By Joe Anthony Myrick
Special to The Review
For many of us, horror movies give us nightmares.
For Hamtramck natives “Barnabas and Samael,” nothing brings them more joy than watching horror movies.
Well, almost nothing.
The only thing these two horror experts love more than watching horror movies is talking about them on their podcast, “Grave Discussions.”
Off the air, Barnabas and Samael are respectively a web designer/filmmaker for Clean Slate Productions and a man recovering from a work-related leg injury.
(Besides not wanting their real names to be published, the pair also asked not to be photographed.)
On the air, the two discuss the latest happenings in horror movie news, as well as review the best and worst films in the genre.
Samael and Barnabas have been podcasting under the Sports Radio Detroit internet broadcast network since last March, and after getting over some initial nervousness during their first episode, they continue to improve as their audience grows in waves.
We spoke to the horror hosts to discuss why they love the art of horror so much.
“Nothing’s really as exciting. Nothing gives me heart palpitations (as much as horror movies do),” says Samael, who’s been obsessed with horror since the age of 5.
He added: “Horror is more interesting to me because I want to see what’s inside people’s heads. What does it mean, is it an allegory for socio-economical problems that we’re facing, all of that stuff? It’s just the most fun (genre) to watch.”
For Barnabas, horror is “the most creative genre to do anything with. I think it’s great to talk about these things, too, because horror, I think, has the best community out there. Just the most passionate fans, the most rabid fans and being able to share your opinions with people is really cool. I think for a podcast, it’s awesome because you get to hear other people who are just as passionate as you about something like this. It’s a great escape.”
Initially the pair never considered podcasting. But a life-changing compliment that Barnabas received while playing a live PC session of “Rainbow Six Siege” inspired him.
Barnabas says a stranger over the mic complimented him on his voice and suggested he should have a podcast. After mulling that thought over, the idea of working on a horror podcast sounded like a “no-brainer” and doing so with his buddy Samael seemed even more obvious.
From there, Barnabas pitched his podcasting idea to Roger Martin, co-owner of Sports Radio Detroit, and since then they haven’t looked back.
Given the pair’s deeply rooted knowledge and understanding of horror, you could say they were always destined to work on a podcast together, ever since first meeting as kids at Pulaski Park 19 years ago.
Unbeknownst to each other, they were independently chasing and scaring kids away while wearing horror-themed masks.
Samael wore a Jason Voorhees mask while Barnabas wore a Ghostface mask from the movie “Scream.” After running into each other, then bonding over horror flicks and Yu-Gi-Oh cards, they wound up forming a match made in horror heaven.
That friendship and shared enthusiasm for all things horror morphed into a partnership. In 44 episodes and counting, Samael and Barnabas have learned to contextualize their opinions on horror over the air.
As they continue to build a cult following, both men hope to take Grave Discussions to bigger and better heights in the future.
“We’re trying to go to conventions and have more guests, keep upgrading,” Barnabas said. “I’d love it if one day the podcast was a pretty big thing. Where we could have our own building, our own little studio space where we can do it, or for it to one day be the full-time job. That’s kind of the dream.”
The Grave Discussions podcast can be heard on iTunes, Google Play, Podbean, Stitcher, and Spotify. They can be contacted through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and their website, GraveDiscussions.net.
Feb. 8, 2019