The StrongViolentPC guys: Andy Stewart (left) and Mitch Bain (right)
Interview by Darren Gaskell
In late April 2018 I listened to the opening episode of a new movie podcast entitled Strong Language and Violent Scenes. The brainchild of lapsed horror writer/occasional doer of musical things Mitch Bain and lapsed horror writer/maker of disgusting movies Andy Stewart, this not only had strong language but strong accents (they’re both Scottish), strong opinions and, above all, a strong sense of fun.
You may think you need another movie podcast like a hole in the head but trust me, you need this one and if you haven’t heard it yet now’s the time to start catching up. And speaking of catching up, that’s exactly what I did with Andy and Mitch recently in the run-up to the one-year anniversary of Strong Language and Violent Scenes…
Oh, and in keeping with the style of their podcast, before I get going you should probably know that the following contains some strong language.
DG: Firstly, for those who haven’t heard Strong Language and Violent Scenes, could you explain a little about the podcast and its format?
ANDY: Yeah. Er, Mitch?
MITCH: As a pair of film fans – predominantly horror fans – what we try to do is get a weekly guest who will pick a horror, action or sci-film that they love and has been either criminally underseen or given a hard time critically. We talk through it, have a bit of a laugh and ultimately it’s on the guest to make a case for whether or not the film deserves a second look.
ANDY: We’ve had, like, forty guests.
DG: Can you give us a taste of the movies you’ve covered so far?
ANDY: We’ve covered all manner of nonsense. We’ve pretty much run the gamut from utter turds like Saw VI…
MITCH: Oh, fuck off!
ANDY: ….through things like Pieces, Rawhead Rex, Masters Of The Universe, Jaws: The Revenge. A whole pile of Halloween films.
MITCH: We’ve also played a little bit fast and loose with the rules sometimes and gone a little bit outside the norm with things like Memoirs Of An Invisible Man. Armageddon I would say was a contentious one.
ANDY: It was a risky one.
DG: I don’t really get the upset Armageddon caused as a choice.
MITCH: My first instinct was that I recoiled from it, but I thought “You know what? It’s an action film, it’s a sci-fi film and it got pretty shite reviews”. When you look at it, it’s an unusual pick but it does technically make sense.
ANDY: I would say deservedly shite reviews.
MITCH: Oh yeah. Absolutely. It’s shite.
ANDY: COME AT ME MICHAEL BAY!
DG: Anything else?
ANDY: We’ve also done really interesting films that are a bit more underseen like The Ninth Configuration…
MITCH: House Of Mortal Sin.
ANDY: Films that are a bit more revered but not that well known.
MITCH: People that listen know that I haven’t seen fucking anything [Note: This isn’t true – DG] but those are the kinds of things I’d have been unlikely to find on my own.
DG: Thanks for covering The Ninth Configuration because I would have never seen it either.
MITCH: It’s so good, isn’t it?
ANDY: Having Heather Buckley on that one was the kind of dream guest. She had such an academic knowledge of the film and she’d produced a load of special features for the Second Sight Blu-Ray of the film.
DG: How did the idea for the podcast come about?
ANDY: Wine. Predominantly wine. Me and my wife had been inviting Mitch over for dinner a couple of times a week because he hadn’t long moved to Glasgow, didn’t know that many people in Glasgow at the time. I can tell you his friend group has blossomed since to the point where it’s harder for me to get hold of him.
MITCH: Thanks for sharing that I’m not still a friendless loser in Glasgow.
ANDY: We’d have dinner, we’d have a bottle of wine and put a film on. There was never a question of doing a podcast until the day that I put on Slugs.
MITCH: That was a big one for me. It was the biggest case of realising that you could laugh at something and appreciate its flaws but also still absolutely love it. We thought maybe we could try to get something out of this.
ANDY: I think the discussion kicked off when we watched C.H.U.D. It was that which made us think “Why don’t we talk about this, in this format, so that other people might want to listen to the most arrogant conversation in the world?”.
MITCH: This conversation between two drunk white men is so hilarious…
ANDY: Two drunk, straight white men. The world’s worst demographic.
MITCH: This is so hilarious that the world needs to hear it twice a week.
ANDY: The twice a week thing wasn’t a discussion at the time, it was very much “let’s just do this and see what happens”.
MITCH: That was in the January of last year, but we didn’t just jump straight into it. It was another three months before we did the first episode because we bought some gear, talked a lot about the format. The title I had been sitting on for a year and a half. I knew that if I had a podcast on horror films, I was going to call it that.
ANDY: He was so excited I just couldn’t be bothered arguing.
DG: You haven’t done C.H.U.D.
ANDY: The very nature of the format is that the guest chooses the film. Maybe it’s something we can do if a guest cancels on us.
DG: At the time, were you discussing ideas for other types of film podcast?
ANDY: We tossed around some ideas around the format, but the Friday episode was always going to be the main episode. The minisode has evolved off the back of that. The feedback section used to be at the end of the Friday episode. We noticed the main episodes were running pretty long.
MITCH: And also, the minisodes were super thin.
ANDY: There’s so much jammed into the minisodes now which people have come to really like, maybe even arguably more than the main episode. It’s really nice that we’re evolving the format.
DG: It’s clear from listening to the podcast that you’re both well prepared to discuss in detail of the film chosen each week. Exactly how much preparation goes into that? Do you tend to watch the films together?
ANDY: We don’t necessarily put a lot of prep in. I don’t like prepping too far in advance. I tend to watch the film the night before we hit record. If you’ve thought of anything funny in that moment, it’s funnier because you don’t have time to let it stew. There’s that thing when you’re constantly adding to stuff which may be to the detriment of it. Sometimes it’s better to just watch it and go when things are fresh.
