Nature Run Amok – Old Time Radio Classics

Natural horror is not just a genre for movies as it’s also existed in literature for a long time. So, it’s only…natural (I couldn’t resist) that you’ll find examples of humans against nature as far back as the glory days of old time radio!

Leiningen Versus the Ants was a short story written by Carl Stephenson and was published in the December 1938 issue of Escquire, a translation of an original German publication from that same year. It tells the tale of Leiningen, a plantation owner in the Brazilian forest who is facing an army of aggressive and organized soldier ants. It was first adapted for radio on January 14, 1948 on Escape with William Conrad in the lead role. It was adapted two more times on Suspense, in 1957 and 1959, as well as a feature film in 1954, The Naked Jungle, starring Charlton Heston.

Perhaps even more well-known is Three Skeleton Key, a short story written by French author Georges-Gustave Toudouze in 1927. It was first published in English in the January 1937 edition of Esquire. It tells the tale of three men on a lighthouse battling an army of ferocious rats after an abandoned ship crashes on the shores of the same island. It was adapted for radio a total of five times. The first was in November 1949 on Escape with William Conrad. It aired again in 1950 and 1953, both times with a different cast. Finally, it aired twice on Suspense, in 1956 and 1958, both times with the legendary Vincent Price, reprising his role of Jean, which he had originated in the 1950 version on Escape.

You can listen to the 1948 version of Leiningen Versus the Ants and the 1950 broadcast of Three Skeleton Key on my Monster Movie Kid playlist on my YouTube channel. I personally feel these are the two best versions of each story. Both men are true legends in the world of old time radio and, let’s be honest, you can never wrong with Vincent Price.

So, turn out the lights, nestle up near the fire and let the imagination theatre take you to two tales from decades past that are just as terrifying today as they were not so long ago.


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