"The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the
oldest and strongest fear is fear of the unknown."
The very purpose of the Horror Genre is to give us feelings of fear, disgust, and terror. And what fun it is!
Horror has always been a part of story telling. It is easy to imaging the ancient cave-men sitting around the campfire, munching on left-over mastodon steaks, and getting tired of hearing the same story about the brave mastodon hunters. So on this night the story-teller shares a tale that frightens his listeners to their very cores. But rather than shunning the story-teller who frightened them, they ask for more!
The elements of a horror story are familiar to all of us from literature and film, but those who are new to the experience of Old Time Radio may not realize just how wonderfully frightening radio horror can be.
The Horror Film became popular in 1931 with the release of Dracula and Frankenstein by Universal. The popularity of the movies wasn't lost on producers in the growing radio industry. The fun of movie monsters and horror films is sitting in the dark (hopefully with your best girl next to you) and enjoying the frights.This requires a good deal of acceptance on the part of the audience, a "suspension of disbelief".
Radio horror requires this same suspension, but radio fans know that it is much more effective. Movies have to show you the images, but on the radio they grow in your own mind, and are more powerful than any image on the screen could be.
Radio tales of horror use most of the same conventions and techniques used in movies and literature. Probably the most universal fear is that of death and being murdered. Or collection start in the Black Castle and the Black Chapel. Both shows found similar formulas for scaring us. In both a cackling host dares us to listen to the 15 minute show, and all of the characters are played by a single actor. On one of the Black Castle episodes a made scientist captures a victim who won't be missed and conducts his evil experiments. "The Mahogany Coffin" on the Black Chapel is a tale of one who sees perhaps too much death as a gravedigger, and prepares for his own death, one that he won't go to alone!
Crime Classics is extra frightening because the stories are based on True Crimes. Although the victims are not always the most uplifting of people, like Billy the Kid and Jesse James, murder is never pleasant. But it isn't always Murder that does away with unpleasant sorts, such as the Mysterious Traveler's story "Death Comes for Adolph Hitler"; one of the most evil men of all time makes his escape in a submarine, but in the dark and frightening world under the sea, the souls of his victims find a small degree of revenge!
What would Horror Shows be without a few genuine Monsters. Perhaps none are as frightening as the Undead Vampire. Orson Welles chose the tale of Bram Stoker's "Dracula" for his first Mercury Theater Broadcast, the show that would soon bring us Radio's ultimate Halloween prank, the 1938 "War of the Worlds" broadcast. The Hermit's Cave also chills us with a Vampires strange and other-worldly powers in "The Vampires Desire". Creeps by Night features one of the greatest Movie Monster men of all time, Boris Karloff. In "The Hunt" Karloff is as scary as ever in a Werewolf story, but there is a surprise twist when we find out who the werewolf really is.
There are almost too many good scares to describe in this collection. Of course we have included some great episodes from Inner Sanctum Mysteries, Escape!, Suspense! Quiet, Please, and Lights Out! We even managed to find a mysterious monster on Have Gun, Will Travel.
Our Creepiest Radio Shows Collection is a good excuse to turn the lights down, let the fire burn low, and plug in the MP3 player for some creepy, chilling and frightening fun!