“How strange you all are, to spend your time this way.”
It seems so obvious now, in hindsight, that it’s incredible nobody thought to mention it before.
Adam, the local teenage Frankenstein monster, has fallen for a girl who just wants to be friends, and he’s decided that the only way that he’ll ever be loved is if somebody invents a mate for him. So he’s spent the last two months browbeating Barnabas and Julia, demanding that they set up a mad science lab in the basement, and create a made-to-order corpse bride for him.
They had objections, of course. For one thing, they weren’t sure they knew how to put a body together — Julia was the assistant in the experiment that brought Adam to life, but she wasn’t sure she could manage another project by herself. Then they had to find someone willing to die in order to donate her life force to Adam’s mate, which took forever. The whole process was basically one long hassle, and they took every opportunity to voice their concerns.
But nobody thought to explain to Adam that you can’t just wake up a brand-new woman and tell her that she’s your mate, and expect her to instantly fall madly in love with you. That’s not how women work. Women are super complicated.
Continue reading Episode 597: The Three Faces of Eve
“I know you are men! She is a woman! I know this is a basement!”
They said we were mad, those fools at the Institute, but who’s laughing now? We found a loophole in the laws of nature, thumbed our nose at God — and what’s more, we’ve done it twice. Barnabas and Julia, those celebrated myth makers, have once again stolen fire from the heavens, and gamma-radiated a brand new monster.
And so, with a scream, a sizzle and a sigh, we offload a tedious day player, and zap some life force into our Corpse Bride. At long last, mourning becomes electric.
Continue reading Episode 596: The Spook Fortress
“For a variety of reasons. All of them, I think, quite valid.”
Barnabas Collins is standing around helplessly in the Old House drawing room, constitutionally unable to take a step that will advance the storyline in any meaningful way.
Then there’s a knock at the door, and who should walk in but Leona Eltridge and a Large Teen Idol.
Continue reading Episode 595: Electric Ladyland
“The one that she will try to kill will be you. So, you see, your presence is vital.”
So I guess it’s fair to say at this point that the current Bride of Frankenstein storyline is not setting any land speed records for Dark Shadows. It’s been dragging on for weeks, and the Bride is still just a bandaged-up mannequin, lying on the lab table and not even bothering to decompose.
Still, it’s part of Dark Shadows’ nature that even in its darkest and most shadowy hours, they’ll find something to do that justifies our patience.
Today’s episode is weird and disappointing in several ways, but the cliffhanger sets up one of my favorite lunatic plot contrivances. When I am old and gray, and the world has taken everything from me but my basement murder lab and my hypnotic medallion, I will think of today’s cliffhanger, and a flicker of a smile will play across my careworn features.
Continue reading Episode 594: Weak Shoddy Adversary
“It is true that he tried to kill you, but he was only acting out of fear.”
Carolyn Stoddard is dead, killed by a freak mad science experiment. And that’s just the beginning; the evening gets worse from there.
Choked with rage and grief, Adam the enormous Frankenteen tells Barnabas that he’s heading straight to Collinwood, and he’s going to murder everyone he can find. Then Adam punches Barnabas in the gut, drops him like a bad habit, and makes for the wide open spaces.
Barnabas tries to stagger after the crazed killer, but he can’t even make it to the front door before collapsing into Julia’s arms. She leads him to a chair and tries to help him recover, but Barnabas is desperate. There are three people living at Collinwood — more than that, if you count the help — and they are moments away from being entirely massacred. There’s not a moment to lose.
And hey, you know what? This would be a great moment for somebody to own a fucking telephone.
Continue reading Episode 593: Missing Persons
“I felt it in that room! I felt LIFE being drawn out of me!”
Oh, thank God you’re here.
Seriously, I’m really glad you showed up to read the blog today. Every once in a while, I get scared that everyone will stop reading at the same time, and I’ll be all alone here, just me… and the episode.
Continue reading Episode 592: And The Walls Fell Down
“Adam, this is exactly the conversation I didn’t want to have.”
It seemed like such a good idea at the time.
We’ve got an empty basement, they said. We’ve got an apparatus, and some electricity, and a Mark 7 respirator, and a whole lot of spare time. Let’s go downstairs and make a human woman.
Continue reading Episode 591: The Sound of Science
“You have brought me to the edge of disaster, and I must find a way back.”
This week, we hit another minor milestone in our uncertain and frightening journey through Dark Shadows. It’s one of those trivial production changes that probably nobody notices when they’re watching the show on DVD, but which I will now spend the next few minutes trying to convince you is critical to understanding this period of the show.
The change is: each episode has four commercial breaks, instead of five. I know, I probably should have asked if you were sitting down before springing it on you like that. I hope everybody’s okay out there.
Continue reading Episode 590: This Old House
Today’s the release day for the 13th and final episode of Dark Shadows: Bloodlust, the fantastic new Big Finish audio drama miniseries. I’ve written about the series a couple of times so far, and I want to mark the final release day with a list of 13 reasons why Dark Shadows fans should listen to and enjoy Bloodlust.
Continue reading 13 Reasons Why You Should Buy “Bloodlust”
“Did you see his face?”
It’s a Ron Sproat episode today, which means that nothing really happens, and the dialogue is functional rather than decorative. Plus, it’s Thursday, so they’re really just setting up for the Friday cliffhanger.
I have now watched this episode three times, trying my hardest to find something worthwhile to say about it, and it simply can’t be done. The first act is the same thing that happened yesterday, the third act is the same thing that’s going to happen tomorrow, and the second act is an entirely inert substance.
It’s the kind of episode that you can recognize as being an example of the thing that it is, but it’s so ordinary that it ceases to exist as soon as the credits roll. In other words, this is the Jeremy Renner of Dark Shadows episodes.
So you know how some days I manage to scrape together a blog post that’s a beautiful little slice of postmodern lit-crit poetry, with funny observations and random 1960s trivia and it leads up to a stunning insight that makes you look at the show in a new and surprising way? Well, this is going to be the other kind.
Continue reading Episode 589: In the Fewest Words Possible