Monday, January 14, 2019


Recently, I came across a BBC radio adaptation of one of my favorite horror tales by H.P. Lovecraft, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward. The BBC adaptation presents the tale as an episode of a 'Mystery Machine' podcast, with a couple of journalists tracking down the facts pertaining to the disappearance of the titular Charles Dexter Ward from a locked room in a mental hospital. The adaptation is set in the present, rather than being a period piece... it is to be noted that Lovecraft himself usually set his stories in contemporary times, even though his horror derives from atavistic survivals of previous ages, often pre-human eras of Earth's development. It changes a lot of the particulars of the original novella, but the needs of radio drama are served well by such changes.

I'm currently halfway through the dramatization, and I'm finding it a lot of fun. I like the interaction between the principal cast members, they have the chemistry of old friends and colleagues, often joking and needling each other, providing nice breaks in the bleak horror narrative that they are unraveling. The whole production is a good mélange of investigative procedural with supernatural elements slowly creeping in as the story unfolds. If you are a fan of pulp tales such as True Detective or Stephen King's oeuvre, I heartily recommend it.

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