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Podcast Review: Up and Vanished & Monster

Keith Higgons

Posted on February 21, 2019 15:47

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One guy. Two podcasts. So far.

With two seasons of Up and Vanished and Monster, and a deal with the Oxygen network, documentary filmmaker Payne Lindsey, and his Tenderfoot TV, is fast becoming a singular force in podcasting.

A good documentary should tell a good story, maybe peel away layers on a forgotten issue or person and if they’re really exceptional, they can bring about justice or change. Payne Lindsey is helping to do that with his podcasts, Up and Vanished and Monster.  

The first season of Up and Vanished focuses on the case of missing teacher Tara Grinstead, a cold case in Georgia. A gripping story that added attention to the case (to the tune of 50 million podcast downloads), the podcast eventually led to the arrest of two individuals, one currently set to face trial on April 1 for the murder of Tara Grinstead.

No too shabby for a first time.

The second season of Up and Vanished focuses on the disappearance of Kristal Reisinger from the hippie haven Crestone, Colorado. Here again Lindsey has found an amazing story deserving to be told. While Reisinger’s story has yet to have the same result as the first season, it's once again focussed attention to the case.

And it's filled with a cast of characters you couldn’t believe existed. At first funny, then odd and finally sad, some of the interviews with people who knew her, including the guy under the most scrutiny, highlights how drug users sound when seemingly high. It adds an uncomfortable sense of realism and tension to the podcast. 

In partnership with the How Stuff Works podcast, Lindsey launched Monster.

Season one focuses on the 1980's Atlanta child murders while season two focuses on the 1970's serial killer known as Zodiac.

With both seasons of Monster, Lindsey simply lays out the crimes and then lays out the facts. Like any good documentary, drama and tension are heightened as information is revealed. For example, we all know that the Atlanta child murders have long been attributed to Wayne Williams. What I didn't know is that that Williams was never convicted of those murders. He was convicted of murdering two men, not children. Conspiracy theories be damned, there are some very odd things about this case. Very odd indeed.

The second season of Monster, about the Zodiac killer, stays true to both the Robert Graysmith book Zodiac and the David Fincher movie Zodiac. Which is not to say the podcast is dull, it's not. While there are a few interesting interviews, even with a cursory knowledge of the case, you’ll find you know more than you think.

There are true crime podcasts, like Michael Connolly’s Murderbook and investigative journalism podcasts like APMs In the Dark, and then there are documentary podcasts like Up and Vanished and Monster. Whether true crime, journalism or documentary, these labels don't matter. What matters is that the stories get told.

Podcasting is a good medium for these stories.

Thankfully, Payne Lindsey is around helping to tell them.

Keith Higgons

Posted on February 21, 2019 15:47

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Source: E!

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