The spooky season is never complete without a new slate of frightening TV shows and movies, and Strange Town Production brings it right here to Austin.
“Strange Town” is a KLRU-TV series created by paranormal enthusiasts Mark Morrow and Billy Driver, who discovered their common interest while doing freelance work for KLRU. Although the show started out as a series of fun, five-minute web shorts back in 2013, it has since transformed into a half-hour series with a third season on the way. Strange Town episodes air every Tuesday night in October on KLRU-Q, as Driver and Morrow explore nine haunted locations in five nights.
The twelve episodes released thus far explore ghostly happenings in and around Austin. The ‘haunted’ places they’ve investigated include local restaurants, businesses and popular locations such as Moore’s Crossing Bridge, The Inn at Pearl Street and Austin Pizza Garden.
Driver said a unique aspect of the show is the emphasis they give to the location’s history.
“Half of our program is dedicated to the history,” Driver said. “If we’re going somewhere we make sure it has an interesting history aspect to it and interesting paranormal activity too.”
Driver’s curiosity for the paranormal sparked as a child when he lived in a home he believed to be haunted. He said he used to see apparitions and unexplainable things.
“People who grow up around paranormal activity, it sticks with them,” Morrow said. “Almost like a sixth sense.”
Ultimately, Morrow said, the purpose of Strange Town is not to convince its viewers of the supernatural, but rather to explore Austin’s rich paranormal history.
Sara Robertson, senior vice president of production and technology at KLRU, knows the duo personally and is an avid promoter of their passion project.
“Strange Town is a perfect fit of a production for KLRU, as our mission is to support and reflect the uniqueness and creativity of the world, and Strange Town helps to do that,” Robertson said.
The duo constantly adds new features to document their adventures. Recently, they’ve created a Facebook Live series called “Undead Live” that allows their viewers to virtually visit haunted locations they are currently investigating and see it for themselves.
“Nowadays, it’s not just enough to create a show once and be done with it. You have to put in a lot of work afterwards,” Robertson said. “Doing Facebook Lives is a really smart strategy because you find people who (do) not have access to the broadcast. It reaches a different audience on a different platform.”
Although some are unaware of Austin’s rich paranormal history, Morrow and Driver hope to combine the thrill of exploring haunted locations and the addition of character to the ordinary places in everyone’s neighborhood.
“Almost any bar you go to on sixth street, they’ll have a ghost story to tell you,” Driver said.