Podcast Episode 10: FRANK SPEAR — Writer, Husband, and HORROR Fan!

After a brief unintended hiatus due to equipment issues, the HorrorFam.com Podcast is BACK! This week, Lauren’s guest is her husband and HorrorFam.com co-founder: FRANK SPEAR!

Frank is always behind-the-scenes at HorrorFam.com, but now you’ll really get to know him (and Lauren, since Frank threw some of the interview questions back in her court!). The Spear duo chatted about growing up loving the horror genre, modern versus classic horror movies, horror books, horror video games, and zooooooooooooooooombies!

This goofy, fun-filled episode was sponsored by Audible! If you’d like to try out Audible’s services FREE for 30 days and nab a FREE audiobook (that you get to have for keepsies, even if you cancel your trial!) AND help support HorrorFam.com — at ZERO cost to you — use our affiliate link: AudibleTrial.com/horrorfam!*

*Disclosure: Any links to Audible in the transcription below are to that affiliate link.

FULL Written Episode Transcript:

*Intro music from FreePD.com*

Lauren Spear: Hi, Everyone! My name is Lauren Spear and you’re listening to the HorrorFam.com Podcast!

Today’s episode is sponsored by Audible.com. They’re the leading source of audio-based entertainment in the world! And, if you would like a FREE 30-day trial of Audible.com in order to get audiobooks, podcasts, meditations, live theatrical performances, and pretty much anything audio, you can use our link at AudibleTrial.com/horrorfam And that’ll get you a free 30-day trial and you get one FREE download of whatever you want. And, even if you cancel afterwards, you can still keep whatever you ended up downloading.

And we’ll talk more about that later…

But, for now, my guest today is one of our founders! He’s listed on our About page as a “writer, supportive husband, and horror fan.” His name is Frank Spear and he’s MY husband and he’s a huge horror fan!

Most of you haven’t seen or heard much from him since we launched in October, but he’s always there behind-the-scenes… And I think it’s about time you guys got to know him sooooooooo here he is! This is my husband, Frank.

How you doin’ today, Frank?

Frank Spear: I’m doing great, Lauren. Happy to be here! How are you doing?

Lauren: I’m doing really well. I’m a little starstruck right now. I’m… I’m your biggest fan. *laughs*

Frank: *in background* You’re silly.

Lauren: So, um, tell me, Frank: How did you get into horror?

Frank: Well, I started getting into horror when I was young. I was an only child and bored, basically.

I started out like many other people, getting copies of Goosebumps and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and all that fun stuff. And then I graduated to R.L. Stein’s Fear Street book series. And I eventually moved on to Stephen King and Dean Koontz and I’m still into them to this day.

But, when it comes to horror movies, I kinda jumped in the deep end… The first horror movie I remember sitting through was Friday the 13th: Part II.

They used to play the old Friday the 13th movies on USA channel, and I remember just sitting there — seven or eight-years-old — watching the old Friday the 13th movies and Tremors and the Halloween movies and… I was just really into all of those.

And then, I remember the first time I sat through the original Night of the Living Dead… And, from that point on, I was like, “Oh man. Zombies are the coolest and I’m into them.” And, you know, that was something I decided when I was young and, at 30-years-old, it’s still true today.

baghead Jason from Friday the 13th Part II
Baby Frank’s first horror movie: Friday the 13th 2! | Image via MovieStillsDB

Lauren: Yeah, that’s true! I mean, we’ve known each other for a few years now, and you’ve been into zombies for as long as I’ve known you, so I’m not surprised that [your] love of the zombie genre goes back so many years.

You actually wrote an article for HorrorFam.com earlier this week about ALL FIVE of the Return of the Living Dead movies! And I sat there and watched those with you and… some of them were tough to get through; but, you took the time to watch the movies and you wrote about them.

And, what inspired you to write about Return of the Living Dead specifically in your most recent article? And why do you love the zombie horror genre so much?

Frank: Honestly, I decided to write the article about Return of the Living Dead because the series is a lot of fun!

I mean, it has its flaws; but name one movie series that doesn’t, y’know what I mean?

I’ve always been a big fan of the first and second movie. If you read the article, I’m sure you know too. *laughs*

But, the third, fourth, and fifth movies are all crazy in their own ways. But, you can’t beat the classics like the original and even the second one.

With the third movie, they tried to go in a different direction and it didn’t really work for them. The movie was a bummer. You know? Watching it now, I still appreciate the special effects and stuff — it looks really cool! — but… it’s just a bummer. *laughs*

And the fourth movie, Necropolis, and the fifth movie, Rave to the Grave, [were] both straight-to-DVD sequels that came out in 2005 and… I have mixed feelings about them. They do a lot of callbacks to the original and the second movie and it’s really cool, y’know, to see a Return of the Living Dead movie in the 2000s. But, at the same time, something about [Necropolis and Rave to the Grave] felt “manufactured,” if that makes sense…? [They] just didn’t feel as original or fun to me as the first couple movies.

