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Horror fiction readings

Wednesday 2/16/22

Winter is a great time to read classic horror fiction. Any time is a great time for me, but the slate-colored days, the bite in the air, the howling winds outside contrasted with the warmth inside make for a perfect set-up. I'll round-up some top examples, because I like having them in one place for my own purposes, and I think people would enjoy them, too.

This is Michael Hordern reading M.R. James's story, "A Warning to the Curious," which is probably my favorite tale by James. Hordern played Jacob Marley in 1951's Scrooge, and the recordings he made reading James's work were discussed in my recent Scrooge book.

Here we havve Richard Coyle reading Lovecraft's "The Shadow Over Innsmouth." This is a great one. I think Coyle does a fantastic job. I first became familiar with his work because around twenty years ago, I'd monitor PBS to see when they'd play episodes of Coupling. If you've seen the show, you might think it was strange that Coupling was ever on PBS, but I felt like they didn't really vet the show that much? They simply thought, "It's English!" Coyle played Jeff Murdoch, who I used to think was pretty funny. It's also pretty funny to pretend that this is Jeff a little later in life, having become scholarly, and now reading Lovecraft's fiction on his podcast or something. Coyle reads as the narrator in his natural accent, but uses an American one in other parts, which he's very adept at.

And Coyle again reading Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness."

This is another M.R. James reading, but a rare one--Peter Cushing's rendition of "Lost Hearts," broadcast two days before Halloween in 1978.

It was important to me to gather up the following abridged readings of Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and some Poe works by Christopher Lee, because he does this kind of thing just about as well as you can.

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