Halloween Review Spectaculathon! DP, BSAP, & MORE!

 Halloween is my favorite holiday. It has everything: Free candy, the chance to dress up in a strange costume and frighten people,  free candy, 2 episodes of The Byron Chronicles in the same week, free candy, costume parties, free candy… you get the picture.  The other thing I like about the Halloween season that I only truly started noticing this year is the holiday specials, both on TV and in the audio drama world.  Yes, last year I was in paroxysms of glee over the Byron Chronicles special, but I didn’t know how many other similarly brilliant things were out there.

So, I’m going to ignore SyFy’s ’30 Days of Halloween’, and I’m going to somehow manage to ignore Nathan Fillion dressing up as Malcom Reynolds on ‘Castle’, (at least for the moment,) and focus on a few of my favorite things: Halloween, Audio Drama, and some good old-fashioned creepiness.

The Byron Chronicles Halloween Special: Dead Time (DP)

Last year’s TBC Halloween special featured a demonic 2-way plot and some ridiculously quotable bits of dialogue, but I think this episode might top it. While attending a live performance of a staged show called Psychic Detectives, Byron encounters an actual demonic spirit from his past in the midst of all the elaborate fakery.

This episode has it all: Evil creepiness, Byron being badass, and, in the trend of the last few Season 2 episodes, a flashback. It also has Leviathan Chronicles author Christof Laputka making a cameo appearance, which bumps this episode up a couple pegs on the Epic-O-Meter ™. They also reference Stephen King. Oh, speaking of references and of things that make my little bibliophilic heart feel all warm and fuzzy, something was mentioned in this episode that I’ve been waiting to hear ever since I started listening to this show two years ago: “My name is Byron, and no, I don’t recite poetry.” Thank you for that, episode writer Mark D. Wrenchild. I like you a lot.

So, for the Stephen King reference, and the aforementioned line about the other Lord Byron (the one who did write poetry,) ‘Dead Time’ joins the ranks of my favorite episodes. The fact that the story is very well-written and well-acted helps, too.
Now… bring on that Christmas special!

To listen to Dead Time, ring the doorbell here.

Kolchak the Night Stalker — All Saints Archive (BSAP)

I don’t just celebrate Halloween on October 31st; I celebrate it for the entire month leading up to the special night. I’ve even been known to start making my costume as early as September. Even August. The nice, creepy people over at BrokenSea Audio Productions and I are alike in this respect: We know that one day simply isn’t enough to get all of the Halloween out of our systems. BSAP started the celebration on October 1st with a host of Halloween madness, including the introduction of a new miniseries, Kolchak The Night Stalker — All Saints Archive, based on the cult tv series that inspired The X-Files. . Since there’s so much Halloween goodness goin’ on at BSAP, I’m not even going to try to review everything. Instead, I’ll just point you in the right direction and stand back…

To listen to Kolchak — All Saints Archive, get your bag of candy ready and say, “Trick or Treat!”

If you’re in need of more Halloween goodness, try Zombie Cheerleaders 2: Pom-Poms of Death, and/or The Robot With A Human Brain Vs The Insidious Octpoids, which has the greatest title of all time.** The Insidious Octopoids can be found at Brokensea.com, while Zombie Cheerleaders 2 comes to us courtesy of www.grindhouseaudio.com.


Making Book (19 Nocturne Boulevard)

This is by no means a new release, but I think it deserves mention in this Halloween Review Spectaulathon for two very important reasons: 1) It’s creepy beyond words, and 2) Every single thing I’ve listened to from these people has been brilliant, and it’s about time I started reviewing some of it!

‘Making Book’ tells the story of a woman who steals an artifact of unspeakable power in exchange for money to pay off her brother’s gambling debts. The artifact in question is a mysterious book that, when opened,  releases horrible, murderous creatures that devour whomever they see. At first, the book seems like the perfect way to resolve her brother’s problems, but he soon discovers the dark truth about using the book instead of using common sense.

While listening, I kept expecting that one guy from Stephen Sommer’s first Mummy  movie to jump out and shriek, “NO! You must not read from the book!” Well, he didn’t, but that’s ok because I did it plenty of times myself. I kept alternating between being freaked out and mildly grossed out, and potential listeners should be aware that my tolerance for grossness is very high. This story is very graphic, with plenty of squelchy sound effects.

 To listen to Making Book and other great offerings from 19 Nocturne Boulevard, knock on this door… if you dare. (You’ll have to scroll down a bit…)

Gothik (Darker Projects)

There’s just something about the word ‘Cthulhu’… it’s fun to say, once you actually figure out how to do it. It’s one of those words that just begs to be screeched out in a public place, along with  “KHAAAN!” and “SNAAAKE!” I’ve never actually read any of H.P Lovecraft’s books, something I will soon remedy, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed Darker Projects’ ‘Gothik’ any less.

Again, this isn’t anything new. It’s actually Halloween Special 2007. I think it was maybe supposed to be the first in a series, but nothing came of it. It works very well as a standalone episode, so that’s perfectly fine. It’s one hour of creepiness, HPL references, and noir elements. Oh, and did I mention the cast? No? Probably because it would take me all day. It includes Laura Post, Mark Bruzee, David Ault, Mark Kalita, Fiona Conn, Judah Friese, Elie Hirschman, Eric Busby, Chris Snyder, Shire Smith…and many, many more. It’s worth listening to for the cast alone, although it’s got a perfectly brilliant plot. It also goes well with popcorn.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn: Listen to Gothik by descending into the crypt.

A Few More Halloween Recommendations…

Age of the Zombies (Necropolis Studio Productions): The very creepy high-quality  tale of the zombie apocalypse. I just started this one myself… brilliant. (2009 Parsec Awards finalist!) Click here.

Alive Inside (Darker Projects): A creepy, gory tale of a band of survivors making their way across a zombie-infested United States in search of the cure to the undead virus. (Note: Contains strong language & adult content.) Click here.

Underwood & Flinch (by Mike Bennett): U&F tells the story of a vampire named Underwood and his caretaker, Mr. Flinch. I’ve only listened to the first episode so far, but that’s enough for me to say that it’s a brilliant show and a fresh imagining of a familiar genre. Click here.

Autumn (Darker Projects): Based on the novel by David Moody. For the most part, it’s your basic zombie survival formula, but it’s so well adapted and brilliantly acted that it doesn’t really matter.  Click here. (It’s much better than the recent indie film adaptation…because it stars David Ault and Mark Kalita, to name a few.)

Well, that’s all I’ve got, so I’ll leave you to enjoy this lovely All Hallow’s Eve… The air is cool, the sky is darkening, and fallen leaves rustle in a  sudden breeze… Unless you live in L.A or something, where it’s probably warm and horribly sunny (if you can see the sky) and the leaves don’t die and fall off like they’re supposed to.


The Asterisks!

Lord Byron (George Gordon), was a 18th century English writer and poet. The literary stereotype he created has become known as the ‘Byronic Hero’, a category DP’s Lord Byron definitely falls under.

** The second greatest title of all time belongs to the Dark Matter episode “Zombie Pumpkinheads from Outer Space!” , which I believe is the first Darker Projects Halloween Special…



2 Responses to “Halloween Review Spectaculathon! DP, BSAP, & MORE!”

  1. Thank you for your mention of Underwood & Flinch by the brilliant and incomparable Mike Bennett.
    Anyone who appreciates a wry and unique eye for horror should check out all his work.

  2. BrokenSea have also released Halloween specials The Robot With A Human Brain Vs The Insidious Octpoids and at http://www.grindhouseaudio.com Zombie Cheerleaders 2: Pom-Poms Of Death

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