04 January 2016 | G. Michael Vasey's Nightmare Corner
With our recent partnership with Weird Darkness announced, My Haunted Life Too thought it would be interesting to talk to Weird Darkness founder – Darren Marlar – about him and the Weird Darkness podcast. What follows is that interview…..
1. What is it about scary stories that you enjoy?
It’s strange that with all of the scary stories I have narrated and the independent horror films that I have either starred or co-starred in, that no one has ever asked me this question. I honestly don’t have an answer. If you look at my life you would probably assume I would have nothing to do with this genre, with my working in Christian radio all my life, doing corporate voice work, writing comedy for radio stations, and spending a decade of my life doing standup comedy. Where does the dark thriller stuff come in? But I’ve always had an interest in dark stories, even as a child. I remember I would draw realistic pictures of the Grim Reaper, and I once scarred the snot out of my parents when they found a piece a typed of piece of paper still sitting in an ancient manual typewriter full of words like “kill” with the image of a ghost on it. When they confronted me I fessed up immediately because I hadn’t really done anything wrong in my opinion – it was just me being creative in my own unique and twisted way.
2. What made you decide to start the Weird Darkness podcast?
I never intended to make the “Weird Darkness” podcast, truth be told. My YouTube channel has been primarily for highlighting my voice work for potential clients, and to share my “Daily Dose of Weird News” which has been an audio feature for over ten years and I decided to try my hand at video production of it just for fun. It wasn’t until a few months ago I stumbled across a YouTube channel that was narrating creepy stories from Reddit that the idea ever crossed my mind. I started surfing and found several channels doing something similar, but none of them with professional quality narration. Sometimes the video footage would be intricate and very well done, other times it’d be a simple static tile with just the voice and maybe some creepy music. As a professional audio producer I saw the potential, I saw what these guys wanted to do and decided to try my hand at it. I contacted one of them (Haunting Stories) and asked if they’d like me to narrate one of their episodes. I really enjoyed the process (as a narrator of audio books it came naturally to me), and the comments on that particular video on their channel were so supportive that I decided to try my hand at doing my own. Suddenly more people were wanting to hear the dark stories than the funny weird news and I knew I had a potential hit on my hands. Time will tell if that’s truly the case, but I’m enjoying the process of doing both shows now.
3. What is your background and when did you decide to become a voice talent?
I’ve been in radio since 1990, so that would also be my beginning as a “voice talent”. However, my days as a “voice ARTIST” came a few years later, close to the year 2000, when I had a studio at home and began offering my services to radio stations around the country. Eventually I began expanding to voicing for anyone/everyone who wanted me, which has brought me to today. What makes me unique though (at least, I hope) is that I am not just a voice guy – I’m an actor. I’ve been on the stage all my life either singing, acting, doing standup comedy, etc., and that experience helps me to bring emotion and personality to the characters I portray even if it’s just me and a microphone. Since moving to the Chicago area in 2004 I’ve been able to really focus on voice overs and onscreen acting which has been hugely beneficial. I love acting – but voice acting is still my #1 passion.
4. What is the scariest thing that ever happened to you?
I don’t scare easily, so I only have one incident from my life that even comes to mind. It was only about five years ago and I had an experience with sleep paralysis. I was in my bed, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t scream, and a sense of pure evil was completely surrounding me – I could even see a large, black demon lording over me. It finally stopped when I asked Jesus Christ to intervene. I’ve seen documentaries and read more about sleep paralysis since that incident and while many of them are very similar and nature and scientists claim to know what is happening and that it’s nothing to worry about, there is no one who can tell me what I felt wasn’t entirely real and an incident of demon oppression. It was that real.
5. How do you see Weird Darkness evolving?
It’s hard to say at this point as the show has only existed since October, 2015. But I would like to see it grow in popularity. I’ve already expanded it to a podcast since it’s equally effective in audio-only form. My original intent was to highlight anything and everything paranormal, but so far it’s almost been 100% ghost stories – fiction and non-fiction. I would like to branch out a bit and bring in other paranormal areas such as demons, angels, extraterrestrials, unexplainable mysteries, cryptids/monsters, etc. Perhaps as more fans and authors discover the show they’ll want to contribute. I certainly hope so.
6. You describe yourself as a born again Christian, how do you reconcile an interest in the paranormal and the unusual news item with your faith?
Well, unusual news items were never an issue – there is nothing controversial about dumb criminals, stupid celebrities, etc. In fact, the “Daily Dose Of Weird News” (audio version) is even aired on numerous Christian radio stations in the U.S. and Canada. But “Weird Darkness” is certainly a different animal, and I know people are questioning it. Honestly, the Bible lends credibility to the existence of ghosts – as Jesus was mistaken for a ghost when first seen walking on the water. The Bible also has a few cases of demon possession. The Bible also warns not to seek advice from a medium or sorcerer (which I have never done). The danger for anyone, Christian or not, is when you don’t respect the paranormal and you step into it. I have friends who are ghost hunters, but I will never go out with them because I know the dangers of opening oneself to such evil. Telling spooky tales is one thing – it can be enjoyed just like watching a scary movie, or reading a graphic novel, or watching an episode of the Twilight Zone. But when you become a participant in such things you put yourself, literally, in eternal danger… and that is something I just will not and cannot do. And I would hope and pray that our fans would be wise enough to know the difference and act intelligently.
7. If you were left alone in the world, what is the one thing you couldn’t live without?
My bride. But then, that would mean I wasn’t alone. How about a smartphone with unlimited battery and internet access – can I have that?
As a voice over professional, Darren has brought a wide variety of characters to life for radio, film, audio theater, and audiobooks. He has also done a considerable amount of church and corporate voice over work (white board, PowerPoint, phone prompts, instructional videos, etc.). Over the past 25 years Darren has voiced thousands of radio commercials, TV spots, and has been used as “the big voice over guy” for many radio stations and podcasts; he has even voiced movie trailers. Darren is also the host of host of “Creation Moments Minute“, heard on numerous stations around the world.
As a humorist, Darren is the creator/host of “Daily Dose of Weird News” and the owner/content provider/comedy writer for ONAIRprep which provides family-friendly material for radio personalities around the world. Darren has written radio comedy for over 1,000 radio personalities over the years.
On the side, Darren is also a professional actor and can be seen in a numerous film and TV projects.
Find out more at http:www.darrenmarlar.com
© 2016, G. Michael Vasey & My Haunted Life Too. All rights reserved.