Tangent Online

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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Lights Out -- Valse Trieste

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Tonight, Thursday, October 29th, 2009, Tangent Online presents the fifth in its week long series of Old Time Radio classic horror tales celebrating "Halloween Week 2009." Tonight makes two in a row from Lights Out, and is one of the most terrifying scenarios we can imagine, as one young woman's life depends on a madman's flip of a coin.

Lights Out gives us "Valse Trieste" (play on words from the French "valse triste," meaning "sad waltz") from March 30, 1938. It was written by the young genius and Renaissance Man of radio, Arch Oboler (for more on Lights Out and Oboler, see the introduction to "Immortal Gentleman" presented elsewhere here). This episode is definitely in the horror vein, and is one of the most chilling, blood-curdling stories we've run across in some time. It begins innocently enough, with two young city women on vacation. They've rented a canoe for a relaxed, leisurely afternoon. After a time, and spotting some pretty flowers along the shoreline, they decide to pick some but neglect to secure their canoe, which floats away. Stranded, but to their good fortune, the wind wafts faint strains of violin music to their ears. Following a lengthy trek in the direction of the beautiful music, they arrive at a lonely-looking house with, strangely enough, no windows. They are welcomed in by the man of the house, who gently persuades them to stay the evening, for a storm is obviously brewing.

What occurs that evening, as well as the reason for their being found--or not--all depends on the simple flip of a coin. So only if you are stout of heart (those with emotionally weak dispositions need not continue), turn your lights down low and get ready for this supremely scary episode of Lights Out. And remember:  It...is...later...than...you...think.


Play Time: 29:01