“She called your name, and then she became unconscious again.”
One nice thing about being a soap opera character — and overall the benefits are not numerous — is that every once in a while the writers need you to figure something out in a hurry, so they hand the entire solution to you on a platter, whether it makes sense or not.
For example: the Dark Shadows writers have decided that straight-laced Charity Trask needs to know that Quentin, her prospective fiancé, is a werewolf who murders people on the regular. So they’ve arranged an educational tableau for her to discover, on her morning walk through the woods.
Lying on the turf is the unconscious Quentin, with his shirt all ripped up and decorated with blood spatters. A couple feet away, there’s a young woman who we haven’t seen before and aren’t likely to see again, because she’s sporting the telltale fang and claw marks of a werewolf victim.
Feebly, the girl mutters Quentin’s name, and Charity finds the crucial piece of evidence in his hand — he’s clutching a piece of taffeta, torn from the young lady’s dress. There isn’t a sign that says WEREWOLF with an arrow pointing to Quentin, but Charity’s a bright girl. She can put two and two together, especially if one of the two is currently bleeding out on the green burlap that everybody’s agreed to pretend is the ground.
Continue reading Episode 809: Twice Burned
“I don’t understand how to believe these things.”
I talk a lot on this blog about how serialized narrative is natural selection for stories, and when I say that I talk about it a lot, what I really mean is that it’s my incessant catchphrase that I’m really hoping will catch on, because otherwise I don’t know what to do with all these T-shirts I’ve printed up.
Continue reading Episode 808: Twisting
“Well, you know how he gets when he possesses someone.”
Behold the educated viewer, watching an episode of Dark Shadows. Charity Trask is looking at the unfinished portrait of Quentin Collins, on the night of the full moon. To her surprise, she sees the portrait change before her eyes, the painted face transforming into the image of a werewolf.
“Ah,” one nods appreciatively, “an allusion to The Picture of Dorian Gray.” One says this to oneself, because nobody else can stand to be around one while the television is on.
Continue reading Episode 807: Dickens Without Poor People
“I say that Lucifer is trying to undo the good that I have done in this house, and that you and all the others are acting as his accomplices!”
Today, I walked into the drawing room and found my daughter reading something on a piece of paper. I said, “Good morning, my dear Charity,” but as she turned to face me, I saw not the smiling, placid face of my beloved child. In its place was a startled, hunted look, the shocked visage of an innocent staring into the endless fiery pit, and recoiling from the grisly sight. My eyes darted to the page that she held in her nerveless grip — and there saw the cursed document that Evan Hanley tricked me into signing last night — the paper that I saw burning in the fireplace not ten hours ago! This terrible, damnable lie — somehow, it survived the furnace, and now, my Charity — my dear one, my own — looked at me with eyes filled with hatred and revulsion. “It’s a confession,” she gasped. “It says that you and Mr. Hanley murdered my mother!” #FMyLife
Continue reading Episode 806: FML
“You can’t burn murder, Trask, or drown it, or even poison it. You can’t kill murder.”
Spirit of Joe Lidster, I invoke and conjure thee! Co-producer of the Big Finish Dark Shadows audio dramas and co-writer of Dark Shadows: Bloodlust, I call upon the raven and the viper and all the dark creatures of nature to bring you here, so that we can watch an episode of Dark Shadows together.
Danny: Hello, are you there?
Joe: Yes, hello!
Danny: I’m currently speaking to you through my fireplace. Are you okay in there? Is it hot?
Joe: It is a bit hot. The reception’s good, though, for a fireplace.
Continue reading Episode 805: It’s In His Kiss
“I’ve never seen anyone possessed quite like that.”
The Devil tells the truth, because he has nothing to lose. He’s not trying to protect your feelings, or your friendship. He doesn’t care. He sees you clearly, and he tells you what he sees.
Now, I’m not saying that everything the Devil says is true. He’s the Prince of Lies, after all, and misleading people is part of his job description. I’m just saying that the Devil is the only one who respects you enough to tell you the truth. Everybody else lies to you 24/7.
Continue reading Episode 804: The Other Puppeteer
“Well, of course you have a hand. There it is, see?”
Edward Collins comes home from a hard day of whatever, and finds his younger brother Quentin swilling brandy in the drawing room. Quentin says that he needs it, after what happened today.
“All right, Quentin,” Edward sighs. “What has happened this time?”
And then this is the nonsense that happens next.
Continue reading Episode 803: What Fresh Hell
“Where would you go, with all that power in your suitcase?”
Once upon a time, there was a television show called Dark Shadows, and I swear to God it is getting crazier every day. We have now entered the phase of the show where absolutely anything is on the table.
For example: a man who collects magical artifacts is visiting a wolf man and a gypsy witch in their haunted house, when suddenly they rip off his hand and discover that he’s actually a mad god from a fairy tale kingdom that nobody knows how to spell. And then the conversation starts to get a little weird.
Continue reading Episode 801/802: You’re a Crook, Captain Hook
“Maybe nobody took it! Maybe wherever it is — it wants to be there!”
When Aristede reaches the rendezvous point, his supervillain boss is already waiting for him.
“Why are you late, Aristede?” Victor grumbles. “You know that waiting always makes me fretful.”
This is something of an understatement. When Aristede admits that he doesn’t have the magical artifact he was sent for, Victor lashes out, smacking him across the face three times. “You are stupid! And incompetent! And clumsy!”
Aristede cowers, and makes excuses. Quentin was supposed to bring Aristede the Legendary Hand of Count Petofi in exchange for a cure for lycanthropy, but Quentin said that he lost it.
Victor thunders, “And you believed him?”
“Yes!” Aristede squeaks, as his boss pulls him close and glares at him. “Well, there’s no reason for him not to give me the Hand!”
“Yes, there is,” Victor sighs. “He has a brain in his head — something which you, who have nothing behind that lovely face of yours, can not possibly understand.”
So… hold on. Did he just say that Aristede is lovely?
Continue reading Episode 800: Sitting in a Tree
“You told me that hand was the most magical hand in the world!”
There are moments in life when you have to step back and ask yourself: How did I get here? For example, Grayson Hall. She moved to New York City to pursue an acting career when she was 19 years old. She studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. She was in a Broadway revival of Six Characters in Search of an Author. She was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her work in The Night of the Iguana. She’s done Pinter and Shaw and Chekhov.
And today she’s on network television at 4:00 in the afternoon, blacked up like a Universal Monsters gypsy, and she’s locked in a life-or-death struggle with Halloween Express.
Continue reading Episode 799: When Halloween Decorations Ruled the World