In this podcast we preview episode nine of Story Unboxed in which we unbox and analyse ‘each thing I show you is a piece of my death’ by Stephen J. Barringer and Gemma Files.
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The Girl in the Video by Michael David Wilson, narrated by RJ Bayley
One Hand to Hold, One Hand to Carve by M.Shaw
Pre-order at www.tenebrouspress.com now.
Advert music credit: Myuu
Michael David Wilson 0:07
Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson, and every episode alongside my co-host Bob, Pastorella. We chat with masters of horror, about writing, a life lessons, creativity, and much more. And today, we are presenting an hour of analysis and discussion on the Steven J. Barringer and Gemma Files' story, each thing I show you is a piece of my death. Not a full episode on Patreon is a whopping three and a half hours long. But here you are get in an hour of conversation. But of course, before any of that, a little bit of an advert break.
Bob Pastorella 1:24
From tenebrous press comes one hand to hold one hand to carve an Avila weird body hard by him SHA two halves of a human cadaver awakened in a morgue with no memory of their life as a single body and with very different notions of what they want now. Their schism would lead each on a frightening path, one forward to a new life one back to the strange origins. You go award winning editor and Vandermeer calls one hand to hold one hand to carve a haunting story from an exceptional new voice. Preorder at WWW dot tenebrous press.com Now tenebrous press the home of new weird horror.
RJ Bayley 1:59
It was as if the video had unzipped my skin, slunk inside my tapered flesh and become one with me.
Bob Pastorella 2:08
From the creator of this is horror comes a new nightmare for the digital age. The girl in the video by Michael David Wilson. After a teacher receives a weirdly rousing video, his life descends into paranoia and obsession. More videos follow each containing information no stranger could possibly know. But who's sending them and what do they want? The answers may destroy everything and everyone he loves. The girl in the video is the ring meets fatal attraction from iPhone generation. Available now in paperback ebook and audio.
Michael David Wilson 2:37
Okay, well without sad here it is. It is the story unbox preview of each thing I show you is a piece of my death on dare says horror Welcome to Story unbox the horror podcast on the craft of writing. I'm Michael David Wilson. And as always, I'm joined by my co host, Bob Pasteurella. How are you today? Bob?
Bob Pastorella 3:06
I'm doing fine. Michael, how are you doing?
Michael David Wilson 3:09
I'm good. I'm a little intimidated because today we are going to unbox or at least attempt to unbox. Each thing I show you is a piece of my def, which has been written by Steven J Barringer. And Yama files. And I know that we've done a number of these unboxing episodes before. But goodness, I don't think we've attempted to unbox something quite as complex quite as intricately woven together. And to be honest, as is the case with a lot of these episodes, I feel that whilst I'm going to try and impart some of my knowledge and my interpretation, I'm probably going to learn quite a bit about the story, too. So I'm looking forward to it. I hope that this is something that our listeners are going to get a lot out of. And I would imagine, perhaps more than any story we've unboxed discovered a one where people are adding to the conversation in the comments and you know, we're all learning from it.
Bob Pastorella 4:26
Yeah, I would agree. It's it's, I wouldn't say say it's intimidating piece. It's not it's not a straightforwardly written piece. It's a an I always say this word Rome, a pista Tori liforme. It's basically it's different format than what we've previously unboxed. But I think the format allows it for multiple types of interpretation. It's just you know, I I I've never read it till last week. And I've read it twice in, in each time I have different feelings about it. So it's gonna be just gonna be very interesting. Yeah, I believe that we're also going to you probably learn a lot in the process,
Michael David Wilson 5:17
right? And I think this epistolary form means that you're going to obviously want to draw comparisons to other works that I've done that I guess, such as Dracula, and House of Leaves being the two that come to mind initially.
Bob Pastorella 5:36
Right, there's a, there's a lot of probably, I mean, those are probably the two best known. But there are a ton of stories and novels that have actually followed this format. And it's, it's different. It's almost like you're reading a treatment for a movie in such a way. You know, because dialogues are recreated. There's transcripts in here. So you kind of get that vibe. But at the same time, there's the story has a cohesive element to it. So it seems like you know, each each thing I show you is a piece of my debt. There are several pieces in here that they're going to show us. But overall, there's a cohesive effect that they're going after, which is like, just creepy.
Michael David Wilson 6:33
Oh, yeah. And if you had to have one of those quick comparisons as quick pitches, I think it would be House of Leaves me it's ring you. Me, it's to be honest, any found footage film you'd use? Why not choose like mango? Because it's a great film. And I know Gemma files as a fan of that one.
