Tyler Sablich still remembers watching Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers in the sixth grade with his friend Michael Keenan and falling in love with horror films.
The film spurred weekly trips to movie stores in middle school, and a lifelong obsession with the genre.
“It doesn’t matter if it was a good one or it was a cheesy one from the ‘80s, we were always willing to see whatever Blockbuster had,” said Keenan, a 2015 marketing alumnus.
Three years after first discussing it, the extra time due to the COVID-19 pandemic inspired Sablich and Keenan to finally turn their passion into a biweekly podcast called “Corn Syrup: A Horror Podcast.” Recorded from their homes, Sablich and Keenan review horror films, interview actors and actresses and rank popular horror movies.
The name is a reference to the 1996 movie “Scream,” said Sablich, 2014 journalism alumnus, as corn syrup is commonly used as fake blood in horror movies.
The podcast, which has about 800 listeners, is released every other Wednesday and is produced on PodBean, which distributes it to major platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher.
Some of his biggest influences for starting a horror podcast came from watching YouTube channels like “Dead Meat” and film reviewer Chris Stuckmann, Sablich said.
Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Shudder made horror movies readily available and contributed to a recent revitalization of the genre by making them widely available and improving the production quality, he added.
The first episode, released on July 8, kicked off a five-part series in which Sablich and Keenan rank the 51 movies of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” “Halloween,” “Friday the 13th,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Child’s Play” and “Scream” franchises.
Sablich and Keenan interviewed “Child’s Play 2” actress Christine Elise for their episode, “A Conversation with Christine Elise, Celebrating 30 Years of Child’s Play 2” on Sept. 30.
The pair hope to continue having guests on the podcast in order to attract new listeners, Sablich said.
Christian Hochstetler, a 2014 mechanical engineering alumnus and friend of Sablich and Keenan, designed the podcast’s logo. Hochstetler used Sablich and Keenan’s logo idea of a girl eating blood, and made it into an 80s comic book style character.
Hochstetler enjoys listening to the podcast because it revitalized his interest in horror.
“It’s almost like, revamped my enthusiasm for the genre,” he said. “I find myself watching a lot more horror movies lately.”
Sablich and Keenan’s passion for the genre has been the driving force behind the podcast, Sablich said.
“As long as we’re having fun with it and staying true to ourselves and doing what we were already doing in our free time, just talking about these movies, then I think people will listen,” he added. “And so far, the results have been there.”