Monthly Archives: October 2016

948-dark-shadows-maggie-barnabas-julia-candle

Episode 948: War Games

“It wasn’t an ordinary dream, it took place at the antique shop.”

You can always tell when a new actor feels comfortable on Dark Shadows, because all of a sudden there’s a lot more noise coming from that direction. Chris Pennock has been on the show for a few weeks now, and he’s getting one of those full-court-press episode streaks that they sometimes do for new villains when they’re just getting started. Overgrown teen tyrant Jeb Hawkes appears in 18 out of 20 episodes in his first four weeks, and in the ones where he doesn’t appear, they spend the whole time talking about him anyway.

And it’s here, in his thirteenth episode, that they’ve managed to convince him to stop worrying about his sense memory and animal work. You’re a villain on Dark Shadows. Just start shouting.

Continue reading Episode 948: War Games

947-dark-shadows-werewolf-jeb-chair

Episode 947: A Helping Hound

“It’s obvious that secrets are now allowed.”

Ben Cross can’t do it, Johnny Depp can’t do it, Alec Newman and Andrew Collins can’t do it. I love ’em all, except for Ben Cross, but nobody, I mean nobody, can be Barnabas Collins except Jonathan Frid.

I will now demonstrate, using a three-round prizefight between Count Dracula and common sense.

Continue reading Episode 947: A Helping Hound

946-dark-shadows-barnabas-mummy

Episode 946: Universal Monsters

“Be cautious with it! We don’t want a string of strange deaths in our group.”

But it’s the age old story, isn’t it? Man comes into contact with something other — something beyond our grasp, beyond understanding, beyond words — and it changes us, occasionally for the better. And we take that encounter, and we turn it into story.

I mean, not this story, obviously. This story is insane. You know how Joseph Campbell and the Mythkateers say that all mythic narratives are just variations on a single great story? Yeah. This is one of the exceptions.

But even the strangest sound has an echo, and here, in the midst of the ragged and unruly Leviathan tale clattering across our screens in double-time, we can reach out and grab hold of another story that’s following a similarly erratic track.

There is another story where Barnabas very gradually fights an otherworldly menace, where Quentin appears and disappears with little consequence, where Maggie experiences carefully controlled doses of mild peril, and where an upsetting reptile pulls the strings, and makes the puppets dance.

This is a story that our people tell. We call it Barnabas, Quentin and the Mummy’s Curse.

Continue reading Episode 946: Universal Monsters

945-carolyn-alexander-protuberances

Episode 945: My Sweet, Sweet Moves

“I don’t understand any of it — or maybe I’m afraid to.”

She had these golden yellow protuberances all over her head, that was the first thing I noticed about her.

I mean, it’s called hair, obviously I know that now, but I was only three weeks old, and I didn’t know all the words for human components yet. I just liked the way that they fell around her face, these tiny tendrils, golden and moist, like she’d dominated a thousand jaundiced worms and made them cling to her head, shaking and sweeping every time she moved, always dancing, sighing in ecstasy at their chance to serve her. She looked like the queen of clotted fluids, empress of all the seeping things that pool in clumps. But she wasn’t, obviously. Not yet.

Continue reading Episode 945: My Sweet, Sweet Moves

944-dark-shadows-flower-werewolf-lunge

Episode 944: Essence and Intelligence and Werewolves

“No, they do make sense! I don’t know why, but they do!”

So apparently it’s written in the book that the Leviathans only have one weakness, which is werewolves.

Now, I get why the Dark Shadows writers have suddenly come to this surprising decision, because they currently have two monster storylines that have nothing to do with each other. The primary storyline is about ancient blasphemies from outer space, who are attempting to rig the presidential election and install Carolyn Stoddard as a teratologically fabulous first lady. The other storyline is about a guy who turns into a werewolf on a regular schedule, and refuses to take even the most basic precautions to avoid bloodshed.

They want to connect these two storylines somehow, so now the Leviathans and the werewolves have a brand-new long-standing feud that dates back to a time before man existed, when there was only essence and intelligence, and none of these shapes that human beings wear today. That’s not me saying that, mind you, that’s dialogue from Dark Shadows. “Before man existed,” the Leviathan guy said, “when there was only essence and intelligence [and werewolves].”

Therefore: Jeb Hawkes, the teen gang leader who can turn into a giant slime-wrapped tentacle monster with glittering eyes and a thousand razor-sharp teeth, is vulnerable to werewolves. Well, I suppose everybody’s vulnerable to werewolves.

Although the other day, we saw Quentin Collins knock Jeb unconscious by hitting him over the head with a vase, so apparently he’s also vulnerable to antiques. And he lives in a place that’s full of antiques! Collinwood has a lot of antiques too, and so does the Old House. Jeb must fear for his life pretty much 24/7.

Continue reading Episode 944: Essence and Intelligence and Werewolves

943-jeb-maggie-green

Episode 943: From Within

“To think that on this night, this strange night, you might have come back to us in that dreadful condition.”

Well, Maggie Evans is all locked up again, as part of the Leviathan party’s continuing war on women. Well, on one woman in particular.

Three weeks ago, Maggie found herself on the far side of a door in the strange desert otherworld known as Collinwood’s secret passages, being menaced by an untamed teenage slime god who was pursuing some kind of board-game related vendetta. After three days of confinement, Maggie managed a daring escape by waiting for somebody to open the door for her.

Now she’s locked up again, this time in a crypt, by a zombie and an assassin and a guy with a box. So it’s just like the good old days, isn’t it, when Ron Sproat would bring the story to a screeching halt by locking up a pretty girl and keeping her there, while everyone else walks in circles and talks to police officers over the phone.

Continue reading Episode 943: From Within

940-dark-shadows-poison

Episode 940: Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Give an Ascot

“We’ll have to use trickery, or force!”

“I think it would be appropriate that we seal our agreement with a drink,” says Barnabas, which is the sneaky code that fictional people use for I am about to poison you.

So he goes into the back room of the antiques shop, which has no functional furniture except for a flat surface that’s holding a decanter and two glasses. This is the alcoholic equivalent of the radio on Gilligan’s Island that only has news reports about Gilligan’s island related material.

Barnabas pours out two glasses of whatever liquid that happens to be, and then adds a generous measure of deadly nightshade that he’s carrying around in an inside pocket for just such an occasion.

Stepping back out into the open air, Barnabas hands the poisoned drink to Jeb Hawkes, the negasonic teenage warhead currently threatening everything that he holds dear. Jeb proposes a sinister toast and raises the glass to his lips, and then we go to the opening titles.

When we come back, Jeb gulps down the poison and says mmmm, yummy, and he doesn’t die or get sick or even notice that anything’s amiss, and everyone just forgets about it, because Jeb is the new hotness and shut up.

Continue reading Episode 940: Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy, They First Give an Ascot