But, I’m just really into zombies as a whole because I like the fact that they have one goal, you know what I mean? They’re not trying to do anything manipulative or clever. They’re just hungry, mindless monsters and that makes them terrifying, in my opinion, because there’s no talking them out of it or anything like that. If they see you and they’re hungry, it’s game over!

And, you know, don’t get me wrong: There are examples of zombies manipulating people — like in Return of the Living Dead. But I don’t think it’s anywhere near to the degree that you would see in, like, Saw, for example. Like, picking up a radio and saying the words “Send more paramedics” IS manipulative, but it’s not as manipulative as, say, chaining two people up in a basement and trying to convince them that they need to saw their own leg off to leave. Y’know? [Zombies] are very primitive, and that’s why I like them.

The zombies in Return of the Living Dead, they do say “Send more paramedics,” but, for the most part, they’re just worried about brains.

Day of the Dead zombies
They’ve got brains on their minds! | Image from Day of the Dead via MovieStillsDB

Lauren: So, you started out watching Jason [in the Friday the 13th movie series] and Halloween and the Return of the Living Dead movies…

And, the first Return of the Living Dead movie is 35-years-old. But, you also mentioned in your last statement that you watched the Saw movies. And, I keep thinking of those as new movies; but, I just realized that the first Saw movie came out 16 years ago and that’s kind of blowing my mind. *laughs*

But, even though the first Saw movie came out 16 years ago — which is longer than some kids have been alive! — you maintain a love for modern horror and you will often watch — on Netflix or Hulu or Shudder — modern films. And you enjoy modern horror films!

But, recently, you’ve branched out into watching classic horror films. And, I know that you recently marathoned all of the Universal monster movies! How was your experience dipping your toe into the classic horror films?

Frank: I’ve really enjoyed the original Universal monster movies! They’re a lot of fun. A little slow at points; but, you know, when you think about the fact that these movies are almost 100 years old — which, to me, is just as mind-blowing as realizing that Saw is 16-years-old — you take it for what it is. And it’s really good stuff!

I found myself feeling really bad for both Frankenstein and the Invisible Man and the things they had to go through. *laughs* And I’m really not sure who I feel more sympathetic for!

Frankenstein was a mix-match of body parts and didn’t ask to be put in that situation, yet ended up getting burned alive! Well… kind of alive? You know what I mean.

And, the Invisible Man just kind of wanted to be left alone. And nobody would leave him alone! So, he finally snapped. *laughs*

I felt bad for those characters and what happened to them along the way. But, you know, I’ve really enjoyed The Wolf Man and Dracula and all those other great movies too!

Boris Karloff as Frankenstein looking sad
I feel bad for Frankenstein’s monster just looking at this! | Image via MovieStillsDB

Lauren: Yeah. It’s hard to believe that Dracula — which came out in 1931 — is 89-years-old now! And that was kind of your first experience with vampires, more or less.

You were definitely more into zombies before you started watching the Universal monster films. But, then you watched Dracula — the 1931 version with Bela Lugosi — and, since then, we’ve watched a few vampire movies… Fright Night and Near Dark… And those, of course, don’t have Dracula in them. Fright Night has a vampire named Jerry, and Near Dark has an ensemble of various vampires!

But, going back to Dracula specifically: After you watched Bela Lugosi as Dracula, you ended up watching a few other versions of Dracula in The Monster Squad and you watched a lot of the old Hammer movies where Christopher Lee played Dracula… And, you even experienced the Dracula the 2004 movie Van Helsing! And, I’m curious… Now that you’ve experienced all these different actors portraying the role: Who’s your favorite Dracula?

Christopher Lee in Dracula Has Risen from the Grave
Is Christopher Lee the BEST Dracula EVER?! Find out below! | Dracula Has Risen from the Grave image via MovieStillsDB

Frank: If I had to assign an order to the four that you just mentioned: My favorite would be Christopher Lee! Second would be Bela Lugosi. And, third, Monster Squad Dracula. And… we’re gonna have to reserve the last spot for Van Helsing‘s Dracula.

But, yeah, Van Helsing‘s Dracula is definitely my least favorite of the four…

What about you? Who’s your favorite Dracula?

Lauren: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh mannnn… Okay. This is… That’s a really tough one.

I guess, uh, well… *embarrassed laugh* I have a soft spot for the Dracula in The Monster Squad.

As you know, The Monster Squad is one of my Top Five favorite movies ever, of any genre. And… *laughs* He’s not really your “typical” Dracula because, you know, he’s throwing dynamite into treehouses and picking up a four-year-old girl and saying some pretty savage things to her and he just… He’s a “no chill” Dracula. He just… ZERO chill. He gave up any pretense of being suave. He’s just like, “I’m gonna explode these kids with dynamite and be done with it. I’m gonna get the job done no matter what. I don’t care about being cool!”

