FanLit thanks Seth Jones of Free Listens for this contribution!
In my previous column, I introduced you to some free audiobooks of fantasy and science fiction classics. This month’s article features horror. As with last time, a link in the book or story title will take you to a full review at my blog, Free Listens. You can download the audiobooks by either clicking on the link to the publisher’s webpage or by right-clicking and saving the mp3 file in brackets.
To get ready for Halloween, there’s nothing better than a well-told scary story, unless it’s a free well-told scary story. Happily, plenty of good free horror audiobooks are readily found.
Starting with the classics, Dracula by Bram Stoker (Lit2Go, read by Rick Kistner [iTunes]) really holds up to modern scrutiny. Edgar Allan Poe is a master of horror writing, with plenty of his works available in free audio (see this collection of stories and this collection of poems from LibriVox). My favorite story of his is “The Tale Tell Heart” (Tell-Tell Weekly, read by Alex Wilson [mp3]), one that I remember reading back in school. Another favorite ghost story from my school days is “The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs (Literal Systems, read by Ray Gere [mp3]).
As 20th century science was dispelling much of the old superstitions, horror writers turned to themes of man’s insignificance in the unknown depths of the cosmos. One of the first in this vein of horror was William Hope Hodgson whose novella The House on the Borderland (LibriVox, read by Alan Winterowd [zipped mp3s or M4B]) was tremendously influential. The Willows by Algernon Blackwood (LibriVox, read by Michael Thomas Robinson [zipped mp3s]) is an outstanding example of early 20th century horror.
Of course, the best-known name in cosmic horror is H.P. Lovecraft. Many of Lovecraft’s stories are available in audio, (LibriVox, various readers), including “The Call of Cthulhu” (Cthulhu Podcast, read by Mark Nelson) and his most critically-acclaimed novella At the Mountains of Madness (Uvula Audio, read by J.J. Campanella). My favorite work of Lovecraft’s, and a great introduction to his style, is A Shadow over Innsmouth (Voices in the Dark, read by Sean Puckett).
There’s plenty more great free horror audio books and audio stories available online. If you have any additional suggestions, leave them below in the comments.