Bob Pastorella 6:58
I still haven't seen it. And here's, I'll tell you, I'll tell everybody why. Uh, usually when I have an opportunity to watch a film such as that, that I've heard things about that I've never seen, I've tried to avoid. But from what I remember what Paul Tremblay tells me that there's a scene in there, that's pretty that's that, that scared the shit out of him. And I'm, I'm one of those people that use horror movies to cope. And so I'm, I'm kind of like, you know, not a bulk. And you know, I'm the guy that's hiding behind my hand and stuff like that, you know, when I'm watching it. And usually, it's, it's late at night, when I have an opportunity to watch a movie like that. And I just haven't found the time during the day, when it's nice and bright. sunshiny outside draw won't be so scared. Yes, let's just say it out loud.
Michael David Wilson 7:54
Yeah, and it's interesting to hear you say that. And I mean, late Mongo was a good film. It's been a while since I watched it, it must be. I imagine coming on for 10 years now, because I actually got it as a review copy as soon as it came out. I can think of a few moments that Paul might have been referring to, but I can't think definitively like there's not a bit that for me, stands out as like, Okay, this is the absolute scariest bit, but I guess the good thing is like, with parenthood than with my memory being not what it was, if I watched it again, I probably wouldn't remember half of it. It probably worth re watching. Revisiting.
Bob Pastorella 8:48
Yeah, I'm gonna, I'm gonna eventually buckle down and watch it but then just just by hearing, just remembering what Paul said about it. You know, he said, manna, someone saying, I think he said something about, you know, he goes about it. It's outside in the woods or something like that. And he said to me, it's just like, whoa, you know, and I'm, when I'm, I'm scared because of his reaction. Right? Yeah. And I'm like, Ah, you know, it's just I don't know. Yeah. But I mean, you know, you get so used to jumpscares I rewatch the forest. Which is could have been better the latest movie? You Yes. I would. Natalie Dormer. Yeah, I
Michael David Wilson 9:34
haven't seen it. So as most of our conversations, maybe we can stop there. But I mean, you might be surprised that I haven't seen it because this is based on the Suicide Forest in Japan. So this is right up my wheelhouse. This is the kind of thing that normally I'd be all in for, but I think the reason that I haven't seen There is, as you know, one of the few things I do look at is the IMDB score. And to be honest, it seemed to be pretty badly received it was getting for our 10 it just I don't you know, like, I don't want to watch a bad horror movie.
Bob Pastorella 10:21
I would say that's probably a fair assessment. It has moments of genuine, the, you know, like, whoa, you know, but, uh, you should, I think you should watch it. And I don't even know if it was I would have seen it. It was shot on location, but I may be wrong.
Michael David Wilson 10:45
I'm pretty sure that it was. I mean, yeah, the last time an IMDB put me off a movie. Was it comes at night. Sound about a 6.1. And then you said, No, you need to walk. Yeah. I'll be honest, it was a good movie. I'm glad that I did. But I mean, you're telling me that you agree with a four out I can. And you're telling me to watch it as well. I mean,
Bob Pastorella 11:12
I think you should make your own decision about it. Well, yeah,
Michael David Wilson 11:15
no, sir. There's only so much time in a day. And there's so many seven and eight hour attends that I haven't seen. This is true. I'll tell you one of the worst horror films I still kind of recently and that was a Netflix originals said yeah. And as a clue. And that was open house. I don't know if I'd even give that a two out of 10. I mean,
Bob Pastorella 11:41
that scene, a scene the trailer for that. I think the only reason that then I'm interested in even watching buncee for Ray Donovan,
Michael David Wilson 11:51
don't watch it. It's terrible. The the only reason I kept watching was I don't maybe there's a satisfying ending that will make the shit that has come before it pay off. And then they went with the worst possible endings so bad that I hadn't even conceived that they will go in such a pitiful direction. This is not worth watching that it's not even the type of bad film where you watch it and it's so bad. It's good or it's hilarious. So you're entertained, you won't be entertained. There is no reason to watch open house. So take it from me. I've watched it. I can't get that time back. But I can say that to you. And I can say that. Anyone listening? Do not watch open house. Okay, I cannot be any clearer on that.
Bob Pastorella 12:51
I'm never gonna watch it. I'll watch Cargo instead. I haven't seen that.
Michael David Wilson 12:56
Yeah, cargo. So Right. It's an all right film. I
Bob Pastorella 13:01
But speaking of Netflix, soon. Birdbox.
Michael David Wilson 13:06
Is it actually soon in?
Bob Pastorella 13:08
I think comes out in December.
Michael David Wilson 13:11
Okay, well, yeah, of course. I'm gonna be watching that. You know, and that one I? Of course, I would watch even if it did get panned. I'm hoping it won't. I'm excited about it. But I watch that because I am intrigued to see how they've interpreted Joshua's wonderful source material. Oh, yeah. All right. Well, I mean, I guess it is, after toad. We've mentioned a lot of films because this is absolutely what the story is about, and really what a lot of Gemma's career has been about. And I know that she's said that she wanted to make Toronto as scary as Stephen King has made Maine. And I think she's doing a damn good job of it, I would say so.
