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Description “The ominous voice, the rising suggestion of imminent doom, the haunting caress of terror, the suggestive hush of horror unfolding are all here in a veritable garden of evil.” So claims the cover of “Tales of the Frightened”, a 1963 album of Boris Karloff reading seven eerie stories written my mystery writer Michael Avallone. The sequel features six more stories.
I’m a huge fan of Karloff and his films, and these are among my favorite spooky albums. Karloff’s voice lends an eeriness that few other reading voices could achieve – it has an assuring, grandfatherly quality, but is foreboding at the same time. The stories themselves are not necessarily terrifying or horrifying – they have more of a “Twilight Zone” feel to them. Many stories feature sound effects … footsteps, ticking clocks, screams … which enhance the story.
The music on both albums is electronic – a bit unusual for the early 60’s, until you recognize that the music comes from a 1957 album called “Electronic Music” by the Electrosoniks. They slow the music way down for many of the stories (to the point that it is nearly unrecognizable) depending on the mood of the story. Neither the sound effects nor the music get in the way of Karloff’s masterful narration.
I enthusiastically recommend “Tales of the Frightened” to anyone who likes a good story, told by a great storyteller.