Wrapping up our spooky selections for October, this episode brings you stories with nods to the greats, starting off with one last visit to the father of modern horror, Edgar Allan Poe. Framed by their unsettling asylum, Poe Theatre on the Air resurrects the mysterious Dr. Mallard as your host. The head of the asylum will bring you to another patient’s room, where you’ll meet an artist who finds himself haunted by “The Oval Portrait.”
Perhaps Poe’s shortest work – it was only two pages long when originally published – the horror is no less compelling. You’ll hear of the portrait of a young woman displayed prominently in a chateau…a woman whose very beauty brought her death, and how an artist’s hunger can destroy the very subjects he immortalizes in his art.
The National Edgar Allan Poe Theatre has been bringing the works of Edgar Allan Poe to life on the stage, in education classes, and in podcast form since early 2019. They’ve already achieved much recognition for their dedication to Poe and his works, including live performances to benefit Baltimore’s Poe House and Museum, a broadcast on BBC Suffolk, and being selected as part of the Library of Congress’ Podcast Preservation Project. Two of their programs were played with video talkback as part of a COVID-safe theatrical experience in Norwich, England. Congratulations to Poe Theatre on the Air for all their hard work reimagining Poe in new storytelling media!
After that final visit to the fevered mind of Poe, we give a nod to Arch Oboler in Campfire Radio Theatre’s “The Thing on the Ground Floor.” A two-part story, we’ll tantalize your taste for terror with part one, as we follow a production crew on the law enforcement reality show Busted, and the horrors they uncover on what should have been a routine Halloween night shift. With a notable cast of actors from the audio drama community and impeccable music by Kevin Hartnell, Campfire Radio Theatre never fails to disappoint in their spooky storytelling.
Arch Oboler may not be as famous as Poe, but he was far more prolific. A giant in the old-time radio drama community, Oboler crafted many scripts for the legendary horror series Lights Out. He reinvented the horror genre for a modern audience, setting the stage for today’s greats. Stephen King was inspired by Oboler’s story of a mundane chicken heart that ends up – very believably – destroying all life on Earth. And fans of The Man in the High Castle will recognize Philip K. Dick’s inspiration in Oboler’s earlier story “Chicago, Germany,” giving us a glimpse of life in an alternate America that lost to Nazi Germany in World War II.
A content warning: Oboler’s story contains explosions and frightening situations. Listener discretion is advised.
Now, prepare to be scared by the masters of the craft!
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