Bob Pastorella 14:06
She, I mean, this is this is her wheelhouse. This is what she does, you know, with experimental film. You know, but I mean, and I don't want to pigeonhole her into saying, hey, if there's anything that does with film, and you need to read Gemma files, that's, that's true. That's probably a true statement. But I also feel that she has other stories that are not going to have anything to do with film. You know, you know, I think that that just because you might have a wheelhouse doesn't mean that you can't, you know, be proficient in another. Another aspect of the genre, or genres, you know, Oh, yeah. So but yeah,
Michael David Wilson 14:52
I mean, in
Bob Pastorella 14:55
this story, those is probably, I would say Is this a strong story?
Michael David Wilson 15:02
Yeah, I mean, it may be the best piece of fiction written by Gemma Files which is really saying something because there's some damn good stories out there. But I don't think Gemma are anyone would really be offended or misled that you token about film as will house and as one of her primary concerns I mean she's very open about that and then said that that is what she's interested in exploring and exploring these stories around the Toronto experimental film scene, millenniums. Let's begin with the text. And in fact, before Gemma's text, we have a quote from Shakespeare from Hamlet set the mood. And it is there is nothing either good or bad. But thinking makes it so. And so already. This is like a really philosophical start to the story. And I'm thinking here that that's so perfect for capturing the world really, in this idea that our thoughts can control whether something good is or is not bad, and how something gets perceived that we're not living in this black or white world that everything gets in fact multicolored.
Bob Pastorella 16:38
Right, it's it's beyond thinking that it's the world is great, because the quote, actually has like a decision to it thinking. It's, it's, it's based upon your perceptions. And you know, you hear so many people say, Well, you know, there's no black or white world's great now you nailed it perfectly. It's multicolored.
Michael David Wilson 17:00
Right. Yeah. And I mean, I've said numerous times before, yeah, it's not black, or why is painted in shades of grey. And the more I think about it, the more that isn't true, it is multicolored. It's not just gray. So yeah, it's my new take on it. And so that kind of goes back to when we talk about changing our mind on something that is something I've recently changed my mind on. Very good. Like it. Yeah, I guess it's well, that before I thought you could only really say it was multicolored if you were thinking maybe of a carnival of really bright things. But of course that's not true evil. There are many kinds of dough, shades dough palettes that you can have. And it just captures this world that we live in. captures the moods that we can have our feelings, our emotions.
Bob Pastorella 18:01
Right and thank you think that but if you if you limited to shades gray, which are among some of my favorite colors, right. But at the same time, as much as I feel pleasure when I see like a certain shade of gray. For other people that color is it's it's a depressing color. So yeah, multicolored.
Michael David Wilson 18:25
Yeah. And I mean, how much did you link this quote to the text that followers? How much do you think is designed to make us think about this quote from Hamlet in the context of the story we're reading? And how much do you think it's just a thought provoking quote, to set the tone?
Bob Pastorella 18:52
Well, I felt like it was a bait like he said, a thought provoking quote, to set the tone. The the, the things that were that were shown in here are from a perception of, you know, some some of the things in here or, or, I guess, gross, horrifying, disturbing. But for someone else, they would find great pleasure in that.
Michael David Wilson 19:24
Yeah. Yeah. And I, I, there are people that seek out
Bob Pastorella 19:28
disturbing, and especially if someone's in the film, you know, and especially like, you know, top of experimental film, I could see how the most disturbing thing in the world would give them emits pleasure. Yeah, you know, so it's kind of like an opposite, you know, in but the quote makes sense thinking it's all in your perception with thinking makes it so the perception make You lean to good or bad?
Michael David Wilson 20:03
Right, exactly. And I should say from the top, we are going to spoil the story. We always boil the story and story unboxed. I mean, the clue should be in what we're doing. But on that note, I guess, a piece that this really does link into is, towards the end of the story, we find out that Max's wife who has had cancer throughout, has passed away. And Max is thinking his thought processes that in allowing her to watch this video in inviting it into her life, that's what killed her. Whereas Suraiya is that a school of thought? It's like, look, no, the video didn't kill her. Nothing we did killed her. She had cancer, that's what killed her. I guess that is a good example of there's nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Bob Pastorella 21:14
Right, it goes back to perception in how you perceive perception is strong. I mean, it's, they teach whole courses, who College in psychology, you know, curriculum about sensation and perception are so interlinked. And that, I mean, that was one of my, that was one of my favorite courses, right? And I didn't, I didn't at first I didn't think it was gonna be like, Oh, well, you're gonna learn about nerves, you know, you're gonna learn about the physiological, but it's so amazing that something that's physiological, you know, like your senses, there, there's a physical aspect of, you know, even even with sight, you'd have to have light light, at that point becomes physical, you know, that causes a change in, in your, in your eyes to, you know, to physically adjust to and adapt to light, or let, or lack of light, and how your brain perceives that, you know, so perception is this is, you know, especially watching film, you know, and there's even, you know, mention of, you know, them trying to do, you know, the sub sub blummo in film in the story, which has neither been proven or disproven, it's, you know, basically, it's still just a theory. But you know, and I found that fascinating as well. So to me, this, this story was, you know, I didn't know what it was about until sort of reading. And then, as I got into it, it's like, I love this stuff. Oh, yes.
