Friday, July 20, 2018

In Praise of “Real Hunger Can’t Be Fed” by H. K. Reyes.

This post, as well as the next, will be slightly different than those I have presented before—both in scale and approach. These posts will contain little analysis and almost no background. In part, this is due to the fact that the authors are relatively unknown.

Each post will be written in praise of a “creepypasta.” A “creepypasta,” simply put, is a short horror tale, initially made available via the internet. And, when I mean “short,” I mean that the tale praised here is approximately 2,600-words. For comparison, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the subject of my previous post, is comprised of 191,836 words![i]


I know what you are. Bloodsucker, right? I seen the movies.

Get your head out the clouds, girl. Me and my buddy are just havin a talk.

Make me like you, I said.

Cowboy laughed. You wanna be like me? Suckin on dead meat in the dark like a mangy old dog?

I am a dog, a dog with its leg in a trap, and I want you to chew it off. My momma says this is just how it is, but I'm gonna run and run and look for somewhere's different.

Your momma's a smart woman. Who you wanna kill? Ain't no one wanna be like me less they got someone to kill.

My daddy.

It's always the daddies. Listen up, girl. This life ain't no fairy tale. It's a death rattle before every meal. It's railroad spike hunger, so heavy you can't think of nothin else. It's a forever night with no more sunrises, no more till the last one, the one that light you up like the Fourth of July.

I told you I seen the movies.


The provenance for the story in this blog-post is a little tricky. I say “tricky” because the tale as written is not the focus of this commentary. Rather, the heart of this post concerns the audio narration of this tale.

Real Hunger Can’t Be Fed is a short “creepypasta” tale written by H. K. Reyes, a noted creepypasta author. He has won awards for several of his horror tales. To the best of my knowledge, this tale originally appeared sometime in 2014 on the Reddit NoSleep webpage.[ii]


The NoSleep sub-reddit is an internet forum exclusively devoted to hosting creepypasta tales. Also, I do not know if this work was ever formally published.


The story is written very simply with minimal punctuation and grammar. Its simplicity in formatting and in structure hides its true depth—the awesome power of love. At its most basic, this is a vampire romance tale. Girl falls for bad-boy vampire; falls all the way. Also, while this story addresses the sexuality common within the vampire tradition, in no way is that the point of the tale; quite the opposite, actually.


The story written by Reyes is not the actual subject of this post. But, what will be praised here is the audio narration of Real Hunger Can’t Be Fed by Andrea Rose, featuring Jeff Clement and produced by Chilling Tales for Dark Nights. This production is more a performance than a straightforward narration. Once again, for comparison, the audio narration for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ran to 20 ½ hours. While Real Hunger Can’t Be Fed is a little over 25 minutes! This audio narration was posted on YouTube on August 24, 2014.[iii] I came across it shortly thereafter.

I think that Chilling Tales for Dark Nights’ own words can best describe what they are about. Excerpted from the “About Us” page of their website:

Chilling Tales for Dark Nights is a horror-themed audio storytelling series and a popular YouTube channel of the same name. Chilling Tales for Dark Nights features a myriad of talented vocal performers and the work of dozens of independent and previously-published contributing authors. Chilling Tales for Dark Nights was created in 2012 by entrepreneur and author Craig Groshek, and since its inception has endeavored to bring audio theater “back from the dead.”

Specializing in the production of audio entertainment, short films and published works spanning a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres, the brand, known also as CTFDN, or simply as Chilling Tales – is perhaps most well known for its immersive high-quality audio productions, which feature full casts, professional voice acting, high-quality sound effects and customized musical scores.[iv]

I must say that Chilling Tales does not disappoint. But the production company, in this instance, should not receive all the credit.

