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CBSRMT Episode Information
Title:
A Horror Story
Plot:
In a commercial building, a master chef serves the most divine cuisine in a restaurant located at the second floor. On the first level, a shoemaker produces exceptional footwear. The secret resides in their raw materials, of which they share the same source.
Episode:
0929
Air Dates:
First Run - December 11, 1978
Repeat - June 21, 1979
Writer:
Listen:
Rating:
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21 Responses to Episode 0929


Great gothic story. The slippers scared the hell out of me when I was a kid!

When this episode first aired in 1978, the radio station ran messages before the show, warning listeners that the story was "not for the squeamish." That made me want to listen even more! It's one of my all time favorites.

A diary found in a deserted New Orleans mansion tells a tale of a psychopathic chef who uses human flesh as his secret ingredient.

Thanks for the episode - the plot itself wasn't all that intricate, but the diary reader character really creeped me out. And New Orleans is always a great setting for this kind of thing.

This was the first time I heard this one. It builds tension throughout the show and keeps you on the edge wondering what gruesome detail is going to be revealed next. The person reading the diary was a novel idea which added to the suspense, especially at the end. Not in my top list of favorites but still a suspenseful episode.

The diary reader sounds very much like John Lithgow. Could it be?

This ranks in the top five of all time. . .maybe even the top three. And imagine, Elspeth Eric wrote it.

I don't want to butt in on a personal feud - but what's the deal on Elsbeth Eric? Is she considered to be either a genius, or a hack, with no middle ground? Is this some classic fault line between fans of CBSRMT? Just trying to get a lay of the land, here . . .

I knew I heard this one. I just didn't remember the story. I have been listening to around three or four RMT's every night an this was one of the ones that I did hear. On my way to work I was listening to this episode again and I loved it. I kept on thinking back to the movie Soylent Green....anyone remember that one? "Soylent Green is people!!!" Another part that reminded me of a movie is when the shoes were going after the main character. The noise that the shoes made reminded me of the noise that was used in Evil Dead 2 when the hand came to life and tried to choke the main character. Pretty funny stuff. Great episode.....it was very good throughout.

No Robo, believe it or not it's Robert Dryden playing both parts, or actually three in this episode. That really attests to his acting ability! Ha ha. Every time I hear him do the lines "You have to admire his injinuity in disposing of the body...Oh Thay you Do" and "Isn't it Maaarvoluis! Isn't it Devyyne" I just crack up laughing...almost as much as I laugh about the snarling slippers. He sounds alot like Charles Nelson Riely having a bad hair day... Yet as funny as it is in spots, it IS one of the more grisly tales of the series. Alot of times you have to take these episodes in the times they were written to get the full impact. Just like Henry Slesar's "The Slave" from the 1975 Season really pusing the barriers of sex and violence, at least for a 1975 audience. Ok. I have to say this, I really DO like some of Elspeth Eric's tales. You've got to give her credit for being able to write as well as she did coming from being an actress. Yes, some of her plots lack focus but somehow for me that adds to the magic. Sort of like hearing a conversation between people you don't know and letting your own mind sketch in the other details.

In defense of Elspeth Eric, I must say she does have a good flair for dialogue, even if her stories are a bit too ......introverted? for many fans. I heard one not too long ago called, I think, "Walkers on the Wind," and it was very well done within its limitations. It had the feel of a well performed piece of chamber music. Though the story was nothing very special in any particular way it came off very well due to the apt use of background music and a really stunning performance by John Beal. He really made it come alive. Still, it is very much in keeping with Eric's other output. But try it anyway just to hear Beal.

I disagree that Elspeth Eric evokes strong emotions. I think much of her work is unadulterated sappiness. She overuses the "abused woman talking to her therapist" device. Furthermore, she often tells two thirds of a good story only to disappoint you with a sappy or stupid ending. However, Elspeth hits the mark with "A Horror Story". There is no sap or stupidity here. This is pure horror with all the gore you can get in a radio drama. What makes it a masterpiece is Dryden's fantastic portrayal of the narrator. This is by far his finest performance. This ranks, I think, as the best episode ever. Only Hickory, Dickory, Doom comes close for me.

Best Elspeth Eric episode...and one of the Top 5 CBS RMT classics. Robert Dryden's voices are great; the storyline is engaging. To borrow a line from the episode, I could all but kiss this radio script...

Yup. Listened to it while driving to TX from CA a couple of weeks ago. Most definitely the creepiest RMT I have ever heard. I played it for my race teammate last year while driving back from racing in Vegas. He thought it was pretty darn creepy too. That from someone who hasn't heard many RMT's. He was surprised at the content, pleasantly surprised.

I can't imagine introducing someone to the RMT using this show. I mean, not for nothing, but if this were the first show I'd heard, (almost) everything else wouldn't have met up!

