Friday, October 15, 2010

"The Empty House" by Algernon Blackwood

Source: LibriVox (mp3)
Length: 47 minutes
Reader: Bernard Spiel

The story: For a long while, I've figured that Algernon Blackwoodmust be the perfect name for a writer of horror fiction. In this story, he of the perfect sobriquet spins a marvelous ghost story. A young man and his elderly, but thrill-seeking aunt decide to visit a deserted house to test not only the stories of it being haunted but also their own resolve.

Blackwood slowly builds the tension with a unexplained noise here, a slamming door there, and a glimpse of face later on. He uses the contest of nerves between the young man and the old lady to amplify the fear of the reader. By the time the climax arrives, we are ready to jump out of our seats with fright.

Rating: 8/10

The reader: Bernard Spiel reads with an abundance of drama in his voice. Normally, I would find this over-acting to be annoying, but with ghost stories, the spooooooky telling is part of the fun. At first, the narrator is distracting, but once the characters arrived in the house and scary things start happening, Spiel's style seems to fit the story quite well.

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