Author Archives: Editor

Dark Shadows: The Book of Temptations

The Book of Temptations

By Kathryn L Ramage

This Dark Shadows audio drama on CD picks up where The House of Despair leaves off: Quentin Collins has returned to Collinsport to find his family home haunted and abandoned, and his family mysteriously gone; he’s summoned up Angelique, who in turn has resurrected Barnabas Collins in a new body (to match his new voice).

While this long-lived and supernatural trio are up at Collinwood trying to figure out what happened to the rest of the Collinses, Maggie Evans, now proprietor of the Collinsport Inn, looks after traumatized Willie Loomis.

Willie had a …read more

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Dark Shadows: House of Despair

The House of Despair

By Kathryn L Ramage

I hadn’t realized when I bought this Dark Shadows audio drama on CD that parts of it would already be known to me. When I listened to it for the first time, familiar phrases jumped out:

“My name is Quentin Collins. I come from an old family–and old families have long-held secrets…”

“I’d forgotten what a strange town this is…”

“…poor people, barely people at all. They seem empty.”

I’d heard these lines spoken multiple times in an ad that appears at the very end of each of the Dark Shadows: The Beginning DVDs, long before I’d seen …read more

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Kolchak: The Energy Eater

Matchemonedo

By Kathryn L Ramage

In spite of the not terribly descriptive title, this is an episode I’m fond of. It features one of those extremely low-budget invisible monsters–but it’s a interesting invisible monster, when the viewer does sort of see it.

The episode begins with Carl Kolchak writing, and narrating, from a hospital bed, about the construction of Chicago’s new Lakefront Hospital. The dedication ceremony to open the place officially and show off the up-to-date medical equipment was a major press event, but once we go to flashback we see that Carl attends only grudgingly. This isn’t …read more

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A Tour of the Borden House

The Borden house

By Kathryn L Ramage

A couple of weeks ago, I was staying in Providence, Rhode Island. Fall River, Massachusetts, is only about 10 miles away. Since I’d written a review of The Legend of Lizzie Borden this past spring and felt I was pretty well read up on the case, I had to go and see the site of the murders for myself. So on that Saturday morning, I took the short drive over to Fall River and located the Borden house on Second St.

The house is about the only thing in the neighborhood that remains …read more

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CD Review: The Haunter of the Dark

Newspaper article about riots over the church

By Kathryn L Ramage

Robert Bloch was a teenager when he wrote a fan letter to author H.P. Lovecraft in the 1930s. It was the beginning of a friendship-in-correspondence that lasted through the rest of Lovecraft’s life and launched Bloch on his own writing career.

This friendship also led Lovecraft to dedicate his last complete short story, The Haunter of the Dark, to Bloch, in response to a story young Bloch wrote about someone rather like him; the protagonist is named after Bloch, with his last name anglicized to Blake.

The Haunter of the Dark, set in Lovecraft’s own home …read more

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Kolchak: The Spanish Moss Murders

Kolchak and some Spanish Moss

By Kathryn L Ramage

Many years ago, a friend and I were driving to Atlanta for a library conference; our route took us across the northeastern corner of Alabama during a moonlit night. When we stopped for gas, she excitedly pointed out some nearby trees draped with what looked like straggling clumps of green-gray yarn that someone had attempted to knit into scarves then tossed over the branches when the results turned out badly, but were actually the outgrowths of a parasitical plant.

“Look,” she said, “it’s that stuff you see growing on trees in movies about the …read more

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CD Review: Brotherhood of the Beast

Nathaniel Ward

By Kathryn L Ramage

HPLHS Radio Theatre 3-disc adventure, based on and alluding to various stories by HP Lovecraft but featuring characters created by Andrew Leman, Sean Branney, and friends back in their game-playing days.

Nathaniel Ward (Leman)

Millionaire playboy adventurer Charlie Tower (Branney)

Jordan Lowell (Pavao),

All three appeared in The Whisperer in Darkness. Ward and Tower have shown up in other radio plays (Dagon: War of the Worlds and Imprisoned with the Pharaohs)

Charlie brings along his latest girlfriend, a smart-talking brassy dame named Jenny Alexander (voiced by Sarah Van der Pol — I …read more

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Kolchak: Two episodes

Devil doggie. Are the fangs fake?

