The Horror Honeys: Addison Chats with the 'Teen Creeps' Podcast!

Addison Chats with the 'Teen Creeps' Podcast!

A Web Exclusive Interview from Revenge Honey Addison

All photos courtesy of their individual owners

Teen Creeps, co-hosted by Kelly Nugent and Lindsay Katai, is a podcast that dives into the weird and wonderful world of YA pulp thrillers such as the work of Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine, and Caroline B. Cooney. Together, they use the show to examine the books they grew up reading from a grown-up perspective, as well as discuss anything and everything that the books can bring up, whether it’s personal and serious, or wild and ridiculous. Kelly and Lindsay were kind enough to take some time to chat with me about the show, childhood fears, and what makes us want to revisit these books again and again.

Q: So, first of all, I have to ask: how did this podcast come into being?

Kelly: It was weird because Lindsay and I were not that close of friends when we started this podcast.

Lindsay: We weren’t really friends at all, and I say that not in a “we didn’t like each other” way, but we just didn’t know each other.

Kelly: I have a Buffy the Vampire Slayer podcast, and Lindsay was a guest on it. And we were talking about something, and some segue led to another and she mentioned Christopher Pike. I remember my horror nerd antenna went up and I went, “Ooh, you like Christopher Pike too?” and we jokingly said, “Oh, we should start a podcast about Christopher Pike” and then, later on, we actually followed up on it.

Lindsay: We talked about, specifically, The Starlight Crystal, which is funny because it’s not actually one of his horror novels.

Kelly: But I was so glad that Lindsay actually followed up and we were like “we should get this thing going” and we just did. We’ve become friends. I think people like seeing us go from acquaintances to close friends over the course of this podcast and bonding over a variety of very drama-filled YA pulp fiction from the '80s and '90s.

Q: Kelly, you mentioned your Buffy podcast, Hellmouthy, that’s how you two came together. Since both that and Teen Creeps live in the world of nostalgia, what are the similarities between working on that show and Teen Creeps?

Kelly: Well the shows are definitely similar, and I think part of it is just kind of how I am, I am a pretty open book as far as my life and personality and things like that. And a lot of time because the source material in these shows is so nostalgia-based, it’ll lead to things in mine (and my cohost’s) personal past, and our lives in general. And I think that’s also because they’re both so fandom-based. YA Pulp and Buffy the Vampire Slayer were such a part of my formative years. Both of those things are so important to me, and the people I’m talking to about them, that a lot of it becomes talking about yourself and your worldview and how these things affected you when you first consumed them as opposed to now. Then of course also just weird tangents about whatever we feel like.

Q: Part of why I think fans of your show enjoy it so much is that everyone gets very attached to these YA books we read as young people. Why do you think the things from that time stick with us so intensely?

Lindsay: I think it’s because (that time in your life) is when you’re turning into the human being who you will eventually become. So you’re still at that age where you love something really intensely, and your emotions are running high because you’re in puberty. It’s like living in that window where you’re old and mature enough to understand things more, but still young enough to feel intensely passionate about it. Which is why, although I really was in fandoms through my teens years, I don’t think it’s as nostalgic and intense as when I was reading these books.

Kelly: Purely from my experience, I was someone who was consuming a lot of stuff that was considered weird, especially for girls during that time. I feel like people were like “ew, you like horror?” and I remember watching stuff like Buffy and reading Fear Street and Christopher Pike, and that was a way I could imagine I was living the life I wanted to live, which was… having friends? And living in a world where the stakes were high. I remember wishing I could live in that world, and not yet having been so jaded by life that I would think "well you can’t live in that world." The imagination was still running high enough I could think, “these are my friends” and "this is the world I live in." There’s something very precious to me about that feeling of existing purely in a book or in a TV show.

Lindsay: Especially when it’s weird and you feel set apart because of it, you probably cling more closely to it.

Q: Speaking of being a younger girl and feeling weird for being into horror and other fringe things, I’ve noticed that a lot of women have had a similar experience. A lot of women especially really love horror and thrillers. I wanted to ask what you think it is about that specific genre that resonates with young women?

Lindsay: It’s so interesting and it’s not just horror movies. Like, all the Lifetime movies are so awful. They’re usually about women dying or being victimized, and maybe it’s because the world is so threatening to women that it’s like a catharsis?

Kelly: A lot of times, the woman who is being pursued or chased or whatever, gets to have a hand up in the end. Personally speaking, that works for me. When you take something that might seem hopeless in the world we’re living in now and you place it through the lens of the genre it’s more…seeing someone overcome an obstacle in that genre, it’s easy to somehow transfer that into a feeling of beating something that feels difficult to get over in the real world.

Lindsay: The Final Girl.

Kelly: Right, the Final Girl wins. The other women may not, but the Final Girl wins.

Q: Since the show is you taking books from your adolescence and reading them again now as fully formed adults, what are the greatest differences for you reading it then and reading it now? For example, reading an old favorite and seeing if it holds up? What feels different now as opposed to then?

