In the first half of the program, independent filmmaker Christopher Garetano, whose award-winning film about the Montauk mystery inspired the hit show Stranger Things, discussed the horror genre of film and television. With "a lot of horror fiction of the twentieth century," he mused, "we're on the precipice of all of it coming to reality." Noting that the same could be said about science fiction, Garetano observed that it's "fascinating and terrifying," to see these themes and ideas leap from the movie screen into our everyday lives. On how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the movie-going experience, he noted two interesting trends which have emerged: the return of drive-ins, which had been nearly extinct prior to the pandemic but have seen a huge resurgence this year, and a growth in popularity for virtual reality experiences as a new form of cinematic storytelling.
As for what makes for a great horror movie, Garetano said that two key factors are "characters that you can care about and then suspense." Specifically, he opined that the best films do not spend too much time setting the stage for the story and, instead, quickly thrust the identifiable figures into "a compromising situation that you feel like you could be in." One particularly potent type of plot found in horror films is what Garetano called "long night pictures." Pointing to movies such as Night of the Living Dead and Evil Dead, he explained that these stories unfold over the course of one arduous evening. He also credited legendary horror directors like George Romero and David Cronenberg with including a lot of social commentary within the subtext of their films and explained that nuanced storytelling was inspired by the work of Rod Serling.
During Open Lines, Dennis in Idaho shared an unsettling story concerning his nephew and possible alien implants. He explained that the young man was scratching his back when he wound up removing a "round little device" which he likened to a bottle cap with a hole in it. He set the object aside to save and examine later, but was perplexed when it subsequently vanished. His nephew later wound up removing another of the oddities from his back and, once again, the curious piece of metal also disappeared shortly after he'd put it on a shelf to show his uncle. Chillingly, this time he also noticed that his front door was inexplicably open, despite having been locked shut with a dead bolt. Dennis ultimately wondered if perhaps the peculiar objects were alien implants or some kind of government experiment. Other callers during the evening included Leo in Michigan, who expressed concern that the eventual coronavirus vaccine may be connected to RFID technology, and Annie in Alabama, who was worried about a report of a Mongolian boy dying from the bubonic plague.