Michael David Wilson 22:56
Something that I really liked. And wow, is that there's a blank between fact and fiction, which I think, really, with a lot of found footage, films, gives them not a variety, because you're not sure is this actually real is some of what we're seeing real. And so what we've got here in this story, is, there will be films and there will be moments and people who are referenced, and some of the films are real, and will be an actual world, and some of them are fictitious. And I just thought that muddying of reality and fiction really lent itself to this story.
Bob Pastorella 23:45
It gives it an authority, it gives it a, you know, some type of anchor point. And, you know, I didn't look, I didn't look up any of these films. I mean, I know that it's like some of these, you know, like mother of serpents, that's not a real film. But I mean, but then there's others that I have a feeling were real, and I didn't look up any of the you get a chance to look up any of the film.
Michael David Wilson 24:12
Wow. I thought well was reading. I looked up every single reference to see what was in was not real, including following links, just in case they'd given us an Easter egg and actually put a website up on the net. Now, I didn't get a chance to watch any of these films. I think I will at some point, I saw some images from some of them including MFG light, which is an actual experimental short film that was created without the use of a camera. And I guess I'll go through those as we unbox the story. I'll let you know what is and isn't real and To watch, you can look up but I mean, in the same way that Stephen King's Dan's McCobb is a gateway to other books. This is a gateway to more art and to other films. Right? Let's jump in to the actual text then. And the story is bookended by two sections that are completely different to anything else. And it's a narrator talking about the dead coming up from the weld. And even the style in which it's written. It's very different. It's very artistic. It's almost like poetry. I don't know about you, but I found myself having to reread it to really understand exactly what is being written here because it was that intricately put together it was it was not artistic.
Bob Pastorella 26:05
That thing that at home on my second time of reading the story, and I don't know if you felt the same way. But reading the intro and outro. And then, you know, in but if you read it just like from beginning to end, I had the feeling that I was reading a film documentary. I felt that I could hear a No it's like when especially when I got into the broad after the especially there was like this narrator's voice came in and it's like, I don't know if you've ever watched those. And I know we, they mentioned it on a recent podcast about in search of with Leonard Nimoy. It reminded me that it was that can imagine some Narrator Do you know just somewhere out beyond too often unmapped intersection of known and forgotten, there's a hole to wish to dead crawl back into this world. You know, I mean, I just that's the feeling I get, did you get that same feeling? Or am I just like more than saying here?
Michael David Wilson 27:19
Why don't Why didn't you put in get, I could almost imagine it being the start, or some sort of George A Romero film about the dead coming back. It does have something COVID there. And, like, I think now that you said that I can absolutely see what you're getting out. But for me, it was almost like reading a poem. But it's all about the mode in which our brain interprets things. And now that you've kind of switched it, and it's like, hey, read that as if it's the start of a documentary. It's like, it makes sense. And weirdly, reading it as if it's a documentary actually makes it easier to interpret. I don't know why that is. It's like, yeah, if my brains like, right, we've got some serious literary poetry here. It's like, okay, I've got a read this in a different way. But if you read it as a straight documentary, it's different.
Bob Pastorella 28:29
Right? And like I said, we don't have you, we don't have Steven or JMO on the show that actually answer these questions. I have a feeling though, that that may be the right track. And of course, you know, we could be completely wrong about this, this is our interpretation of it. But like, I don't to me after that, and especially with when I read the outro I was like, I've just read a documentary that was done was read, I don't have to watch it. It played in my head. You know, one of those weird documentaries that you'd find, you know, like on Amazon or Netflix, you know, it's like, let me watch this and it's only got like two stars Michael would never watch. Yeah. You know, and then you get this weird thing. And then just next thing, you know, like, you know, email and Michael, you have to watch this.
Michael David Wilson 29:18
Yeah, not sorry. You got me to watch to star films. I need to pass no recommendation by then. But
Bob Pastorella 29:26
that's that was the impression that I got was that I've just read a documentary.
Michael David Wilson 29:32
Right. Or when Gemma came on our show in Episode 164. She did speak a little bit about this. And she told us that these two bookends she got before anything else? And she interpreted it as the narrator being a kind of God talking about the dead and she didn't know what she was going to do with these two pieces? Initially, she thought it was probably going to make up the beginning of a novel. So that's where it came from to begin with. I wonder once she had the story, how much she tweaked and how much is just what we're seeing in terms of the initial draft and the initial narrative?
