Sunday, October 5, 2014

Night of Terror #4: 'The Whistler' - "Death Has a Thirst"

"I am the Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes... I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak."

If your only exposure to the outside world is through content produced by Joseph Gibson, it's possible you're already familiar with The Whistler from my Letterboxd account, where (I think) I've reviewed all the movies in the Whistler series. I recently checked out the radio series as well, and was interested to learn it has more of a quasi-supernatural bent than the movies, which are pretty straightforward stores of suspense apart from the ghostly Whistler, who bookends the films with his creepy commentary. The radio show follows much the same formula, but the stories have a creepier, more horror-influenced edge.

"Death Has a Thirst" probably isn't the best example of this, since it's more of a suspense story than anything overtly horrific, but it is an agreeably nasty love triangle that ends in murder for one and ... a happy marriage ever after for the other two. Huh? I'm actually not familiar enough with The Whistler's MO to know if the ending is supposed to be ironic or not, but even assuming that it is, it's still a surprisingly unambiguously dark ending for entertainment from 1942. Here it is:


So, the woman wants to get a divorce from her husband, but she can't because he's crazy, so she murders him, only she didn't actually murder him because the other guy murdered him first by putting poison water in a canteen he wasn't supposed to drink from because it was supposed to be for the wife? No wonder he went crazy, he clearly lived in an insane world.

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