just a lot of fun.
Tasha: Awh, it was so good. I was saying earlier about my kind of humour, and this plays into it so well. It is a very dark story, but it just this thing that he talks about…. erm… the weirdness… well…. we’ll go into that. Just like…. “huh, that was weird” and it all culminates into this horror at the end. What was the final line?
Rosalind: “So yh, my mum tried to eat my boyfriend and cleaved her to death. Am I in the wrong for this?” Kind of mirroring “Am I the asshole?” subreddit.
Tasha: Yeah! Yeah! I was totally thinking that. I would love to see that story in Am I The Asshole? Like My mom tried to eat my boyfriend so I cleaved her to death. Am I the asshole? Ha ha ha.
Rosalind: It was interesting producing this as well in terms of, I went a little heavier on the sound effects for this one. Trying to figure out what to add sound effects to and what not to. I quite enjoyed doing the sound of Blane’s leg being bitten off.
Tasha: Oh… the cronch! THE CRONCH!
Rosalind: Yes, it is very cronchy. And the inspiration I took for that was when I was looking for the sound effect, I was looking specifically for a tree branch snapping or crunching. The reason for that is, I broke my arm quite badly when I was younger. I thought what happened was that I had fallen and landed on a tree branch and broken it. Then I realised it wasn’t a tree branch it was my arm.
Rosalind: Are you ok?
Tasha: Do not want. I broke my leg when I was young. I can’t remember the cronch though. I was on the monkey bars and some twat was pushing me from behind so I was swinging like a pendulum. I lost my grip, and my foot went into the ground. Next thing I knew, I had two ankles on the same leg.
Rosalind: Oh no.
Tasha: I don’t remember the crack at all. Must have blanked it out. But the cronch in this narration.
Rosalind: Even though I did that, I still cringe when I hear it. Absolutely. There are other incidences I feel like I could have added sound effects because they are sounds that are described int eh story. But the mother making a slurping noise. I decided not to add that in to maintain the ambience, but whenever I’m listening to it, I can’t help but IRL go slurp.
Tasha: Hahaha. It’s become our personal meme. Slurp.
Rosalind: You did mention earlier how thing are mentioned in the story. Then it all makes sense when you encounter the mother. Things that come to mind are, when Jeremy is describing what happens when he breaks the rules, and she goes absolutely mental and screams at him, then she calms down and wipes the tears from his cheeks and slime from his face. Or when he’s eating chicken wings and she’s slurping down the left over bones.
Tasha: Yeah. But when he describes it, it just seems so normal to the character. Like “one of her eyes looked at me” and I’m like “one of her eyes”?!
Rosalind: Going back to that Lovecraft horror beat, about letting your imagination do the work. I think your imagination is somewhat subverted in this. It raises a few other questions as well. Because it is implied that he was around. He still had his dad’s old car. That’s what he uses to take Blane to hospital in the end.
Tasha: It’s true. They mention there is a father, but he isn’t in the story.
Rosalind: One thing that I did notice as well. The mother, despite being a literal monster not homophobic in the slightest. She seems quite happy to be seeing another boy.
Tasha: Yeah, wholesome monster mom. I’m sad she’s dead. F in the chat.
Rosalind: Maybe homophobes are the real monsters.
Tasha: The real monsters were the homophobes we met along the way.
Tasha: The production and the narration were really good. Like when you were shouting, it sounded like you were shouting but it wasn’t peaking the microphone? How did you do that? It must have been witchcraft.
Rosalind: Well at the time, I remember I did do a few takes, because the first attempt at shouting did peak the microphone. I dunno. I didn’t project it as much and directed it across the room to get more of a tone of trying to be heard rather than just going for outright loudness. Then in the production I did tone them down quite a bit and try to equalise them, because I don’t know about everyone else, but I quite enjoy sleeping to creepypastas and I don’t want someone shouting in my ear.
Tasha: Yeah, I sleep to creepypastas as well. In fact, when we started we wanted to know, do they pass the sleep test?
Rosalind: One of the best, I’ve gotten about my narrations is “this made me want to go to sleep” hahaha. Which is kind of paradoxical in the way.
Tasha: Hahaha. Yeah. Anyone else sleep to creepypasta? Let us know.
Rosalind: I suspect it is because we are all depressed millennials.
Tasha: Yes, we long of the nightmares that are an escape of the nightmares of reality.
Rosalind: I think that brings us quite smoothly to the next one, mentioning reality.
Tasha: Oh god. Erasure by Max Lobdell. Urhhh. It’s an incredibly powerful story. Erasure is a story about a friend of a trans woman who’s at university with a really…. I think problematic is too kind of a word. She would be a TERF. A TERF lecturer called Laura Oxley Vereen. Anyone who doesn’t know what a TERF is, it stands for Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist, but they are not feminists. They just use feminism to try to justify their own bigotry. And that’s who Oxley Vereen is. Urg. This kind of stuff is so bad in the UK at the moment. Before we get into that, what did you think?
