Episode 1236: Infrequently Asked Questions About the Collins Family Curse

“It’s not difficult to die! Did you know that?”

#1: Why is it still happening? Brutus Collins, invoking the curse in 1680 after murdering two family members and his best friend, said: “It shall not end, until that time that someone spends a night in this spot, and survives with his sanity!” Well, Morgan spent a night on that spot three weeks ago, and he’s alive and sane, judging by the local standards for sanity. He’s currently parked on the sofa, drinking his morning tea. That means the curse is over, it’s been over for weeks, it wasn’t that big of a deal in the first place, and nobody has to listen to Brutus Collins anymore.

#2. Why hasn’t the family investigated the spooky room before? Julia asks Morgan what it was like when he spent the night in the cursed bedroom, and instead of answering the question that you’d think they would have thoroughly discussed at the post-possession debrief, he decides to take her on a field trip. She’s taken aback, but he says, “It’s at night that it’s dangerous. We’d be perfectly safe in the daylight.” If that’s true, then they should have been breaking down the barely-hidden secret door and spelunking down the secret stairs for over a century. What have they been doing all this time?

#3. Why are James and Amanda’s bodies still down in Brutus’ secret records room, dusty but otherwise preserved? Brutus killed them in the 1680 flashback we saw last week, and then injected them with something and said their spirits would be trapped here forever, but — not to put too fine a point on it — why exactly did he do that?

#4. Morgan says that he touched the body of James, and in that moment of contact, James possessed him. He cautions Julia not to touch the bodies, or she might be possessed as well. How does that work? Melanie is occasionally possessed by the spirit of Amanda, but Melanie doesn’t touch the corpse; it just happens. When Amanda’s done possessing Melanie, does her spirit head back downstairs to the secret records room?

#5. While I’m on the subject, they say that Melanie is possessed by Amanda when she goes into her strange fits and tries to kill people with a knife, but the Amanda that we saw in the flashback was perfectly nice. She didn’t support what Brutus was doing, not least because he killed her and her boyfriend, and trapped their spirits in their undecaying corpses. Why is she interested in killing people for him?

#6. Julia wants to give the bodies a Christian burial — despite the fact that Morgan just said they can’t touch them — and Morgan says, “No, we can’t take them anywhere. That’s not in Brutus’ plans for them.” That should be a good thing; we’re supposed to be opposed to Brutus’ plans. Sometimes I think that Morgan is actually on Brutus’ side.

#7. By the way, where did all the secret records go? Last time we were down in the secret records room, there were secret records piled up all over the place. Did Brutus build a backup enormous hidden cavern for his secret records that nobody who lives at Collinwood has ever noticed?

#8. While Morgan and Julia are discussing the bodies, Brutus turns the lights out and slams the door shut, locking them in. Why does he do that? This seems to be outside the confines of the curse. Also, Morgan said that there was no danger in the daytime. You see what I mean, about Morgan?

#9. Why does Gabriel have to report to the principal’s office? He’s casually sauntering down the main staircase after robbing Catherine at knifepoint, in no particular hurry to leave the scene of the crime. Then he’s caught short by a call over the loudspeaker from Brutus, saying, “Gabriel, it is not yet time to go. Gabriel, come to me! Do you hear me? Come to me! Come to me! You will find out! Come to me! Come to me! Come to me!”

So Gabriel turns right around and walks back upstairs, straight into the police dragnet that should be set up on the second story landing, if these people had any kind of problem-solving skills. But the real question is, why did Brutus wait for Gabriel to walk all the way downstairs before telling him to come back up?

#10. Melanie finds Morgan and Julia in the secret records room and lets them out, hurrah. Morgan says that they’ll have to do something about the bodies down in that room, and Melanie says, “But Morgan, if we do something, it might make him even angrier, even more dangerous. And what would happen to us then? Morgan, what would happen then?” I have a better question: what is happening to you now?

#11. Also, what is happening to the cameras? I swear, it’s practically impossible for me to take a decent screenshot these days. There is more than one camera in operation at ABC Studio 16 which is currently incapable of getting a clear picture of the actors. This should be obvious to the camera operators, the director and everyone in the control room. Why do the lighting directors even show up for work? Have they really all given up, to this extent?

#12. Reporting to the spooky room, Gabriel finds a knife sitting on a surface of some kind. (Seriously, the cameras.) It appears to be the same knife that Gabriel has used in the past to assault his family members; in fact, Gabriel used it for exactly that purpose literally four minutes ago when he traded it to Catherine for something shiny. Why is this being played as a pivotal moment in his criminal career?