And, you know, he drives a car and everything. He’s got the little skull ornament on his car and… He’s “cool” in his own way but he has zero chill.

But, for… *laughs* I’m not sure if that’s really the BEST portrayal. It’s my personal favorite, just because I think it’s hilarious; but, for the person who did the best job…

I would have to agree with you: Christopher Lee. He’s got the right balance of being suave and cool and all that goin’ on. While, at the same time, being very intimidating and scary and you can tell that this dude is a MONSTER. Like… He’s a cool guy, but I’m afraid right now.

Whereas Bela Lugosi… I also have a soft spot for him as well. And he’s wonderful in the part, of course. He made that role iconic! But, he’s definitely very cool and suave… but I never really feel afraid of him at all.

It’s just like, “This guy… He’s European, he’s chill, he’s super cool, and you could probably be friends with him. But, uh, every once in a while, he drinks some blood.” And, you know, it’s like, “Oh. Well… That’s… That’s fine? He’s alright.”

Dracula from The Monster Squad freakin' out
Zero chill. But he’s great! | Image via MovieStillsDB

Frank: Yeah, I agree with you. The Dracula from The Monster Squad is hilarious. And, also, yeah; that’s why Bela Lugosi’s not first for me…

Because, you know, when you watch a horror movie, you hope to be intimidated by whatever’s on the screen. And, I dunno, I just kinda feel like — looking at his version of Dracula in that instance — it kinda looks like you could just shove him over and it would be okay.

But, Christopher Lee’s Dracula: You’re right. He’s both cool AND pretty intimidating. And, yeah, that definitely makes him the winner in my book!

But, honestly, the Top Three are so close that it’s unreal.

Richard Roxburgh as Dracula
Sorry, Richard Roxburgh… | Van Helsing publicity still via MovieStillsDB

Lauren: Yeah. And, um, sorry to the actor who portrayed Dracula in Van Helsing but… ooooh… *rueful chuckle* That was, uh… Oof.

But! Even though you’ve had so much experience with vampires now and other monsters — you mentioned The Wolfman and The Invisible Man — you’re still definitely a diehard zombie fan.

What makes zombies continue to be better than everyone? You’ve said before, you know, “Zombies are way better than vampires.” Why is that?

Frank: Hmm. Why are zombies my favorite…?

Well, there are a couple movie examples I wanna talk about that’ll kind of explain it…

In the original George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead — and ALL of the “Living Dead” movies that followed, but especially Night of the Living Dead — there’s just a feeling of anxiety that I don’t get with any other kind of monster movie. And that’s not a bad thing if you’re going for “anxiety” from watching scary movies as opposed to real-world anxiety. But, the idea that these things are surrounding the house, and they’re getting in and you can either go up or down but, either way: It’s a death trap.

Night of the Living Dead zombie hands busting through a window
Night of the Living Dead death trap | Image via MovieStillsDB

Frank Spear (continued…): Because, once they start… Once there’s one zombie, soon there’s two, and then there’s four, and then there’s eight… And, before you know it, you’re surrounded. And, to me, that’s what makes them scary.

You can get away from… If there’s a couple vampires and you’re smart enough, you can get away. But, if there are 50 hungry zombies and you: You’re probably not getting out of that one in one piece.

And the same can be said for the fast zombies — like in 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later, y’know? They’re intimidating for the same reason, but they’re kind of scary in a different way. Instead of creeping up on you with this overwhelming presence that’s definitely going to win, the fast zombies bust in the room and sprint up the stairs and jump out of windows and just do all of this crazy stuff — again, with the numbers to back it up!

And, in my opinion, it’s the primal instinct combined with the vast numbers… And, even if you can get away from one group, they’re still going to keep multiplying. And they’re still going to keep showing up. And they’re just going to have a presence that you… you can’t escape! Eventually, they WILL get you! And that’s what I really love about the zombie movie genre as a whole.

The only zombie movies, that I can think of, that I really didn’t care for — and this may or may not sound surprising — were the Resident Evil movies. I thought [the Resident Evil movies] were…hmmm… Bad.

The first one was okay. It wasn’t, you know, true the games in any way *chuckles* but, it was still fun to sit through. After that, they just… The quality suffered.

Zombie hands from the first Resident Evil movie menacing Milla Jojovich
Zombie hands from the first Resident Evil movie menacing Milla Jojovich | Image via MovieStillsDB

Lauren: Ah, yeah. The Resident Evil movies! I got up to the third one…? Third or fourth and then I kinda peaced out on that series.

But, I’m glad that you brought up Resident Evil! Because your love of horror, at least from what I’ve seen living with you for a while now and being married to you, primarily comes out through horror video games.

