“Fangoria – Dreadtime Stories Volume 1”
Narrated by Malcolm McDowell
Multicast performances
Produced by AudioGo
4 Hours 12 Minutes

I have always been a fan of Audio Drama, especially radio shows from back in the day and when I received this production from AudioGo, I kept wondering, how did I miss this. This series aired on satellite radio and streaming from the website, so I can see how it has passed me by. But now AudioGo presents these stories in audiobook form so finally I can enjoy them. Being a career terrestrial radio broadcaster, I have not jumped on the satellite radio bandwagon, and probably never will. I have only recently turned to podcasts (even publishing my own weekly podcast) but streaming audio I can’t see myself getting into. So once again AudioGo has brought some really great audio drama to me, and I may investigate at least the streaming audio, maybe.

Either way I now have listened to volume 1 and thoroughly enjoyed it. This collection brings back the classic radio horror feel, much like the shows “Lights Out,” “Suspense,” or “Inner Sanctum.” Malcom McDowell’s narration between segments of each story is superb. He has that charm that invites you in but at the same time his voice has that air of eeriness and suspicion that let’s you know you are in for a ride with the story. The actors in all the stories were all excellent in their roles, making this entire collection a great horror escape.

“Dreadtime Stories – Volume 1” consists of six unique horror stories. Each story has great twists and turns throughout the drama that as a listener you’ll never know how the story is going to end, and they probably won’t end the way you think, or hope, for that matter.

The first story, “The Late Shift” written by Dennis Etchison was a great way to kick off this collection, especially for me. I work until midnight and the commute home from work is when I get some of my best audiobook listening. This story tells the tale of what if all those zombies working the late shift were really zombies. If you have ever been in a convenience store, gas station or fast food place in the overnight, you’ve probably run into at least one of these mindless beings that seem to not quite function at a higher brain power, and just barely get your order or transaction right. In “The Late Shift,” those brain-dead graveyard shift workers are really brain-dead and when one unlucky guy discovers the secret, he may be the next to pull an over night shift.

“Reincarnal” by Max Allen Collins, at first sounded like it may be a sexy horror story, but turns out not to be. A young artist is hypnotized at a party, as part of the party’s entertainment, when she awakens she sees the rest of the party-goers looking at her with concern and a touch of horror. It seems that while under hypnosis she relived a past life in which she was a teenager who was the victim of a mass-murderer on prom night in the eighties. The coincidences begin when another series of murders are occurring that bear a strong resemblance to the same string of murders in which she was a part of in her “past-life.” Now though she is seeing the murders through the eyes of the female victims, and the only person that believes her is a blogger/journalist that helps her track down the killer.

“A Fungus Among Us” by Steve Nubie, is a story that would fit perfectly with those mad scientist 1950s “B” movies. This one hit a bit of synchronicity with me, which tells me I’m listening to the right story at that moment in my life. The Synchronicity this time concerns the Ophiocordyceps fungus. This is known as the “Zombie Ant” fungus. This fungus infects an ant and causes him to stray from the normal behaviours of an ant and when fully mature the fungus explodes a node through the head of the ant and spreads the spores to infect more ants. In this story this is happening to humans. The humans are setting fires, robbing banks and then when caught their skulls explode and a node extends out of their heads. Is this man-made or is the fungal world seeking its revenge?

“Wolf” by Max Allan Collins, is an almost typical were-wolf story. A resort lodge has had a murder occur on its grounds and the victim was mangled as if by an animal. The man under suspicion by the local authorities is a wealthy lodger who checked in on the night of the murder. The man’s name is Mr. Wolf, but remember this is a “Dreadtime Story” so it might not quite be what you expect.

“Living Space” by M. J. Elliott is a story that brings to mind the “Saw” series of movies but a little (not by much) more tame. A young couple have found an apartment in New York that is priced too low to be true, and remember if it is too good to be true, it is. In this case once the trap has sprung there is only one way out can this young couple learn the way that no other tenant could figure out?

The final story in this volume is yet another classic monster brought to modern life, well at least to the 1930s Chicago gangster time. “A Good Head on His Shoulders” is written by Max Allan Collins and brings back one of the top 3 classic movie monsters, this time around a rash of murders is taking place that has the police baffled. Prominent doctors are being slain by a maniac dubbed “The Mangler.” When a local mob boss learns the real namesake of his loyal Doctor Stein he finds out too late that he should have destroyed the brain of his dead rival.

Each of these stories were a perfect companion for those midnight drives home causing me to move a little faster when arriving home and going inside. So do yourself a favor and check out this chilling collection of stories from Fangoria.

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