#13. Why does Gabriel need personalized instruction in the art of picking up a knife, and sprinting in the direction of his nearest and dearest? He’s been menacing people since episode 1227, all on his own.

#14. Why is Brutus standing in a hole? They did such a good job with the Chromakey bodies in the secret records room, but every time they try to overlay Louis Edmonds onto the screen, they can’t get him in the right position. They figured out how to do this three years ago, and after some rough initial experimentation, they settled into an effective technique that they’ve used dozens of times. In March 1971, Dark Shadows probably does more Chromakey shots than any other scripted television show; they’re the industry leaders in this area. So why can’t they get Brutus in the right spot, several episodes in a row?

#15. Explain this: “Make no mistake, Gabriel! You are my servant, and will do my bidding! It pleases me to see them all die! And you will kill them, one by one, with that knife! And anyone who thwarts me will die!” Presumably, this overrides the curse: instead of having a lottery and choosing one person from each generation, Brutus has now decided to directly slaughter every member of the family right now. So if this fails, as it will, is the family curse still in effect? If so, why?

#16. Catherine tells Morgan that Gabriel came after her with a knife, and Morgan says that he’ll get Quentin and search for the assailant. “No, let him go!” she says. “If he can find some kind of peace away from Collinwood, then let him find it!” What? He hasn’t even left the house yet. Does Catherine have trouble with object permanence?

#17. Catherine says that they should leave Collinwood forever, because this house is full of lunatics and they’ll probably be murdered. Morgan replies, “We are all cursed, and where we go, we take it with us. So, you see, it does no one any good to run away: not you, not me, not Gabriel!” Is there any actual evidence that the curse would follow them, if they left the house? It doesn’t even affect the people next door. Brutus’ fiendish plan to massacre the family involves a knife; his civilization hasn’t even developed ranged weapons yet. Has anyone actually tried to run away, or burn the house down?

#18. How does this new “kill everyone with a knife” policy advance Brutus’ long-term goals? When he set up the curse in 1680, he said that it was designed to identify the person who was worthy of the name Collins. Is that still part of the overall strategy?

#19. How does a single ghost have the power to create this complicated live-action role-playing game? The most destructive ghost that we’ve seen up to now was Gerard, who destroyed the house using a team of pirate zombies and then ruled the ruins for several decades, but even he didn’t do something as breathtakingly weird as giving people the plague, and then curing them on command, just to prove a point.

#20. So far, as a result of this stupid curse, three Collins family members have died in the spooky room, not counting little Tim Braithewaite, and three others went insane and then died afterwards. That makes at least six ancestors who are just as pissed off with Brutus as Brutus is with everyone else. Why can’t they gang up on him?

#21. And when you think about it, do angry ghosts even make sense, as a concept in literature? Who wants to haunt and punish their own descendants?

#22. I mean, if someone from the distant past was angry, then the people that they were angry at are long gone. Being furious at your own great-great-grandchildren says more about you and your long-term parenting skills than anything else.

#23. So let’s say you’ve got nine weeks to tell a ghost story about a family being haunted by a murderous curse, and the whole thing hinges on the ancestral backstory having some dramatic punch behind it. Why would you go ahead with it, if the backstory that you have doesn’t make any logical, metaphorical or emotional sense? Or at least fix the cameras.

Tomorrow: Chekhov’s Sword.


Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

Catherine cries, “Killing you — killing me won’t get you away from here!”

When the scene shifts from the establishing shot of Collinwood at night to Gabriel walking down the foyer stairs, there’s a flash of green.

After Gabriel leaves the spooky room holding the knife, Brutus is supposed to do his evil echo-laugh, but he doesn’t. Brutus starts laughing too late, and the reverb is switched off halfway through as the next scene starts.

Gabriel asks Melanie, “Didn’t you know there were many secrets and panels, all over this house?”

Here’s the opposite of a blooper, something that they did quite effectively that I want to point out. In Act 1, Morgan and Julia are looking at the bodies of James and Amanda, who are Chromakeyed into the scene. The Chromakey footage was pretaped, because Keith Prentice is playing both Morgan and James in the scene. When the lights suddenly go out for Morgan and Julia, the lights on the bodies dim too, just at the right time. It’s a nice moment, well planned and executed. It’s deeply strange that they can get this right, and they still can’t put Brutus in the right place.