And, you’ve been playing horror-focused games for a long time now! And… do you want to talk about video games? I think you wanna talk about video games! *laughs* Yeah. He’s grinnin’! He’s ready to talk about video games. *loving/teasing chuckle* So, Frank, tell me about your love of horror video games and how that all got started.

Frank: *chuckles* Yeah… You know me! That’s for sure.

But, yeah, video games are definitely my favorite horror medium. And I think the first horror game I ever played was… Actually, I should’ve mentioned this earlier! It was actually the Friday the 13th for the NES!

That game came out before I was born, in February of ’89! But, I remember being maybe three or four-years-old… This was after my cousin was born and we would go to my uncle’s house, and my uncle had an NES. And the only games he had for it was the Mario Bros with Duck Hunt and the Friday the 13th game for the NES. And, I remember playing it and my palms sweating when I was in the cabin and Jason was in there going back and forth in the room. And, eventually, he would end up killing all the counselors. And, you know, I was a kid…

I couldn’t beat it then. Probably don’t have the patience to beat it now! *laughs* But, it was my first horror game, so it holds a special place in my heart for that reason.

And, eventually, I ended up getting a Super Nintendo and managed to get my hands on a copy of Zombies Ate My Neighbors at a[n] ALDI’s grocery of all places! They had, like, a selection of five games and the other four looked boring and Zombies Ate My Neighbors looked really cool.

And I really enjoyed [Zombies Ate My Neighbors]! The two levels that stick out to me, in my mind: The level with the giant baby. *chuckles* That kid was freaky! And the hedge maze with the chainsaw guys! That was always pretty intimidating too.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors painting by Lauren Tharp (now Spear)
Zombies Ate My Neighbors is one of the few horror games I’ve actually played through (many times) on my own and I’m a huge fan. Here’s a fan art ZAMN painting I did back when I was still Lauren Tharp.

Frank Spear (continued…): From there, I ended up getting a PlayStation One, and I started playing Silent Hill and the Resident Evil games… You know, the movies might be sub-par, but the games are top-notch. They were top-notch then and they’re top-notch now!

I remember… What I used to do is I would go to GameStop — at the time, it was still EB Games — and I would trade games that I owned for store credit to buy other games. And that was basically my way of getting video games, even though I was twelve, without asking for money. I would go there and trade up the games that I had for the newest Resident Evil game at that time, or one that I hadn’t played yet.

But, I started with Resident Evil 2. And, that one was great. You know.

And, from there, I played the first and the third one… Amazing games! Number three is still my favorite.

Then, they did Survivor which was…weird. It was just really weird. They tried to go back to the first-person thing a couple times and, you know, it’d be way scarier if they did a better job with… EVERYthing. *cracks up*

Lauren: *laughing in the background*

Frank: *laughs* It sounds kind of cruel, but, uh… If you haven’t, go check out a walkthrough [Let’s Play] of Resident Evil: Survivor. I think it’s like 40 minutes and it… Awful. *laughs* Yeah.

But, since then, there’ve been a TON of great horror games released! I’m a really big fan of the Dead Space series and the BioShock series. And I remember Fatal Frame… That was a good one. And Dino Crisis! That was for the PlayStation, but still…

I’d like to see a remaster of [Dino Crisis] one day.

Lauren: Ah, yeah! Dino Crisis! I love that game!

Well, I haven’t actually played it myself… My mom used to play that game and I would watch. Which is, actually, how I experience a lot of horror games.

I also play video games, but I tend to lean more towards, like, Graveyard Keeper… Which is kind of like Harvest Moon, except you’re harvesting bodies instead of harvesting crops. *laughs* Like, edible crops… Actually, you CAN eat the bodies too [in Graveyard Keeper] if you want to, but that’s… That’s a whole ‘nother thing.

But, yeah! I used to watch my mom play Dino Crisis! And the original Resident Evil games! And I love watching people play horror games because, for me, video games…

Like, I’m fine with watching horror movies and horror television shows and all that stuff, but video games in the horror genre kinda stress me out. They’re a little bit more fast-paced than the kind of games that I usually play. And, I prefer to watch someone else play them [so that they’re more like horror movies].

And it’s been really great being married to you because… Well, for many reasons! But, one of the reasons is that you play all the horror games that I wish I could play myself but they stress me out too much to do so. So, I get to watch YOU play them!

And, one of the most exciting things, recently, was watching you play the remasters and the remakes of the Resident Evil games! Like Resident Evil 2 — they remade that game from top to bottom and it’s shiny and new and so beautiful to look at! And then, earlier this year, Resident Evil 3 REmake came out… And that was the one Resident Evil game that my mom didn’t own. And I had never gotten to experience that game. And I know that it’s your favorite of the entire series…

And, how was all that for you, playing them remastered and remade and looking so cool?

