The Cambridge Geek

Darkest Night

Just in time for Halloween, here's a bit of horror.

Katie and John work for the Roth-Lobdow Institute, on the Cyclops project. It's quite an unusual job, attempting to see the last images that a corpse's eyes have ever seen. They do this by pulling out one of the eyes (hence "Cyclops") and syringing some optic nerve juice into an effectively magic box, that then plays back the last moments of the relevant corpse.

Those memories are the stories around which this series is built, being an anthology show of sorts. Each episode has the framing story of Katie and John setting up the equipment and then we get a gruesome little tale about how the corpse of the week died.

And gruesome is definitely the word. The first tale gives us some background on the Roth-Lobdow Institute and how its current CEO came to be in charge of it.

Clinton Lobdow has died. And in the style of all the best crazy millionaires, he's had his children summoned to the reading of his will, which he is doing by posthumous video message. Naturally, the three children must prove that they are suitable heirs to both his fortune and the Institute by indulging in a battle royale, with the one surviving child being the one to inherit. They do.

Wait, what?

That's the first episode, and sets the theme quite nicely. Most stories are a tale of a brutal death. Some of them are simple murders, some of them are torture revenges, and some are weird cult sacrifices. Interspersed throughout them are hints and whispers about the way the Institute operates, with suggestions that the Cyclops project isn't just a simple corpse memory scanner.

That all comes to a head in the climax of the first series (10 episodes), which I suggest you more or less binge, because it's somewhat important to keep certain memories in mind as you go through. Not one for the squeamish, as it has excellent (by which I mean horrible) sound work, with an impressive amount of pulped flesh in it.

One significant problem is that the first two episodes have the people behind the show indulging in a bit of "banter", in the most painful version of that phrase. Stick through it, as from Ep3 onwards, the intro and credits are toned down. Decent overall plot, good acting and nicely horrific. Give it a listen for some spooks. And if you listen closely enough, you might pick up on the clues that run through it.

Score 4

Tagged: Audio fiction Horror Cast Dramatised Science fiction Serial