I’ve been putting together a regular film podcast with fellow Swampflix contributors Britnee, James, and CC for nearly four years now, and it still feels like something I’m only getting halfway decent at as time goes on. Our number of regular, subscribed listers is still microscopic and it’s been almost two years since someone reviewed us on Apple Podcasts to boost us in the algorithm, but it’s still a project I try my best to continually improve despite the lack of feedback. The Swampflix Podcast has evolved through practice & increased equipment quality over the years, but it’s also something I’ve worked to improve by borrowing ideas & influences from other shows.
I listen to movie podcasts for an embarrassing number of hours a day, a routine that’s practically replaced listing to music for me as I’ve fully immersed myself in film criticism as a personal interest. I love the self-publishing D.I.Y. format of the medium, as well as the immediacy of its usefulness as a criticism delivery system. A great movie podcast is hard to find, though, especially if you enjoy low-budget, trashy genre films as much as I do. The best podcasts on any subject are the ones that are most consistent in their structure & schedule – reining in the chaos of this conversational medium with a little rigid rigor. Even the genre film podcasts that meet that criteria are often insufferable to me, though, as they too often slip into above-it-all, so-bad-it’s-good mockery of low-budget outsider art instead of a genuine appreciation for the movies they discuss. My favorite movie podcasts are the ones that are rigidly structured, jovially conversational, and willing to discuss trashy genre films with the same appreciative reverence they afford high-brow artsy-fartsy fare. It’s a surprisingly tough combination to come by, but I have found more than a few.
As we are again shifting around the structure of our own show to accommodate making The Swampflix Podcast a weekly occurrence instead of a bimonthly one, I’ve been thinking a lot about which shows I’d most like to emulate. The following list is an alphabetical collection of the movie podcasts I most enjoy as a listener and most admire as an amateur podcaster myself. They’re especially recommended for movie nerds who appreciate a little low-brow genre fare mixed in with their art-snob prestige pictures. Among them are the shows I’ve most often borrowed ideas from for The Swampflix Podcast’s formula and the ones I’ve most often heard my own sensibilities echoed in.
The Faculty of Horror: Two academic women discuss horror films old & new in well-detailed research, often through a feminist lens.
The Important Cinema Club: Critics from the Toronto blog Film Trap discuss classic movies & total trash with the same appreciative tone, making no judgmental distinction between them.
The Next Picture Show: Ex-writers from The Dissolve, the site that turned me onto the art of film criticism in the first place, compare new theatrical releases with a classic movie they share something in common with – covering everything from Orson Welles to the latest superhero blow-em-up.
No Such Thing as a Bad Movie: An Important Cinema Club Podcast spin-off show that specifically discusses “bad movies” only, but in an appreciative tone. Instead of tearing the movies down, the hosts take turns asking each other “What was your favorite part?”
The Rialto Report: In-depth anthropological interviews with players from the classic 1970s-80s New York City porno scene. It has way more insight into cheap indie filmmaking than you might expect, and it’s the only porno podcast that regularly makes me cry.
Shock Waves: A weekly roundtable of Blumhouse employees discussing what’s new in horror. The quality of the featured interviews varies wildly depending on the guest, but each episode opens with a lengthy discussion of what the hosts been watching lately that I never miss.
Switchblade Sisters: Professional genre enthusiast April Wolfe interviews women filmmakers about how their own work compares to their favorite genre films. The conversations are incredibly well researched and are doing great work to restore the reputations of casually dismissed films that deserve more respect.
Trash, Art, and the Movies: Canadian critics compare a trashy genre film to a high-brow art pic on a similar topic, then somewhat jokingly declare a victor in which film did it better.
We Love to Watch: My like-minded internet buddies record this movie-of-the-week show about a wide range of films that are often eerily in-sync with the things Swampflix happens to cover around the same time. I’ve personally been a guest a couple times to discuss The Fly & Xanadu, and I never miss an episode.
Who Shot Ya?: Mostly covers film industry news & new releases, but specifically through a non-Straight White Male perspective, which is a frustratingly rare thing to come by in podcasting. Only two of the shows listed above are entirely hosted by straight men, but the pointed political corrective of this show still feels like an essential part of my weekly feed.