It seems like every year there’s a new sensation in the podcast world. I hear a lot about Lore, which is now a “TV” show on Amazon Prime, as it’s the latest podcast everyone is talking about. For those who haven’t heard, Lore delves into a variety of frightful myths and legends from throughout history, yet each one is based on true stories about real people, real locations, and real horrors from the past that continue to haunt us to this day.
Despite the fact that the Amazon version of the podcast is excellent, I believe that the podcast is still the better experience overall. It’s just so much joy to be able to listen while on the run. Lore’s creepy, spooky vibe is reminiscent of the spooky radio shows of the 1930s through the 1950s and beyond, which I enjoy listening to. Many of the thrillers and horror shows featured in Lore’s mythology were based on the same anxieties and legends that we see in these films and television shows.
Previously I wrote about my favorite old-time radio programs, and some of these episodes had an impact on the frightening short stories in my book What Lies in Wait.
However, here are five more episodes that are well worth your time and are sure to send chills down your spine if you appreciate Lore. Many of these can be obtained at the Old Time Radio Archive for free. Enjoy!
1. “Valse Triste” – Lights Out
When two women become lost while on a country road trip, this episode of Lights Out takes place. They use a coin to select which way to go. To make matters worse, they soon find themselves in the isolated and foreboding home of a mysterious figure who seems to lurk just far enough in the shadows to be undetected. Despite the women’s pleas to escape, he refuses, and they are left with a choice that could result in death for one or both of them.
2. “On a Country Road” – Suspense
This suspenseful episode of Suspense tells the old “Man with a Hook for a Hand” story of an escape maniac who stumbles across two kissing youths in a parked car, but this time, a husband and wife decide to take a detour via a secluded stretch of rural road to avoid being caught. Just as night falls and a storm brews, they run out of petrol. They hear on the radio about an escaped killer, a lady with a butcher’s knife, who’s been roaming the countryside. In the darkness, where is she? Is that nighttime shadow getting any closer? If you want to know, tune in.
3. “Specialty of the House” – The Price of Fear
Vincent Price gives his golden voice to this all-too-possible tale of a secret restaurant that only serves visitors who have been invited by invitation. A city exactly like yours has a hidden gem buried away along a narrow alley. And what about the food? Well, there’s no menu, either. It only offers one meal a night. There are many who wait patiently for the one night a year when the host serves their particular dish, a dinner that no other can ever match. Many of those who try to find out the recipe never come back. For a brief period, you may be able to get your hands on the restaurant’s signature dish. Let’s get this party started, amigos!
4. “Wear the Dead Man’s Coat” – Quiet Please
This is yet another program that exploited the public’s anxieties through the use of superstition, and this one is particularly interesting. To keep warm, one tramp takes the coat off the dead man’s body, but the coat has a special feature. Invisible while wearing it. They find this useful, but jealousy and greed take hold. As the two compete to see who merits the coat the most, they discover another secret about the coat just in time, a secret that will make your ribs rattle. If you like horror stories, then this one is well worth your time.
5. “The House in Cyprus Canyon” – Suspense
There is a haunted house story in this week’s Suspense, but I won’t tell you what it is because I don’t want to give away the twist! For sale by owner: A real estate broker is eager to sell a home in Cyprus Canyon after a young couple visits the office seeking for one They didn’t ask enough questions, especially about the door they can’t open. What are those nighttime screams, and why do they occur? For the real estate agent, this all feels a little too familiar. Tune in to be afraid, and simply be cautious about the next place you move into. Some sorts of terror have a tendency to repeat themselves over and over again.