Before EC Comics, before TV Horror Hosts, and before the mad scientists, psychos, and domestic and foreign ghosties and beasties took over the megagoogaplex screens, there was dramatized horror on radio just a twist of the dial away.
I fondly remember pulling out the old Webcor reel to reel tape player to listen to old time radio shows, and my favorite will always be Three Skeleton Key with Vincent Price, otherwise known as "that one about the rats." Imagine being trapped in a lighthouse with a horde of ravenous rats that have eyes and taste buds only for you; inexorably finding their way in until you have no where else to run. How can you escape?
With the advent of MP3 players, it is now easier than ever to rediscover the sinful pleasures of old time horror radio drama. Much of it is in the public domain these days (script writers and budding horror authors take note!), and can be found online or in CD collections for a nominal charge.
Hot on your list should be audio plays from shows like Lights Out, Suspense, Inner Sanctum, The Creaking Door, and The Haunting Hour, though there are many more providing ample thrills and chills.
Aside from Three Skeleton Key, other superb radio dramas to listen to are Sub Basement and Spider from Lights Out, and The Dunwich Horror and The House in Cypress Canyon from Suspense.
In Sub Basement, a man takes his wife to the sub basement of a big department store with plans of murder on his mind, but something else in the basement has other plans for them. And in Spider, two weary jungle hunters meet their match in another furry, but not so little or cute, multi-legged and very patient hunter. Just what exactly is in the closet in The House in Cypress Canyon will make your neck hairs stand on end.
Sound can be quite frightening indeed. As you listen to these tales of terror, horror, and suspense, be careful your imagination does not run too wild.
And remember, listen with the LIGHTS OUT!