Bob Pastorella 30:25
I don't know, though. That's an interesting question, interesting direction.
Michael David Wilson 30:33
But I think that smelt, especially in dreams is perhaps the most intriguing line. I know, it was one that you highlighted. And I think that is something particularly the lines before a rough raw whole act sales, poison, pure decay, smell, especially in dreams. Now, once you've read the story ones, bringing in decay, and bringing in the smell, adds a whole new level to it that you can appreciate. Because I think the first read round, you're like, Okay, what, where is she going with this? Because she's clearly highlighted the sense of smell.
Bob Pastorella 31:22
Right? And I think that's gonna, you're exactly right. It just it made sense. This is one of those stories that if you if you read it one time, you're doing yourself an incredible disservice. You must read it at least twice, right? If not, more times than that. Yeah. Because Because once you read through the whole story, it's not that long, you know? And then give it give it a rest and come back to it and then read it again. It's subsequent readings will open up new possibilities.
Michael David Wilson 32:02
Bob Pastorella 32:03
there's no there's nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
Michael David Wilson 32:07
Oh, yeah. Well, the next section is a feature article, titled coming soon to a DVD near you. Background man jumps from net to everywhere. And it's important to note the date now is something you absolutely have to do as you're going through this. Note the date literally make a note of it, it could make the reading easier for you because as is often the case with this epistolary form, it's not always going to be that the order in which you read the entries is the order in which they chronologically happened. Right. So this is July 26 2009.
Bob Pastorella 33:06
This is kind of like setting up. Basically, what the thrust of the story is. And it's, it's about things that my interpretation of it is is about things in films that we we we try to find that we notice deals with urban legends deals with, you know, found footage, there's so many things in here that are just like, you know, buzzwords. This particular piece here is, is stuff that you would find, like, you know, if you were, you know, experimental film geek, I hate using that word. I mean, stuff that, golly, stuff that I would read, you know, poring over the internet. I think it's really strange too, because this is always thought that less groats websites called stranger things.net. And I was like, Oh, wow, that's weird. Has nothing to do with Stranger Things, but I just thought that was really cool. It talks about a lot of films in TV shows in things that are real, there's a there's a reality Reality aspect of it. I mean, like Friday night, lights is mentioned in the Bill Engvall Show there's a quote from Conan O'Brien you know, but then there's, there's the mention of our, I guess, our two main characters at the end, which would be and I'm probably going to, we're probably gonna say her name wrong. So Sariah Mooch and Max Holborn. So these two are the two. We're basically getting set up for these two characters.
Michael David Wilson 35:00
Yeah, although I think what you've kind of missed out on a key player in this whole story is of course background, man.
Bob Pastorella 35:12
I mean, I didn't miss that I was gonna let you talk about it. All right,
Michael David Wilson 35:15
there you go perfect. And, I mean, when you're reading it initially, you don't know just how prolific and how integral background man is to the story. Now, I mean, the idea of background manners, it's this kind of urban legend. Possibly a hoax people aren't really sure as to who or how background man is, but the idea is there in various videos, be at films B. Music videos, there is this unclothed Caucasian male often said to be wearing a red necklace who is spotted in the background of crowded scenes in various obscure films and he's usually partially concealed by distance picture blur or the body parts of other extras so is the kind of Where's Wally of internet hoax video hoax? I think is it like Where's Waldo for Where's Waldo or something in America?
Bob Pastorella 36:41
Where's Waldo? Yeah, so
Michael David Wilson 36:42
the thing is for the UK and where's Waldo? For you Americans out there.
Bob Pastorella 36:51
The thing that it reminded me of is that urban legend that there's you know that there's a dead body and that you can see him in the Wizard of Oz. When they when they go to AWS there's a dead Munchkin hanging from a tree. You know?
Michael David Wilson 37:08
Dude, I actually don't know but nothing sounds amazing.
Bob Pastorella 37:12
Yeah, that's that's this urban legend. Is it to me is I've seen Wizard of Oz. It's one of my favorite films. Okay, it should be everyone's favorite film. It's just for considering the time it was made. And the the amount of love and care that they went into to recreate something from a book, at that particular time going from black and white to color. The special effects are absolutely amazing. It's just you know, it's from a technological standpoint, it is probably one of the greatest films ever made from a story standpoint, just to harvest, you know, a timeless story that you did, you just can't get past but there's supposed to be a dead Munchkin in that movie. I've never seen it. And I'm convinced these are the same people that sync this film up with Dark Side of the Moon, and get really, really stoned and like dirty, you know? Not that there's anything wrong with that. Yeah. I'm just saying this. If that's your thing
Michael David Wilson 38:16
is a good a good film. It's a good album, so why not?