Rosalind: Oh, it is a good story. I think it is really well written and very well narrated and produced as of course it is produced and narrated by our best narrator.
Rosalind: However as a trans woman myself, it is very difficult to listen to. It hits home quite hard, and Oxley Vereen is a tenured professor, she is practically untouchable, and when they do bring the complaint to whoever, the assurances they give them are so…. lame. So well, we’ve brought up this complaint and been assured that no problematic language would be used again, and of course it is. It’s all too real.
Tasha: And it sounds like a bigger problem in the UK than it is in the US. At least my friends in the US say that the way that trans people are represented in the media, there seems to be a different flavour of transphobia in the UK than there is in the USA. It seems in the USA it is mostly religious people who object to trans people existing, but in the UK it is being led by mostly women claiming to be standing up for feminism, and it’s all bullshit. and it’s really annoying. And it’s universal in the media over here that a trans person’s voice needs to be balanced with that of a bigot. It’s BBC policy that if they had any article about trans issues, they would have a trans person, or a trans representative organisation, but they would have to have one of the transphobic hate groups as well, because they think it’s balance. That basically means trans people existing is a matter of opinion. And this is all just a difference of opinion, but it’s not just a difference of opinion, it’s driving us mad, and it’s driving really bad legislation both here and elsewhere. We might see change in the future, maybe not the way the government currently is, but OFCOM has called out the BBC for this policy, saying for example that they wouldn’t have someone from the National Front or Ku Klux Klan on to balance the views of a Black Lives Matter speaker. It’s a ridiculous comparison. You know? We’ve got to create balance. This is represented by Oxley Vereen. A high profile feminist. Respected. Including her views about trans people, and it’s being taught in schools. It’s very well written.
Tasha: So… sorry. I’ve been on a bit of a rant there. It’s a subject close to my heart. I’ve been to a lot of events led by people like Oxley Vereen.
Rosalind: I quite enjoy the alternative acronym. The Feminism Appropriating Radical Transphobe.
Tasha: Yes, that’s more like it.
Rosalind: I have a couple of questions about your production actually. I thing I was drawn to. When Oxley Vereen is speaking it sounds like she was speaking in a mic in a lecture hall? I have no idea how you did that.
Tasha: It’s really subtle. For all of Oxley Vereen’s lines I dropped the volume slightly and added just a touch of reverb to it as well, so it sounds like it’s in a big space. It’s pretty subtle. There’s very few sound effects in it. There’s the sound of the door slam. Also when Maya is flickering in and out, there is a very quiet static that fades in in the background as it happens, and it slowly gets louder and louder. Then as Maya fades away it fades out, and you notice the silence more, because that static isn’t there. As the white noise just fades away to nothing. Ahh. Such a great ending.
Rosalind: Very sad though. I was wondering about that flickering sound. It gives me the impression of a candle. But as I was trying to deconstruct how you might have made it, I was think was this a record playing without a record in it?
Tasha: Yup! It’s a record player at the end of the record.
Rosalind: That’s really clever.
Tasha: Well, we’re limited on the sound effects we have access to. We’re doing all this on no budget so imagine what we could do with better equipment and access to a proper sound effect library. I mean, how do you even record the flickering of a candle flame? So I had to think of some analogue for that, so used a record. I was going to use like TV static but wanted something just a little bit more subtle since they weren’t sure about what they were seeing, or if they had even seen it. It is such a sad ending though. And well done to Max Lobdell. He clearly has a really good understanding of institutional transphobia.
Rosalind: And well done Tasha. I don’t think I could have narrated this.
Tasha: Well we did fight over it originally because we didn’t have any stories to narrate. We narrate all stories with permission from the authors. So I went out to try and find good stories, and Erasure and Queer were the first stories we found that we got permission to use, and I called dibs on them. Hahaha.
Tasha: Anyway, I think this leads us onto our last story. Narrated by the best of the Queerpypasta narrators, Rosalind Saville.
Rosalind: I Was Just a Child When Someone Stole My Reflection, by Mandahrk. I think I’m pronouncing that right. I’m pronouncing it as the antagonist in Dexter’s Laboratory. I think this was another story that hit close to home for trans people. A bit lighter in tone than Erasure I’d say.
Tasha: Yeah, I loved that we finished the pilot series with this episode because it has a happy ending and is really uplifting after Erasure. I had a little happy cry at the end.
Rosalind: I cried at it as well. I don’t know if that is a little self congratulatory considering I did this narration. The ending of the story itself really does hit me. In fact, I’m not ashamed to say that at the end, when everybody is sounding quite emotional and overwhelmed, there is quite a lot of my own real emotion in that.
Tasha: Hmm. You can hear it.
Rosalind: Yeah. And also throughout, the distress of having this incongruence with your reflection, I felt that.
