MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Halloween is tomorrow, and NPR's movie critic Bob Mondello knows all about creating and critiquing scary make-believe worlds. But reviewing high-budget Hollywood films got him thinking about the simpler frights he helped scare up in his first job.
(SOUNDBITE OF THUNDER BOOMING)
BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Yeah, yeah, it's a dark and stormy night. Road's washed out...
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Hello?
MONDELLO: ...Phone's gone dead...
(SOUNDBITE OF OFF-HOOK TONE)