Bob Pastorella 38:21
Yeah, exactly. And it date that it does sync up. I've watched, you know, footage of really accurate sync up. And it's amazing how it actually just sync up. But I've never seen this. Suppose ID, your Munchkin that's that's supposed to be hanging from a tree, but hundreds of people 1000s of people have claimed to seeing this. So now you have this Caucasian male, who's often said to be wearing a red necklace, who's nude, showing up in in all kinds of things. So now you go from having this one film that has this one thing that people can either see or not see to a something that everyone can see, that shows up in all these different films. There's no question that people are not seeing this guy. You know, and to me, it's like, okay, it's, it's like the urban legend. It's just been one up. You know, it's like, Where's he gonna show up next?
Michael David Wilson 39:24
Right. And that is that first point of intrigue you've got two questions going on? Where will he show up next? And how the hell are they doing this shit? And in fact, who's doing this shit? Because really, nothing is known. About background man of burden. It's this full frontally naked man wearing a red necklace who keeps turning up? And I mean, in this article, it says the current consensus is that background man is a prank by gifted, highly placed team of post production professionals. But you know, that's just the theory. There's loads of theories, no one really knows exactly how this is happening. And I mean, that is one of the big questions. Perhaps the ultimate question throughout the film is the how, how is background man?
Bob Pastorella 40:23
Yeah. And then that's so many people, so many professionals have, you know, put forward, you know, how, you know, they feel like, hey, there's technology here that we don't even know about, for this to actually work. You know? And it's amazing, because people say, well, what's the big deal about it? You know, the big deal is, is that in the realm of the story, the FCC brings charges, because there's a new person that they're showing no TV, and it causes this band delivering rejects tax and camp to to testify under oath, that there wasn't anyone there. You know, we didn't do this. So people are actually starting to get affected by this from from the outside forces, the courts and things like that people complaining. So we've had in the context of the story, there's films that are being pulled from the market, because they're, you know, in screenings, they're saying, Oh, shit, there's background, man, what the hell, you know, how did this happen? And so it's, there's, there's an authentic pneus of it, because in something like that, you could actually expect that kind of thing to happen if it was happening now.
Michael David Wilson 41:42
Yeah. Definitely. More, as you said, they mention Sariah and Max, who are the two protagonists of the story. And so the next section is an email from Sariah to max. And so this is from June 25 2008. So it's important to know that this is over a year before that feature article we've just seen. And they're talking about a fundraising pitch for corretto ablation. I'm not sure if that's how you pronounce that. But as we've said, we're going to butcher so many pronunciations in this episode. And so the way that we're seeing this, the way that it's presented there, as I say, is from Sariah, to max, and what we can see is we can see psoriasis draft for this patch. And then it is punctuated with Max's comments. And sometimes the comments are useful, often they're a little sarcastic or snappy.
Bob Pastorella 43:11
Yeah, this is excellent character development within the EPIS tutorial. But mode, that you that you really truly that you really don't find is like, you know, in the form of an email draft, and kind of like a back and forth you get, you get, hey, what they're trying to do they need funding, and then you get characterization within that. It's just it's characterization that you can't that other writers can't build with, with more with more words, you just can't do it. You know, like when he says he sad, exactly like that don't get us some money sarcasm, you immediately know what kind of person Max is. And that that that feeling is confirmed throughout at by his little, his little critiques of this draft of this fundraising pitch. And, and like I said, when there's writers that can spend pages and pages and pages on a character and probably never get into the type of person that Max is immediately in less than, than 15 words. Not even know how many words that is. I'd say it's like 10 words, bam, we already know what a character is like. You know, that's, that's some serious characterization going on right there.
Michael David Wilson 44:35
Right. And this email this section at a story is so important because really, it's setting up everything that is to follow it's telling us about their project is telling us about what they're doing. And it's foreshadowing, how on earth they come to be in possession of this information. This video will get to shortly.
Bob Pastorella 45:03
Yeah, this is a, there's some definite foreshadowing here. This is this whole section this first email from to max is, is if you skip over this, they can all just a stupid email, you're, you're doing yourself an incredible disservice.
Michael David Wilson 45:24
Right? Well, yeah, I don't know why you would do that. But I mean, we find out that what they're doing is they're looking to put together an exquisite corpse. And that is a method by which a collection of words or images are assembled by many different people working at Once alone, and in tandem. And I love as well, it's called an exquisite corpse. So even even in that film technique, we are back to the corpse and we're back to death.
Bob Pastorella 46:04
Yes, it's very, very fitting. There's there's multi multi layers here.
Michael David Wilson 46:12
Right. And then there are a couple of films that are referenced. And both of them are actual films you've got mysterious object at noon, which is their two nouns and Thai film. I should say a film from Thailand created in 2000. Just remove ambiguity. 2000 times what the
Bob Pastorella 46:39
fuck? Yeah. What is that?
Michael David Wilson 46:41
And then could Dav rat that squeeze? I don't know, My French is terrible. But that effectively means Exquisite Corpse, which is a 2006 film and it is a musical based loosely on the Legendre Fouse. So that sounds amazing.
