Night Terrors, Dark Matter, and 5-Minute Fears

Ah, anthologies. Personally, I like them. It’s like getting a variety pack of candy from the grocery store: The ones where you buy a bag and get  something chocolaty, something hot and spicy, something tooth-achingly sweet, something sour, and something that turns your tongue green. That’s what the three following Darker Projects anthologies are like: Night Terrors doesn’t taste like chocolate and Grey Matter won’t turn your tongue green, but each episode of each show has something different to offer. Whether you prefer science fiction, good old-fashioned blood ‘n guts, or psychological horror, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for…

….Unless, of course, you’re looking for an episode called “Fluffy Puppy’s Happy Trip to the Park” or **“Mr. Otter Saves the Day!”, because then, you’re out of luck.

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Oh, I’ve been waiting to review Night Terrors. This was one of the first three shows I listened to at DP, along with The Byron Chronicles and Doctor Who. While TBC made me fall in love with Darker Projects and Doctor Who made me fall in love with, well, Doctor Who, listening to Night Terrors was when I made the realization that there was more to DP than the Pale Man of Portland or a dashing alien in a Police Box. Darker Projects could literally do anything. Anything at all. Night Terrors is a recepticle for one-shots and short stories that don’t seem to have a place anywhere else, but are still brilliant in their own right.

Most of the episodes are extrordinarily disturbing (My favorite examples: The Bug Doctor, which gave me nightmares, The House in the Clock, and They). Others, such as The Man in the Chair, are creepy in a more psychological way. A couple are, for lack of a better word, completely brilliant. Ghost County USA was written by Chris Snyder, who also does the voices for all the characters. Black List is another one of my favorites, and so is Voices of the Soul, which is in the style of 40’s audio drama. Love and Murder is pretty good, too, if you’re not into the supernatural or paranormal. Not every episode is disturbing or disgusting, however: Forever December, for instance, brought tears to my eyes. A few are skippable,  or are perfect to stick at the bottom of your playlist:  Last Call or The Horror of Cardmoor Abby are two of these, and so is And God Looked. (That last one, only because I couldn’t understand most of the dialogue in the first half due to some really, really loud background SFX)

I’m going to single out one episode in particular and talk about irony a little. This is an episode I’ve mentioned in two other reviews at least: Byron’s Tale. Since I’ve already gone on about it quite a bit the last two times I mentioned it, I’m just going to say that no one really liked this episode when it came out. Go to the DP forums and read the responses, and you’ll see what I mean. The irony is, if The Byron Chronicles is one of the best DP shows, then Byron’s Tale is an example from closer to the other end of the scale. Now, if they remade it with David Ault, then it’d be another story… literally and figuratively.

A new Night Terrors episode (Written by David Ault!) came out a month or so ago… I have been unable to download it or listen to it online, due to a completely idiotic computer, so I really can’t say much about that one way or another. You’re on your own, I’m afraid.

One last note: I love Harbinger, the narrator for Night Terrors.  It makes me wonder what else they have on “staff” over there…

I’m unsure whether or not this show is actually still alive, whether it’s in hibernation, or whether it is  truly dead. I was certain that it was the latter, since it was years between the last episode and the newest one. I’m guessing that Night Terrors is actually in hibernation, until a script or idea comes along… and that’s perfectly fine. It’s that kind of show; you never know what you’re going to get.

If you’re short on time or if you don’t have the attention span to listen to a full twenty minute story, try Five Minute Fears. Actually, for those of us with a five year old’s attention span, most of the episodes only run two or three minutes, although a few are five and six minutes in length. Just like Night Terrors, there’s a little bit of everything to be found here. The Grave has vampires, Ring Ring and Hallowed Ground have creepy kids,  Black Angels has Lone Gunmen-style conspiracy theorists (That’s an X-Files reference, in case that show’s been off the air too long…), McMeat made me give up fast food for a while, and Elevator Music is just plain creepy. Best of all, you can download everything and listen to it all in about a half hour.

Dark Matter is like Night Terrors, only with a focus on SciFi. To tell the truth, I found and downloaded epiosdes of this show for the simple fact that there’s actually an episode called Zombie Pumpkinheads from Outer Space!, one of the great Darker Projects Holiday Specials. My personal favorite episode is called The Specimen, a story about two scientests examining the body of an alien they discovered at a space ship crash site…but with one little twist. Another one I’d reccommend is The Last Shot for Freedom, which always reminds me more than a little of Orwell’s 1984. I kind of wish that there had been a few more episodes, and maybe there still will be… if someone writes them.

You can download episodes of Dark Matter here, Night Terrors over here, and 5 Minute Fears right here. (In case you can’t tell, I finally discovered the ‘create hyperlink’ button, and I’m testing it out. If these links don’t work, just go to the Darker Projects website and click the links on the side… www.darkerprojects.com)

If you have story ideas or especially scripts for any of the aforementioned shows, why not take a chance and send ’em to scripts@darkerprojects.com . For questions about how to go about writing for audio, check out the Darker Projects Forums.

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**I’ve been planning on sneaking a Mr. Otter reference into a review for a long time… and now, I did.

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One Response to “Night Terrors, Dark Matter, and 5-Minute Fears”

  1. Ray Hopkins Says:

    I didn’t like “Voices of the Soul” because the detective didn’t have a voice for radio. He sounded like he was only reading straight from the script with all the feeling and panache of a high school drama production.

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