Happy Halloween, everyone! I’ve been a fan of audio drama since I was a child. I recall sitting in the car with my dad, parked in the driveway, listening to the conclusion of an episode of CBS Radio Mystery Theater. The sound of the creaking door, the voice of E.G. Marshall, and the possibility of stories about ghosts and monsters had me hooked. If you aren’t familiar with the series, you can stream audio of almost 1,400 episodes at http://www.cbsrmt.com/.
Another favorite series of mine is the infamous “Nightfall” series from the CBC. It aired in the early 80s and scared the hell out of quite a few people. With some incredible performances of classic stories, modern horror, and filled with gruesome sound effects and excellent music, “Nightfall” became a modern classic that remains extremely popular amongst fans of audio drama horror. You can stream the entire series of 100 episodes just below. I highly recommend “The Debt,” “The Porch Light,” “Angel’s Kiss,” and “All-Niter” for starters. Keep in mind that this series is NSFW and is NOT child-friendly as it is actually quite scary in some cases with implied violence, gore, and a smattering of profanity. In my opinion, it is the greatest audio drama series made to date. But don’t take my word for it. Have a listen!
Audio drama and old horror films inspired me to compose dark ambient music. Some of the scores and library music used in these programs were fantastic! Shortly after I began composing dark ambient works, I was contacted by a film director who licensed tracks for a horror film. Another piece of good fortune popped up when I was contacted by a radio station that requested a copy of my music for airplay. How often does that happen? I was shocked and thrilled!
Years back, I contributed music to “Tomes of Terror,” a Post-Meridian Radio Players series produced by Neil Marsh. Neil and I are quite possibly the biggest fans of “Nightfall” that you can find. He is also a very talented musician. I would provide a link for listening, but I can’t locate anything online at this time. I will update the page if links turn up.
Fast forward quite a few years later where I found a great audio horror series called “Campfire Audio Theater” created by John Scott Ballentine. John is also a fan of the “Nightfall” series and mentions it as one of the inspirations for his series. You can read about the origins of the show here: http://campfireradiotheater.podbean.com/p/about/
John is also a fellow audio mixing maniac. He has a great talent for creating inspired audio drama. I have listened to an estimated 12-13 thousand audio plays in my lifetime, and in my opinion, Mr. Ballentine ranks right up there with some of the best writers/producers. Now you must be thinking after hearing such high praise…”Oh really? Well then, let’s hear what he has to offer!” Can do! The episode that inspired me to contact him about getting involved with the series is called “Twilight Road.” For fans of horror, I sincerely believe you will enjoy this story. Have a listen!
After contacting John, I sent over a “promo reel” containing some of my work. This led to contributing original music to the last couple of episodes. The first is called “The Philadelphia Xperiment.” The program description reads “Confined to a mental ward in 1951 and awaiting his impending lobotomy, an enigmatic WW2 veteran known only as Patient X recalls an ill-fated experiment to render a U.S. warship invisible resulting in nightmarish side effects for the survivors as well as uncovering a mind-bending temporal terror.” You can hear it below.
“The Philadelphia Xperiment”
Next up is a twisted take on the tale of Jack the Ripper featuring some impressive vocal talent and yet another one of John’s great mixes. It was great fun scoring new music for this episode and a wonderful exercise in composition for me. To top it off, John has the ear of a musician and weaves the pieces together into a powerful audio collage that compliments the story quite well. You can hear both parts below.
“RIP” (part 1)
“RIP” (part 2)
If you enjoy what you have heard, you can “like” and follow Campfire Audio Theater on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Campfire-Radio-Theater/206353409376944
So, in closing, thanks to Neil and John and here is hoping I’ve filled your ears with fear and that you have a Happy Halloween!
p.s. Here is an audio outtake from “RIP” that is my interpretation of the song “A Violet From Mother’s Grave” which was allegedly sung by Mary Kelly on the night of her death.