Bob Pastorella 47:01
Right? Is it's where he would almost think that these are just like made up films, but these are actually real films. You know, and it's this lens to the reality of it. That there there probably are films like this out there. And to me, that's always you know, when you finish something, reading something, it's like tweener Republic really stuff out there like this. What we're gonna get into, and just prove Oh, no, that, to me, that's just that that's just as creepy as the story.
Michael David Wilson 47:41
Oh, yeah, definitely. And this is the email as well, where we see just how snappy and easy to piss off Mac says because at the bottom after it's been signed, he says, for Christ's sake. Sariah. Don't sign me as Matt say him. If I have to be there. Oh, it's just Max K. All right, to the fuck out Maxime?
Bob Pastorella 48:11
Right. We're kind of we're at this point. We're believing that Max is just kind of like to know, I guess the egotistical jerk.
Michael David Wilson 48:23
Right. Yeah. I mean, we,
Bob Pastorella 48:25
he doesn't have the time to ride a pitch article. But he has the time to, you know, to critique it, you know. And so at this point, right here, this is we find out later, you know, what kind of actual pressure and stress that he's under. But this point right here, we've got this kind of this max, guys kind of,
Michael David Wilson 48:46
yeah, well, I mean, at this point, you know, it'd be easy enough to be misled into thinking it's a bit of a decade isn't the light, so snappy, so off the cuff is not really contributing that much of wife and that might be which is helpful to this? And, you know, really, you must think like Lucas is just what he's like, or is something going on that we're not seeing? Like, what What's the matter, Max? Why are you being like that? And we'll Yeah. Later we find out why he was like that we find out why he was under so much pressure. Right. Now, the next one, this is from August the 23rd 2008. So this is now a couple of months after that email exchange. And we can see that this is a transcript, a suspect being interviewed and it's max who is being interviewed so someone could seriously care. Tough is sick, sweet. So So,
Bob Pastorella 50:05
right? This, this is where you want to really, like Michael said, You got to pay attention to the dates here. Because it's like you get this, you get this article and then these pieces and this at the second read this is when I've it's solidified that like we're reading a documentary, you know, because that's how documentary we would do it it was you basically would, you know, start off with something that's kind of unrelated that's going to tie in, it's going to have relevance later. And then you're gonna go to something that's recent, and then you're going to go into the past to try to figure out how we got to that point. And then we're going to tie it all in with it, you know, what the end piece and this is what we're doing here. But when there's there's some back and forth, there's some, you know, shifting here, but you just got it, you really got to pay attention. This This, right here, this part, when I read it the first time the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Because there's some things that you know, express a part about, you know, we're, we're, I guess, the other officer, Susan, I guess Korea says, You need to get yourself a lawyer and I was just like, Oh, shit. You know, like, and you still don't really know what's going on there. There's apparently some footage of someone committing suicide. And they Max's thing is people send us you know, stuff like this all the time. They've been doing this since 98. It's fake habita was a fake ID and rest of it didn't have any ID at all. I guess that's a film IV. What was your take on that? Michael?
Michael David Wilson 51:54
What specifically on the idea or? Or like you mean,
Bob Pastorella 51:58
I guess, I guess, I guess films have like a certain type of stamp or digital stamp on them or something like that, I guess. Because these are all coming in from files. People aren't sending reels of film, they're sending them a file.
Michael David Wilson 52:11
Yeah, I may know, we really need to know, here. We don't really need too much technical knowledge, you just need to know that. There is a way to track video and identity an identifying mark. Much like with the internet, you'd have an ISP. And you know, half of these either have fake IDs or just don't have an easy ID on them. So yeah, that was all I got from that. I mean, I think the two key things here is we found out okay. He has video footage of somebody committing suicide. Apparently. So you know, we don't know. Is this legit? Is this fake? And we know that He better get a fucking lawyer. And I mean, oh, so like, we have the classic. Good Cop Bad Cop. Right? Violence is kind of the bad cop here. And Susan Korea, I believe, is the one who's like, look, you know, go and get some coffee and like, I feel that this is gentle. It's like yeah, Max, your only connection to a dead body. This is not a good place to be in his insight classic, like, Come on, man. Just tell us what you know. So the other point I'd like to make is just as a creative in horror and in dark fiction. I think this makes reading this even more terrifying because it's easier to empathize with Max's situation. I mean, I'm sure that you could conceive of you reading or viewing or somehow obtaining some pretty fucking dark shift as part of your horror research. And then suddenly, unbeknownst to you, you've got police authorities getting in touch with you and saying like, yeah, you know, that stuff that you viewed that, you know, it was fake? Yeah, you're actually the only person who has real footage of someone actually committing suicide. I mean, it's not. It's not an inconceivable step. And it's actually a scenario that I think is really easy to imagine yourself being in. And I know you got that as well.