Two individuals deserve the lion’s share of praise for Real Hunger Can’t Be Fed—the cast. Andrea Rose is a voice actor and narrator. Based on this performance and a few other narrations of hers that I have heard, she is extremely talented and versatile. Jeff Clement is a voice actor, musician and oft-times producer of these audio dramas; fantastically talented as well. The skill of their character development, especially Rose’s interpretation of the narrator, is superb. This, combined with the theme music accentuating the pain being felt, transforms this pretty good written story into a work of art.


Rarely moved by anything, when I experienced this narration for the first time, I sat in my chair, mouth open, with tears on my cheeks. I did not even realize I had been weeping. Even now, as I listen to it again, for the tenth…fifteenth…twentieth time, tears well-up in my eyes, still. I strongly recommend any and all of my blog readers to visit YouTube and listen to “Real Hunger Can’t Be Fed” (

My first experience of this production of Real Hunger set me on a path. I don’t know where, when or even if, it will ever end.

I couldn’t be happier.



Print Resources

Digital Resources

Chilling Tales for Dark Nights. “"Real Hunger Can't Be Fed" creepypasta by H.K. Reyes.” Online Video Clip. YouTube. YouTube, 24 August 2014. Web. 2014. <>

Reyes, H. K. “Real Hunger Can't Be Fed.” Reddit NoSleep. Reddit. 2014. Web. 2014. <>

Online Resources

“About Us.” Chilling Tales for Dark Nights. Chilling Entertainment, LLC. n. d. Web. 17 July 2018. <>

Aural Stimulation. Aural Stimulation. n. d. Web. 18 July 2018. <>

Clement, Jeff. “Real Hunger Can’t Be Fed (Conclusion).” Aural Stimulation. Aural Stimulation. n. d. Web. 23 November 2017. <>

“Harry Potter Word Count.” Novel Word 11 April 2015. Web. 14 July 2018. <>

[i] “Harry Potter Word Count.” Novel Word 11 April 2015.

[ii] Reyes, H. K. “Real Hunger Can’t Be Fed.” Reddit NoSleep. 2014.

[iii] Chilling Tales for Dark Nights. “’Real Hunger Can’t Be Fed’ creepypasta by H. K. Reyes.” Online Video Clip. YouTube. 24 August 2014.

[iv] “About Us.” Chilling Tales for Dark Nights. <>

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Contemplating horror in HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE by J. K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series of novels was intended initially for a young audience. By the series’ mid-point, something shifted.


But then, through the mist in front of him, he saw, with an icy surge of terror, the dark outline of a man, tall and skeletally thin, rising slowly from inside the cauldron.

“Robe me,” said the high, cold voice from behind the steam, and Wormtail, sobbing and moaning, still cradling his mutilated arm, scrambled to pick up the black robes from the ground, got to his feet, reached up, and pulled them one-handed over his master’s head.

The thin man stepped out of the cauldron, staring at Harry. . . and Harry stared back into the face that had haunted his nightmares for three years. Whiter than a skull, with wide, livid scarlet eyes and a nose that was flat as a snake’s with slits for nostrils . . .

Lord Voldemort had risen again.

An excerpt from page 643


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling was published in 2000 by Scholastic Press. The fourth volume of seven, the literal center piece of the septology, digs into the real meat of the series rather than just tease the reader as I feel the earlier volumes did. The Goblet of Fire is also the first of the large novels at nearly twice the length of the previous works.

I do realize that this series was written for a YA audience; the first three volumes achieved this superbly. Indeed, in two previous posts (here and here), I discussed Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets/Prisoner of Azkaban as exemplars of the author J. K. Rowling's skill as a writer of YA fiction. Also, I acknowledged and praised those works for addressing more mature themes while still maintaining its appeal and charm as a YA novel.

However, with my reading of this fourth novel, Goblet of Fire, I realized something had changed—something fundamental. The remaining novels in the Harry Potter series were no longer intended for a young adult audience.

This fundamental change leads me, in turn, to revise how I understood and commented on the Harry Potter books—starting with Goblet of Fire. I had to make a conscious effort to stop thinking of the Harry Potter books as YA fiction and thus no longer part of my Books Jonelle (or Jessica) Made Me Read series of posts. Rather, I would treat the remaining works in the septology as works of modern horror fiction.

