Podcast Review: ‘Old Gods of Appalachia’ chock full of thrills

Not for the faint of heart, but certainly worth the fright!

CARSON HOLLAND, Evergreen columnist

Hot girl summer? Not a chance.

Horror podcast summer? Without a doubt. 

“Old Gods of Appalachia,” a horror podcast anthology, has you covered for those drives between shifts at your summer job or on long road trips with your friends. Wherever you choose to listen, you will be on the edge of your seat with this podcast, either out of fear or excitement for the next episode. 

Set deep in the Appalachian Mountains on the other side of the country, the podcast explores eldritch horrors and monsters that lurk deep within an area that is filled with bogs, backwoods and thickets. With technology progressing and human settlement continuing to exploit the land, the old things that were once asleep are waking up. 

Of course, this is set in an alternate reality of the Appalachian Mountains, one filled with monsters and horrors. Yet, even from the very beginning, the world that the publishers of the podcast create manages to feel very real and lived in, with characters coming to life in just a few episodes.

If you are a fan of genres like cosmic horror, mythology or folklore, this is the podcast for you. Each episode builds off the next, yet is able to tell its own unique story with a different fright each time. 

Not to mention that the narrator has an amazing storytelling voice, reminiscent of someone telling ghost stories around the fire. They are able to put inflection into their voice, mixed with great soundscaping, which puts the listener right into the action. 

And readers, there is action aplenty and horror in spades. 

“Old Gods of Appalachia” is not for the faint of heart. It is a legitimately scary horror podcast. The show has a creeping familiarity to it, made only more evident by references to American pastimes and historical events. Even though you know it is just a podcast, that does not reduce the fear factor at all. 

This is one of the few horror podcasts that I have found myself legitimately frightened by the end of it, though it is never at the expense of the story. The opposite is true as the scares just make the struggles the characters are going through all the more interesting. 

This podcast succeeds where others have failed because it makes the horror seem real and rooted in actual issues. The monsters the characters face in a small mining town are just as dangerous as the coal mines they risk their lives in to feed their families. 

The story is also expertly passed, providing a rewarding experience after listening to the end.

Any moments that are spent not in the action are used to build up the characters’ backstories or the world existing around them, allowing the listeners to feel invested in the universe right before it frightens the pants off them. 

Importantly, for a horror podcast, there is little delineation between the scares and the downtime between them. Listeners can be easily caught off guard by what they mistake as a safe situation, only to be thrown right back into the action. 

The effect that this has on the story and actual horror aspect is amazing and proves to be one of the scariest parts of the podcast. Every part of the story seems off somehow, an unease that makes the actual moments of relaxation and worldbuilding all the better. 

Just a word of caution again to you readers. This is a scary podcast, I will not try and work around that. If horror is not your thing I would not recommend this as it is filled to the brim with it. 

But if you like horror, or want to try it out in podcast form, I would heartily recommend “Old Gods of Appalachia” to anyone. With episodes continuously coming out, you will come for the horror but stay for the rich storytelling and wild adventure.