Monthly Archives: April 2015

637 dark shadows jeff vicki disappear

Episode 637: Bury Me a Little

“If you marry me, it’ll be like marrying a corpse.”

Ladies, I get it. The dating scene is hard. Sometimes, it feels like a guy is stringing you along, and maybe the relationship isn’t going anywhere, but it’s hard to know when it’s time to just cut your losses and move on.

However.

Jeff:  Oh, Vicki. I wish I had your faith. We’ve got so little time together.

Vicki:  Don’t say that!

Jeff:  But it’s true. Even though you can see me and touch me, and I can hold you in my arms — I don’t exist, here and now.

That, right there? That’s your cue to re-evaluate, before you wind up as another chapter in He’s Just Not That Into Time Traveling With You.

I mean, there has to be a guy out there who, at the very least, has a better excuse.

Continue reading Episode 637: Bury Me a Little

1991 dark shadows angelique hover

Time Travel, part 4: I Was Just Noticing Your Harpoon Collection

“She’s not like other people. She never was.”

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s not actually Thanksgiving for me, and it’s probably not Thanksgiving for you, but it is for the housewives, teenagers, assorted mental cases and inadequately supervised middle schoolers who make up the 1968 Dark Shadows audience.

On pre-emption days, I take a look at the 1991 Dark Shadows revival series, because apparently I don’t know what’s good for me. Here’s the rundown so far:

Episode 1 : Mostly gimmick shots, indoor mist, no clear idea what the purpose or tone of the show should be.

Episode 2 : Mostly about sweat and sexy biting time, including several ideas borrowed from House of Dark Shadows which weren’t even good the first time.

Episode 3 : Hot tentacles stretch upwards.

Okay, is everybody oriented now? Happy Thanksgiving. Let’s begin.

Continue reading Time Travel, part 4: I Was Just Noticing Your Harpoon Collection

633 dark shadows maggie black mass

Episode 633/634: All Our Dead Have Turned Into Skeletons

“Your powers, Mr. Blair. Where are they now?”

Okay, so that happened.

Nicholas Blair, who we might as well call the Big Bad until something Big Worse comes along, has realized that he’s going to be transferred back to the home office in the Netherworld pretty soon, and if he wants to hold on to his girlfriend Maggie, then he needs to put The Ring on it.

So he does what any young lover would do, namely: drug her champagne, carry her downstairs to the bloodstone circle, and recite a romantic selection or two from the Malleus Maleficarum.

Yesterday’s episode is the example that I cite whenever I’m trying to explain how unbelievably weird Dark Shadows can be, because it’s pretty much the furthest they ever go in this particular direction. Not because it doesn’t work (although it doesn’t, really) — just because at this point there is literally nowhere left to go.

You’ve just shown America’s children how to perform a Black Mass. The only thing you can do after that is run away, screaming You’ll never catch me alive! and laughing maniacally.

Continue reading Episode 633/634: All Our Dead Have Turned Into Skeletons

632 dark shadows nicholas salute

Episode 632: The Owl, the Raven and the Bat

“You will live, as I live — as one of the damned!”

Fall 1968 is a rough time for the Dark Shadows writers, because they’re stuck with a convoluted storyline that just won’t unconvolute. So they’ve embarked on the Great 1968 Wrap-Up, where they shed all of the characters, actors and plotlines that are surplus to requirements, which is practically all of them.

In this time of turbulent change, we turn to the old traditions for comfort. I mean the really old traditions, like dressing up in animal skins and making blood offerings to Asmodeus.

Continue reading Episode 632: The Owl, the Raven and the Bat

631 dark shadows vicki the goat

Episode 631: The Goat

“If you want tomorrow to happen, you will see me now.”

Dark Shadows fans don’t like Betsy Durkin. This is an established fact; ask anyone.

The Dark Shadows audience is unbelievably tolerant when it comes to acting styles — we have to be, it’s a survival skill — but it seems like nobody in the world has a nice thing to say about the actress hired to replace Alexandra Moltke as girl governess Victoria Winters. She doesn’t look right, she doesn’t feel like Vicki, she’s not a good fit for the role. And it seems like the producers agreed, because Betsy only appears in ten episodes, and then they cut her loose. She’s bad at Vicki.

Except that this is not actually the case. Betsy Durkin is fine. There are some serious irritants who pop up on Dark Shadows over the years — like Harry Johnson, who’s in today’s episode, working as hard as he can to ruin his scenes. Betsy is nowhere near that level. Betsy is fine.

So let’s see if we can figure out why fans dislike her so much, as the recently reconstituted sexy vampire boy Tom Jennings climbs in through the window and tries to murder her.

Continue reading Episode 631: The Goat

630 dark shadows vicki peeved

Episode 630: Vicki Ruins Everything

“Oh, I know you’re going to say it’s none of my business, and it isn’t. Except that I’m making it my business!”

Recasts are always tricky on soap operas, by which I mean that they usually turn out to be an alien shapeshifter or some other kind of hoodoo from the notworld, feeding off the audience’s precious life essences for its own malign purposes. Recasts are not to be trusted, and should be handled with extreme caution.

So when we hear the announcement over the credits — “The part of Victoria Winters will be played by Miss Betsy Durkin” — we are on alert. Hackles are raised.

Continue reading Episode 630: Vicki Ruins Everything

629 dark shadows view master colors 2

Episode 629: In Many Somber Colors

“Again, fate took a hand in the form of a woman.”

Have you ever tried to describe a childhood toy to someone, and realized halfway through that time is real, and mortality is real, and you have become super mega tragically old?

Well, if you haven’t, then listen up. This is what it sounds like.

Continue reading Episode 629: In Many Somber Colors

628 dark shadows angelique flames

Episode 628: Horrible Bosses

“I summon you in the name of the charred and blackened stars that reigned at my beginnings!”

Angelique has had enough. She lights a candle.

Prince of Fire, she says, I call upon the flame to summon you. I call up all the dark creatures of nature to summon you here to me.

I summon you in the name of the seven plagues, in the name of the charred and blackened stars that reigned at my beginnings, to rise out of the darkness of the earth!

I call you forth from the mouth of the dragon, and of the beast, and of the false prophet! I call you forth from the subterranean rivers of blood, from the smoke of torment which rises forever and ever!

In the name of every evil spirit — evil, and obedient only to you — I invoke you! Appear to me NOW!

And then she erupts into a furnace of psychedelic Chromakey flames, screaming and pleading for her life.

This is Wednesday, by the way. This is what we do on Wednesdays now.

Continue reading Episode 628: Horrible Bosses