Resident Evil 2, Dino Crisis, a laptop, a HorrorFam.com sticker, and a vape mod
This picture amuses me greatly because I don’t think Frank’s fully aware that Mom (Cathy Tharp) still has all of her old games and there’s a working PS2 in our living room. I borrowed these two from her and took a pic on my desk. Frank’s gonna get to this part of the transcript and be like “Wait… REALLY?! :O “

Frank: Playing through the Resident Evil 2 and 3 remakes was a BLAST…literally! I love how the zombies explode in those remakes! That’s probably my favorite thing. Like, how you can shoot… Like shoot ’em in the chest and you’ll see CHUNKS fly off of them? It’s just so cool to experience something I loved as a teenager now, but bigger and better.

As for the third one, it was amazing too! I… Like you said, and like I said earlier, it’s my favorite Resident Evil game of all time. And it was such a treat to play through that again. And to feel the fear of Nemesis breathing down my neck in a way that I hadn’t experienced since playing [Resident Evil 3] for the first time back in the day!

Lauren: Yeah! I really enjoyed the Resident Evil 3 REmake! That was my first experience with Resident Evil 3.

And some people were complaining that Resident Evil 3, the REmake, was a bit on the short side. But, from what you’ve told me, the original Resident Evil 3 was a bit on the shorter side as well!

And, they kinda tried to make up for that by including sort of an additional — not quite its own game, but an additional FEATURE on the Resident Evil 3 REmake… Which was Resident Evil: Resistance. And that was sort of an online multiplayer mode.

And… I’m not really into multiplayer games. Like, playing alone stresses me out enough. I don’t need a whole bunch of other people involved in me playing a video game! *laughs* But, YOU really like online multiplayer games!

But, how did Resident Evil: Resistance… How’d that stack up, in your opinion?

Frank: Well, first: Yeah, Resident Evil 3 — the remake and the original — are both on the short side. And, if I remember correctly, I mentioned that to you before I even bought the [new] game; because, I knew going into it — well, I hoped going into it! — that they wouldn’t add a bunch of stuff to it that would turn it into a completely different game. Because, you know, what kind of Resident Evil 3 remaster would it be if only 1/3 of game is actually Resident Evil 3?

As for Resident Evil: Resistance… I like it. It… It’s okay. It’s not my favorite. I’d probably… I’d rather play Dead by Daylight — which I’m sure we’ll talk about here soon…

But, honestly, my favorite Resident Evil multiplayer games were all for the PS2. [They were] the original Outbreak File 1, Outbreak File 2, and Operation Raccoon City. All three of those games were terrific Resident Evil multiplayer games! They…

Outbreak File 1 and 2 allowed you to play through different scenarios that they created. Instead of one flowing story, they created multiple instances where you can join in and play through random sections of random Resident Evil games. And some NEW places!

Like, in Outbreak File 2, the zoo level was always my favorite. Fighting the giant zombie elephant was hilarious! And I hope that they remake one of the Outbreaks or do an Outbreak File 3. I would REALLY prefer to see something like that!

Lauren: Ohhhhhh yeahhhh… Resident Evil: Outbreak and Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City! I hadn’t even… Those hadn’t even occurred to me as potential remakes! *laughs* But now I kind of NEED to see a remastered zombie elephant. That would be pretty rad. *laughs more*

But, going back to Resident Evil: Resistance! We kind of glossed over that. And I know that we don’t like to be too negative here, but… I’d kind of like to know, since you’re more familiar with multiplayer — especially online multiplayer — games: What made Resident Evil: Resistance, the new online multiplayer Resident Evil game… What made it sort of lacking and inferior?

The games that you mentioned, Outbreak and Operation Raccoon City, are MUCH older! And why did they get it “right,” but the new one didn’t…?

Frank: Well, I think the first thing you have to look at is that they’re all very different games in terms of how you play.

Outbreak File 1 and File 2 were purely co-operative games. It was you and three other people and you’d have to fight your way through the level [together] and fight a giant boss and that was the end.

With Operation Raccoon City, it was more team-based. Where there were two teams of people, evenly matched. And while you were fighting each other, there were also zombies and lickers and zombie dogs running all over the map. So, that added another element to, you know, typical shooters and made it a lot… It made it enjoyable.

And then, Resident Evil: Resistance is an asymmetrical multiplayer game. Meaning that, you know, there are four survivors and one mastermind. And the mastermind tries to out-play the four survivors.

Well, the problem the problem there is… The matchmaking is…uh… broken. And, because of that, if you’re… Say you’re Level 5 and you join into a game as a mastermind, there’s a chance that you can end up in a game with four people who’re, you know, ranked 40, 45, 60… I’ve even encountered people in their 70s before!

And it’s like, if you’re low level, you don’t have the perk upgrades, you don’t have the items to use, you don’t have any of the resources that these Level 70 people have! And, when there’s four of them, and you start the game and they instantly use all of their perks and just blow out all of your cameras at the very start of the match, you’re doomed to fail. By the time you recover, they all have their powers again and they’ll just knock you out.

