Even in our modern world, there is still something special about a well told horror story being read to an eager, attentive audience. The power of the spoken word holds an eerie and uncanny majesty that swirls and paints scenes and moments in your imagination more unique and precise than even the finest of horror films.
The good people at Uncanny Collective have been holding a series of online events with that very concept in mind. Their most recent event, Spring Terrors, provides a platform for horror stories both new and old to be presented by talented performers who bring the stories to life with real verve and gusto.
Whilst ordinarily these kinds of tales would be shared around the campfire at midnight, the current Covid world we live in necessitates a little ingenuity to overcome our isolated lives. And through the marvel of Zoom we invite these storytellers into our homes to provide some welcome Springtime chills. And although it can’t quite conjure up the intangible magic that being in an audience at the theatre has, the show comes pretty close.
Split into hourly segments, Spring Terrors caters for all kinds of horror tastes. From an unsettling and moving ghost story in the opening act (‘Heirloom’, performed wonderfully by Grace Dunne) we move on to an engaging choose -your-own-adventure style tale in the second hour with ‘Vernal Eternal’. Two fantastic short horror stories follow in hour three (‘The God Hand’ and ‘The Sin Eater’) before closing off with a reading of a classic vampire story, ‘For The Blood Is The Life’. It feels like a real ‘something for everyone’ kind of show, carefully curated to make sure that everyone comes away satisfied.
Personally, I was a huge fan of ‘For The Blood Is The Life’, a story I had read many years ago but had near completely forgotten about. Written in the manner of an M.R James ghost story, the tale (wonderfully read by Jamieson Ridenhour) aches with an otherworldly strangeness and sorrow and is a brilliant way to cap off the evening.
The show is presented by Steve Fitzgerald and Sara Lynam, both welcoming and engaging hosts who really help to engender a real community feel about proceedings. You truly feel a part of the event among like-minded horror fans and are given the opportunity to ask questions of the performers in between each story.
From start to finish, Spring Terrors was professionally put together and absolutely zipped along. The four hours flew by, and the ten-minute intervals allowed plenty of room for snacks and bathroom breaks. The variety on display was definitely one of the strengths of the show, with each of the stories uniquely doing their own thing and told in their own way.
All of the participants are active in the horror community, and two of the segments are provided by Podcasts ‘At Your Peril’ and ‘The Darkness Between Us’ from the Uncanny Collective themselves. On the back of such an interesting and diverse evening, I will be working my way through their back catalogue in the coming months.
And with a potential Summer Terrors on the horizon, I would suggest that you do the same.
Uncanny Collective can be found on Twitter @UncannyColl
By Hugh McStay
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