Tasha: I understand that. I didn’t have that experience of looking in the mirror and not seeing who you are, but it is a good metaphor for the feeling of turning into somebody who you are not supposed to be. In fact I drew a lot of parallels while I was taking notes. I have an interesting web of connections going on my conspiracy board.
Tasha: So the main theme of I Was Just A Child When Someone Stole My Reflection is this child, who gets scared to look in the mirror because the reflection isn’t them. Instead there is this monstrous thing. And erm… I was listening to the Spinsters of Horror Podcast, I Spit On Your Podcast, that’s what it’s called, I’m not spitting on their podcast. Haha. Check them out. And they did a great episode recently on Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and 4, which is why I wanted to watch Elm Street 3 and 4 this week. We managed to watch Elm Street 3 but didn’t get to 4 and the interesting thing about 4, is there is a character called Alice who doesn’t like looking at her reflection, so she covers the mirror in her room with pictures of her friends and family. But by the end of the movie, she takes down all of the pictures that are covering her mirror and looks at her reflection, and it has become this empowering thing, being able to look at herself and how strong she has become, and she says “fucking a”.
Tasha: So that’s one connection to this story, but also, in the remake of Nightmare on Elm Street the actor who plays Freddy, was Jackie Earle Haley. Jackie Earle Haley is perhaps better known as Rorschach from Watchmen.
Rosalind: Ha ha ha ha.
Tasha: The reason why I bring this up, is because I love the voice acting you did for the monster in the mirror, but is so reminds me of Rorschach. Give me back my facccce.Hahaha
Rosalind: I’m not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with me!
Tasha: Exactly! Yeah! And there’s another connection there! Give me back my face! Y’know. Rorschach doesn’t want to see his own face either, so there’s this weird common theme going here. For people listening, I have my conspiracy board out. At the centre of it is a photo of Jackie Earle Haley and there are strings going out in all directions and Rosalind is giving me a funny look.
Tasha: This is all connected somehow. I don’t know how. But Jackie Earle Haley is at the centre of it!
Rosalind: I have to say doing that voice absolutely wrecked my throat.
Tasha: It was so good.
Rosalind: I think the first segment I recorded for that was the line where the mirror has been shattered and it is described as the voice culminates with itself into a crescendo and the way I produced that bit was I recorded the line, and then I layered it on it self several times, then each bit I put slightly out of synch each way to create the effect that one voice is speaking multiple times.
Tasha: I really loved the music in this one as well.
Rosalind: Oh yeah, so I wanted to do something a little bit different to I Stood Up To My Mom. I didn’t use sound effects for the most part, except that one I generated for the shattered reflection. Instead what I did was, I don’t know how to describe it, I took a tinkling sounding piano track. It’s basically a loop track that continues to loop but I edited so that after each section, as the story progresses, and Cynthia becomes more discombobulated, that it gets tone shifted down a notch. I tried to mirror that, pun not intended. And then I tried from that to transition to another piano track, but this time, much more upbeat.
Tasha: Yeah. The tone completely changes. You can really feel it. It isn’t just the music. It’s the tone of the narration as well. You can hear the fear and apprehension is gone.
Rosalind: I tried to sound not just emotional, but also a bit fragile. Because she has been through quite a lot up until this point, and it’s a big moment for her. I can put myself in those shoes. Like. Ok. Here we go. And that’s the only point I use proper sound effects as well. Because during that last section, you hear the birds singing and again I wanted to convey that Cynthia has been getting more and more desensitised by her reflection. Gender dysphoria presenting in that way can have quite a dis-associative effect, and I wanted to bring that in. So you don’t really hear any sound effects and then when the monstrous reflection is gone, suddenly she is more… you feel more real.
Tasha: Great performance and great story by Mandahrk. I tried to find more information about Mandahrk. They have a popular series out on Reddit at the moment called I’m a Sex Worker and Sometimes We Just Need A Safe Space. Only other thing I know is that they like being known as the Sex Worker guy. hahaha.
Tasha: So those are the six episodes we had for the pilot series, and you might be wondering now, what is going to happen. Well, we’re having a short break but we’ll be back in February when we launch our Kickstarter which will really help us out. We’ve done the best we can with the equipment that we have. We can do so much better if we even had a good quality microphone. There’s other equipment that could help us out as well, not to mention access to a big sound effects library. Basically we need resources so we can bring you weekly episodes of Queerpypasta, because we have tonnes more stories to narrate. So watch this space. Follow us on Social Media. We’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you want to help support us, drop us a review on iTunes or your favourite podcast app, or check out our merch at RedBubble.
Rosalind: Please give us likes and views. We worked ever so hard.
Tasha: Please clap. Hahaha.
Tasha: So until next time, that’s it from me.
Rosalind: And that’s it from me. Abandon all hope.
Tasha: And always, fear The Editor.