“Are you serious about trusting your secret to her?”
You know that your climactic vampire reveal is not all that it could be, when you raise the lid of the coffin and do the dramatic music cue, and then one character turns to the other and says, “Who is it?” That can’t be what they were going for.
Continue reading Episode 1106: Lady Is a Vamp
“You don’t know how much I’d like to have been in that crypt.”
“I didn’t know what else I was going to do,” says Dan Curtis, Dark Shadows’ executive producer and driving force. “I couldn’t think of another idea.” This is from an early-2000s interview for the DVD box sets.
“I was becoming very disenchanted, right along with the audience. Probably, over the last six months of that film — people didn’t see a lot of me, during that last six months of the show.”
So there’s a Freudian slip for you — when Dan looks back at this period, he can’t help thinking about the thing he really cared about, which was the Dark Shadows films.
“I was just hoping it was going to end,” he continues. “I just wanted to move on. I couldn’t squeeze my brain any harder to come up with one more story, and I wanted to move on and out.”
You can tell that we’re approaching that last-six-months mark, because they’re currently doing scenes from House of Dark Shadows as if they’re part of the show. For today’s episode, they drag poor Willie Loomis back out of retirement, so he can shine his flashlight through the door of a darkened crypt, and find the coffin of the vampire who’s killing Maggie Evans. They might as well put up a chyron saying “House of Dark Shadows, currently in theaters”.
So it’s worth asking the question: How do you run out of ideas for a soap opera, a genre that’s specifically designed to run forever?
Continue reading Episode 1105: The Burning Question
“You will not be able to do anything to this house unless you deal with me first!”
At the top of the show today, mad medico Dr. Julia Hoffman rushes into her patient’s bedroom to announce, “Daphne is the one who is to be murdered, and the destruction of Rose Cottage — will be tonight!”
This is welcome news, because these characters have been discussing the destruction of Rose Cottage for weeks and weeks; it’s a pivotal moment in the story that I can’t wait for them to pivot to.
Alarmed, Barnabas gasps, “Julia, we need to get help!”
“But who can help us?”
“Possibly Sebastian,” he answers, as the other one hundred percent of the world asks, In what way?
Continue reading Episode 1104: The Burning
“If Gerard stays dead, he’ll haunt us for the rest of our lives!”
“Daphne, I’ve been trying to identify something,” Julia says, waving an ornament in the young woman’s face. “I wonder if you would help me. This medallion — look at it, have you ever seen anything like it before?”
Nonplussed, Daphne says, “No, I don’t think I have. Why?”
“Well, look at it more closely,” Julia urges. “It’s very old, I thought it might be familiar to you.”
“I’m certain I’ve never seen it before,” Daphne says, but I have — a bunch of times, back in 1967.
Continue reading Episode 1103: The Center of the Light
“Julia, you were doing more than just sleeping.”
Hey, do you remember Maggie Evans? There used to be a character on Dark Shadows called Maggie Evans. She used to be pretty important, and there’s actually a whole Dark Shadows movie about her. But she’s been having a rough couple weeks, and I think we ought to take a minute to check in on her.
Continue reading Episode 1102: More Than Just Sleeping
“You are to do nothing to Carrie’s dollhouse!”
The night of the sun and the moon, she said. The night Rose Cottage was destroyed, she said. The unfinished horoscope, the night I sang my song, the picnic and the murder, she said. I want to help you fight Gerard, she said. And now it turns out most of those clues don’t matter, and she’s on Gerard’s side anyway. Well, live and learn.
Continue reading Episode 1101: The Super Determined
“I must not allow him to be let loose in the world again!”
This was supposed to be simple. All Gerard had to do was wangle an invite to his friend Quentin’s house, get the family’s governess to fall in love with him, make sure that he died along with the governess and the two children in the house, wait a hundred and thirty years until there was a pair of descendants who looked exactly like the dead kids, fill their bedrooms with haunted hypnoclothes, force them to perform a ritual in their bedroom that brings the governess back to life, and then force all three of them to perform another ritual, which will bring Gerard back to life. Easy-peasy, mes amis.
But there’s a teensy snagette in this plan, namely: what if Willie Loomis comes in at the last minute and interrupts the second ritual? It turns out even the best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley; maybe we need to get a couple more mice up in here.
Continue reading Episode 1100: Gang Aft Agley
“You know, there’s enough weird stuff going around on this house without you two spookin’ around.”
The spirits that live in the rafters of Collinwood have been more uppity than usual lately. The children of this haunted house, possessed by the ghosts of previous children, have been conducting secret chalk-and-candle rituals in the small hours, trying to bring even more ghosts into the house, and then those ghosts are going to want a turn. This is why everybody talks about immigration reform.
“We could be so happy if Daphne was here with us,” says one of the dreamers. “This house is so different.”
“It’s the same house we once knew,” says the other.
“Oh, no, it’s so strange, so ugly,” says the first. “Do you remember how it used to be, with the candles, and the sound of the spinnet?”
So that’s where I draw the line, really. Nobody asked these people to move in. If they’re not interested in participating in our century, then they can feel free to go back to whatever hell realm they crawled out of.
The sound of the spinnet. I mean, honestly.
Continue reading Episode 1099: Damsel of the Damned
“This possession is only part of a larger plan.”
Dark Shadows is trying to fracture the cosmos, I think; that’s the only possible explanation. Their movie just came out and they don’t really want to be on TV anymore, but they’re too proud to admit it, so they’re going to burn down the world and take everything else with them. Somebody ought to do something about this. Not me, obviously, I’m too busy arguing with my television.
Continue reading Episode 1098: The Lie Lock
“Why can’t I understand my own behavior?”
They died young, is the problem. I don’t know what they died of, but the leading cause of death for children at Collinwood is ghosts, so I assume that Tad and Carrie were probably possessed by a matching set of identical ancestors from the 1720s. Eager to pay it forward, they’ve lurked in the crawlspaces and hidey-holes of the great estate, waiting for another pair of gullible travelers to happen by. And so the cycle of life continues, in a way.
Continue reading Episode 1097: Dawn of the Honey Badger