By Kathryn L Ramage

The Devil’s Platform

“Palmer is evil incarnate! He’s going to go all the way to the White House, to the Oval Office!”

Not one of my favorites, but I suppose it was inevitable in the immediate post-Watergate era.

In brief, a Chicago politician (Tom Skerrit) has sold his soul to the Devil. (I know, I know — Just the one?) To facilitate his meteoric rise from obscurity to the Senate, and perhaps beyond, Bob Palmer gets rid of all who oppose him by killing them off in horrific and somewhat flamboyant ways. Occasionally, he accomplishes these matters …read more

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Kolchak: Firefall

Crossing the hearse

By Kathryn L Ramage

I’ve always been fond of this episode, in spite of its flaws. It shows a certain originality in merging the phenomena of spontaneous human combustion with the ages-old myths and legends of the double spirit, fetch, or doppelganger; the only similar supernatural story I’ve seen occurred in the Dark Shadows Phoenix plotline. I mentioned this episode when I reviewed that and wondered if both might’ve been written by the same person (they weren’t).

It’s a bad idea to cut off a hearse en route to a funeral. That’s the lesson famed Chicago …read more

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DVD Review: The Legend of Lizzie Borden

Lizzie

By Kathryn L Ramage

Lizzie Borden took an axe
Gave her father 40 whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
Gave her mother 41.

Now that that’s out of the way, I must point out that most of the details in this famous poem are wrong.

Abby Borden was killed at least an hour before her husband, not long after 9:30 on the morning of August 4, 1892; she was last seen alive going up to the guest room of her home in Fall River, Massachusetts, to put fresh pillowcases on the bed. Her husband Andrew was murdered around …read more

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Now on sale Storylandia 21! Alias Chicken Smith!

By Ginger Mayerson

Where to buy: online store; also Amazon (eligible for free shipping); and Kindle.

Sample pages

Where to buy: online store; also Amazon (eligible for free shipping); and Kindle.

Alias Chicken Smith

“He’s got pluck.
“Sure does…pluck.
“Yeah, pluck, like a chicken.
“Haw Haw
“Guffaw Guffaw
“What’s your name, son?
“Smith he lied.
“Smith…Chicken Smith. Well boys, we got us a blacksmith, a silversmith, and a gunsmith. And now we got us a chickensmith. Haw Haw

“The origin myth, preserved in the notes, apparently taken while playing poker at the Rusty Pick Saloon, by …read more

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DVD Review: Dragonwyck

Dragonwyck

By Kathryn L Ramage

When I was 15, I was hit by a car while crossing the street on my way home from school. I spent several weeks in a cast and weeks more recovering afterwards, and which gave me a lot of time to read. My mother gave me a large paper shopping bag filled with romance novels, bought for a dime a piece at a garage sale. I read them all during those months after the accident, and even at that young age formed a general impression of romantic fiction that hasn’t changed much since. Most …read more

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Dark Shadows: Curse of the Pharaoh

Curse of the Pharaoh

By Kathryn L Ramage

Last week, I went shopping on Amazon to see how many other Dark Shadows audio dramas were available, following Return to Collinwood. Quite a lot of them, as it turns out. They come in two types: 1. Audio plays performed like old-fashioned radio programs with a cast of actors from the original show in their old roles or new ones; 2. Dramatic readings of Dark-Shadows-based stories done by one, maybe two, of the actors. I picked out one of each.

Curse of the Pharaoh is a dramatic reading, done by Nancy Barrett, who …read more

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CD Review: Imprisoned with the Pharaohs

Harry Houdini and Charlie Tower

By Kathryn L Ramage

Imprisoned with the Pharaohs (a.k.a. Under the Pyramids) was H.P. Lovecraft’s first collaboration with Harry Houdini; the serialized story was ghost-written for Weird Tales magazine in 1924 as a first-person account of an experience the great escape artist is supposed to have had one night while touring Egypt.