And, I mean, it’s not that [the game itself] is hard. Because, when [Resident Evil: Resistance] first came out, and I was playing against evenly-matched people, it was a lot of fun! I lost some games, I won some games; and, overall, it was a good time.

But, you know, working with you on HorrorFam[.com] and working a full-time job and all of the other things… You know, you can’t spend ten or 12 hours a day trying to get all the perks in Resident Evil so you can beat people who have a lot more free time than you do.

I think that if they were to fix the matchmaking, it would make it a FAR more enjoyable game, and I would probably play it more often.

Lauren: Ah, okay. Yeah. The matchmaking. That makes a lot of sense. *laughs* It would probably be a lot more enjoyable if they fixed that. I can see that.

But, one asymmetrical online multiplayer horror game that you DO love — and play every night — is Dead by Daylight! And you love that game SO much that I actually commissioned our dear friend and co-founder, Heather Landry — Sandpaperdaisy — who is an artist and, now, a horror-fantasy novelist, to draw you as one of your Dead by Daylight killer characters.

And, you… uh… Well, you definitely love that game. But, you also have nightly rants about the game as well! *laughs*

So, why is it that Resident Evil: Resistance — which, you said, had a broken matchmaking system — was just kinda like “Eh. No. I’m done with this…” but, for some reason, you are drawn to play Dead by Daylight every night. And you also complain about it every night! *laughs* Why is that? Why do you love Dead by Daylight so much? And hate it…?

Frank: Well, there was a “meme” that I found on Reddit that sums it up nicely: It’s a picture of a Steam review [of Dead by Daylight] and it says “Not Recommended” with 617 hours [of playtime] on record. And the review is “This is one of my favorite games.”

I read that and I laughed out loud because I understand exactly what they meant! Like, it’s…

Okay. So there are a BUNCH of reasons I love Dead by Daylight! But, one of the reasons is they managed to get so many licensed killers in on the game. There’s Leatherface and Freddy Kreuger and Michael Myers and the Demogorgon from Stranger Things… And they release four killers a year! And, this year is their four-year anniversary, and they’re talking about releasing another BIG licensed killer! And the fact that they can consistently get their hands on these awesome characters and include them in their game is part of the reason why I love it.

Because they give each killer a power that’s reminiscent of what they do in the movie or TV show that they’re featured in. So, it’s a new way to enjoy your favorite [horror] characters, I guess, is a good way to put it.

And, one of the other things I really like about Dead by Daylight is the strategy involved while you’re playing!

If you’re not familiar, the game focuses on one Killer character and four Survivor characters. The Survivor characters have to complete five generators to escape and they have to open the gate and leave. The Killer’s job is to stop them by catching them and hitting them twice and putting them up on the hook[s].

Now, it’s important to remember that this is an asymetrical game. So, the four people — Survivors — in this situation are real people too. So, there’s strategy in out-playing four other people, for sure. And it’s fun to go through the maps. And, since everything is randomly generated, there are pallets that the Survivors can use to stop the Killer, there are windows that the Survivors can vault through to get away from the Killer, and there are just a whole bunch of different elements (tiles) that are randomly generated. So, every experience is different!

And, it’s just a blast to see the different circumstances that come up and how you either overcome them or fail.

And, you know, it’s just as fun playing as the Survivor! You and either three of your friends or three random people can, you know, go against Leatherface… Imagine, starting a game with one of your friends, and you just hear Leatherface’s chainsaw revving and he’s right around the corner! It’s an adrenelyne rush! It’s so much fun and I love it!

But… *chuckles* I haven’t really touched on the “Not Recommended” part…

While it’s, you know, a great game and I love it, I do have to take breaks occasionally. I’ll play really hard for a few weeks and then take a couple weeks off because, much like Resident Evil: Resistance, the matchmaking is EXTREMELY broken. You’ll often get paired four other people, if you’re playing as Killer, who out-level you. And, that wouldn’t be such a big deal if mistakes weren’t so costly as Killer.

When you’re playing against four people who’re on par with you, you’re able to make several mistakes. They can make several mistakes. And that goes all the way from the highest rank to the lowest rank. But, when you start mixing four people who’re at the very top against someone who’s mid-level — or even mid-high! — mistakes mean EVERYthing. And, if the game isn’t balanced properly, you make one mistake 30 seconds into the game and you may have just set yourself up for failure.

And, when you combine all of that with what most people call the “second chance” perks… Which SHOULD be called the “second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh chance” perks! Because, what will often happen is, four people will combine two “second chance” perks EACH. So, it’s almost like you’re downing the equivelant of two full teams to beat one team.