Tomorrow: Chekhov’s Sword.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

20 thoughts on “Episode 1236: Infrequently Asked Questions About the Collins Family Curse

  1. I think Danny’s put more thought into this than Gordon did.
    I do think I’ve come up with an answer as to why I hate this so much more now than when I first saw it 10 years ago. I went back and reread all of the 1841PT posts. When I got to 1211, it finally sank in that the lottery is an allegory for covid. We’re isolated from our family, quarantined in a room as we lose our minds. (That may just be me.) And Bramwell? He’s now supposedly super-rich. He’s unpleasant, belligerant, self-centered. He treats women badly. He thinks everyone should give in to his desires. And he gets a happy ending while good people die. I’ve had to put up with this guy for four years. I’ve had enough.
    Reception theory is a totally valid thing.

    1. Have you watched the movie “What We Do in the Shadows”?

      “Leave me to do my dark bidding on the Internet!”
      “What are you bidding on?”
      “A table!”

      1. Have you watched the movie “What We Do in the Shadows”?

        Seriously, that show has ruined ghosts for me forever!

      2. No, I haven’t. Several people have told me about that movie, but you’re the first to inform me of that scene. Thanks!

  2. I can answer questions 1-10 and 17. This episode is variations on a theme, and that theme is immobilization. No one can leave the house, no one can change the way they relate to the people around them, and even if they die their bodies won’t decompose. Why not? Because they’ve got a contract that runs another two weeks, and if they try to do anything different that insane spirit of the darker realms known as Dan Curtis will appear and force them to keep typing.

    For my part, I consider Gordon Russell’s thinly-veiled autobiography in this episode to be a refreshing turn. He spent last week’s episodes looking for bits of the show that it was possible to like and systematically ruining them for us. Morgan and Flora had a couple of scenes together that were fun to watch? We’ll have Morgan and Flora play a mind-bruisingly stupid scene. Kate Jackson is charismatic and Daphne is an intelligent character? We’ll show her ordering people to stop caring about her, and then we’ll have her play a death scene after which we announce that she isn’t dead yet. Bramwell and Catherine are so far over the top in their narcissism that you can either work up hate for them or find unintentional humor in their dialogue? We’ll have endless scenes where they mope around, wallowing in guilt and being helpless.

  3. A brilliant summary, Danny, of all the broken pieces of what’s left in the final days of this series. This episode seemed especially painful because nothing made sense. Oh, and may I add this: Why did they so often make it look like electricity was available in 1841 PT (for example, the “lights” suddenly going out in the secret room with Julia and Morgan)?

  4. Morgan: “Are you sure you want to go in there?”
    Julia: “W-We’ve come this far, Morgan. We should go on.”

    All they did was walk upstairs, enter Brutus’ bedroom, and walk across to the other side. I guess after such an arduous journey, doubts about whether they should continue their voyage was only natural.

    After Brutus locked Morgan and Julia in the Accounting Room of Death, she starts freaking out and says, “He sent us into this room.” What??? Morgan decided to take her there and she agreed. Brutus was busy, deep in his own insane thoughts, when they intruded into his domain.

    I had to laugh when Julia freaked out later, and Morgan had to slap her to get her to stop. I wonder if Grayson Hall asked for that scene to get written just to have something fun to do….. It certainly didn’t seem characteristic of Julia to lose it. She’d already kidnapped a person, buried another, had someone else bury another, forcing Carrie to bend to her will, and had no problem lying to Melanie about everything with a straight, unblinking face.

    When Gabriel approached Catherine, she opened her eyes to glance at his crotch for a moment before looking up.

    Later, Brutus shimmied part way up, but not all the way, to his bedroom to yell at Gabriel. I guess Brutus wanted to prove he’d gone insane by commanding Gabriel to kill all of his enemies and those who crossed him (which is essentially everyone). Since Brutus’ feet were between floors, he was not as intimidating as he could have been. He also has a Chromakey bug on his forehead. An odd thing is his bedroom appeared to have more light than before, despite none of the candles being lit in the candelabra above his head.

    Gabriel’s willingness to show he was worthy of being commanded to kill everyone didn’t mean he WAS worthy. Unfortunately, he didn’t know stabbing a person in the shoulder isn’t usually lethal. Thus, what was portrayed as potentially suspenseful when his first victim of the day, Melanie, was stabbed, ends up as a deep quiescence until the next episode.

    btw First Morgan and Julia, then Gabriel, and finally Melanie all entered Brutus’ bedroom. Did I miss something? Wasn’t his bedroom supposed to be locked? As far as I can see, the original curse, which included the lottery, was still in effect. Brutus just added the extra bonus round with the inept Gabriel as his stabbing monkey. However the Curse of Collinwood is still being enforced, right?

