Interview: Peter Dunne gets us Petrified

Peter Dunne is an award-winning writer, director, producer, editor, and creator of audio dramas and unusual experiences. His plays include Broadening, Dummy, and Horrors In The Black Church.

After making the jump from journalism to production, his horror anthology podcast Petrified, co-created with Liam Geraghty, won a New York Radio Drama Award and an Irish Podcast Award, and the pair also teamed up on the comedy horror series for children – Spooky FM and The Living Library.

Peter co-created the audio horror experiences Eerie and Bram, as well as Instaterror – the first ghost story to take place completely on Instagram. He made his comics debut in 2020 with the queer horror story Abomination by Hey Dorothy comics.

Today we spoke to him about Petrified and where his love of horror began.

What inspired Petrified?

Liam Geraghty, the producer of the show, had already collaborated with me on an audio experience called Eerie. Listeners walked around Dublin on an audio tour listening to horrific tales of things that had happened in the city. Of course, none of them were true, but we didn’t tell them that. It was so much fun to make that we thought of working together on other projects. We’re both fans of anthology horror and thriller shows, such as Inside No.9, so thought why not make our own show of creepy terror tales.

What can listeners expect?

We describe the show as a series of tales from a darker Ireland. It’s horror with a very Irish angle – we’ve had episodes about the 12 pubs of Christmas, ghost estates, the panto, even the moving statues phenomenon from the 80’s. The series definitely has a lot of humour but our main goal is to give you the creeps and to celebrate Irish storytelling.

Will you be bringing Petrified to any arts or music festivals this year?

In 2022 we were invited to the London Podcast Festival to stage a live version of Petrified. It was the first time we’d actually even considered a live show being a possibility. Originally I thought it might be just a ‘one and done’ but then it was so so much fun. The actors loved it, Liam and I loved the challenge, and the audience also seemed very into it! Since then we have definitely made plans to do a Petrified Live in Ireland, but we won’t spill any secrets yet!

When do you think the love of horror began for you?

As soon as I was conscious! It’s hard to pinpoint a beginning as it seemed to be always there. My mam used to say that as a toddler, I liked being frightened, I loved creepy cartoons with eerie music. I always wanted to be told horror stories, and then started making up my own. I grew up in the 80’s so was around for that video shop boom when horror films flooded the market. Walking through the shop and seeing all these insane video covers blew my tiny mind. From then on it was a case of watching things far too young at a far too impressionable age. Thankfully I’m not too warped. I hope.

Probably a hard question but what’s your favourite scary movie?

There’s a handful that I love for different reasons that all had a big impact, so I’ll pick three! The Innocents, Rosemary’s Baby and The Fog. The Fog was actually the inspiration for one of our early episodes. Let’s see if any listeners can guess which one.

If you could have one horror icon on an episode of Petrified who would that be?

We’ve already had one! The great Larry Fessenden is an independent horror filmmaker, writer and actor from New York, and I have been a fan since I was a teenager. He made films like Wendigo and The Last Winter and has starred in a ton of films, including I Sell The Dead. During production, Liam the producer asked if there was anyone I’d love to have in the show and I said Larry, thinking this was just a chat. I had no clue Liam was going to actually reach out to him. He was a dream to work with. 

Where can people listen and what are your socials

Petrified can be found on Spotify, Acast and Apple Podcasts and we can be found on social media @petrified_pod.

The full cast of Petrified season 3 has some of Ireland’s finest actors including Margaret McAuliffe (The Humours of Bandon), Donncha O’Dea (The Blackwater Lightship), Ali Fox (Flora and Her Son), Amy O’Dwyer (Fair City), Roseanna Purcell (Circle of Friends), Georgina McKevitt (Waiting for Ikea), Deirdre Monaghan (Game of Thrones), Deborah Wiseman (Vikings), Ste Murray (Light A Penny Candle), David Fennelly (Killing Bono), Anna Sheils-McNamee (Mespil in the Dark) and a cameo from iconic Irish newsreader Anne Doyle.

Leave a Reply