18-43 Segment 1: Spiders & Bats: The truth behind the Halloween icons of fear

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Spiders and bats are two of the most indelible symbols of Halloween fear across the country. We talk to experts to get the truth behind these traditionally scary creatures, and hear why neither of them are nearly as scary as we’ve been made to believe.

Guests:

  • Nancy Troyano, entomologist and director of technical education and training for Rentokil North America
  • Merlin Tuttle, ecologist, wildlife photographer, conservationist, and author of the book, The Secret Lives of Bats: My adventure with the world’s most misunderstood mammals

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18-43 Segment 2: Halloween Frights & Traditions

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It’s the time of year when we dress up in costumes, head to haunted houses, and shell out candy to trick-or-treaters. But why do we do those things? We take a look at the traditions of Halloween and what makes being scared so fun.

Guests:

  • Ben Armstrong, co-owner of Netherworld Haunted House and president of America Haunts
  • Dr. Janina Scarlet, clinical psychologist and author

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Culture Crash 18-43: Netflix’s Binge-worthy Horror Drama, The Haunting of Hill House

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in entertainment.

It’s the week of Halloween, which means it’s the time of year to get a little spooked. Luckily, Netflix has your back.

Earlier this month, Netflix released The Haunting of Hill House, a 10-episode horror series loosely based on the novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. The series follows the Crain family; two parents and five children, over the course of multiple timelines. We watch their time spent decades earlier in the Hill House, a creepy old mansion they moved into in an effort to flip the house, and we watch them in the present day. We know from the onset that whatever happened back in that mansion, it wasn’t good, and it still haunts them even now. 

It’s a scary show, and there are moments of pure horror, but mostly, it builds a lot of suspense. It’s also a well-done family drama. It features sibling rivalry, mental illness, drug addiction- it’s like This Is Us crossed with…The Shining.

Where many horror shows can feel like they exist just to gross us out with gore, this show feels created with a purpose. It will suck you in, thrill you, and haunt you. Perfect for a Halloween-week binge-watch.

The Haunting of Hill House is available to stream on Netflix now.

I’m Evan Rook. 

18-42 Segment 1: The Art of Video Games

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Video games are often considered child’s play, or at least something below “real” art. Author Andrew Ervin argues that’s not true, and that video games are now big-business for TV networks and advertisers, as well as a source of true artfulness.

Guest:

  • Andrew Ervin, author, Bit by Bit: How video games transformed our world

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18-42 Segment 2: What We Can Learn from Lists

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Lists are a part of our everyday. Often, they are a forgotten part of our everyday. But Shaun Usher read through countless lists to compile a stunning collection of lists throughout time that shed light on the times, our collective history, and the list makers themselves.

Guest:

  • Shaun Usher, author, Lists of Note: An eclectic collection deserving of a wider audience

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Culture Crash 18-42: The Old Man & the Gun Allows Robert Redford to Age Gracefully

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in entertainment.

Movies with bank heists tend to be action-packed movies full of chase sequences and maybe a dramatic shoot-out. What bank robbery films tend not to be are quiet meditations on aging. But that’s exactly what director David Lowery’s latest film, The Old Man and the Gun set out to be.

The Old Man and the Gun gained some press over the last few months because star Robert Redford announced it would be his final film performance. If that holds true remains to be seen, but if it is, it’s a fitting send-off. Redford stars as an aging bank robber, based on the real-life criminal Forrest Tucker. In the film, Tucker is a gentleman stick-em-up artist, a man who wields a gun at banks before complimenting the tellers, calming their fears, and walking out with a bag of cash. The film also follows his budding romance with Jewel, a similarly-aged woman who is not a bank robber, played by Sissy Spacek.

The Old Man and the Gun features several robbery scenes, but never becomes an action film. The music score is relaxing and the film itself is shot on an old filmstock that makes it look like it came from the 70s.

Lowery is probably not a director most audiences know: he’s responsible for the live-action version of Pete’s Dragon as well as the indie darlings Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and A Ghost Story. At this point in his career, Lowery’s signature move is being incredibly patient. He lets shots linger a longer than most other directors would and allows silence to hold moments together. These two simple strategies make his movies feel warmer, more lived it. It’s a style I love and one that many people would probably describe as boring. Maybe so, but it works here, and it allows Redford and Spacek both the opportunity to display their incredible acting talents, even late in their careers. Spacek turns in a wonderful performance, but ultimately the movie is most interested in giving Redford a graceful send-off far from the worlds of comic books movies or crime thrillers.

The Old Man and the Gun won’t be a box office juggernaut, but it is incredibly charming, and a must-see for lifelong fans of Robert Redford.

I’m Evan Rook. 

18-41 Segment 1: Stutters, Stammers, and Vocal Fillers

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If you’ve had to speak in public, you know the nerves that come with public speaking. So you probably also know the pain of umming, uhhing, or misspeaking. We explore where these vocal blunders come from and what they might mean.

Guest:

  • Michael Erard, author, Um: Slips, Stumbles and Verbal Blunders and What They Mean

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