By Riley Dauber
With Halloween right around the corner, now is the perfect time to celebrate the horror genre by watching a scary movie. However, with the variety of options, selecting a film can be tricky.
Thanks to one Youtube channel in particular, Dead Meat, longtime fans or newcomers of the genre can learn everything they want to know about horror. Viewers are also exposed to different types of films that they may not have heard of before.
James A. Janisse started the popular channel in 2017, which has since amassed over six million subscribers. His main videos are a part of a series called “The Kill Count,” where he takes viewers through the movie, highlighting the kills and deciding which is the best and worst at the video’s conclusion. He also shares statistics, including gender breakdowns and frequency.
Initially, Janisse’s videos were around 10 minutes, but as the channel evolved and grew in popularity, he started including more behind-the-scenes information and production details.
Now, instead of just learning about the movie’s plot, viewers learn about the actors, directors, makeup and special effects artists, and other production members who worked tirelessly to make the film a success.
In the last year, Janisse started “recounting” films he already covered on the channel to give fan-favorite movies — including the “Friday the 13th,” “Scream,” and “Child’s Play” franchises — the proper, in-depth treatment.
“It made sense for me to start the channel with ‘Friday the 13th’…now I want to go back and give the historic franchise its proper due. My original episodes were cursory and, while charming, somewhat shallow. It’s time to give ‘Friday the 13th’ the five star Kill Count treatment,” Janisse said in his recount video for “Friday the 13th.”
While Janisse has covered well-known films, including classics and newer releases, he has also released videos highlighting cult classics or underappreciated slashers. Some oddities of the channel include 1972’s “Frogs,” 1981’s “Bloody Birthday,” and 1986’s “Spookies.”
Thanks to Janisse’s videos, viewers are able to learn about beloved films or find a new favorite.
“I think this has become one of those films that James covers that I’ve never heard of before but instantly develop an obsession over,” Youtube user @StrangerSims said in a comment on the “Bloody Birthday” video.
Along with the Youtube channel, Janisse’s wife Chelsea Rebecca, who co-owns the channel, started the “Dead Meat Podcast” in 2018. The two host the show together, and the longer episodes allow them to review films, research topics in the genre, and play different horror-related games.
Some stand-out episodes include the creature feature movie reviews from 2020, like 1997’s “Anaconda,” and the “Survivor: Horror Edition” episodes. In the latter, Janisse and Rebecca select 18 random horror movie characters, all ranging in their levels of popularity, and pretend they are competing on the reality television show “Survivor.”
The podcast is available to stream on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Video versions are also released on the Youtube channel.
The channel remained successful since its inception, but like many in the entertainment industry, it was affected by the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strike.
Although the WGA ended their strike thanks to an agreement with the production companies on Sept. 27, SAG-AFTRA is still fighting for improved work conditions, according to prior Elm coverage.
To show their support for the writers and actors, the Dead Meat team decided to stop covering work from the major production companies refusing to make agreements.
“We support the actors (and supported the writers during their strike) because these are the people who make the movies we cover on this channel,” Janisse said in a written statement posted to the channel’s community tab. “This is supporting the very people who create the art we love and explore in-depth. Without them, Dead Meat would not exist. It’s the least we can do.”
While the strike obviously harmed the channel’s current production process, it also gives Dead Meat an opportunity to focus on lesser-known international and independent projects. Recent Kill Counts include the “Mortal Kombat” video games, “The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals” stage production, and the 1999 found-footage film “The Blair Witch Project.” In a new podcast episode, Janisse and Rebecca discussed the 2000 Japanese film “Battle Royale.”
The Dead Meat Youtube channel and adjacent podcast are both great introductions into the horror genre. For those looking to learn more about a particular film or the genre’s history and main players, look no further than Dead Meat.
Photo by Riley Dauber.
Photo Caption: Youtube channel Dead Meat is currently covering independent projects and video games because of the SAG-AFTRA strike.