7 Eerie Audiobooks to Fill Your Ears with Spooky Halloween Fun

7 Eerie Audiobooks to Fill Your Ears with Spooky Halloween Fun

Monday, 21 October, 2019

The only thing better than reading a scary story yourself is when someone tells you a scary story. The suspense is tinglier, and the surprises are more shocking. Should you have a professionally trained actor read you a chilling tale, well… forget about sleeping that night.

To celebrate the happiest gloomy holiday on the calendar, we’ve put together a collection of audiobooks for Halloween that brilliantly marry performers and content. All of these have something special to recommend them: a particularly slinky accent, spooky sound effects, multiple narrators, and voices that seem to speak from beyond the grave.

Light a candle, grab someone you trust to share the terror, and let these stories creep you out in the very best way.

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The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

The Woman in White
> Wilkie Collins

This story begins in true Gothic tradition: at midnight, on a desolate road lit by moonlight. Humble art teacher Walter Hartwright walks along the track, lost in the thoughts of his travels to Limmeridge House in Cumberland the next morning.

Suddenly, a young woman dressed entirely in white — terrified, beautiful, pleading — materializes from the shadows and lightly touches him on the shoulder. ‘Is that the road to London?’ she asks, and with those six words, Walter is caught up in a twisted world of madness, secrets, and murder.

Award-winning audiobook narrators Josephine Bailey and Simon Prebble — they of the impeccable accents and sensitive line-readings — will draw you into the spine-tingling events of this timeless story. {more}

So the ghostly figure which has haunted these pages, as it haunted my life, goes down into the impenetrable gloom. Like a shadow she first came to me in the loneliness of the night. Like a shadow she passes away in the loneliness of the dead. — Wilkie Collins

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Ray Bradbury

In this modern Gothic classic, the lives of two boys are changed forever when a sinister traveling carnival rolls into their Illinois town.

Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show is irresistible. It arrives by train, sometime after midnight, bringing Halloween a week early and enthralling Will Halloway and his neighbor and constant companion Jim Nightshade.

One night, as they explore the carnival grounds, they run afoul of the carnies: an illustrated man with tattoos that seem to come to life, an insane dwarf, a Dust Witch. And they see some things they should never have seen. This sets off a chain of events that threatens the innocence of their small town.

Bradbury’s beautiful prose and clever turns of phrase beg to read aloud, and this audiobook, narrated by actor Christian Rummel, strikes the perfect warm tone. {more}

The train skimmed on softly, slithering, black pennants fluttering, black confetti lost on its own sick-sweet candy wind, down the hill, with the two boys pursuing, the air was so cold they ate ice cream with each breath. — Ray Bradbury

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
> Washington Irving

This is one of those stories that’s seeped into our shared consciousness: gangly Ichabod Crane, the spine-chilling headless horseman, a flaming pumpkin. But if you’ve never experienced the original source material, you are in for a treat.

The story begins in 1790 when our mostly unlikeable hero — school teacher Ichabod Crane — arrives in the village of Tarrytown. Tucked away in the secluded valley of Sleepy Hollow, it’s well known for its ghost stories, and the most famous of all is that of the Headless Horseman. He lost his head to a cannonball during the American Revolution, and he rides his black steed on a nightly quest for his noggin.

Soon Ichabod is trying to wriggle his way into Tarrytown society and win the heart of Katrina Van Tassel, the daughter of the richest man in town. On the night of the big autumn party at the Van Tassel’s farm, tensions that have been simmering under the surface come to a head, and, eventually, the Headless Horseman gallops onto the scene.

We love this pitch-perfect Audible version of the book, narrated by Tom Mison, star of the TV series Sleepy Hollow. {more}

He was tall, but exceedingly lank, with narrow shoulders, long arms and legs, hands that dangled a mile out of his sleeves, feet that might have served for shovels, and his whole frame most loosely hung together. His head was small, and flat at top, with huge ears, large green glassy eyes, and a long snipe nose, so that it looked like a weather-cock perched upon his spindle neck to tell which way the wind blew. To see him striding along the profile of a hill on a windy day, with his clothes bagging and fluttering about him, one might have mistaken him for the genius of famine descending upon the earth, or some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield. — Washington Irving

Dracula - Bram Stoker

Dracula
> Bram Stoker

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the OG vampire. He’s intelligent, cunning, polished, and entirely terrifying — the perfect foil for the pure-hearted team hell-bent on his demise.

