Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The Horror Pod Class

Hey class!  Come meet Mike and Tyler, two high school teachers who absolutely love to talk and write about the horror genre!  We also own and write for a website named Signal Horizon, where you can get the latest news, reviews, and analysis of works from the horror and dark science fiction genres!

Mar 16, 2018

Class is back in session and today Tyler and Mike are discussing a very interesting movie just released on Netflix that you may have missed called Before I Wake.  We are doing a deep dive into exactly how dreams are used as a narrative device in the film and more generally how they are used in fiction. 

Before I Wake is directed by Mike Flanagan (Oculus, Ouijia: Origin of Evil) and stars Thomas Jane (1922, The Expanse), Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns, 21), and Jacob Tremblay (Room).  It had some big difficulties being released in the US due to a bankruptcy of the distributor, but now you can see it on Netflix streaming so that is a plus.  But before we get into the film, lets catch up with what we are reading, watching, and where you can get some really great free horror content on the web.

1:35-  Tyler is watching Jessica Jones Season 2.  He really liked season 1 and this new one is shaping up to be a great continuation.  You can check out Tracy's review of Season 2 here.  South by Southwest is also currently going down, big news from there is that Ready Player One seems to be getting some pretty rave reviews and there is a sequal to Unfriended with looks pretty awesome.

2:40-  Mike finally got a chance to watch Annihilation on Netflix.  If you live outside of the United States, you may be able to check it out on your local Netflix streaming.  A general impression from Mike is that it is a great movie adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer's work but that some of the scenes probably work better on the big screen.  You can check out more of our thoughts on the movie in our What to Know Before You Go article and Tracy's review of Annihilation with theories.

3:45-  The Horror Pod Class now has a Facebook group, head on over and connect with us.  Feel free to geek out with us and talk about horror movies, literature, and TV!

5:20-  Tyler is really excited about a new (or new to him) website called Letterboxd.  Letterboxd lets you create and share lists of movies and connect with friends and fellow movie lovers.  Tyler was really impressed with a list of movies described as "Aickmanesque"  These films all possess the same strange ambiguities, disturbing illogicalities, grim mundanities, psychological unpleasantness, narrative open-endedness, Freudian oddness and genuine disturbing moments of horror as the short stories of Robert Aickman.

7:30-  If you are looking for some great, free horror content out there that you can use in your classroom and ties into the topic of dreams head on over to The Oddcast: Tales of the Occult, Weird, and Arcane.  The Oddcast is a horror short fiction podcast with great narration.  We recommend the episode from December 4th, 2017 which is Jorge Luis Borges short story "The Circular Ruins."  Borges is a very influential writer, both in weird fiction and magical realism and this particular story has some interesting things to say about both dreams and religion.  It is ready made to be dropped into a class about Spanish Language literature, short stories, or a discussion about dreams.

13:00-  In our discussion about the Before I Wake, we delve into the pretty unfortunate history of the release of this film.  It could have been a breakout role for Jacob Trembly, but instead Room was released first even though Before I Wake was shot first.

There are two major ways that dreams are used in fiction.  First, dreams can be used to connect to something outside of the dreamer, whether that is divine, demonic, otherworldly, or even another character.  Second, dreams can be used to reflect the subconscious of the dreamer in a very Jungian way.  This diverges from modern, scientific analysis that provides many other reasons for why dreams exist.  While some still hold to the psychoanalytical model of dreams reflecting the subconscious, many others argue that dreams serve a role in memory allocation, rest, future planning, or even that they are completely random and have no meaning at all.  You are quite unlikely to see any of these other theories reflected in fiction, mainly because they don't do anything to drive a narrative forward.  

21:00-  While discussing dreams in movies, Mike brings up the excellent new movie They Remain.  Check out our review of They Remain and learn about some of the background behind the film and the short story it was based on --30-- by Laird Barron.

24:30-  Tyler is reminded of a Twilight Zone Episode from 1961 entitled, It's a Good Life.  Perhaps one of the strongest episodes of an already strong series, this one totally stands the test of time and makes you glad that children don't actually have magical powers.

30:15-  Mike talks about the ending and an interview that director Mike Flannagan gave with Dread Central.  Is the ending really horror or more fairy tale?  What did you think?  We would love to hear from you!

42:45-  Tyler calls BS on some weird facts that Mike drops about animals dreaming.  At least according to Random Eye Movement (REM) patterns armadillos and opossums dream more than people, while dolphins dream quite a bit less.  Don't believe us?  Head on over to Wikipedia and start researching yourself to see if armadillos really do dream of armored sheep.

49:30-  You can check out tons of great horror movies over at, including the film we will be talking about next week, Honeymoon.  You can also check out our review of the exclusive movie Dead Shack which is a great watch!   Not a Shudder member?  You can sign up for free and get a 30 day trial just for being a Horror Podclass student

So before next week make sure you head on over to and check out Honeymoon.  Also, you can do us a real solid favor by heading over to iTunes, rating us, and giving us a written review.