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Sunday, September 2, 2012

Suspense Sundays (10)

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,


Suspense Sundays

Suspense was a radio series from 1942 to 1962, claiming to be "radio's outstanding theater of thrills."  I have a fondness for "Old Time Radio" as we call it now, and Suspense is my favorite show.  It sets up weird, dark, scary, or intriguing stories with a plot twist in the end, and all in half an hour.  And many of them had very famous stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood.  I love the old-fashion story-telling and I thought it would be fun to give a short review of an episode every Sunday.  I'll have some fun with it too, since the stories can be silly and over-the-top to modern audiences, but I hope you, dear Reader, will give it a listen sometime if the story seems interesting.







"Three Skeleton Key"
Air date: November 11, 1956
Starring Vincent Price

For my tenth post, I re-listened to this classic episode of Suspense. It was actually performed twice for the show and three times for another OTR series called "Escape".  Three Skeleton Key is the address of a lighthouse where the three occupants see an unmanned ship heading their way, heedless of the rocks it is about to crash upon.  The men take up binoculars and see that the ship is absolutely covered in rats.  And when the ship crashes on the shore, there is a "carpet" of rats heading towards the lighthouse.  The men barricade themselves in, as the rats cover the lighthouse, trying to get at them.  The men can't get any light from the outside, because the rats cover the windows.  Crazy, right?  And while one man is losing his mind, taunting the rats, asking if they want to come in, the other men realize the rats are chewing through the wood.  And then of course, they break through.

All throughout the scenes where there are rats, there is a ceaseless "rat noise" that is quite insidious.  This story is claustrophobic, and although I don't have any fear of rats or rodents, the idea that there are animals that are just waiting to eat you alive is frightening, and after this I think it is better to have one large animal trying to eat you than a swarm of little ones.  This story does the atmosphere of the horrific situation so well, and when you are using your imagination to see the drama, the horror of it is especially vivid.  I can understand why this episode is a classic because it is a unique kind of suspense story.


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