It’s almost Hallowe’en. You’ve followed the Countdown to Hallowe’en with Paper Droids’ favorite Hallowe’en TV episodes. You’ve rewatched Tim Burton (Corpse Bride & Sweeney Todd; though Nightmare Before Christmas, arguably, belongs to this holiday too). You’ve had your fill of Hitchcock (Psycho and Notorious, maybe?). And you’ve gorged yourself on horror (Whedon’s Cabin in the Woods? Or check out Steph Furlan’s review of Sinister HERE). But there are still a few precious hours and what’s left? Where can you turn to add a little chill to these last October evenings, a chill that has nothing to do with the dip in the thermometer?
Well, kittens, in days gone by, the leading edge of horror and entertainment played upon our ears and sparked the theatre of the mind. When was the last time you tuned that dial? (Does any piece of technology employ a dial at this point?) Radio drama was once the height of thrills and chills. While our modern sensibilities may be desensitized by the feasts of gore and terror cinema provided to us now, there are some gripping tales to be found in the classic radio drama. Allow me to share 10 of my favorite spine-tingling episodes of radio drama.
Suspense: Diary of Saphronia Winters
The path of love never did run smooth.
Suspense: Dime a Dance
Lucille Ball stars in this riveting mystery of a serial killer targeting redheads. Gingers, give this a listen!
Suspense: House of Cypress Canyon
A chilling manuscript is found in a newly built house, in which no one has yet lived.
Dimension X: Marionettes, Inc.
Marionettes, Inc. offers the latest in robot duplicates but Henry Smith and Walter Braling have no idea the trouble that awaits when they invest in personal duplicates to fill in with their henpecking and smothering wives.
Suspense: Sorry Wrong Number
Agnes Moorehead, the queen of suspenseful drama, stars as a bedridden invalid who overhears a murder plot on a misconnected phone line.
Suspense: The Hitchhiker
While driving cross-country, a driver is stalked by a mysterious drifter.
X Minus One: The Moon is Green
In a future beyond nuclear war, the world outside our bunkers is not what we think.
Suspense: The Trap
Agnes Moorehead thrills again in this story of a woman, living alone, suddenly finding that she is, perhaps, not quite alone as she thought.
Quiet Please: Thing on the Fourble Board
Often considered one of the scariest radio drama episodes, this tale is famous for its sinister sound effects.
Escape: Three Skeleton Key
There are a few variations of this edition but Vincent Price is the one to hear. If you have a fear of rodents, you might skip this one.
These will not be the most terrifying frights you’ve ever endured. Don’t expect to be tossing your popcorn with these episodes, but they will give you a shudder. May I suggest a dark and stormy night, maybe some dimmed lights, for the perfect atmosphere? Let your imagination go to work. Happy listening!