Prevailing wisdom might suggest that the golden age of the talk show is over, and with Johnny Carson, Leno and Letterman all off the scene, it can feel as though there’s little freshness left in the format. That is, unless you count The Core, Shudder’s new talk show for horror obsessives. Hosted by genre wunderkind Mickey Keating (Darling, Carnage Park), The Core breaks down the talk show format to its elemental level, throws in plenty of questions tailor-made for horror hounds and aspiring filmmakers and most importantly, adds a healthy dose of gore to the proceedings.
The first season, which drops weekly on Shudder, features guests like Flying Lotus, American Psycho’s Mary Harron, The Soska Sisters, Simon Barrett and more, along with plenty of over-the-top gory set pieces to punch up each episode. Keating serves as host extraordinaire, as game to get into the psychology of horror with Harron as he is to subject himself to over-the-tope, gonzo gore. Just after the first episode dropped, I had a chance to chat with Keating about the origin of the project, how he chooses the guests for the show, his favorite set piece, what he learned from working on the first season, the guests he’s dying to have on the show (Edgar Wright!) and more.
I gotta start by asking how this just came together because it is so beyond unique, as a concept.
MICKEY KEATING: I met, just through a general meeting from my manager, Bridger [Nielsen] and Ben [Blank] – Bridger’s the director and Ben created the show over at Uproxx. And the real desire was just to make a talk show unlike anything anyone’s ever seen and have it be genre-based, talk to directors, talk to people who are behind all this movie magic, and really just kind of have fun with it. So the genesis of the idea was like doing something like Charlie Rose with a lot more blood and gore. From there, it was built and created very organically from the get-go. The goal was to make something that, if you’re not a big horror fan, you can still love the show, but if you love horror or you’re an aspiring filmmaker, the dream is that if I was 13 or 14 and this show was on, I’d be thrilled, I’d be ecstatic. I’d be watching every weekend. We just try to make something that the kids would love.