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Nightfall – OTR Plot Summaries

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Nightfall

Nightfall

1980-1983
Known Episodes: 100 Circulating

 
Produced by The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), some of Nightfall’s episodes were so terrifying that the CBC registered numerous complaints and some affiliate stations dropped it. Despite this, the series went on to become one of the most popular shows in CBC Radio history, running 100 episodes that featured a mix of original tales and adaptations of both classic and obscure short stories.
 
Sources:
     The Nightfall Project
     Digital Deli
     Wikipedia


After Sunset (1983) 

Foreshadowing Stephen King’s It (1986), A town recalls how a thing that tore people apart wore a young man’s skin like a new suit. The thing has come back, and even if they can determine who’s skin its wearing now, what’s to stop it from coming back in future generations?

 

Angel’s Kiss, The  

A womanizer and homophobe meets a drop-dead gorgeous woman named Dolores and sells his immortal soul for one night with her. He becomes obsessed until she comes to collect… as a man.

 

All-Nighter, The  

Actresses are showing up dead at a laundromat… in the machines. Predictable ending, but fun. Soundtrack really overdone.

 

Appetite of Mr. Lucraft, The  

A starving actor finds a benefactor who purchases his appetite. The actor wastes away, falling over drunk each night while consuming nothing. Then fate bestows upon him… a choice. [Adapted from Walter Besant]

 

Assassin Game  

University students partake in a game of dossiers and tasers. When corporations get involved as sponsors, things turn deadly.

 

Baby Doll  

A woman’s maternal instinct is triggered when her husband brings home a doll as a gift. When it becomes evident she’s been possessed, the husband tries to make a deal with the lonely baby’s spirit from the doll. He fails. Creepy ending.

 

Beyond the Law  

A slum lord wants to sell, but people would be put out on the streets. There are protests, but one of four business partners is killed. Then another is found floating. Who’s next? Who is responsible? It’s kind of telegraphed, despite the red-herring journalist, but fun because the protagonist is such a jerk.

 

Blood Countess, The (Parts I and II)  

A fictional dramatization of Erzsebet Bathory’s story. She believed a witch could bring back her dead lover. Meanwhile, she tortured young serving girls, using their blood to maintain her youthful skin. How much will the townsfolk bear? Adults Only!

 

Body Snatchers, The  

An 1800s medical school student is raised to the position of lab Second and discovers the darker side of the healing profession. As he divvys out body parts for dissection, he notices the body of a woman he knows. Soon after, the lab’s First Assistant takes out another person from the local tavern and hands off the head to students to cover the murder. Creepy tension permeates this atmospheric thriller, and the ending is a shocker! [Adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson]

 

Book of Hell, The  

A manuscript from a dead author about Hell cannot be copied. Everyone who reads it also dies… and you just listened, too…

 

Breaking Point  

A carnival gymnast is fired for a younger model, but before she can go, the boss is killed. Was it her… or the monkey who goes crazy at the sight of a gun? Maybe it was her secret admirer! (But they kill the monkey.)

 

Brides of Olivera, The  

A fortune teller sets his sight on a woman and uses mind control to isolate her. She tracks him down with ESP… and ends up joining his harem of wives in the spirit realm! The sound of her choking is creepy.

 

Buried Alive  

This guy’s gonna stick it to the insurance company when his wife digs him up. Unless she runs off with his assistant and leaves him underground! She goes back to gloat when he mocks her from the grave… but he’s left a subliminal suggestion in her mind.

 

But, Oh, What Happened to Hutchings  

Doctor Hutchings introduces a friend to a new town. The landlady tells the newcomer that Hutchings is a grave-robber, but the surgeon describes his need of cadavers for research. After the friend witnesses a “procurement”, a mutual friend –once a missionary to headhunters– puts things in perspective. (Meatloaf, again.)

 

Carmilla  

A true to the original adaptation about a young lady who ingratiates herself into a family… until their daughter begins to grow ill (and anemic). [Adapted from Joseph Sheridan LeFanu]

 

Club of Dead Men, The  

A young man is invited to join a secret society… but at what price? Great element of suspense.

 

Contract, The  

A gambler and gigolo in deep debt contrives to murder his sugar-mama for the cash to cover. But she’s offering more!

