Sightless Realms of Terror: Disembodied Voices and Sonic Immersion in Contemporary Horror Audio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

This is an unprecedentedly rich era for audio drama. Not only has digital technology perfected the sound we hear and our access to it, it represents the perfect form for our ever-hectic lives of multitasking wherein the traditional act of watching a movie can seem luxurious. To this end, audio drama can succeed in entertaining us while we work, drive, jog or fall asleep. Within audio drama, horror has always been a major genre, not least because of the power of the disembodied voice which – invisible, immaterial and, quite literally, ghost-like – seems to talk to, through and around us. In this regard, the female voice has often been perceived as particularly ‘uncanny’ and horror radio abounds with examples of gender-specific or gender-ambiguous voices, exploiting their ability to unnerve or terrify. This has been amply demonstrated in the diverse audio of recent years: podcasts such as Welcome to Night Vale (2012 onwards) and the keep-fit gaming app Zombies, Run! (2012) have demonstrated compelling innovation while BBC Radio 4’s distinctive reworking of The Exorcist (2014) and its binaural adaptations of The Stone Tape (2015) and Ringu (2015) have revitalised classic horror films by placing listeners at the mercy of ethereal voices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGender and Contemporary Horror in Comics, Games and Transmedia
EditorsRobert Shail, Steven Gerrard, Samantha Holland
PublisherEmerald
Chapter15
Pages191-202
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78769-107-0
ISBN (Print)978-1-78769-108-7
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Audio
  • Radio drama
  • Horror
  • Podcasting

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