The Grayscale: Cracks in the Pavement

The Grayscale is produced by Critical Point Theatre and has all the makings of a great Twilight Zone homage, from the opening of the opening and closing to the meat of the story. If there was one problem this first story has its with the story’s conclusion.

Let me explain. See, the opening few minutes sets up the series, and then slowly focuses in on a single character. This character is the one we follow for most of the story. It’s straight-up horror of the Lovecraftian variety, but the writing is nowhere near the pinnacle of that sub genre. It’s not bad, but at times it can be bland. Other times, in particular, the metaphors the writer used to describe the monster were simple, but do its job quite well.

Everything was good until the sappy, it was all just a dream ending. The falling action and denouement was rushed, making the climax feel just like every other Lovecraftian horror story. I can understand not straying too far away from the genre, but there’s an homage and then there’s downright rehashing of tropes.

By far the best part of this episode was the opening and the slow zoom in on a single character. The “voice in your head’s” The middle and meat of the episode was okay and the ending felt like every other Lovecraftian story out there. Still, this is definitely on my list of things to listen to when I have downtime.

4/5 Stars

John Falls into Another Dimension

A lovecraftian tale from Pocket Radio Theater, this horror story of a man’s slow descent into madnes is nothing new to the Lovecraftian subgenre. “The Rats in the Walls” was my first introduction to Lovecraft. This is certainly reminiscent of that, and based on a little light research a common trope of both Lovecraft and Lovecraftian fiction.

“John Falls into Another DImension” is a full cast production because of the inclusion of different actors/actresses for the various roles. More often than not, stories with narration and character-spoken dialogue have a tendency to halt the soundscape or the narration, as if you can’t have both at the same time. The problem then lies with the mixer and his ability to properly convey what is going on.

This production sides more on the side of an audiobook and therefore dodges that particular problem. The writer and narrator of the story, Karl Sparks, does a good enough job of setting the scene with the words and the infliction of his voice that sounds layered on top of it would’ve only distracted from the tale.

That’s not to say the actors didn’t play an important role, but since most of the story takes place inside John’s head, it’s hard to rate their perfomances because their lines were so few and far between. At least when compared to the amount of narration.

There’s not much else to say, other than the ending may be an obvious twist and seen in a lot of stories in general, but it still left an impact on me. The bulk of the horror comes in the form of a series of increasingly strange events which test John’s sanity.

4/5 stars