 

Cruel Husband, The  

A man suspects his wife’s infidelity. When he catches her cheating, she swears on th eBible it is not true… so he bricks over her closet wall! He takes his dinner there for days pretending not to hear the moans of her lover. She never confesses. This version is more true to the story, but more tragic, I think. [Adapted from De Balzac’s “La Grande Bretche”, also by The Hermit’s Cave and Theater 10:30]

 

Daddy’s Girl  

A salesman travels to Tahiti and finds himself surrounded by superstition. The local doctor and Obeah man warns him to respect the local culture, but when a fellow Canadian dies after bad-mouthing a little girl, he calls the father and the Obeah murderers. So the Obeah gives the girl another doll to stick pins into.

 

Dark Side of the Mind  

A college reunion goes sour when a surprise guest has worrying information about the the man of the alums just left alone with his wife. Derivative, but well delivered. Will leave your gut clenched for days!

 

Deadly Developments  

A photographer buys a collectible, antique camera and uses it before its rightful owner can reclaim it. He does a photo shoot for a paperback cover with three models who all die within hours. Is the Von Hensdorf cursed? Only one way to find out…

 

Debt, The  

Typical horror short story. It doesn’t matter, the delivery is awesome! Three frat boys haze a pledge by tying him to train tracks. There’s an accident. The boy who gets buried in the woods comes back to collect on a debt… his legs! Great zombie voice!

 

Devil’s Backbone, The  

Underwater treasure hunters encounter black ink and a thing that scratches from within the dark cloud, driving them from a shipwreck. Turns out one diver likes the other’s wife, and it might be a setup to scare the husband away from both the girl and the gold. Imagine if it really was a giant squid!

 

Eye of the Beholder  

An ageing, sorry man finds a friend in a stranded traveler seeking shelter, and ends up confessing how he once beat his son. He is regretful, but it’s too late. He hasn’t seen or spoken to his boy in years. Luckily, he’s got his new companion to help him with eye drops when he starts having vision trouble.

 

Fatal Eggs, The  

Because of a weird refraction of light during a power outage, Soviet scientists discover a red “Ray of Life” that makes lab animals grow huge. A shipment of test snake eggs gets accidentally delivered to a chicken farm, resulting in a plague of Godzilla-sized serpents!

 

Nightfall

Footsteps  

After a close shave with a truck in which he probably should have died, a man hallucinates invisible footsteps approaching. Eventually the sound catches up to him, trying to cause him to panic… to raise him into a an altered state… but who’s footsteps are they?

 

From My Appointed Place Below  

A Scottish lord dies before he can write a receipt for a man’s rent, so the man must go to Hell to get one! [Wandering Willie’s Tale, Adapted from Sir Walter Scott]

 

Gerald  

A couple don’t realize their son is showing sociopathic tendencies when they find their dog murdered. It’s Gerald’s imaginary friend that asks him to continue pulling out his little friends’ souls through death and dismemberment. Great, but gruesome. (Unforgettable, but I had to dial it back a grade for the dog torture.)

 

Guest of Honor  

Lady Neville strikes the king and arch-bishop from the guest list of her annual gala. Instead, she invites Death herself! She RSVP’s! She so charms the crowd, that they ask her to stay. The price? Someone must take her place! [Adapted from Peter S. Beagle]

 

Hands Off  

A scientist discovers a formula that will evoke instant rage, calling the scent “rose water”. He tests it by making a cat maul its kitten. (A little warning there.) It won’t wash off when he gets some on his hands! The only way to escape the angry hordes that descend upon him… an ax! But the ending is so unclear, if you forget the title, a character has to spell it out in epilogue. Very contrived, and hard to identify with a protagonist you hate.

 

Harris and The Mare  

Adapted to radio from a folk song by Stan Rogers. A conscientious observer and pacifist must protect his wife from an abusive drunk. A heart wrenching tale. Not horror, but damn well told.

 

Hit, The  

Two guys argue about doughnuts on the way to buy guns. We eavesdrop on the hit men’s conversation, learn about their values and aspirations. When they arrive at their hit, the mark isn’t who one of them was expecting.

