Nothing takes us back to our childhood faster than listening intently while someone reads us a story. Since Halloween is right around the corner, how about we make it a scary story—perfect to curl up with on a dark and stormy night. We might be too old for trick-or-treating, but no one can stop us from enjoying these creepy audiobooks and radio dramas. Campfire tales, urban legends whispered about during sleepovers, and bedtime stories have nothing on these chillers. Happy Halloween.
More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Stephen Gammell’s inky illustrations in the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series have haunted us since childhood. Now you can frighten yourself as an adult (or indulge in some youthful memories) listening to the second book in the series, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz.
The Dunwich Horror
It wouldn’t be Halloween without a little Lovecraft in the mix. Listen to H.P.’s 1929 short story that introduced the author’s enduring Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft’s kingdom of cosmic horror is full of monsters, half-insane narrators, magic, and small-town terror.
Peter Benchley’s 1974 novel Jaws proved that sometimes the biggest bogeyman aren’t stalking sex-crazed teens on land, but lurking in the sea.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 gothic novella Carmilla created the template for the female vampire. Le Fanu’s influential tale was written before Bram Stoker’s more famous Dracula. And Stoker drew from the novella for his characters and settings. Once you listen to the story, you’ll wonder why Le Fanu’s book has been frequently overlooked in favor of Stoker’s bloodsucker.
World War Z
If you prefer scary stories that evoke the turmoil of our modern times, Max Brooks’ apocalyptic zombie novel should immerse you in the eerie, too-real possibility that the walking dead will one day rule the world.
Jack the Ripper
For some of that old-timey, spooktacular fun, this horror radio drama about stabby London serial killer Jack the Ripper features the voice of fright film icon Peter Lorre in all its glory.
Frankenstein actor Boris Karloff’s sonorous tone sets the scene for this ‘30s/‘40s-era radio show, Lights Out.
Of course you want to listen to a BBC-presented radio dramatization of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. The sound design is surprisingly effective.
CBS Radio Mystery Theater was a hit between 1974 to 1982, when “Witches’ Sabbath” first aired on the program (in 1976). It’s hard to be spooked by the opening scene in which a man finds himself at a groovy, witchy party where the evil women all speak in ’70s slang—but that’s part of “Witches’ Sabbath’s” charm.
Martin Scorsese rates Lewis Allen’s 1944 film The Uninvited as one of the scariest horror films of all time. Here’s a 1944 radio drama version of the ghostly, gothic tale—complete with wailing woman.