RelicRadio’s “The Horror” is a Spooky Retro Treat
Imagine, for a moment, a world without Netflix, Hulu, or bad reality TV, where the only technological entertainment came in the form of a radio broadcast.
Just in time for Halloween, return to the way the world was before the mid-1960s, when radio dramas were the ultimate form of after-dinner entertainment, and families sat huddled around their giant radios together to listen to stories of intrigue, mystery and horror with only their imaginations and some incredible voice actors to bring the tales to life.
RelicRadio, an iTunes podcast dedicated to re-releasing and celebrating vintage radio shows, allows you to do just that.
Since 2007, RelicRadio has provided loyal listeners with not only some of the most entertaining and engaging radio dramas around, but also with background information regarding the shows and reports of when they originally aired. Currently, there are ten genres of radio shows being produced by RelicRadio via podcast, including comedy, suspense, science fiction, and of course, horror.
“The Horror” is Relic Radio’s most bone-chilling podcast, featuring scary stories of all shapes and sizes, with subjects ranging from ghosts, witches and voodoo to aliens, werewolves, vampires and back again. New episodes are released just about every week, with some variances, and it’s always a pleasant surprise to notice a new, unheard story on your podcast queue.
Many of the stories come from radio series people could follow from week to week, like “Lights Out,” which had its original broadcast in January of 1934, CBS Radio Mystery Theatre and “The Hermit’s Cave,” a syndicated show broadcast from 1936 to 1947.
The opening sequence from “The Hermit’s Cave” is borrowed by RelicRadio itself to add atmosphere and spooky dimension to their own opening. In a voice similar to that of the Crypt Keeper, though decades before his time, the “Hermit” laughs menacingly before every episode, “Ghost stories, weird stories, and murder too! The Hermit knows of them all… Turn out your lights, turn them out! And listen while the Hermit tells you the story…”
In “The House of Purple Shadows” released originally through “The Hermit’s Cave,” two men seek to find their missing colleague at his home, who disappeared from their gentleman’s club after a routine day at work. The missing colleague, Mr. Davidson, recounts the tale of his death and his newly found ghosthood, unable to communicate or even be seen by any human.
This story is particularly interesting not only because of its spot-on thematic elements (the wind effects, acting, and writing are all executed well) but also because it changes perspective frequently – switching from living to dead characters seamlessly. A surprise ending shocks listeners as well, and from beginning to end, the horrors you envision in your mind will make you want to disobey the Hermit and turn your lights right back on.
My favorite stories by far seem to consistently come from “Lights Out.” Their recent RelicRadio release, “Poltergeist,” was originally released on October 20, 1942 and was re-released by request on October 20, 2014. It features three dancers who, in a moment of joy and laughter following a rehearsal, accidentally dance upon the grave of a restless spirit and conjure a poltergeist.
This show is rife with spectacularly gory sound effects and just the right balance of campy cheesiness and truly terrifying images to create a perfect horror atmosphere. Even though the story’s quality itself can be, at times, lacking, the production quality and thematic elements give it just what it needs to be scary.
There’s nothing quite like listening to an episode of this podcast in the dark to give you goosebumps on a cold fall night. Although horror movies are indeed scary, nothing is more frightening than your own imagination. Since your mind can fill in images to match the words it’s hearing, the images you create correspond directly to your own personal fears and phobias.
When I listen to this podcast, I first have to make sure I’m not home alone, because any noise I hear suddenly transforms into something eerie and sinister that I’ve created in my imagination.
For a story simply made up of words with no special visual effects, to have the power to frighten a person so profoundly is remarkable.
It’s important not only to understand, but also to appreciate the way radio shows like the ones re-released on “The Horror” spooked a generation of people. So take a page out of your grandparents’ book and listen to RelicRadio’s “The Horror” podcast; you’re in for a scare.
Where to Find This Podcast
RelicRadio’s “The Horror,” along with their other podcasts, can be found in the iTunes store.
The podcasts can also be found at their website, http://www.relicradio.com/otr/show/horror/,
You can also read up on the stories you’re listening to on RelicRadio’s website.