This story is a classic hero’s quest: Jonathan, a young solicitor eager to prove himself and marry his true love, journeys to an isolated castle in Romania to meet his client, the mysterious Count Dracula. Despite the Count’s cordial welcome, Jonathan is beleaguered by a sense of creeping dread, and his instincts are correct. He’s soon fleeing for his life and fighting to protect his friends from unsettling symptoms: sleepwalking, unaccountable blood loss, and those curious wounds on the throat.

Narrated by 13 actors, including Katy Kellgreen, Alan Cumming, and Tim Curry, this production is affecting, haunting, and heartbreaking. No cheesy creaking doors or shrill screams here; it’s all creeping dread, subtle sound effects, and affecting characterization that transports you directly to a Transylvania castle and the dramatic shores of Whitby. {more}

We are in Transylvania, and Transylvania is not England. Our ways are not your ways, and there shall be to you many strange things. Nay, from what you have told me of your experiences already, you know something of what strange things there may be. — Bram Stoker

The Turn of the Screw - Henry James

The Turn of the Screw
> Henry James

This novella has intrigued literary critics for more than a century, thanks to Henry James’ skill in creating both confusion and unrelenting suspense for the reader. On the surface, it’s a simple tale of a governess hired to care for an orphaned brother and sister on a remote estate. Miles and Flora — routinely described as distractingly beautiful, oddly silent children — lead the governess on a merrily deranged lark that leads to the question: Is the governess haunted by real ghosts, or is her sanity slowly slip away in the isolation of the mansion?

Little Miles is one of the most unsettling characters to ever grace a page; his preternatural maturity in a tiny, wide-eyed package is chilling. The governess — with her timidity and a nervousness bordering on quiet hysteria — is equally unnerving and a most unreliable narrator.

In print, this book can be a tough commitment, but this excellent audiobook — with Richard Armitage as the scene-setting narrator and Emma Thompson acting out the other roles — is an unsettling stage play for the ears. {more}

The summer had turned, the summer had gone; the autumn had dropped upon Bly and had blown out half our lights. The place, with its gray sky and withered garlands, its bared spaces and scattered dead leaves, was like a theater after the performance — all strewn with crumpled playbills. — Henry James

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

The action kicks off when tortured artist Basil Hallward paints a full-length portrait of his latest muse, a callow, shallow, and painfully beautiful young man named Dorian Gray. As Basil works to capture Dorian’s smooth, physical perfection in oils and brushstrokes, he unwittingly sets off a chain of events that spell Dorian’s doom.

Dorian gazes at his own likeness and is devastated by the knowledge that he will one day no longer resemble his perfect portrait. He makes a perilous wish that destroys his life and the lives of innocent people helplessly caught in the web of his charm and seductive debauchery.

Wilde’s wild story and florid prose explore philosophy, Romanticism, and the reverence for beauty and Beauty above all else. But grab your smelling salts because this is no intellectual exercise: There are opium dens, a scandalous novel, tawdry theater, betrayals, homoerotic flirting, murder, and a Faustian deal that seals Dorian’s fate.

We love Wilde’s words on the page, but they sing when spoken by Russell Tovey, the dreamily-accented narrator of this excellent audiobook. {more}

The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. — Oscar Wilde

The Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection - Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe’s stories and poems are almost synonymous with Halloween. Thick with dread and foreboding, his works explore the unspeakable thoughts that haunt our minds. In Poe’s realm, the rooms are gloomy, the windows are drafty, the floors are squeaky, and the hearts are barren.

In this atmospheric audiobook, his dark visions are interpreted by the veteran stage and screen actors Basil Rathbone and Vincent Price. The actors’ deliveries celebrate the melodramatic content of Poe’s stories and poems, and their vocal timbre makes his language dip and soar like a leaf caught in the wind. This collection includes 20 of Poe’s works, including The Fall of the House of Usher_, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Masque of the Red Death, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, The Cask of Amontillado, and — our two favorite poems — The Raven and Annabel Lee. {more}

TRUE! — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses — not destroyed — not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily — how calmly I can tell you the whole story. — Edgar Allan Poe. ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’

What’s your favorite scary story to read out loud? Share in comments!

Top image courtesy of Hannah Troupe.

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