Volume I: Reviews

Billboard

Little Evil Things, a new independent Audio company dedicated to horror and science fiction, is off to a fine start with this spine-shivering collection of five original spooky tales. What makes this audio unique is its film-like musical score. The audiobook’s co-author Macchia, an award-winning composer, tailored the original music to the actors’ performances. The result is a perfect marriage of words and music that sets an effective, creepy atmosphere. The stories are well-written and include one about a woman who finds a strange creature that unleashes evil powers when she brings it home as a pet. In another story, a little boy has the power to control people’s minds, in another a man who ignores a dire warning is cursed with tiny worms invading his body. Listeners will look forward to the next release by this intriguing new audio company.


Los Angeles Times

October 25, 1998

Frank Macchia and Tracy London are a team of independent writer-producer-narrators who have created a horror series, “Little Evil Things,” that can compete with the big names. In the latest volume, No. II (70 minutes), four stories unfold like old-fashioned radio plays, complete with music and spirited performances. The writing is a tad vulgar in spots, but the whole thing is so energetic and fast-paced that you can’t help having fun. The tales – of angry Siamese twins, a cursed bell jar, a man’s fear of water, and the Fat That Ate Beverly Hills – should appeal to anyone 13 and older. Meanwhile, Volume I is still available. The writing is tighter and it’s less adult-oriented, making it a better choice for family listening.

– Rochelle O’Gorman


Independent Publisher

Dec 1998/Jan 1999

Little Evil Things is an audio publisher that looks to the dark side forsome mayhem and fun. With their eyes focused on horror and science fiction, they have heartily staked out their own turf. They’ve taken original stories written by partners Frank Macchia and Tracy London and formulated them into an exciting and immersing audio experience.

Unlike other audiobooks, Macchia and London weave a tapestry of sound throughout their entire opus. In a style that is reminiscent of the radio shows of yore, they layer their cassettes and CD’s with an incredible array of underscoring following the ebb and flow of the actors’ performances. Macchia composes the music for the stories and he and London also write their audiobooks.

Their spine-tingling tales offer exciting listening pleasure. One of the beauties of audiobooks is they way they unfold. When stories are well done, they literally crackle engendering excitement and anticipation on the part of the listener. In the case of “Little Evil Things”, they’ll have you on the edge of your seat.

The success of this new company hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 1997, they won the Publishers Weekly “Listen Up” award for original audios.


Film Score Monthly Review

April/May 1999
(Little Evil Things, Vol. I and II)

Things That Go Bump

Little Evil Things is an attempt to cross-breed the sensibilities of old-time suspense radio broadcasts, The Twilight Zone, and Stephen King (which are all somewhat related anyway). Writer/composer Frank Macchia and writer Tracy London have concocted a series of short horror stories for which Macchia has composed background scores using synths, samples and some small acoustic groupings. The music is brash, sometimes cartoony horror material, particularly in the high-tension vignette “Transformation.” “Little Evil Thing” features an almost blasé, tongue-in-cheek, Thomas Newman-type opening, and somewhat tongue-in-cheek narration by London. It’s unusually descriptive music that would never be allowed in a contemporary movie. “The Quiet Child” is a variation on the old “It’s a Good Life” segment of The Twilight Zone, with a moody opening of string and woodwinds, and scratchy “Danse Macabre” violin solos throughout. “It’s After Me” is narrated by Macchia himself. “Parasites,” with a man’s body being invaded by maggots, is a more graphic version of Ray Bradbury’s short story “Fever Dream.” While you might think that this would be an appealing listen for older children, there’s definitely an adult sensibility at work in many of the stories.

Volume Two features longer, more elaborate stories, and some of the material is pretty wild. “Sisters” tells the story of two women literally joined at the hip who just don’t get along. Siamese catfight – yeah, baby! The second album has a more contemporary feeling, kind of like thirtysomething goes mad. Macchia’s music for “It’s in the Water,” the story of a man with hydrophobia, has a lot of shifting, submerged, undulating textures; my only real disappointment was with the L.A. satire “Blubb,” the tale of a gigantic mound of leftover liposuction fat that threatens Beverly Hills. This was the perfect opportunity to lampoon the musical conventions of giant monster movies, but Macchia’s score maintains a small-scale, droll and ironic tone instead.

The composer plays quite well against the narration throughout both albums and this really does capture that creepy, black feeling of some of the older Twilight Zone scores. Of course, like a comedy album, Little Evil Things I and II may not hold up under repeated listening once the punch-line finales of the stories are known. But it certainly scores as a novelty.