    1. When Gabriel approached Catherine, she opened her eyes to glance at his crotch for a moment before looking up.

      That’s because there was either a hole in the crotch of his pants, or he left the fly unzipped.

  5. #1: The curse is not ended because they didn’t follow the lottery rules. Gabriel was chosen but didn’t spend the night; Catherine was chosen next but Morgan went in her place. I’m guessing Brutus wrote detailed instructions on how the curse would work, and the family isn’t playing right.

    #2: Morgan is incorrect that Brutus’ chambers are harmless. AT ANY TIME. Brutus is a world-class prick and should NOT be trusted. Previous generations of Collinses had the sense to stay clear, but Morgan is an idiot.

    #3: Brutus has used a preservative that’s got some provenance. The Twilight Zone episode ‘Elegy’ featured an ‘eternifying’ serum; and the 1966 film ‘Circus of Fear’ had a similar venal potion. How the spirits were “trapped” is a separate issue; maybe Brutus got some Umba Umba juice from those cartoon pirates?
    The reason for it? Because Brutus Collins is EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVEEILL! Moooooohahahahahahaha!
    My questions are – – those two have been there a hundred and sixty years. they’ve got some cheesecloth cobwebs on them. I can’t go two weeks without vacuuming or the dust balls are like tumbleweeds. Did Brutus put in an air purifier with a HEPA filter? And what of Constance, his inconstant sister? Is she over in the archive room with the records of Brutus’ previous double dealings? Or is she a skeleton with glass eyeballs and a wig?

    #4: Morgan was possessed because he looks uncannily like James (some coincidence, eh?); but again, Morgan is incorrect about the touch being the catalyst. Remember that Morgan is an idiot.

    #5: Has it been (or will it be) established that Melanie is intermittently possessed by Amanda? Maybe it’s just one aspect of Amanda. The batshit out of her gourd part? Maybe being trapped there for 160 years made her… cranky.
    And was it confirmed that Melanie was IN the haunted room with Justin? Maybe she just got some collateral damage from Justin’s crazy-fying.

    #6: See answers #2 and #4. Morgan is an idiot. I cannot stress that enough.

    #7: Brutus may have decided that leaving all that paper trail lying around was just asking for trouble; after all, Forsythe found his way in, someone else might. Besides, this room was going to be his carcassarium now. So he destroyed them. After all, he wasn’t going to need to show them to anyone; not like he’d be running for president.
    Or he modernized and had all that bulky quill-and-parchment uploaded to the cloud. Admittedly this is a long shot.

    #8: See answer #2. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVEEILL! Moooooohahahahahahaha!
    Besides, they need a cliffhanger for the commercial break.

    #9: #9: #9: #9: #9: #9: (Sorry. Sixties flashback. That happens sometimes.)
    Brutus has manifested in other rooms in and around Collinwood.  So why doesn’t he just ChromaKey into the foyer? (It’s not because  of the knife – – Brutus put that there in the room so he can materialize it anyplace.) I’m thinking it’s a power trip thing, Brutus gets off on making Gabriel walk all the way to HIM, AND forcing him to go into the scary room. (Why is the door unlocked? I thought that was a big deal, keeping the damned door locked.) But why does any of this have to happen? Can’t Brutus just wipe them all out with The Plague? How come that was a big deal ‘the other day’ and now it’s just gone?

    #10: The bad you’re in always seems better than the bad you MIGHT get in the future.
    Wasn’t Morgan gassing to Julia about NOT doing anything with the uncanny corpses? Now he wants to kick them to the curb.
    And just how did Melanie suddenly come prowling into the abandoned wing?

    #11: The camera is bad because it’s the one that Wide World of  Sports left them after Peggy Fleming crashed into it while performing a triple axel.
    Why is there so much light in the abandoned wing of Collinwood anyhow?  That staircase to the secret room is brightly lit, and there’s not a candle in sight.
    And is that bookcase in the corner from David’s bedroom?

    #12: This IS a pivotal moment in Gabriel’s criminal career. Up to now, he’s been freelancing – – now he’s got a ghost bossing him around. (Again – – EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVEEILL! Moooooohahahahahahaha!)