The story is online at http://www.hplovecraft.com/writings/texts/fiction/up.aspx

The Dark Adventure Radio Theatre version is fairly faithful to Houdini’s adventure, but adds some elements that seem to me to improve the story. First, a reason is given for the events that take place. Second, additional characters are …read more

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Who Killed Toby Glovins? Third Excerpt

Toby Glovins cover detail

By Kathryn L Ramage

It was dusk by the time Freddie returned to Foxgrove Park. At this same hour yesterday, they’d found Toby dead. Instead of entering the house, he walked a little way down the drive toward the Vixen and let himself in through a latched iron gate in the garden wall. He wasn’t ready to face anybody yet.

The garden was quiet, seemingly abandoned, but as he wandered the shrubbery, he heard the sound of someone sobbing. Freddie traced the sound to the pavilion. The decorative lanterns that had been hung up around the lawn remained unlit, …read more

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Storylandia 20: Cannonfire now on sale!

By Ginger Mayerson

Where to buy: online store; also Amazon (eligible for free shipping); and Kindle.

And there’s a Kindle sale starting February 28 and ending March 7, 2017! Don’t miss it at Amazon US and Amazon UK.

Sample pages

Where to buy: online store; also Amazon (eligible for free shipping); and Kindle.

Cannonfire

You know my name.
For the record.
Doctor Khatanbaatar Namnansüren.
Aliases…
You know my aliases…
Your mask. Speak clearly please. Aliases.
Cannonfire Khan. Nam the Cannonfire Man. Cannonfire Xan. Namnan Sussex. Doctor Eric Buck. Doctor Arne Scholes-Young. …read more

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CD Review: Dagon: War of the Worlds

Bub-L-Pep

By Kathryn L Ramage

This episode of Dark Adventure Radio Theatre concludes with announcer Eskine Blackwell’s words:

“If we’ve taken more liberties with our story than usual, we hope that you and Mr. Lovecraft will forgive us. We thought it would be fun.”

Yes, dammit, that was fun! A lot of fun.

It’s not simply an adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s short story Dagon; it’s also a sequel to Shadow over Innsmouth, as well as fanfic from the guys at the H.P Lovecraft Historical Society using their own characters, and an homage to Orson Welles’ famous Halloween 1939 radio broadcast …read more

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Who Killed Toby Glovins? Second Excerpt

Toby Glovins cover detail

By Kathryn L Ramage

“Freddie.”

When Freddie left the Vixen, he headed toward Foxgrove along a path that skirted the outer garden wall. Inspector Deffords stood waiting for him. “I thought you’d gone.”

“I had some business with my men before they packed up, but I wanted to talk to you before I went into Foxborough.” He offered a cigarette and Freddie was grateful to take it; he hadn’t had one since before breakfast.

“I can’t say I’m surprised to find you in the middle of this,” Deffords told him. “Not after that business with Bertram Marsh, then the Putey girl …read more

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Kolchak: They Have Been, They Are, They Will Be…

Spaceship

By Kathryn L Ramage

This isn’t one of my favorite episodes; I routinely skip over it on the DVD. But I’ll bet that Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, likes it more than I do. He’s always attributed the inspiration for his own show to his teenaged watching of the Kolchak series, and you can certainly see some inspiring points in this particular episode.

Carl Kolchak sits at his desk in the INS offices, speaking into his pocket tape recorder:

I knew this would be more than the biggest story of my career. It was the biggest story in …read more

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Storylandia 20: “Cannonfire” PREVIEW

By Ginger Mayerson

Storylandia, Issue 20
Winter 2017

PREVIEW

Cannonfire
By Lane Kareska

1899–1914:

Tribal… a dark and criminal mind… older brother… wandering alchemist… widow’s humiliation… the larger world… gypsies.

You know my name.

For the record.

Doctor Khatanbaatar Namnansüren.

Aliases…

You know my aliases…

Your mask. Speak clearly please. Aliases.

Cannonfire Khan. Nam the Cannonfire Man. Cannonfire Xan. Namnan Sussex. Doctor Eric Buck. Doctor Arne Scholes-Young. Doctor Leon Southset. Lord Conrad Sussex.

Age.

100. I think. Perhaps 101.

Education.

Informal.

Place of birth.

I do not know the exact place of birth.

Be as specific as you can.

Somewhere on the slopes of the Kharidal Soridag Range. Within forty kilometers of the Bolot village, or what …read more

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