This book opens with the shocking and mysterious deaths of the Riddle (!) family, fifty years previous. Then, with a jump to the present, another murder and the reader is made aware that Voldemort is close to returning.

Yeah, this is not a book series for kids anymore.


Now in their fourth year at Hogwarts, Harry, Hermione and Ron are on the cusp of adulthood and maturity. Their childhood is over and the responsibilities of adulthood begin. Several themes carried throughout the series up to this point and discussed in my previous Potter posts are continued and expanded upon and new themes are introduced. Themes previously presented were: 1) the corrupting influence of racial prejudice; 2) the insidiousness of evil that never dies; and lastly, 3) that growing up is tough and just because Harry, Hermione, and Ron are the same age (approximately) does not mean that they mature at the same rate![i] These previous themes, while still present and maintained in a meaningful way, recede into the background allowing other themes to be brought forward in Goblet of Fire. These new themes are:

•Expanded World

•Hormonal Challenges

•Transition to Horror

These new themes will resonate mightily throughout the remaining novels.


Expanded World

A theme introduced in this volume expresses the harsh reality of a world that has become a bigger, more scary and wondrous place.

A significant portion of the novel’s beginning occurs before Harry, Ron & Hermione even arrive at Hogwarts. At the same time, the Dursleys play a smaller and smaller role in Harry’s life. Their ability to control and intimidate Harry is quickly passing.

Harry, Ron & Hermione attend what is basically the World Cup of Quidditch. While there, they (and by extension the reader) are introduced to the reality of other wizard schools outside of Hogwarts. Indeed, these schools are even located outside of England. These foreign schools come with different ways and customs. There is a wider world of wizardry that they have been blind to up till this point. In addition to other wizard schools, there are other beings introduced to them—mermen, dragons and others. While the protagonists may have been tangentially aware of such magic and creatures, the reader is introduced them for the first time. Their world is growing—symbolically, emotionally and physically.

Another facet of this bigger and scarier world is harder to explain for it does not directly impact Harry and friends. It details how good men can be corrupted; in this case, one of Ron’s older brothers, Percy Weasley, aide to Crouch, a high ranking Ministry of Magic official. Consumed with a promising career, Percy turns his back on his family. And, he is utterly in the wrong. Harry and his friends are befuddled by it, and offended.

Hormonal Challenges

A discussion on this theme was introduced in a previous post covering Harry Potter. The Goblet of Fire established the principal place “Hormonal Challenges” will play throughout the remainder of the series. Harry, Ron and Hermione are becoming young adults—with all that this entails. And, as usual, Harry and Ron are still completely clueless when it comes to young ladies.

Closely connected to the “Expanded World” theme, a formal Yule Ball was held. Guests from the visiting foreign wizarding schools attend leading to all kinds of trouble. For the most part, the quest for a date to the ball was comical. Harry ponders an age-old question that teenage boys have asked concerning teenage girls since time immemorial:

Why do teenage girls travel in packs, thus making it a true challenge to ask one to the dance?

However, while Harry mulls over the mysteries of teenage girls, Ron is still stunningly dense; especially when it comes to Hermione.

But Ron was staring at Hermione as though suddenly seeing her in a whole new light.

“Hermione, Neville’s right — you are a girl. . . .”

“Oh well spotted,” she said acidly.

“Well — you can come with one of us!”

“No, I can’t,” snapped Hermione.

“Oh come on,” he said impatiently, “we need partners, we’re going to look really stupid if we haven’t got any, everyone else has . . .”

“I can’t come with you,” said Hermione, now blushing, “because I’m already going with someone.”

“No, you’re not!” said Ron. “You just said that to get rid of Neville!”

“Oh did I?” said Hermione, and her eyes flashed dangerously. “Just because it’s taken you three years to notice, Ron, doesn’t mean no one else has spotted I’m a girl!”