 

How Did You Get My Name? (1980)  

This story brings identity theft to a thrilling new level! Recently released from a mental institution, a man receives mysterious phone calls, but no one could possibly know where he is! An ethics-challenged old-friend, coffee in the eyes, a struggle, two gunshots… Jim Brent wins his life back! …But only as a John Doe! A great twist on

 

Hypnotized  

Past life regression leads to psychic phenomena… including mind transference! When a new doctor takes over the woman’s case, the psychiatrist she originally bonded with is lost in the wilderness… or is he? The woman’s haggard voice is supposed to be eerie, but it’s just annoying.

 

In The Name of The Father  

When a writer takes a holiday on the coast, she falls into a Lovecraftian nightmare. The local church is dedicated to the sea. What does it mean that sharks off-shore foretell a mass pregnancy within the town congregation?

 

Jogger, The  

An aging football jock decides to get fit again when he notices a jogger pacing him everywhere. Can he catch up?

 

Last Visit  

A couple going to visit their daughter pick up a hitchhiker who only rides for a short time. They get lost in a fog and end up at Eternity Cove. When their car disappears, they walk back to the road… but the fog always leads them back to the hotel!

 

Late Special  

After a car accident, a woman who has been blinded makes her way to an abandoned train depot to call for help while her boyfriend is trapped in the car. A train stops, and the conductor offers her eyesight back… for a price. (Adult.)

 

Lazarus Rising  

When a reporter investigates a man returned from the dead, he churns up the secrets of a country town. George Sannox was murdered, but isn’t looking for revenge. It was his daughter Sarey who resurrected him for vengeance, but it’ll take the whole town to send him back.

 

Lifeline  

A fortune teller does not recognize a man she gave a reading for. He believes his past was erased when his hands were burned in a fire…
his life line destroyed by scar tissue! Can a plastic surgeon restore his personality?
His future? His past?

 

Love and the Lonely One  

A couple of medical students decide to prank a sorority with a corpse. One student gets a call from a hot babe… but is she setting him up for his own date with a corpse? What if he falls for her? Once you call the dead back, they come to stay.

 

M’kara  

When a great white hunter kills a great white-eyed elephant, he incurs the curse of M’kara. His terminally ill army buddy tries to take the curse upon himself instead. Spin on

 

Maid’s Bell, The  

The new ladysmaid finds that her predecessor is a hard act to follow, since she’s not entirely gone. But her real problem is the abusive master of the house. [Adapted from Edith Wharton]

 

Monkey’s Raincoat, The  

In a dystopian future, a man is hypnotized to be part of an assassination attempt. Sound quality is atrocious. Reminiscent of Death Race 2000. Good story if you can put the sound issues aside.

 

No Admittance, No Exit  

A female mechanic is taken to the nearest hospital when her hand is mangled: The Future Clinic. She is scanned by an automated computer system who categorizes her social value and prescribes amputation over lengthy rehab. Her boss has a heart attack and is written off. Then the nurse, the only human on staff is replaced with a scan. Computerized medicine has no humanity.

 

No Quarter  

A man becomes addicted to ’80s arcade games and loses his job. His wife becomes a crusader against their evils. One day he receives a home delivery of a game that doesn’t need quarters… and like Enders Game, gets progressively realistic. Can he take it to the next level?

 

Old Post Road, The  

A ghost story where a man crashes his car and makes his way to the nearest house… where he encounters horror! The timeline gets confusing.

 
On Christmas Day, In the Morning
[Adapted from Margery Allingham’s Campion mystery (1952)]
 

Porch Light, The  

A couple sees a man waving outside during a blizzard, but no one’s at the door when they get there. Then weird, poltergeist events begin, locking the man outside, a knife in the wall… Turns out there was a murder in the house long ago. Gripping tension.

 

Private Collection  

A police detective determines that the disappearances of young, unmarried women all coincide with a visit to the Medical Sciences Building. When he mentions breeding experiments, he is silenced with a promotion.

 

Reflected Image  

A chemist is tortured by a wife who says he’s not a real man. When he buys an antique mirror, he switches places with a more aggressive self, who gets revenge on his behalf. Now trapped, he tries to break out of the mirror glass… but he can’t do anything right!

 

Repossession, The  

They purposely telegraph the ending where a conjoined twin takes revenge. It’s great fun when it plays out. Reminiscent of the Lights Out episode, The Dark.