    #13: See #12.
    Brutus is one of those ‘bossy’ bosses who feels that underlings should be over directed whenever possible. (EEEEEEEEEEEEE- oh, forget it.)
    Is Gabriel still wearing Tim Braithwaite’s clothing?

    #14: Possibly they’re trying to establish that Brutus is very short and as a result has a Napoleon complex?
    Or perhaps Brutus is in a hole. (See Monty Python’s ‘Scott Of The Sahara’ sketch, specifically when Miss Vanilla Whore (who played Mrs. Jesus Christ in a geological syncline) walks off the set in a rage.)
    Speaking of holes, Brutus has a small hole in his forehead; not enough makeup to cover the shine, burning a spot on the camera.

    #15: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVEEILL! Moooooohahahahahahaha! And I reiterate, why doesn’t he just send THE PLAGUE?  Gabriel seems like an imperfect vessel for this. (To quote the Cowardly Lion, “What if… what if… she kills us first?”)

    #16: As far as Catherine knows, Gabriel’s taken her jewelry and is currently fencing it in Collinsport at Ye Olde Pawnbroker, on his way to starting a new life in Boston.

    #17: Didn’t someone mention that the ‘running away’ scenario had been tried by an ancestor? I thought Quentin had said something to that effect. Besides, if that WAS the case, wouldn’t the family have just evacuated to the Old House? (Which, if PT Collinwood was built a couple hundred years earlier, should be called The Ludicrously Old House.)

    #18. Actually Brutus never thought the stupid thing would go this far. But these Collins are a tenacious lot, somehow managing to sire enough progeny to make another generation happen. This latest bunch is the worst, always yelling and never keeping decent hours.
    His main mistake seems to be in giving the mission to Gabriel, who does bring some good crazy to the table, but lacks the skills to make the kills. Brutus gave a good speech, got his supporter fired up; but then the insurrection got botched. (C’mon, Gabriel! The shoulder? And not even a follow-up stab, say to the chest? Or the shin?)

    #19: In truth, Brutus has been pretty much lording over the PT Collins family for 160 years, give or take. James Forsythe mentioned strange potions, powders and chants; he might be working on a vaccine.
    But this plot sure could have used some pirates. Didn’t even need to be zombies.

    #20: Tim has just as much right to be peeved as anyone else! One minute you’re there with your buddy, taking off all your clothes (I think we’ve all been THERE before), next minute he ditches you and some ‘Daddy’ type is coming at you. Talk about a ‘bait & switch’!
    But Brutus has those supernatural powers; I guess he can fend off a few paltry ghosts with his commanding shout of, “BACK! BACK TO YOUR TOMB!”
    And in case you’ve forgotten – –
    EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVEEILL! Moooooohahahahahahaha!
    (Oh, that’s just my explanation for everything!)

    #21: Literary ghosts are generally a pretty discontented lot, if memory serves. But they’re mostly peeved about how they died, and who killed them.  And lots of them haunt their descendants, usually because they need their help in finding rest or righting some wrong.
    And wasn’t Quentin originally trying to eradicate the Collins family before B&J took him on? (Say, since history was changed, does that mean Janet Findley and Ezra Braithwaite are still alive? I mean alive again? I mean… you know what I mean.)

    #22: Ah, but Brutus gave out with the double dose of vaccine and made the spirits of James and Amanda stick around so he could torment them (I think. Something like that anyhow.) The lottery thing was just there in case he got bored. And besides (all together now) EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVEEILL! Moooooohahahahahahaha!

    #23: Um, uh…
    Okay, I got nothing. A better ghost story MIGHT have helped this tedious lottery thing, but that was never how DS worked. 1795 didn’t follow up on what had been established previously, even when the writers tried to shoehorn the old story in. Adam’s loopy existence ended up kind  of evaporating. Dream Curse? Feh. 1890s worked better, but then dropped the ball going back to the ‘repaired’ 1970 (did they remember evil Quentin or not?). Don’t get me started on the Leviathans; that got so botched they had to have emergency surgery on the plot. PT1970 meandered through bits of plot that didn’t go anywhere; 1990 promised what Gerard’s haunting didn’t deliver, and in turn what 1840 completely garbled. None of it was planned in detail, they were effectively trying to build a ship while they were sailing it.
    But we watched it and made repairs in our own imaginations, because it was fun to watch and there simply wasn’t anything else like it.

    1. “Trying to build a ship while they were sailing it “is the best summary metaphor for this whole series yet! And, yes–we made repairs in our own imaginations. Part of our loyalty became our investment in those repairs.

