Hello again to one and all! Those of you who read my reviews on a regular basis will be aware that I’ve been somewhat missing in action for the last while. I wish I could say I had planned this and there will be a Halloween deluge however that is not the case. I am fine and I will review or discuss what I can when I’m able however my appearances will be more sporadic in nature than I initially hoped mostly due to my mindset. As you will all know this time of year is the spooky season usually full of ghosts, vampires, dullahan and other similar creatures and I do intend to visit some spookiness upon my corner of this website. However…how do I begin? With the Watcher In The Rain? A certain Doctor Frankenstein? Or…something more of a potluck?
The Watcher In The Rain by Alec Worley – writer of Dredge Runners which I praised to the moon and back recently – is an audio drama part of the Warhammer Horror range. Warhammer Horror is also reasonably new having been newly formed during last year’s October and November period with sporadic releases ever since. Some of the releases currently available under the name Warhammer Horror are in fact rereleases of classic Warhammer stories from the late 1980s by Anno Dracula author Kim Newman whilst others such as Watcher and The Colonel’s Monograph by Graham McNeil are new stories designed solely with the purpose of sending chills down the reader or listener’s spine. But I think it’s time I discuss the plot.
The plot is as follows: Our tale is on a world of the Administratum, cut off from the remainder of the Imperium by an enormous warp storm. The citizens of this world are all attempting to flee before their world is eaten by the storm. Among the tithe collectors, archivists and endless streams of bureaucrats our story focuses on two such individuals as they are deluged by the world’s rain. On one side we have Stefan Crucius, an…unpleasant Imperial Interrogator searching for answers to his questions. On the other hand we have Greta a mere data menial but one who is not all she seems. Due to circumstances beyond their control the two are forced to work together in an attempt to escape their doomed world. However they are not alone. The Watcher In The Rain is always waiting.
The Watcher In The Rain is…disturbing. The horror throughout the seventy-five minute tale is a creeping and growing sense of never ending dread. The storyline makes you as the listener share the character’s senses that something is as it should not be. That something undefinable is filling you with your own personal horror.
The characters are all excellently portrayed ranging from Crucius and Greta to an incredibly blunt soldier type trying to get on with his job…as unpleasantly as possible no doubt and a small selection of other side characters I can’t exactly give away. Between the wonderful portrayals, Worley’s unsettlingly good storytelling – the man can do horror just as well as he can comedy – and the perfect sound effects which I feel I MUST mention in this review due to the fact that they add so much to the atmosphere of the story genuinely got to me on first listen and utterly terrified me. That’s quite the endorsement when you are trying to write horror. Matthew Hunt as Crucius and Deeivya Meir as Greta are brilliantly cast and I hope to hear from them both again some day in other Warhammer audio drama releases.
I will however in brief mention a few potential negatives. Firstly the final reveal although very well done does feel like it goes on just a little too long for my taste. Secondly if horror as a genre is not to your taste? Stay FAR AWAY from this one. I am somewhat of an oddball when it comes to horror as I frankly love all things freaky, depraved and unnatural in my entertainment however I cannot stand much visual horror or what would nowadays be termed jump scares. As such despite being something of a horror weakling I LOVED Watcher In The Rain but it is not for the fainthearted. Know that going in!
I’m being somewhat intentionally vague in my return to article writing as I don’t want to give away that which awaits those who join me on this doomed world. I have been waiting for almost a year to discuss this nightmarish tale and I hope should you listen that it won’t give you nightmares. However the Watcher is not my only tale this year.
Next time you hear from me it shall be to discuss a classic. Not a certain vampire but something made famous many moons ago by Mr Karloff. I know I can be prone to…foolish promises…but this is one I must keep.