Again, that wouldn’t be bad if everyone was on the same skill level and mistakes weren’t as vital to your success. But, what happens to me is…

You know. I’ll play for several days and I’ll have good games, I’ll have bad games. I’ll have mostly games with people who’re ranked slightly higher than me. But, there are periods of time when, for seven to ten matches straight, you’re playing people who’re WAY above where you’re at. And, what’ll happen is you’ll just get absolutely destroyed. *laughs*

And, you know, there’s nothing wrong with losing a game. Everyone loses, y’know? Whatever. But, it’s just like… It feels EXTREMELY unfair sometimes when there’s nothing at all you can do to combat what’s going on. And it gets REALLY frustrating after, you know, seven to ten games of THAT and… maybe you get a couple good games? And then, suddenly, you’re back to playing games where you’re just getting destroyed and there’s NOTHING you can do because of one silly mistake you made early in the game.

Maybe, you know, you went to go swing and you missed. They got away. And, from there on out, it just snowballs… and it’s over. You know?

And, as it is, I still love [Dead by Daylight]. It’s still a blast to play. And they are actively making changes and improving upon over time, which is good. And, I hope, over the next year, to see some more balanced changes come in so that more people can enjoy the game. Because this isn’t really… It affects me, but I imagine that it affects new players much much more. Y’know? Imagine stepping into a game and playing against four people who have 300 hours each into it! You have no hope!

But, I do have hope for Dead by Daylight and I think that, over time, it will improve. And I’m looking forward to it!

Lauren: Yeahhhh… You actually had me play a match a while ago, on my own Xbox account, as a brand new baby Killer. And, uh, I went in and…

You’re kind of aware that it’s going to be… It’s DESIGNED to be somewhat unfair because it’s four against one, when you’re playing as a Killer. But, the way that you’d THINK it would be balanced is that, you know, these killers are gonna be really overpowered and able to sort of “balance” having four people against them.

Like, you know, Freddy Kreuger or something! You’re kinda like “Oh man” y’know. Or Leatherface! Or Ghostface! ANY of the killers that they’ve got on there you think like “Oh man! I’m gonna rock at this! It’s gonna be cool!” And, in the movies… In the horror movies and everything, they all have… They’re scary! They’re formidable opponents. And it’s like “Ah yeah. It’s four against one, but this is going to be okay because I’ve got superpowers and they’re just humans trying to survive.”

And, you know, in the movies, the survivors can overcome and defeat the bad guys most of the time… sometimes… and sometimes they can’t.

But, in Dead by Daylight, I went in — new Killer — and before I could even SEE who the Survivors were, they had already finished all their goals and LEFT! *laughs* And it was just like, “Uh… whuhhh?” It was like, before I’d even turned around, they’d fixed everything and left the building! 

So, as a noob, I could definitely see that it’s like… Wow. I got… I got WRECKED. *embarrased laugh*

And, it’s meant to be imbalanced. It’s four against one. Like, there’s no way that that’s not imbalanced. But, if it were more true to the movies and the genre that it’s based on, it COULD be balanced! In the movies, you know, it takes at least four people to bring down some of these [famous killers]. I mean, there’s the Final Girl, of course, which is kind of… She’s usually somewhat superpowered in her own way. *laughs* But, in a NORMAL situation, four people against Michael Myers…? It’s like, “Okay. Yeah. I think maybe four people against him would be all right.”

But, you know, uh… They’re making the killers seem pretty wimpy getting taken out [so easily] against four normal people with no superpowers! *laughs* There’s, uh… There’s definitely a problem there.

Frank: Yeah. They’re… That’s definitely a problem. And there are in-game mechanics that are abused too that kind of neuter the Killer…

And, if it was done to a smaller degree, it could be considered a strategy. But, to the level some of these people take it, it’s an exploit.

I’ll give you a recent example: The games been out for going on four years now. And, one of the first — or THE first Killer — in the game is called The Trapper. His power is he puts down bear traps. You know? He has a melee weapon; but, primarily, his power is bear traps. Hence the name.

Up until the most recent patch, if you had three friends that you were playing with as Survivor, all four of you could bring in toolboxes and not just disarm but completely BREAK The Trapper’s traps! ALL of them!

And, granted, they were on a cooldown. But, sometimes that cooldown was a minute and a half! If somebody goes around the map and breaks all of the available traps that you have… Or four people go around like SEAL Team Six and go around and disarm all of the traps in the first minute of the game — what do you do for the next two minutes? They designed the Killers to be fast…but some of them are slower than others. And Trapper is one of them. If you don’t have your traps, and all you have is a powerwalk speed, what… What can you do in that situation? Except for chase and chase and chase until it’s over!

I don’t really see that as being a strategy. A strategy, to me, would be if one Survivor went in and strategically broke the bear traps in one central area. But, to go throughout the entire map, everywhere, and break ALL of them, you know, it’s kind of like… Like I said: What can you do?

