Into That Darkness Peering: Nightmarish Tales Of The Macabre – Vol. 1&2

August 4, 2010

Into That Darkness Peering: Nightmarish Tales Of The Macabre – Vol. 1&2
Written by Edgar Allan Poe;

Read by Wayne June

“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,” Edgar Allan Poe: The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe has a penchant for murder, insanity and boarding up bodies under floorboards and behind walls. These were my ponderings on my stuffy Northern Line journey.

Listening to these exceptionally well read stories of the ‘Macabre’, took me back to Roald Dahl’s ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ – that early eighties TV series.

I was always sent to bed around the time it was on TV, but I remember creeping into my parents bedroom while they were watching it in the living room, and turning their bedroom telly on really carefully (it was one of those twisty knob ones that made a ‘clcking’ sound when you turned it on). I never got the whole story with the sound turned off…but i felt rebillious anyhoo!

Wayne June has a timbre to his voice that fits with the spooky, sinister content of Poe’s poetry and short stories. He captures Poe’s rhythmic beats in The Raven, for example, and carry’s us in its gravitational pull to the bitter end.

Poe was a master of selecting words that created mood, and Wayne June underlines this with his reading. The spooky music at the introduction and end of each tale (although even more ‘Tales of the Unexpected’) also create a mournful mood.

Forgiving the ‘old’ language of the 1800s his stories still capture the imagination.  Insantiy is a regular theme, and in, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” a man betrays his crime when he thinks he hears the beating heart of the man he has murdered.

I think my favourite tale (or, worst tale? Or, best worst tale…??) is “The Black Cat”. Poe loved making his readers very uncomfortable in their skin. Our narrator becomes an alcoholic and thus begins his descent into insanity. He describes himself as an animal lover at the beginning of the tale; thus his describtion of his abuse of the cat and subsequent murder jarred with me. We hear our narrators obvious embarrassment as he describes the alcoholic madness that took over whilst torturing and murdering the poor thing! Even worse, in a rage, he does the same thing to his wife…

If you like a spooky tale, and don’t mind the olde worlde language – you’ll love these audiobooks.


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