 

Reunion at the Victory Cafe  

A man brings his wife to a London bar where his father died during the World War II blitz. Strangely teleported back in time, he meets his father and they attempt to save the patrons when a plane is heard approaching.

 

Ringing the Changes  

A couple vacation in a seaside town. The bells will awake the dead. Very Lovecraftian. They wake up the next morning and the zombies are gone; with no explanation, unless I missed something. [Adapted from Robert Aickman]

Now’s the time. Now’s the place. Now’s the weather. The living and the dead dance together.

 

Road Runs to the Sea, The  

A brash, arrogant man visits an old sweetheart and her husband at a remote lighthouse, meaning to persuade them to rejoin civilization, when a black freighter shows up offshore. The man tries to carry his ex away, but the couple chooses solitude… and he takes the rap!

 

Room, The 

A man is hired by a widow to discover why people who stay in the Yellow Room either kill themselves or go mad. Not as good as the versions. [Adapted from Adapted from H.G. Wells’ “The Red Room”, also by Beyond Midnight Not to be confused with “Mystery of the Yellow Room” (1908) by Gaston Leroux,]

 

Safe in the Arms of Jesus 

Not so much horror as a deeply tragic story about a boy who gets caught up in the ranting of evangelists on TV. He begins to believe the man about to marry his widowed mom is the Devil, so he takes matters into his own hands.

 

Screaming Skull, The  

An old salt is trapped in his home by the skull of his friend’s wife… who was murderd in a horrific way suggested by the sailor. Every time he throws the skull into the sea, it comes rolling home! With the rattle of lead inside. [Adapted from F. Marion Crawford. Also by: Theater 10:30]

 

Semi-Detached  

When odd poltergeist-like occurrences begin in a house with a young girl who is a foster child, they call in a specialist on detachment and multiple personality disorder. The foster-care worker wants to push the envelope and instigates her episodes. It soon comes to a head… but the girl isn’t the only one with a troubled past.

 

Servants of Cerberus  

A wealthy psychic woman has a close bond with her dogs. Her husband is having an affair with her companion/secretary, and she grows suspicious believing that her dogs are trying to warn her. When the husband tires of waiting for her to die of neglect and hunger, he invites the dogs in to “visit her” after having also locked them away to the point of starvation…

 

Short Wave Goodbye  

A HAM radio enthusiast receives messages from the future. When he gets rich gambling, will he be able to rid himself of his shrewish wife… before she and her lover can kill him first? He’s a real charity case.

 

Stone Ship, The  

A ship encounters a sea vessel made of stone… afloat on the water. They investigate, and find a statue that grows red hair. There’s treasure below decks… but screaming eels outside! They run for it! Daylight brings a more rational outlook. This had a LOT of potential, but the author wimped out. The electronic hornpipe playing Gershwin on the soundtrack was incredibly annoying. [Adapted from William Hope Hodgson 1914]

 

Strange Odyssey of Lenis Freed, The  

A couple keep running into a man with a cough while they travel to their winter getaway. Although Dad’s kind of a jerk,they both seem drawn tot he young man… who might be the same age as their estranged son.

 

Teig O’Kane and the Corpse  

Irish folktale of a man who refuses to wed a woman whose reputation he has besmirched. The Fair Folk set him straight with a task: bury a corpse before dawn. But it won’t be easy! [Adapted from Douglas Hyde]

 

They Bite!  

Very Lovecraftian. Out in the desert, a paleontologist is presented with a way to get even with his sadistic C.O. from Vietnam. Stray things have been glimpsed out at the old Carker place. A lot is left to the imagination (or edited). What could cause teeth marks millions of years ago in fossil… that might also affect isolated homesteaders today? [Adapted from Anthony Boucher (1943)]

 

Thinking Room, The  

A play on Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Suicide Club”, This group invites a young man who hears voices, a victim of childhood mental abuse, to joint their movement. They are all gong to kill themselves on Valentine’s Day by jumping in front of a train. What they are really doing is providing a quiet place where one can “figure things out,” …or find some courage to jump.

 

Tie That Binds, The  

A sane man is institutionalized,given shock treatment, powerless manipulated so that he will never be released from the mental ward. He has no string for holding his pants up.When he finally gets a tie for good behavior… it’s too short! (his reaction calls into question whether he was really sane.)