And there are tons of examples like that. And, like you said, the Killers SHOULD be menacing! They should be scary! If you’re playing a horror game, you’re playing it to experience some level of fear. But, most of the people you play with in [Dead by Daylight]… They show NO fear. Y’know? They’ll create little mambo lines to the exit gate! They’ll all just take turns takin’ hits and the person in the back will run to the front of the line and the whole line will just teabag you out the door! *laughs* Like… That’s not fear. That’s, you know…

By the end of some Dead by Daylight games, I feel like I’M supposed to be the Survivor or something. I feel like I was put through a trial!

Lauren: Yep. I’ve seen that happen to you. *sympathetic laugh* Many times.

And it’s funny because, you know… Well. It’s not “funny,” but… Like, I play video games to relax and wind down after work. And then, you know, you get off of work with the intention of relaxing and winding down with a video game like Dead by Daylight and you just end up even MORE stressed than you were before!

But, fortunately, a few months ago, we bought my dad a subscription to Audible and he has been enjoying it. And he knows that you love to read, but haven’t really had time to read as much as you used to now that you’re an adult with a full-time job and you work on HorrorFam.com [on the side] and you gotta get your kills in on Dead by Daylight and you’ve got a lot of stuff going on so you haven’t been reading traditional books as much as you used to. And he told you that “Audible is amazing” and that “I LOVE them” and that this was “the best gift ever” and he told us how much he enjoys it and he suggested that YOU should get in on that too. And… you did!

And, you got a little riled up talking about Dead by Daylight so… *laughs* would you like to talk about audiobooks for a little bit and audio-based entertainment? And how you’ve been enjoying winding down with those?

A peek inside Frank Spear’s Audible library! I see a theme here…

Frank: Ah, yeah. Sure! *laughs* I do love Audible, that is for sure.

One of my favorite things about Audible is the fact that it takes up FAR less space to have all of my books on my phone instead of on my shelf. And I also enjoy the fact that I can speed up the reading time on it. Because, you know me, I talk fast. And being able to listen to books fast helps me because, you know, I’m able to listen to the story and absorb it and move onto the next one. And it’s really great.

I was really surprised to find that they had the new Stephen King book. It came out, I think, last month…? If It Bleeds. So, I picked that up. And then, I realized that one of the stories in [If It Bleeds] plays off of the Mr. Mercedes trilogy by Stephen King. So, I had to pick that up too!

So, I have a lot of of listening in my future! And I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Lauren: *laughs* Yeah! I think it’s really funny that you end up upping the speed on your audiobooks because…

Frank was originally from the east coast before he moved out here to California to be with me because I’m his wife. And, my family… My dad and I, we’re Californian. And we take things a little bit sloooow and easy. And we appreciate the narrators all enunciate their words and speak very clearly and slowly. And Frank’s just Mr. East Coast over here! Speeding everything up!

But it’s awesome that they have the ability to do that! Because it makes these audiobooks and audio performances — they have theatrical performances, podcasts, meditations, all sorts of audio-based entertainment! — and you can choose to injest it fast or slow depending on your preferences. And that’s really cool.

If you would also like to get an audiobook or a podcast or a theatrical performance or whatever you want for FREE, you can use our link: AudibleTrial.com/horrorfam

That’s H-O-R-R-O-R-F-A-M as in family. And you can get a FREE 30-day trial of Audible’s service. And you can get a FREE download of whatever piece of audio-based entertainment you want.

Frank mentioned the new Stephen King book, If It Bleeds. And that came out a couple weeks ago. And, from DAY ONE, it was on Audible as an audiobook! Which was… Honestly, we’ve been using Audible for a while and that still surprised us! *laughs* Like… “Really? It’s up there already?! Wow!”

But, yeah. If you’d like to do that, use our link: AudibleTrial.com/horrorfam

And, Frank, do you have anything else you’d like to say?

Frank: *being crawled on by Tina, one of our cats, and unable to lean into the mic so he sounds miles away* Thank you for talking to me!

Lauren: Frank says, “Thank you for talking to me.” *laughs*

Frank: *mumbles something in the background, unintelligible* *sound of chair creaking as he struggles to lean closer* It’s been good talking to you. Well. I get to talk to you every day. But it was fun to talk to you on here today! And I’m looking forward to doing this again.

Lauren: All right. Yes. Me too. I mean, we’re married to each other and we live together… But I won’t be talking to you until you come on the podcast again. Just complete silence.

*laughs* No. I’m kidding. I’ll talk to Frank after this is over.

And, anyway, I guess that’s it!

So, thank you so much for listening to the HorrorFam.com Podcast! Today, I was talking to Frank Spear, one of our founders. You can check out what he looks like and all that stuff on the About page on HorrorFam.com

Frank: *sounds of protest in the distance, unintelligible*

Lauren: He says “That’s weird!” But… eh. If you wanna put a face to any of our names, like Frank or even me, we’re all on there.

So, thank you for listening. Until next time! There’s a new episode every Saturday. Bye-bye!

Frank: Goodbye!

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