03: Lurking in the Dark

“What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.” (Werner Herzog)

What do our conceptions of monsters and villains say about us? This episode, we chat about mythical beasts, ghosties, and our favorite villains in fiction, folklore, and real life. Find out who loves Cthulhu, who is still scared of Bloody Mary, and what our favorite Japanese yokai are.

A few of our favorite monsters:

Cthulhu, a Lovecraftian deity

Art from DaShadeE at DeviantArt

Kappa, a river-dwelling Japanese yokai

Kappa_fart Kappa_shunga

The Loch Ness Monster, cryptozoology superstar


Kodama (adorable forest spirit yokai, those pictured from Princess Mononoke)


Lampreys, real life monsters AKA jawless fish.


Rokurokubi, a super freaky female vampire yokai.


Tofu Kozo, MJ’s favorite yokai. Skip to 29:53 for her uncanny impression of this guy.


Some of our favorite villains:

HAL 9000, from 2001: A Space Odyssey


Rev. Harry Powell, from Night of the Hunter


Colonel Kurtz from Heart of Darkness


Cruella De Vil from 101 Dalmatians

If you liked this episode, you may be interested in:

+ H.P. Lovecraft: Tales (Library of America collection)
+ The H.P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast
+ Lafcadio Hearn: Kwaidan
“Rooting for Evil (with Paul Bloom),” Episode 55 of the Very Bad Wizards podcast.
+ Cryptozoology

+ Natsume Yuujinchou (anime)
+ Mushishi (anime)
+ Bakemonogatari (anime)
+ Studio Ghibli films (anime*)
+ Space Dandy (anime)
+ Yokai Manga Volumes by Seigensha (collections of picture scrolls and ukiyo-e prints depicting youkai)
+ The Night Parade of One Hundred Demons by Michael Meyer (illustrated compendium of yokai lore in English)
+ Yokai Attack!: The Japanese Monster Survival Guide by Matt Alt and Hiroko Yoda

Join us next episode for a discussion of time travel in the movies – fate and determinism, grandfather paradoxes, parallel universes, and more.


The Krampus, Santa’s Nordic evil counterpart who punishes bad children.

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