Ron stared at her. Then he grinned again.

“Okay, okay, we know you’re a girl,” he said. “That do? Will you come now?”

“I’ve already told you!” Hermione said very angrily. “I’m going with someone else!”

And she stormed off toward the girls’ dormitories again.

“She’s lying,” said Ron flatly, watching her go.

“She’s not,” said Ginny quietly.[ii]

Even though Harry’s teenage romantic foibles are painfully funny, Ron and Hermione’s back-and-forth relationship provide the true teen angst for the series. Following the above quote, it turns out that a handsome, foreign athlete has asked Hermione to the Yule Ball. At the ball, emotions are high. Confronting each other sans their dates, Hermione delivers some of the most powerful, heart-breaking dialogue of the Harry Potter series.

“Well, if you don’t like it, you know what the solution is, don’t you?” yelled Hermione; her hair was coming down out of its elegant bun now, and her face was screwed up in anger.

“Oh yeah?” Ron yelled back. “What’s that?”

“Next time there’s a ball, ask me before someone else does, and not as a last resort!”

Ron mouthed soundlessly like a goldfish out of water as Hermione turned on her heel and stormed up the girls’ staircase to bed. Ron turned to look at Harry.[iii]

clip_image006Image from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

It is true that girls mature earlier than boys but, unbelievably, how can Ron still be so completely clueless!?

With the Goblet of Fire, the series’ plotline revs into high gear and doesn’t slow down until Harry’s quest to defeat Voldemort is done. Emotions run high in more than just matters of the heart. Along the way, his feelings of isolation and despair continue to swell. He was not even able to turn to his friends for support, knowing they would not truly understand that only he can complete the quest. Harry is a naturally caring person with a heroic soul. However, all this can be too much for any person. More than once, Harry finds himself brooding, subject to anger.

At the age of 14, the trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione are maturing into adulthood and they think they ought to be treated as such. Their inability to fathom adult motivations hints that they are not quite there. With few exceptions, the actual adults do not acknowledge that our trio are growing up, still regarding them as children. Harry, in particular, struggles against this.

Combined with Harry’s feelings of isolation and inferiority; others’ attempts to keep him safe only result in his growing frustration. More than once, and against more than one individual—in particular against Dumbledore—Harry explodes in rage at being treated as a child and not trusted with the truth of his existence.

Transition to Horror

The first three novels in the Harry Potter series have the feel of a prologue—setting the stage for what will follow; in the same way that Tolkien’s The Hobbit established the environment for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The sense of terror felt by the Wizarding world regarding the possible return of Voldemort is heightened by its slow build-up over the first three novels as well as throughout the majority of the fourth. Anticipation of Voldemort’s dreaded return is replaced by horror at his actual return. Philosopher’s Stone (or Sorcerer’s Stone in the U.S.) revealed a Voldemort who existed only in a wretched ghostly form. In Chamber of Secrets, a cursed, possessed diary exposed the Dark Lord’s adolescent face. This presaged what would come much later that the truth can be found and evil be defeated only by understanding the past.[iv] The final book in what I regard as the introductory trilogy, Prisoner of Azkhaban, doesn’t even focus on the Dark Lord himself, but rather on a petty servant of evil. With Goblet of Fire and its conclusion, the Dark Lord is reborn! Voldemort has returned.

Goblet of Fire opens with the murder of a family. The Riddle family members are unknown to the reader.[v] Thus, their deaths were less impactful and much more mysterious. This is not the case by the end of the novel. It should be remembered that Harry, Ron and Hermione are only 14 years old! For all their experiences, they are still children.

Near the conclusion of Goblet of Fire, we discover another murder. . .

The murder of Cedric Diggory occurred off-stage. Harry Potter only hears the killing happen. It is only after the deed is done, does Harry even see Cedric’s body. In my opinion, the horror Harry experienced regarding Cedric’s murder is too much for young readers. I believe that Cedric represented goodness and innocence. With his shocking and brutal killing, all of that was gone. All that was left was horror.