MITCH: We’ve watched a few more together recently. We don’t really talk to each other too much while we’re watching them, we’re sitting scribbling. We sometimes do it immediately before we record, you’re really, really fresh and you just roll straight into it before you’ve had time to react to anything.
ANDY: I hate when something feels over-produced or written. Unless that’s the format of your podcast. I would hate for anyone to listen to our podcast and think that we had been writing jokes or planning anything because we really don’t. The only things we plan are the guest and the time and the film and everything else happens organically.
DG: Are there any films you’d never discuss on the podcast?
ANDY: Quite a few.
MITCH: We’ve had suggestions that we’ve batted back because for whatever reason the film doesn’t fit. Also, people picking cult films that were good.
ANDY: Everyone’s seen them and they’re brilliant.
MITCH: In most cases, if people get the film right the rest takes care of itself.
ANDY: A great film and guest combo is something that you know right away. When we had Joey Keogh on talking about Queen Of The Damned, she was someone who loved the film and had obviously listened and had a fair idea of the tone of the discussion she wanted to have. While she knew a lot about the film, she wanted to have fun with it and didn’t want to go too academic on it.
MITCH: Another relatively recent one that I really did like was when we had Orson Oblowitz on talking The Lawnmower Man. He’s a funny guy.
DG: About which film has your opinion shifted the most as a result of discussing it on the podcast?
ANDY: Maybe Masters Of The Universe. I considered it my first cinematic disappointment, then I softened to it a little bit, then watching it again I was like “No, this is just bad, it’s terrible”. I’m sure there’s more but I remember sitting down after Masters Of The Universe and going “Let’s just get this recorded before I burst into tears”. Mitch’s might be Saw VI.
MITCH: When we watched Kolobos I came out of it being like “Fuck that, I never want to watch it again”. After we talked about it with Phil [Escott] I was like “I definitely want to watch that again”. Not because I’m all turned around on the subject, but it stoked my curiosity in a way I didn’t necessarily expect it to. But generally, my opinion shifts from not having seen it to having an opinion.
ANDY: On Saw VI, you came in to defend it but by the end you were like “Actually, yeah, it’s not that good”.
MITCH: I came in saying this a vital piece of the “Jigsaw” jigsaw and ultimately, I was like “Aye, it’s shite but it’s good though, isn’t it?”.
ANDY: No. No.
DG: What are your favourite moments of the podcast so far?
ANDY: It’s not necessarily something that’s happened on the podcast, it’s broader than that. It’s the community that’s built up around the podcast. It’s really gratifying to see people not just engaging with us but talking amongst themselves. Listeners who didn’t know each other now following each other and liking each other’s stuff.
MITCH: Things like the listener pitches, Ron Mince and all that stuff. Also, the Tom Atkins chat with John McPhail.
ANDY: Screaming at you about cooking a kipper in a microwave.
[We then went on to a discussion about the subject of being sexually aroused by clamps, gears and docking mechanisms which you’ll have to check out on the podcast, not because it’s particularly offensive but the running gag works better across the episodes]
MITCH: Boz’s rhyming 30-second synopsis in the Jason X episode.
ANDY: I’m taking points off him because he’d already pre-recorded it. There’s been so many little moments and we’ve not even been going a year. We’ve done two Live shows which is pretty amazing to me. We did our first Live show at Celluloid Screams and our second Live show at Glasgow with the support of the guys from FrightFest. We’ve been really lucky to have the support of Arrow Video who’ve given us piles and piles of stuff.
MITCH: At the second Live show, I’d gone into a toilet cubicle to change into a camp counsellor costume.
DG: And very fetching it was too.
MITCH: Thanks very much. I came out, looked at myself in the mirror and thought “What a strange year this has been”. Live shows in general, hearing the laughs in the room, it’s really fun.
DG: If you could invite any guest to discuss any film, who would it be and which film would they be discussing?
ANDY: There’s something we’ve always really wanted to happen, it’s not necessarily a person or a film but we’ve always wanted someone who was in a film that they think is shite to come on and bring the film in question.
MITCH: We have people who we’ve looked at and said “Is it time to ask them yet? No, no, not yet”.
ANDY: Personally, guys like Travis Stevens, Lauren Ashley Carter.
MITCH: Lucky McKee for me.
ANDY: We’d also like to have people on from other podcasts, it’d be cool to have one of the guys from Shock Waves come on, something like that. Build more of a community around horror podcasting in general. Everyone’s doing it but no one’s really doing it together.
DG: We’re hurtling towards the one-year anniversary of StrongViolentPC. What are your plans for Year Two (if you don’t mind revealing them)?
MITCH: We’re looking for ways to grow it in any way we can. We’re probably going to try to do more Live shows, dial up the bonusodes a bit. We’re looking at ideas for possibly a Patreon.
ANDY: It’s that thing though, is it the right time to do something like that? It’s kind of hard to weigh up but the plan is certainly to keep doing what we’re doing. We’ll just keep bringing you quality guests and quality laughs.
And I’m pretty sure that the guests and the laughs will keep coming at a pace that can only be described as breakneck. If you’re a fan of horror movies, hell, if you just like movies, I urge you to check out the Strong Language and Violent Scenes podcast. You might not enjoy the films themselves but you’ll almost certainly enjoy the discussions about them.
Huge thanks to Andy and Mitch for taking the time out to talk to me. You can catch the main episode of the podcast on Fridays, with the minisode appearing on the following Monday.