Signal Horizon

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Season 3 Episode 30 The Horror Pod Class: Underwater with Leslie Lutz

Welcome to the Junior Year Episode 28 of the Horror Pod Class. My name is Tyler and I am the editor-in-chief of Signal Horizon, a magazine dedicated to exploring horror both in and out of the classroom. When I’m not managing Signal Horizon, I am a teacher at a local high school here in Kansas City, Missouri. Tonight, as I am every night, I am joined by my co-host and monster ambassador here at Signal Horizon, award-winning writer Orrin Grey! Today we have a very special guest.

Leslie Lutz’s short fiction and poetry has been published in several journals, including Orca Literary Journal, Kaaterskill Basin Literary Journal, Typishly, The Lyric, and Raintown Review.  She has won the 2018 Frisco First Chapter Contest for FRACTURED TIDE, her debut novel which came out May 5th.

She is also fortunate to be a part of some great professional organizations: including the International Thriller Writers, Horror Writers Association, and the DFW Writers Workshop.  She lives in Fort Worth, Texas, and when She is not writing, you can find her watching B-horror movies, scuba diving, or taking care of chickens. Welcome to the show Leslie!

What we are watching and excited about. 

Leslie Mike from Lovecraft Podcast Angel Season 5.

Orrin: The Skull

Tyler: Becky, Pandorum

Dark Corners of the Web: Urban Legend on Tubi

Essential Question: Is Underwater an example of “good” aquatic horror”

IMDB Summary: A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deepwater research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.


Leslie: A few notes on this question– Yes, I do.  I think what scares us most about aquatic horror is that the ocean (or a murky lake) is akin to the dark of a haunted house: you just don’t know what’s beyond the range of your sight. We humans are at a disadvantage in either of those environments (dark haunted house or ocean) because whatever is hunting us can see (or sense) a lot better than we can.  Take those two elements–our disadvantage in the water plus some pitch black to take away what little sight we have–and you have a claustrophobic terror-fest.  Underwater takes the natural claustrophobia that you might feel imagining yourself drowning during a monster attack and piles on more. You get the collapsing structure around the MC, Norah, and then the darkness of the water that Norah has to venture out into. Yeah, I think the writers did a good job with this. 

It’s easier to see how UNDERWATER is successful when you compare it to something like DEEP STAR SIX, which I didn’t think was a good example of aquatic horror. You totally don’t have to look at this, but I wrote a blog post about that monster

Basically, UNDERWATER’s monster is super cool and freaked me out. I don’t think you have to have a monster to make good aquatic horror though (think of OPEN WATER, for example, where most of the fear engendered comes from being forgotten and dying of thirst).   

Questions for Leslie: What elements of aquatic horror did you use in developing fractured tide.

 I also capitalized on dark water because it sort of double-downs on that human fear of the unknown (what you can’t see). I love night diving, but when I’m doing it, a small, quiet voice inside my head likes to tell me that I’m being a complete idiot for going out into the ocean at night (the rest of me just wants to experience the wonder of it). I think a lot of aquatic horror has that balance that comes from at least one character being fascinated by this vast body of water and all it contains (Hooper in JAWS, for example) and characters who are terrified of it (Brody in JAWS). The main character of FRACTURED TIDE has a positive emotional attachment for night diving and all the wondrous creatures you see when the sun goes down; the thing she loves then becomes this source of immense terror. Oh, and I have a big ole nasty monster too.      

Some other reading that may come up.

Dude I can’t get over TJ Miller being a world class scumbag.

Also lets talk about that ending. Its Cthulhu right?

Totally Cthulhu. And I also think it’s interesting that the monster is a little like the Cloverfield monster, with its little monsterlings. And TJ Miller was in that too. 

Anonymous Amazon User

This movie had good potential in the first 15 minutes. Usually for a good story line a movie or story must have a beginning middle and an end. This has a middle and an end I believe. I did not know i was paying $6 to watch Eminem act. He shouldve just done 8 miles 2 instead.This movie starts with no orientation and you’re left trying to figure out what’s going on from the beginning. Neither of us like to watch girls who look like guys.  We stopped watching after 15 mins and switched to Deep Water Horizon that we’ve seen before and is a great flick! Wow, I mean, wow. “The girls who look like guys” comment. I thought Kristen Stewart looked great. It’s true that there wasn’t really a beginning, but I’m not sure that’s a flaw. Would love to hear your thoughts.  

Leslie’s upcoming projects

I’m working on a story about a haunted safe. It takes place in South Texas, in dark sky country, in a fictional town called Gypsum. A lot of the action happens around a derelict hotel that’s based on the famous haunted Baker hotel in Mineral Wells. I’m not sure what’s going to happen when the main character finally gets that safe open, but I’m pretty sure the body count will be high. You can find out more about what I’m working on and where I’ll be (virtually, of course) by going to   

Next Week: Sugar Hill