 

This One’ll Kill You  

A comedian wants his funeral to be a roast, presided over by the competition– the one who made it big by throwing him under the bus. Creepy: an open casket… with half his face blown off. His ghost gets revenge!

 

Turn of the Blood  

A rejected woman unwittingly places a curse on the father of her son’s new bride. The younger woman’s arm withers… the only cure to touch it to the body of a hanged man! Well presented, but skips so much it’s hard to catch the nuances of what’s happening. [Adapted from Thomas Hardy “The Withered Arm”]

 

Undertaker, The  

An undertaker is upset when a woman he was infatuated with appears on his table. The morning after date night, he gets a disturbing phone call. (Adult!)

 

Volcano  

A scientist signs on as a lousy boxer’s trainer, planning to (unethically) test new science in hysterical strength. At first hesitant, Bum suddenly becomes a contender! But he gets headaches and flies into rages. (Reminiscent of Batman’s Bane.) During a title fight, a subliminal trigger makes him super strong. And super angry.

 

Walter’s Dog  

Don’t worry, the dog makes it to the end. Blake, the hand on Walter’s fishing boat, decides to make a man out of himself by killing his high-and-mighty boss. But after being thrown into the northern current, Walter grabs a buoy! When he’s finally chopped to pieces, Blake sees fire in the dog’s eyes.

 

Watching  

A lonely man spends his evenings spying on his neighbors through binoculars. He tells his best friend he has a girlfriend, but suspicion is aroused… The peeping tom decides he’s going to make the woman across the way fit into his fantasies whether she wants to or not. (Adult!)

 

Waters Under The Bridge  

A Lovecraft-like tale. Twenty seven bolts forgotten. A man searching the ruins of that bridge for treasure. The diver loses his son while exploring the depths. In the end, he found the treasure, but everyone he ever went diving with met a horrible end. Vague; may require multiple listenings.

 

Weather Station Four  

Two men and a dog trapped at an arctic station with no rations in an endless storm. A beautiful voice entices one to gain more food through murder, then encourages him to join her. Imagination or not?

 

Wedding, The  

A Jewish spin on “The Masque of Red Death”, a man promises five rubles to pay a jester for his daughter’s wedding, but he gets stingy despite being blackmailed by the badchen. The father of the bride gets three chances… then the jester sings.

 

Welcome to Homerville  

People warn a trucker to turn back from his destination of Homerville, or at least take a nap first, but he pushes through and begins to hallucinate a woman’s voice calling to him over the CB radio. Then he crashes. The story had potential, but fell short.

 

Where Do We Go From Here?  

After a car accident, a man is left completely paralyzed. Can he find a way to signal the mortician he’s not dead? Predictable.

 

Where Does the News Come From  

When a front-line journalist is recruited as a new anchor, a drunk old flame reveals a secret… before she is “disappeared”. “They make it up!” Shocker. You’d do better to rent the 1976 movie Network this seems to be based on.

 

Wildcats  

Two sweet old ladies run a bed and breakfast. When a traveler gets off at the wrong stop and asks for a place to stay, they drug him… like they did to father. Their whole sordid story of insanity is slowly revealed. They don’t like to be alone. You see, the wildcats come when they are alone. [Adapted from Christian Noak]

 

Willoughby Obsession, The  

A magician learns to keep his soul alive until he can possess a new body. An excellent story demonstrating what an ambitious sorcerer can do with a little mind-power.

 

Wind Chill  

A woman lost in the snowy woods is rescued by a man who invites her to his family cabin, then gets pushy and makes advances (until he gets lucky). He seems afraid of his brother’s ghost. In the morning Mom is there and explains that both her sons have been dead for years.

 

Young Goodman Brown  

In old Salem, a young man is lured to a black mass by the Devil, where he recognizes people from his village… including his new wife! Was it an illusion fabricated by the Lord of Lies… or did the seemingly god-fearing villagers truly fly in their dreams? [Adapted from Nathaniel Hawthorne]

 

Your Future in Twenty Words or Less  

A fortune teller dies, leaving his assistant hungry for how he “really knew” the future. A Mr. Mercurian invites him to learn by helping with a mental link. Will the assistant be asked to join the Tribunal? Imagine the possibilities…


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