Monday, October 26, 2009

Screaming Out Loud - Halloween Edition

"The Tell-Tale Heart"
by Edgar Allan Poe
read by Nicholas Hirsch

"The Tell-Tale Heart" was one of the first horror stories I ever read. I was in sixth grade, perusing the shelves of my school's library, and there it was - a thick, dusty book, bound all in black, with a picture of a raven on the cover. Inside the cover was a picture of the man himself, Edgar Allan Poe, right out of a Tim Burton movie! (causality and linear time would come later in my education...) I opened to the table of contents, and started flipping through the book to find myself dazzled and thrilled by the illustrations; it was a dark, morbid affair, full of thunderclouds and autumn leaves whipped around by a cold wind. Someday, I will find the edition that had those illustrations, or I will discover that it was all in my mind...

In any case, the stories gripped me - "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Pit and the Pendulum", "The Masque of the Red Death". The whole collection spoke to me; whispers of dread delight that appealed to my inner, laughing monster. These were stories to be read under a blanket with a flashlight (or behind your textbooks in class), they spoke a new language, full of brooding, steeple-fingered madmen and bouncing alliteration. They jangled the senses; they carried you into the shadows, just behind the narrator's bloodshot eyes, and pulled your mind into an unfathomable abyss. It was magic. I was in love.

It is with this memory in mind that I present here the first installment of Screaming Out Loud, a series of classic horror tales, read aloud for your enjoyment (and, let's be honest, for mine). To celebrate this, my favorite holiday, my Christmas, New Years and Thanksgiving, all rolled into one, here is my own rendition of that mad old story, "The Tell-Tale Heart", by Edgar Allan Poe:

Download the MP3 here.