    2. But we watched it and made repairs in our own imaginations, because it was fun to watch and there simply wasn’t anything else like it.

      True, and I know I’ve seen this sequence twice but the first was on video and the second was streaming, and “binge watching” simply did not leave time for too much pondering — I just plunged ahead with the next episode which still has the familiar equation of atmosphere + music + actors + sets + etc. = the one-and-only Dark Shadows, even when the sum is lower than usual.

      And it’s not like DS has never tried our patience before. I think anyone who gets past the (soporifically repetitive) Dream Curse has been well-conditioned to take whatever DS dishes out in the rest of its episodes.

  6. “Here’s the opposite of a blooper, something that they did quite effectively that I want to point out. In Act 1, Morgan and Julia are looking at the bodies of James and Amanda, who are Chromakeyed into the scene. The Chromakey footage was pretaped, because Keith Prentice is playing both Morgan and James in the scene. When the lights suddenly go out for Morgan and Julia, the lights on the bodies dim too, just at the right time. It’s a nice moment, well planned and executed. It’s deeply strange that they can get this right, and they still can’t put Brutus in the right place.”

    Finally, a technical thingy that I can comment on. I had lots of experience working with chromakey effects back in the late 70s/early 80s.

    The footage of Julia and Morgan was shot first and then James and Amanda were chromakeyed in. Back then you couldn’t use pre-taped sequences as the chromakey source. By this I mean that you couldn’t tape James and Amanda first and they key them over Julia and Morgan, but you could do it the other way around. These days, you can.

    Nevertheless, the effect of the lights going out was a good one considering how things were done back then.

    As for expert use of chromakey, the Children’s Television Workshop did some excellent sequences on both Sesame Street and especially The Electric Company. The latter premiered in 1971 with spectacular chromakey effects. The main difference is that both shows shot each of their segments separately and then assembled the full episodes in the videotape editing rooms. If their chromakey looked bad, they simply reshot it until they got it right. I am friends with a couple of the actors who appeared on the show, and they said the one thing they hated hearing was “Cut! Chromakey tear.” That meant that they would be standing around waiting for the technicians to solve the problem. Our Dark Shadows crew was not that fortunate.

    Anyway, here’s an example of some spectacular chromakey from a 1972 Electric Company segment. This is one complicated piece in which they were able to use pre-recorded footage for chromakeying in front of Judy Graubart, who was singing the song in this bit.
    (And Dark Shadow’s own Denise Nickerson appears as Allison, who is running backwards.) This just goes to show what could be done just a year later with time and money.

  7. Regarding the awful camera problems, I do know that ABC sports used the cameras the weekends, and they must have taken quite a beating. My guess is that at this point, ABC knew the show was toast and didn’t see any point in holding up production to fix the cameras. I’m sure Lela Swift voiced her concerns, but Dan Curtis was too involved with Night of Dark Shadows and ABC probably made sure that the bad cameras went to the DS studio, and not to the newer New York soaps (One Life to Live and All My Children) whose ratings were growing.

  8. Damn. About halfway through this post I thought, “Why don’t they just burn the house down and get rid of the curse that way?” only to find you’d anticipated me a couple of paragraphs later. Hell, the PT Collinses could just abandon the house and leave town – it wouldn’t be the first mansion they’d left derelict!

  9. Another moment of madness that made me chuckle; when Morgan and Julia are hopelessly Sproatnapped, it seems as if they take turns pounding hysterically at the door, shouting for help. I sincerely hope that Julia’s also had a chance to crack Morgan across the chops when he gets too freaky… fair is fair, after all.

  10. Last night I had a dream. An elderly woman, perhaps 92 years old, is preparing to give a talk on time travel at a conference. Because of the pandemic, she will give her talk via zoom. She gives her talk, not speaking of her own time travel experience per se, but rather speaking about the several ways one can travel through time. She is Dr. Julia Hoffman. Taking questions from the audience, she expertly shades the truth about her own experience. The audience observes that her zoom image is perfectly lit. As she ends, she thanks the audience and people start leaving the zoom room. Just as she hears someone call out “Julia,” she looks and sees what appears to be a familiar face, unaged. She spots the name “V. Bradford” just as the moderator hits “End Conference.” “Could it have been…?” she thinks. “And how will I find her?”

  11. Why did they even bother to chromakey James and Amanda’s bodies in the secret records room? After the initial scene, we see two dummies obscured by the fake cobwebs encasing them.

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