Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday's Favorite OTR

The Shadow: “The House That Death Built”—January 25, 1948

This being Halloween, it’s appropriate to look at something creepy and this particular episode of the Shadow (though not originally broadcast on Halloween) certainly qualifies.

Lamont Cranston and Margo Lane take shelter from a blizzard in an isolated house that—it turns out—was built by a man who once worked as the state’s executioner. Several other people have also occupied the house and one of them is soon murdered.

It’s soon discovered that the house is filled with deadly booby-traps—each one designed to kill in a way that resembles an official method of execution (firing squad, gas chamber, hanging, etc.). There’s also a story about $100,000 in cash hidden somewhere.

The creepiness factor is pretty high. Several occupants of the house serve as effective red herrings to distract us from the real killer and there’s a goose-bump-raising sequence in which Lamont and Margo must walk down a pitch dark hallway, knowing there are probably more booby traps ahead. The denouement, when the Shadow finally confronts the killer, has its chilling moments as well.

All in all, it makes for something very appropriate to listen to on a dark Halloween night.

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