Wednesday, October 29, 2014

31 Days of Suspense: "The House in Cypress Canyon"

My third-favourite episode of Suspense has become a Halloween tradition for many and widely considered to be among the best radio horror shows ever produced. Who am I to object?

Robert Taylor is again our star in the December 5, 1946 broadcast "The House in Cypress Canyon." In an amusing crossover between William Spier's two radio shows, Sam Spade himself cameos in the bookends of this otherwise-grim tale. A couple move into a newly-built home and everything seems perfect... except for that howling which seems to come from within the house at night... or the pool of blood which collects under the building's sole locked door. You may download it from here.

As I've noted before, when Suspense delved into the supernatural they didn't like to kid around. Sure, there are contemporary programs which supernatural tales (such as Dark Fantasy) but the first-rate talent which produced this show's stories, actors, musicians and sound effects men grant Suspense's supernatural stories a ring of believability amidst the unbelievable. By way of comparison, Dark Fantasy's "W is for Werewolf" is a decent pulp tale; "The House in Cypress Canyon" is up to the standards of M.R. James or Algernon Blackwood.

Hmm... if "The House in Cypress Canyon" is my third-favourite episode, what could possibly rank higher? Come back soon...

Tomorrow: "He spoke of the improbable with an intense seriousness that would have been laughable six hours before. But I did not laugh."

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