It used to be that in the movies, the audio engineer was the good guy—take Brian DePalma’s 1981 thriller, Blow Out, where noble soundman John Travolta is on the run after he accidentally records evidence that a tragic car accident was no accident at all. In recent years, however, movies and TV have started to see sound pros as perhaps less than altruistic individuals. First there was 2012’s Berberian Sound Studio, a UK movie about a horror film audio post engineer who can’t tell what’s real and what’s on the screen. Next came LFO, a 2013 Scandanavian suspense flick about using sound for mind control. Now there’s Deadwax, a short-form horror series with an evil mastering engineer.
Yeah, those mastering engineers; you really have to watch out for them—and specifically the show’s Lyle M. Lytton, who mastered a deadly vinyl record, identifiable only by his signature logo in the deadwax (AKA the runout groove between the last song of the side and the record label). Only three copies of the record exist and thus it’s of interest to the show’s heroine, Ella (Hannah Gross), a young lady with a talent for finding rare vinyl for well-heeled collectors.
When she procures a copy for a client who subsequently winds up dead—and it turns out the record’s previous owner died gruesomely as well—both she and the police start trying to find out what’s up with the lethal slab o’ wax. Things just get bloodier from there.
Adding to Deadwax’s audio pedigree, it was directed by Graham Reznick, who has served as sound designer on horror flicks like The House Of The Devil and The Innkeepers, so there’s ominous buzzes and clicks galore in the trailer—and presumably the series as well.
Mixing elements from UK mystery novel series The Vinyl Detective and 2002’s The Ring—that Millennial fave about a deadly VHS tape—Deadwax can be found on Shudder, a horror-specific streaming channel, presented as a series of eight 15-minute episodes.