PODCAST REVIEW: Mabel
Becca De La Rosa?
You don’t know me…And you shouldn’t…I mean, this is the Internet and there’s forty billion people wandering through the wires around here and thus knowing who I am wouldn’t be just ridiculous but near impossible and…Yeah. Well, I just wanted to reach out and touch base with you.
I’ve been listening to your Mabel Podcast.
No, really. I am very, very scared. I listened to your eerie transcriptions underneath a thick pile of blankets, while the winter wind blew past my window and I can hear your voice, uncertain and frightened, picking through the delicate, quiet horror of your character, Anna’s, day. Her descriptions slip like cold shards of ice through my headphones, disordered messages that seep through cyberspace and into a fresh version of dark.
I’ve lived Anna’s life. In that other time and place, I was a home care worker, and I did go to homes where Sally lives, and yes, there is nothing more eerie and displacing than being in the home of a dying stranger. And though your Podcasts are fictitious accounts, they are relayed with such a sense of creeping urgency I can’t help but be drawn into Anna’s, and Mabel’s, worlds.
I’m a huge fan of Old Time Radio plays, specifically old horror and mystery shows, such as Suspense! and The Unexpected. Mabel follows on that tradition and expands upon it, using modern modes of communication as a way to convey horror. The epistolary novel becomes the fractured, half heard messages with truncated meaning and interference, all of it adding in ever increasing levels of suspense to the horror unfurling beyond Anna’s voice. Broken laughter intrudes on messages of deep introspection. Missing bits of information invade in the spaces left behind, filling them in with terror.
Mabel is a masterpiece for the listening mind.
It’s true. I spent hours huddled under the covers late at night, binge-listening (Is that a thing now? Can a person binge on the spoken word?) drawn tightly into the drama of Anna’s gradual understanding of the ghosts living in Sally, her patient’s, care. Poetic and literary, Anna’s story moves through people unseen, missed connections as much as a part of the plot as the growing horror that trots alongside it.
I finished Podcast eleven last night. The latest one, as of this message.
I’m scared for Anna. For Sally, stuck in the grip of HIM. Whoever HE is.
Every time I leave a voicemail, I think of Mabel.
I want to leave a message. I want to say “Hold with a hare and run with the hounds.”
I hope this keeps Mabel, Sally and Anna from disaster. But I can’t be sure.
Better that I hold my tongue.
I’ll keep listening.