Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Eerie voice of the future

Quietly, persistently, the Old Time Radio culture of bygone years has worked its magic on a select audience of new listeners. With the dawning of the digital era, and easy online access to uncopyrighted material thought long-lost, interest in the old audio dramas has not only revived, but also increased. Now, worthy successors to such serial masterpieces as Arch Oboler’s Lights Out and other creepy utterances such as Inner Sanctum Mysteries and the Weird Circle are finally emerging from within our midst.

Witness the folks at Mind’s Eye Productions, home of the newly christened Horrorscopes, whose roots lie in the Rocky Coast Radio Theatre and the Nightmares on Congress Street series of full cast horror stories, available on Amazon.com, Audible.com, and elsewhere (try starting at http://www.mindseyeproductions.com/).

I sat down with Maine's own William Dufris, founder of the company, for an interview early this month, which I’ll be posting parts of on the blog as I transcribe it. He has teamed up with Maine horror author Rick Hautala to unleash their 2008 series. I suspect we will not be disappointed, if their past productions are any indication.

Dufris has some favorites in the company’s repertoire, including the War-of-the-Worlds-style original “The Horror of Walker Point” by Anthony Marino, which takes place as a live broadcast in downtown Portland with horrific results. Other delicious tidbits include classics like H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Statement of Randolph Carter” and previously unheard originals such as “The Cabin in the Woods” by Clay Graybeal, which will make you think twice about inheriting that seemingly idyllic cabin in the Maine woods from your well-meaning relative.

Pick whichever tale you like, the care put into these productions is evident, creating a convincing and compelling audible world that will swallow you into its sweetly screaming oblivion. For a sample, visit http://www.radiodramarevival.com/ and pull up Episode 38, which is one of Dufris’ most recent recordings, an adaptation of horror legend William Hope Hodgson’s “The Derelict,” about a crew of sailors that finds a strange boat adrift in the endless ocean, and discovers all too gruesomely the reason for its abandonment! From the creak of the oars to other, less friendly sounds that the sailors encounter, listeners will find themselves walking with them every horribly fascinating step of the way.

Dufris confided his surprise that none of his neighbors came to investigate the noises being made in his garage during the recording of “The Cabin in the Woods.” I suspect they were scared away.

NOTE: More samples of chilling tales are available as part of Radio Drama Revival's 2007 Halloween Extravaganza. Enjoy!

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