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Local podcast looks at horror from LGBT perspective
by Melissa Wasserman
2019-11-12

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On their podcast FriGay the 13th, co-hosts Matty Zaradich and Andrew Huff use an LGBT perspective to discuss horror in entertainment, horror in real life and how they creep into each other.

"[It's] rooted in friendship, rooted in a desire to have fun and do something creative and do something cool," Zaradich described.

"Our tagline has always been we're a horror podcast— a podcast that talks about horror in real life and horror in the media, but what we found, from an LGBT perspective, our topics have gone all over the place," said Huff.

Zaradich and Huff—who both identify as gay and live in Chicago—met a few years ago through Huff's now husband Michael Henry, who is also the podcast's producer. When they would all get together, they described, the conversation would always veer toward politics and horror movies. One night, they decided to pair these interests and deliver it in a horror podcast. FriGay the 13th launched in February 2018.

Both have been long-time lovers of horror. Huff, originally from Northern Michigan,recalls being a horror fan pretty much his entire life. His mom was a horror fan and at an early age, he said, he was introduced to the genre with starter horror movies and then moved on to scarier films.

Zaradich grew up in a very Catholic home in northwest Indiana and his favorite horror movie, "The Exorcist" was absolutely banned from his home. He added he still found ways to sneak it in and "there was always a fascination with horror because it's sort of life at its extreme."

"I think a bit of it is because horror is something LGBT people are not afraid to look in the face because we've had to face it so often in our real lives," said Zaradich, offering bigotry, violence, rejection and being kicked out of the home as possible examples people from the community have faced. "…you see people in situations you've been in before and it helps you to make sense of the horror you've experienced in your own life. When you see people that survive in a horror film, it sort of reminds you—not to be too heroic about it—but it sort of reminds you of yourself. LGBT people have to go through quite a bit that non-LGBT people just don't in American societies and I think horror films help us make sense of our lives…"

Outside of the podcast, Zaradichis a customer success manager for a major social media company and Huff works in healthcare marketing.

"I think we felt the need to do something that was super creative, fun and something that was very different for all of us," explained Zaradich. "It's been so fun to come together to do the actual show itself and to create really good content that speaks to a number of different groups of people, but most especially to LGBT people…"

At first the podcast focused on politics. The format then evolved into distinctly themed episodes where the co-hosts talk about a specific topic in one segment and then link it to a couple of horror movies in the second segment.

"We would pick a distinct theme and kind of talk about a topic [within] that theme and then pick a couple movies to go along with it," said Huff. "So it's been an ever-evolving podcast I would say… the elevator pitch is: horror in real life and in the media from an LGBT perspective."

"When you connect it to horror films ( a particular topic like white nationalism ), it makes it a little bit more digestible, than trying to get out there in the world and make sense of all of this," said Zaradich. "The arts will always imitate life for better or for worse and we think and hope we're helping people make sense of what's going on in the world."

Listeners can find FriGay the 13th on all podcast platforms. The team emphasized they also love hearing from their listeners through all of their social media platforms.

"It's really interesting how the LGBT community bleeds into the horror community because there is a weird sect of gay people that are looking for a community to belong to," said Huff, explaining some of their listeners are from the LGBT community, some are horror fans and a portion overlap. "It's kind of amazing that we found such a niche, but it's a niche we didn't even know was there, but is actually pretty big."

To learn more about FriGay the 13th, visit Frigay13.com .


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