TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE CD Radio Play Season 1
Larry Fessenden is the mastermind behind TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE, a throwback to the art form of radio play shows. Though I was a bit young to enjoy such shows, but if you’re a fan of sitting close by the radio for a fearful story announced by an ominous and creepy host, TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE is for you. Fessenden hosts each segment, available as double disks or as a full season of ten stories from the website here and he does so with fiendish glee. Here are reviews of six of the ten stories presented in this first volume of TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE!
MAN ON THE LEDGE
Written by Joe Maggio
Starring the voices of Vincent D’Onofrio & Larry Fessenden
MAN ON THE LEDGE is a fun little short that twists perceptions numerous times throughout the narrative. The story is written by Joe Maggio, who brought us BITTER FEAST last year. Maggio serves up a dark drama of a man standing on a ledge (played by FULL METAL JACKET’s VINCENT D’Onofrio) and Larry Fessenden as a cop trying to talk him down. This is a story all about the build-up and the tension is most assuredly there. Halfway through I kind of guessed where this story was heading, but Maggio makes the ending moments fun with a few unexpected twists. All in all, MAN ON THE LEDGE is well acted and well-paced with an ending that crescendos wonderfully.
THE HOLE DIGGER
Written by Larry Fessenden
Starring the voices of James LeGros, Owen & Tobias Campbell, Kevin Corrigan, Heather Robb, & Joel Garland
THE HOLE DIGGER springs from the twisted mind of Fessenden himself. As he explains in the opening, this is a story inspired by his childhood which most likely didn’t occur the way he remembered it and after hearing the tale, I hope the terrifying events of the story didn’t happen to him. This is a story starring two brothers who, after a drowning scare, spend the night camping only to be haunted by what appears to be a specter of death. As the older brother scares the younger with a tale reminiscent of FINAL DESTINATION where the child eluded death and now it’s coming for his soul, strange events occur which indicate that this childhood taunt might actually be true. This one has an ending that is impactful and truly scary.
BRITISH & PROUD
Written & Directed by Simon Rumley
Starring the voices of Gareth Bennet-Ryan, Jenny Wambaa, Zack Momon, Toyin Alase, & Jonathan Hansler
BRITISH & PROUD is a story by Simon Rumley, the force behind the powerful RED, WHITE & BLUE. Though this one is somewhat more trite than his last cinematic gut punch, it still is a potent tale about a British man who weds an African woman. When the woman brings the man home to meet her parents, things go awry very quickly. This is a sexually horrific tale that takes a lot of unexpected zigs and zags and despite the fact that this is an audio story, it spikes its way into your mind with vivid imagery and sound effects. The story ends with an image scrawled roughly into my mind that I surely won’t forget.
Written & Directed by Paul Solet
Starring the voices of Jay Lewis, Will Boddington, Tajana Prka
THE CONFORMATION is another vividly graphic tale about an apathetic plastic surgeon and his dream project in the form of an extremely flawed woman. Hippocratic morality is thrown out of the window when this jaded surgeon, tired of the same tummy tucks, boob jobs, and nose jobs, finds the perfect mate in a woman who delights in the doctor’s imagination and feels none of the pain involved in the surgery. This is a truly twisted tale, sort of a NIP/TUCK as seen through the lens of Eli Roth, and not for the squeamish.
IS THIS SEAT TAKEN?
Written Sarah Langan
Directed by JT Petty
Starring the voices of Vonia Lanian, Joe Swanberg, Helen McTernan, Mike Malfi Malfitano
IS THIS SEAT TAKEN? is a trippy little tale that turned out to be a rather twisted love story. It begins with a man and woman meeting on a bus and ends in murder. Both of these people prove to be certifiably insane, but in their own little world, they have a special connection. This twisted tale is evenly paced and Vonia Lanian (who last appeared in STAKE LAND) has a great voice for radio. In the end, this half-hour trip into the minds of two mad people turns out to be somewhat sweet which reminded me a bit of Lucky McKee’s MAY for some reason, though vastly different from the actual story.
Written & Directed by Graham Reznick
Starring the voices of Angus Scrimm, Matt Huffman, Kate Shell, Michael Hall D’Addario, & Dorothy the Cat
Angus Scrimm plays the title character in the short THE GRANDFATHER, which is a Poe-like tale of an elderly man and his cat. Though everything appears to be mundane, reality is turned on end by the close of this tale. There’s a fantastic sense of building tension in this tale directed by I CAN SEE YOU’s Graham Resnick, and Scrimm’s gravelly voice gives even the seemingly calm moments a sense of grave consequence. Utilizing a full set of sound effects and paced to perfection, THE GRANDFATHER is sure to please lovers of old school radio scarefests.
I quite enjoyed sitting in the dark and listening to these half hour stories of terror. Each episode is available for download, so if you’re looking for audio scares this Halloween, TALES FROM BEYOND THE PALE most definitely delivers.
Check out the trailer here!!