We here at Radio Archives were pleasantly surprised when, with more than a smidgen of trepidation, we released our first Terror Tales audiobook last year. It was a hit, as were a slew of Terror Tales eBooks we subsequently released.
We thought: If customers like this brand of retro-horror so much, why not go back to the dark well from which it all sprang? That meant Dime Mystery Magazine, the pulp that started the Weird Menace sub-genre back around Halloween of the horrific year of 1933. Since we were planning on celebrating the 80th anniversary of Popular Publication’s G-8 And His Battles Aces and The Spider during this autumnal epoch, why not do the same for their sister publication?
In brief, Popular Publications had a foundering title in Dime Mystery Book. It featured lead mystery novels with an emphasis on the sinister and the suspenseful. But readers shunned it. Instead of canceling the magazine, Popular dropped the word Book from the title, booted out of the feature novel, and ramped up the terror and horror. The reinvigorated Dime Mystery Magazine went through the roof, spawning Terror Tales and Horror Stories, as well as lesser, but equally sinister satellites.
Dime Mystery magazine remained the flagship, however. It offered the best writers doing their most memorable stories. All were built around the premise of ordinary young couples thrown into contact with demonic forces they must battle alone. No calling 911 allowed! Up against the Devil, it was Do or Die….
For our first Dime Mystery audiobook, we’ve chosen a trio of terrible tales of tension and terror, each one weirder than the one before! Here’s the rundown:
Norvell Page’s dark drama, “The Dance of the Skeletons” leads the fear parade. It had the distinction of being the cover story to that first reimagined issue of Dime Mystery eighty years ago in 1933, and lead directly to Page writing The Spider series. It’s not only the first true Weird Menace story, but it’s also among the longest and most horrific ever penned! This truly frightening tale plunges an intrepid police investigator into the gripping mystery of the men who become skeletonized by a hideous, unseen predator. Then go behind the vampire-haunted scenes of a 1936 stage performance of Dracula in Frederick C. Davis’ eerie “When the Bat Man Thirsts.” Finally, we conclude with Paul Ernst’s haunting “Brides of the Dust Demon,” wherein a strange doom stalks the besieged inhabitants of a dying Dust Bowl town.
These stories were chosen to showcase the many darkling facets of the Weird Menace experience. All three novelettes are read by Michael C. Gwynne. He is still recovering from the experience….
The Dance of the Skeletons
by Norvell W. Page, Read by Michael C. Gwynne
Chapter 1: A Skull Grins
Chapter 2: Headquarters Horror
Chapter 3: The Man In the River
Chapter 4: Masked Murder
Chapter 5: The Bones in the Bed
Chapter 6: Last Warning
Chapter 7: Skeleton’s Encore
Chapter 8: The Crimson Pool
Chapter 9: Rattling Bones
Chapter 10: The Fifth Skeleton
Chapter 11: Menace Unseen
Chapter 12: The Black Yacht
Chapter 13: The Skeleton Gibbet
Chapter 14: Murder Unmasked!
Chapter 15: Ship of Death
When the Bat Man Thirsts
by Frederick C. Davis, Read by Michael C. Gwynne
Chapter 1: The Prolonged Howl of a Dog
Chapter 2: The Winged Thing
Chapter 3: Death’s Cue
Chapter 4: Satan’s Prompter
Chapter 5: Death Drops the Curtain
Brides of the Dust Demon
by Paul Ernst, Read by Michael C. Gwynne
Chapter 1: Dust Clouds of Doom
Chapter 2: Mad Murder
Chapter 3: The Call
Chapter 4: The Storm Devil
Chapter 5: Satan’s Cathedral
Chapter 6: Capture
Chapter 7: Hell’s Rites