Image from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

Image from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

I have to confess that the brutality of the scene took me by surprise. It seemed to me that this scene competed the novel’s (and by extension the remainder of the series) hard turn into horror. With Cedric’s awful murder preceding the dreadful return of Voldemort, the mortal threat to the trio seems to increase monumentally and this anxiety and terror is skillfully transferred to the reader.

Running throughout the remainder of the series, the two themes of “Hormonal Challenges” and “Transition to Horror” will continue to grow in prominence. However, the theme of “Expanded World” will recede into the background in the and play only a minor, secondary role for the remaining books.

A new theme will rise to succeed it; a theme that has been previewed in this post on the Goblet of Fire. This new theme is “The Past Instructs.” Subsequent posts covering the remainder of the Harry Potter series will expand on this new theme as well as furthering the development of the previous ones.


In line with my more recent blog posts, I listened to the audiobook version of the novel sometime after reading the text. I must say that this combination greatly enhanced my experience of the tale. In the United States, the Harry Potter books were all narrated by Jim Dale. While in the U. K., the books were each narrated by Stephen Fry.


The version of the Goblet of Fire I listened to was the U.S. version performed by Jim Dale. At the age of 17, Dale began his entertainment career as a stand-up comedian in England. Since then, he has studied “every other branch on the showbiz tree.”[vi] Over the years, he was a recorded musician, worked on BBC radio, spent years in the theatre—first for The British National Theatre, then a few years later, on Broadway. In addition, he made numerous appearances in British TV and film; including eleven of the Carry On series (I love these films.).

As an audiobook narrator, Dale has performed on many, many audio books. He is most famously known for his work on the Harry Potter series. On his web-site, in response to fan questions, Dale goes into great detail how he came up with the voice of each character. I think his explanation of how he came up with Hermione’s voice reflects his skill and craft.

hermione - my first girl friend. she spoke very quickly, "because", she said, "i'd never forgive myself if i left any words behind"[vii]

I strongly feel that Jim Dale did an excellent job with his narration of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. In particular, his work creating the voices for the various (and numerous) characters was exemplary.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire marked the hard turn of the Harry Potter series from a YA fantasy-adventure tale to a work of the horror genre. And, in this change, the increasingly more grown-up themes and subject matter coupled with escalating degrees of violence, even while still holding on to strong YA-appealing elements, evolve Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire into a true work of horror fiction.




Print Resources

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. New York: Scholastic Press, 2000. Print

Digital Resources

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Narrated by Jim Dale, Listening Library (Audio). 2000. Audiobook. CD.

Online Resources

Childress, Kim. “Jim Dale: A Fly on the Wall: On Narrating the Harry Potter Books.” Childress Ink. Web. 30 June 2018.

Contributors. “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” Harry Potter Wiki. 12 June 2018. Web. 30 June 2018.

Dale, Jim. “Questions re Harry.” Jim Dale. Web. 04 July 2018.

Hall, Rachel Smalter. “Stephen Fry vs. Jim Dale: The Battle of the HARRY POTTER Audiobooks Narrators.” Bookriot. Riot New Media. 09 December 2013. Web. 30 June 2018.

Stewart, Kaley. "Reread: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Books Etc. 5 May 2014. Web. 30 June 2018.

Wikipedia contributors. " Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 June 2018. Web. 30 June 2018.

[i] This point will come up again!

[ii] Excerpted from page 400 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

[iii] Excerpted from page 432 of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

[iv] Hooray for historians!

[v] But the name “Riddle” is not unknown.

[vi] Childress, Kim, “Jim Dale: A Fly on the Wall: On Narrating the Harry Potter Books.” Childress Ink. <>

[vii] This quote is reproduced exactly as on website. Dale, Jim. “Questions re Harry.” Jim Dale.<>