Lindsay: I mean, I think the most basic difference is that we have a critical eye now. And are used to reading a little bit higher level of writing.

Kelly: Yeah, and, expanding on Lindsay’s point about having a critical view, I never interacted with any content the way I do now when I was thirteen. I didn’t ask questions. I’d think “hmm I didn’t like that” but I didn’t stop to ask why. And I think generally now we’re looking at things from a place of female empowerment, whereas I will say that when I was younger I did not know that I could disagree with a man and be right. So it’s very interesting to look at something now where I can think “this dude is being real problematic” and feel like that I’m right in saying that.

Lindsay: For me, I think it’s… I used to just accept whatever was happening in the plot. Now, the most common thought I have reading these books is “wait, what?” or “why is this happening?” a lot of the time it’s “why does the same thing keep happening over and over?” That’s a huge difference between then and now, is just being able to ask “wait, what?”

Kelly: You know what’s interesting, I was noticing, the way we talk about these characters in the podcast (and I think this is like thinking of them as your friends when you’re a kid) we talk about these characters on the show like we’re gossiping about our friends. Like “what is she doing?” It’s an interesting way to see how that type of weird loser kid feeling evolved into a weird adult person feeling.

Lindsay: We’re looking at the structure and plotting and the writing and the author’s choices, but we’re looking at the character’s actions like “oh, you idiot”.

Q: With the thrillers and horror books you read, do you find the same things that scared you as a kid scare you now?

Kelly: Well, as a kid I was scared of everything. Anything that was minorly scary, I was scared of, but I engaged with the material anyway. Whereas now I can read these books and think “oh I remember being scared of this part as a kid” but I’m not anymore. I think it’s that I’m desensitized to gore. When I was a kid I remember certain books like Scavenger Hunt by Christopher Pike being very gory, but also creepy. And now as an adult, I’m less creeped out by the gore, but the creepiness factor and the unsettling imagery and those kinds of things sit with me in a more disturbing way.

Lindsay: I don’t think it’s that I’m desensitized. Because I hate watching horror movies, I can’t take it, I’m very sensitive to the gore and am scared by it. I just don’t plain find these books scary. They’re pretty low-level scary. I think in the past I was never afraid of slasher stuff, but I was very afraid of supernatural stuff. These books are just not very scary as an adult.

Q: So what is your current favorite book as it stands, not necessarily your favorite you’ve read but rather your favorite to discuss, so far? And your least favorite?

Lindsay: My favorite episodes we’ve done were Witch, when we realized the main character was the worst character in the book, Master of Murder because the plotting made zero sense and it was really fun for us to slowly realize that over the course of the episode, and then talking about The Forbidden Game trilogy, just because it was super fun. I think we both were a little giddy and more in the mindset of how we would have been at thirteen.

Kelly: Of the authors we cover, the one we kind of rib the most is RL Stine, but I loved when we talked about Fear Street Saga because it’s very high-drama, like Horror Soap. Very dramatic. And I loved covering the Cheerleaders series. I really liked that it was a great Supernatural horror trilogy that, the thing that I loved about those books is they were ridiculous and we got to make fun of those characters, but at the same time I really respected the trilogy because it was this story about these girls that are cheerleaders, written by a man, and it never made anything that they were doing frivolous. Everything is high-stakes, cheerleading means a ton to these girls, and the romance was a z plot at best. It was cool because there was not even a question of whether it was important or not. It was: This is a sport, this is important to me, I want to be the best... oops, there’s a murderer.

Q: What would you consider a good starter episode for a first-time listener?

Kelly: Sweet Valley High: The Evil Twin.

Lindsay: I was going to say the exact same thing!

Kelly: It’s high drama, murders on murders, DUIs.

Lindsay: That was one of my favorites. I think that’s my favorite episode. Not because of the book, just because it was super fun to talk about the book.

Q: You touch a lot on archetypes that come up again and again in these books. If you had to fit yourself into a character type that comes up again and again in these teen novels, what do you think it would be?

Lindsay: This is such an easy question for me. It’s the wallflower who thinks her crush “doesn’t even know she exists!”

Kelly: Oh, mine is the one with brown hair who likes crystals so everyone thinks she’s a witch.

Lindsay: Well, that was me in real life.

Q: Finally, just as a silly final note, a few of the books you’ve covered on the show have been adapted into movies. If you could choose a book you’ve covered to be adapted into a feature film, what would that be?

Lindsay: The Last Vampire. I want to be the one to turn it into a franchise. But I’ve ruined my chances by doing this podcast and making fun of Christopher Pike. (laughs)

Kelly: I’d love to see a Cheerleaders movie, if it did the right kind of camp and was earnest, I would love that.

You can find Kelly Nugent on twitter @kellynugee. You can find Lindsay Katai on twitter @lindsaykatai. You can find Teen Creeps on the show’s official twitter @teencreepspod, and listen to the show on iTunes, or wherever else you download podcasts!