– Jeff Bond


World of Fandom

What happens when an award-winning composer (Frank) meets a talented actress/screenwriter (Tracy)? “Little Evil Things”, a masterful collection of terrifying short stories presented in the style of the 1940’s radio show. We are talking about state of the art music and sound design that engulfs you in a spellbinding spiral of horror. I had nearly forgotten how good my imagination could be! I had many a near slack-wetting moment on my long ride home as I listened to that scary CD. Tracy can narrate a story so cunningly that before you know it your heart is pounding, and you are completely caught up in the story. I was scared most by the story entitled, “The Quiet Child.” It is the story of a little boy with the power to control minds. Creepy, really creepy.
In Tracy’s own words, “We think that in this age of visual special effects eye-candy, your imagination is still more powerful and that when you hear the descriptions of some of the intense scenes in the stories you’ll be more affected than if you just passively watched them. It’s much more ‘interactive’ to let your mind come up with the visuals of a horrific scene!” She ain’t just whistling dixie, folks. Frank and Tracy may very well reinvent the whole genre of the radio play! If you are in the mood to let your imagination run wild with terror, I highly recommend “Little Evil Things.”

— Annemarie Marino


Hellnotes

One of the most delightful, effective mediums for horror is the spoken word, especially when it’s mixed with the right music. That’s what you get with LITTLE EVIL THINGS, the first audio collection of five short horror stories from the audio publisher of the same name.

Here’s what you get: “Transformation,” a short wicked vignette that invites you to experience what it’s like to become a werewolf; “Little Evil Thing,” a tale that reminds the listener of THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS; “The Quiet Child,” a remarkably unsettling piece; “It’s After Me,” a story about nightmares that just won’t let go; and finally, “Parasites,” a vividly disturbing tale of a greedy man whose body is invaded by creatures.

Reminiscent of Lights Out and Inner Sanctum, LITTLE EVIL THINGS takes advantage of the listeners’ imagination, which makes it both powerful and entertaining…. LITTLE EVIL THINGS reminds us how much fun horror can be

— David B. Silva


Monsterscene

Most of us are too young to remember radio shows like “Lights Out” and “Inner Sanctum”, so it’s refreshing to come across a product that is trying to preserve the vocally performed drama, and in this case, horror-related drama.

This is a well-produced effort, complete with sound effects, and good talent. I can’t say it scared me, but it sure did a good job on my 9-year-old, who kept complaining that his “Are You Afraid of the Dark” stories on cassette weren’t scary anymore. I strongly recommend picking up either the CD or cassette version of Little Evil Things. Superb packaging complements this first effort.


The Drakhan’s Lair

Bathed in the eerie glow of the monitor, I found myself listening to the anguished cries of a man becoming a werewolf, his pain apparent as the cartilage crackled with the change. Turning off the computer, I leaned back in my chair and listened in darkness as the transformation continued.

Before the hour ended, I was treated to five bite-sized pieces of pure horror as a cast of actors performed the stories to the backdrop of music custom-written for the project. It was somewhere in the fourth story — the tale of a man being chased through his dreams by a nameless horror — that I felt the need to turn on the desk lamp — just to be on the safe side. It’s not the kind of stuff you want to fall asleep listening to.

The stories on “Little Evil Things” were written by Frank Macchia and Tracy London, who also narrated them along with actor Jim McDonnell. Macchia composed the ever-present music which lurks in the background of each tale like an all-knowing presence.

What sets “Little Evil Things” apart from the average book on tape is its ability to deliver up short, edgy stories in which narration blends seamlessly with the music.

Whether you’re an old-timer who grew up with the radio shows of the 1940s or a youngster fresh from hearing his first ghost story in the glow of a campfire, “Little Evil Things” will leave you breathless … and wanting more.

— Darryl Riser


Reviewer’s Bookwatch

November 1997 Issue
Editor: James Cox

Little Evil Things is ideal for Halloween and can be enjoyed year-round. Here storytelling blends with sound effects and continuous music to create dramas much in the nature of a fine old-fashioned radio play. The short tales of terror are involving and compelling, presenting original plots embellished with the drama which makes audio stand out from the written word.

Highly recommended.


ALA Booklist

Adult. Reminiscent of old-time radio shows, these five original horror tales by Frank Macchia and Tracy London cover the typical spooky territory of werewolves, nightmares, monsters, mind control, and a jewel with a curse. Four narrators handle the telling with aplomb. Jim McDonnell is particularly effective as the man detailing his transformation into a werewolf and as the omniscient narrator of “The Quiet Child”. McDonnell effectively underplays his role, thus sustaining the horror of each sitution. Macchia’s original music complements and enhances this satisfyingly chilling collection.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 UP – Several talented readers present five creative, suspenseful horror stories written for this tape: “Transformation,” “Little Evil Thing,” “Quiet Child,” “It’s After Me!” and “Parasites”. The three narrators are effective and very dramatic with good vocal control, showing appropriate changes in emotion. In two stories the speaker is eaten alive. There is some profanity and mention of the secretary and boss in bed together. Original music is used to heighten the tense, dramatic moments. Although the accomaniment never stops, the volume is such that the speakers can always be heard and clearly understood. Purchase will add variety and spice to tape collections.

– Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School