I had the pleasure to listen to it last night. If you've never heard this tale before don't read this review! It is a wonderful show and should be heard without any bias or info going into it. Thanks! It was just after midnight - on Halloween - when I listened to this program. I had heard it once a very long time ago, so the details were not fresh in my mind. Even some of the more diabolical episodes that had been written for the RMT can't compare to the brutality, the grimness, and the sheer menace of this "Hannibal" type character. The show paints a timeless portrait of a man who struggles with his own existence, and even perhaps mortality, at any cost. After the show, I kept wondering what his parents were like. What his childhood was like. Much the same way when I read about someone in real life who has committed atrocities such as our villain. Elspeth Eric always writes very deep, provocative stories which tend to stir the imagination and evoke something emotional on many levels. While some of her works are a sure-hit, many often miss. However, this episode transcends. It not only hits, but it hits with a kitchen mallet right on the soft spot of every RMT listener. I assume we all expect (and allow) a fair amount of foul play, violence, betrayal, and even evil behavior to seep into our minds when we tune in, but this show doth spilleth over. She holds back in her writing, only in a way that someone of aristocracy holds back from being crude. This episode is gallant in every word, and the actors - especially Drydon - perform them as though they in fact, were the characters themselves. Even the character of the wife is delivered with bored restraint and exhibits a life of unenthusiasm, disappointment, and complacency. While being vile in most respects, the acts of our villain are not, I believe, so far off from our own behavior. "He didn't comment on the truffles?" How many times have we put out an extended effort into something, only to be praised - but not where we needed the praise most? How often do we take such incredible pride in our work that we'd be willing to take risks to present it? Indeed, this character was only flawed by one mark: he was a flippin' psychopath! And that's why I gave this show a 5 rating. Perfect on every level, for me. There were a couple of moments during the show where I thought the writing was a bit overboard (the slippers coming to life) and off-tone (why would he think it was the police coming to arrest him so quickly? He appeared much too cool to drop his guard so fast), but I overlooked them based on how well everything was pulled off. Alas, I'm writing a book. A great episode and a perfect selection for this Halloween show.

Commentary: OK, I cheated a bit and listened to the episode after gave it high marks in his review. While driving across northern California with my wife last weekend, I threw it in the car stereo and got completely immersed. The storyline traces a French chef's unique and well received dishes and ties it all in to a New Orleans cobbler's exemplary shoe products. Believe it or not, there's plenty of horror in that story. In fact, my wife kept grabbing my arm every time a new twist was revealed - she couldn't believe that this was allowed on radio "back then." Two things - first, it's a bloody good thing that my car has automatic transmission, as my right arm was cramped from so much grabbing; and, after 19 years of marriage, why does my wife try to convince me that she's too young to remember this show? If I've learned one thing in those 19 years though, it's that it's best that I not protest her "youthful" ignorance. Anyway, the narrative style interspersing the storyline was a superb mix...just enough time to digest what just happened and where we were being taken. After listening to quite a few episodes, this ranks near the top of my list....and for the first time I can state that I finally heard an Elspeth Eric episode that didn't make me remember my root canal.

No feud here, just a bit of fun. Elspeth Eric often delved into areas of over the top melodrama. the kind that make you roll your eyes and look at your watch. her writing is often geared toward a character's pychological misgivings and she tends to let the story wander while the lead character is caught in self discovery or redemption. i usually enjoy all the work done on with the RMT, but i have to say that over the past several years i've come to agree with the way others feel about Eric's work. and for the record, she did a boatload of work for the RMT, both in writing and starring in.

- I always love a show when they do "New Orleans accents" (as Ian Martin's character did) but the actors sound more like they're in Mississippi or Alabama at the time. Maybe they had accents like that in New Orleans about the era when this was done, but my Orleaneux friends used to get the biggest kicks out of seeing films supposedly in their city with accents like that. - Speaking of Martin...he was a gem. It's so hard to find pictures and information on him. Howard Moss, who does have pictures out there on the Web, was tremendous as well. The RMT had their "A" team of character actors out for this one...a tremendously talented bunch. - The funny thing was, as spooky as this was supposed to be, I cracked up listening to the feminine grunts and cackles the shoes made. - Dryden was indeed excellent on this...as good as he was in "The rise and fall of the fourth reich". The transformation between his chef/proprietor character and his "spirit" was fascinating as well. - Indeed, I was astonished that this was an Eric work. Psycho-drama was her specialty. I honestly wondered if she was a psychology student in college at one point. - The orchestral strings and tympani music bed was tremendous under the "ghost's" voice. That one always evokes an uneasy feeling in me.

E.G. Marshall does a splendid introduction that draws new fans & old fans in. Robert Dryden does an amazing job for playing the roles of Gaston Donnet THE CHEF and Lucien Feraud THE SHOEMAKER. He's like a 19th Century version of Dr. Hannibal Lecter & Leatherface combined. What's even creepier is that he tells this sinister tale to no one except us, as if the CBSMRT fans are his imaginary friends. The horror & classical music and the sound effects are good as always. The secret of the main character's material is revealed at the 25-minute 9-second mark. What was funny in this episode is the voice of Mary Jane Higby (as Camille Feraud) when she's strangled, sounded like she was gurgling at the 28-minute 33-second mark. But her voice becomes very annoying in ACT-3 from the 35-minute 12-second mark to the 37-minute 15-second mark. She doesn't laugh nor scream. But then at the end of the Final Act at the 41-minute mark, it makes the CBSRMT fans think, whether to loathe the main character or take pity on him; THAT'S the mystery. E.G. Marshall draws us in again at the Epilogue by talking about the history of Horror stories, such as "The Castle of Otranto" by Horace Walpole, "The Mysteries of Udolpho" by Ann Radcliffe, the writings of Honoré de Balzac, and finally Edgar Allan Poe. This episode is worth listening to!

A great story mixing creepy and gruesome with a touch of gothic anthology to boot. Felt like listening to an entire 'Night Gallery' episode in its heyday for radio! More than just about any other author of CBSRMT scripts, Elspeth Eric’s material truly had a signature style to it like that of a Hitchcock or Barker or Lovecraft. The more I learn of her, the fonder I get of her work..as both an actress and especially as a writer. Ms. Eric indeed had a bent for strange and quirky tales that were slightly off with a hint of disturbing thrown in for good measure.

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