Bob Pastorella 54:51
Yeah, that's, you know, we we tend to dabble in things that at first we might think it's like completely innocent. You know, getting God forbid, you know, those people that have actually, you know, gone into the dark web and stuff like that, you know? No, you know, talking to Benjamin Percy, you know, that's just one place, I'm never gonna go. You know, I just you know, because you're constantly at that point, you probably be looking over your shoulder checking your bank account every day. It's just like, it's like the internet. You know, they call it the dark web. But I think it's a bright web because everything is just so out in the open, you know, what we do even on regular internet, we can find things that can, you know, ultimately could lead someone to getting into maybe not trouble but at least some attention, and probably unwarranted attention.
Michael David Wilson 55:48
Right? Well, I think is, you know, app timing that yesterday, we were chatting with Lori Michelle and Max Booth. And Max was telling us about how he saw this film called traces of death. And he believed it to be faces of death, which is a fictionalized film kind of splicing together different death scenes, but the knockoff traces of death is actual real life, death and suicide and stuff like that. So I mean, Max roof was in a very similar situation, if you think about it, I mean, he's viewing actual death footage that he believed to be fictional. Now, luckily, Max wasn't the only person who viewed that it was available on VHS. It is that similar situation?
Bob Pastorella 56:51
Right, but then each chunk is similar. But in this particular case, it's almost like these guys have a snuff film.
Michael David Wilson 57:01
Right? And I get I get, I guess, mate, and I guess it. Yeah, go ahead. I'm sorry. Well, I guess maybe this is kind of like a combination of what happened with Max Booth. And then just if we were to solicit for stories or films, because that's effectively what's happened. I mean, they've put some sort of submission out for people to send in their contributions to this exquisite codes. And, you know, imagine if you sent out a pitch for an anthology you're putting together and someone sent you a video and was like, Oh, this would be pretty fucked up. There's a big stream, which people will only understand if you know, that, like, some extreme horror, put it in your trailer. And you probably just like me, like, right, I'm not going to respond to that. But if you don't delete that email, and you still have it, you might have inadvertently got some messed up snuff film, on your computer, or at least in your emails.
Bob Pastorella 58:13
Right. And, you know, as much as we'd like to believe that, hey, you know, I can easily just delete that email and things like that. It's, it's when you use I'd probably have to go further than that. Because you don't want to get that you know, that FBI, you know, and you're like, Oh, why are you here? It was like, well, we've been monitoring a video and it looks like it went to your ISP address, not mine. Yeah, we need to get your computer, you know, and you're, you're explaining, you know, stuff that's like, completely innocent, but they're not going to say it is innocent, that they have a job to do your part of their job now. You know, that's exactly what's going on with max here.
Michael David Wilson 58:57
Yeah. And I think that's what's so terrifying. I mean, cuz of course, yeah, he does get frequent submissions like this. And so, you know, why would you turn it over to the authorities? It's like, this is just another kind of messed up submission. Or though, I would add to that, that as we get further into the story, and we see how Max and Sariah initially react towards it that probably isn't exactly a typical submission.
Bob Pastorella 59:36
No, it's not at all.
Michael David Wilson 59:42
Thank you so much for listening to the story on bots preview on this is horror. Join us again next time when we will be chatting with Daniel Wilcox. But if you want to get that ahead of the crowd, if you want to get every Episode ahead of the crowd. If you want to submit questions to each and every interviewee, and if you want the full episodes of story unboxed, then become our patreon patreon.com. Forward slash deaths is horror. Okay, before I wrap up a little bit of an advert break,
RJ Bayley 1:00:24
It was as if the video had unzipped my skin, slunk inside my tapered flesh, and become one with me.
Bob Pastorella 1:00:32
From the creator of this is horror comes a new nightmare for the digital age. The girl in the video by Michael David Wilson, after a teacher receives a weirdly rousing video, his life the sense of the paranoia and obsession. More videos follow each containing information no stranger could possibly know. But who's sending them and what do they want? The answers may destroy everything and everyone he loves. The girl in the video is the ring meets fatal attraction from iPhone generation. Available now in paperback ebook and audio. From tenebrous press comes one hand to hold one hand to carve a novella of weird body harmed by him SHA two halves of a human cadaver awakened in a morgue with no memory of their life as a single body and with very different notions of what they want now. Their schism would lead each on a frightening path when forward to a new life went back to the strange origins. Hugo award winning editor and Vandermeer calls one hand to hold one hand to carve a haunting story from an exceptional new voice. Preorder at WWW dot tenebrous press.com Now tenebrous press the home of new weird horror.
Michael David Wilson 1:01:37
As always, I would like to end with a quote and this is from Walt Disney. The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing I'll see you in the next episode with Daniel Willcocks. But until then, take care yourselves. Be good to one another. Read horror. Keep on writing and have a great, great day.
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