Category Archives: Sam Hall

Episode 1111: The Healer

“If you scream, they will come! They will know how you haunt me!”

Daniel Collins coughs, one of those worrisome false coughs that indicates an unspecified theatrical natural-causes type condition. He’s dying of being old, apparently, at the precipitate age of 54, and he’s being tended to by Ben Stokes, an 84-year-old family retainer who’s known Daniel since he was twelve. It’s hard to say how this kind of malady works; it’s mostly metaphorical.

“Ohh, the pain! It’s coming!” Daniel cries, as Ben propels him bedward. Struggling for breath, he vows, “I must kill that woman, before I die!”

“Now, Mr. Daniel,” Ben chides, but Daniel interrupts.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t see her in that room. You did! That woman will ruin our world!”

Ben shakes his head. “Mr. Daniel, our world was ruined a long time ago.”

That’s a great line, so Stokes puts a point on the board, but Daniel is right. “That woman” is Dr. Julia Hoffman, and her appearance in the year 1840 is ushering in the ruin of this family, this story and soon enough, the whole television show.

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Episode 1110: Attack of the Clones

“He’s in his coffin. You’re some creature, like him!”

I get it. The X-Men have already made their last stand, and then it’s five years later, and you want another one. You doused the Wicked Witch with water, you blew up the Planet of the Apes, you solved the energy problem in Monstropolis, and you raided the lost ark, but here you are, broke and hitless. So what do you do?

Sure, making a prequel isn’t the most creative option, but once you’ve killed off Darth Vader, Yoda and Jabba the Hutt, then what’s left to look at, porgs? There’s got to be more to life than that.

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Episode 1107: You Must Stop What Is Happening

“What happened to you in the future was the result of what’s happened here!”

Man, never underestimate the power of a soap opera instaromance. The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and vice versa, and the only people who get burned are the audience. Dark Shadows’ greatest flaw, except for all the others, is that they’re not very good at love stories, so characters tend to clump together haphazardly in corners.

Today’s for instance is fraud horoscopist Sebastian Shaw, who went on one date with Maggie weeks ago, and has now decided, on her behalf, that he’ll kill his vampire overlord Roxanne to spare Maggie from the series of vamp attacks that I’m not sure anybody ever actually told him about.

But who needs motivation when you’ve got silver bullets? It turns out there are armed astrologers in the Dark Shadows Extended Universe, although the gun control laws are particularly lax in Collinsport, and Sebastian probably just picked up his piece at the corner bodega, next to the Jarritos Mandarin sodas.

Then, unexpectedly, Roxanne is spared by the intervention of phantom entrepreneur Gerard Stiles, who apparates in silence in the secret chamber in the nick of time, and distracts Sebastian at the crucial moment.

Sebastian fires off two bullets in Gerard’s direction, which pass right through his intangible torso, and fall harmlessly to the floor. Apparently Sebastian doesn’t concern himself with collateral damage during hunting season; he’ll shoot at anyone.

But Roxanne is spared, anyway, because it turns out Gerard is actually the hero of the show. At least, he’s the only one who gets anything done around here.

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Episode 1106: Lady Is a Vamp

“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.

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Episode 1100: Gang Aft Agley

“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.

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Episode 1099: Damsel of the Damned

“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.

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Episode 1094: An Evening of Champagne and Whist

“How do I remember all those lovely times we used to have?”

Gerard touches you, and you remember a life you never knew, a life of short concerts and strange hats, with impossible, inevitable rooms full of rocking horses and despair. The ghost has been systematically working his way through the Collins family, touching faces and changing lives.

Currently, things are about as bad as things get. As of this morning, six people at Collinwood are now possessed by malign forces — David, Hallie, Liz, Quentin and now Carolyn are working with the ghosts, and Maggie’s under the spell of a vampire. We haven’t seen Roger or Mrs. Johnson in months, so the unpossessed are basically surrounded.

So consider this: Barnabas and Julia are the only normal people left in the house. Shit just got unreal.

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Episode 1093: The Shrinking Shares

“How can this be? There is no room!”

“You asked what would happen to you,” says the ghost, directing the children’s attention to a nearby dollhouse. “Look through the window. Find out.”

So they look through the window, and they see Allen Ludden, giving the first word to Jack Klugman and Brett Somers. The word is “caterpillar”.

Brett chooses to pass, so the first turn goes to Jack and some housewife from Indiana. Jack says “moth,” but Indiana can’t figure it out, so they lose their turn, and it goes to Brett and some housewife from Kentucky. Brett tries “butterfly,” but Kentucky’s at a loss.

They punt back to Jack, who says “crawl”, and the light dawns on Indiana. “Caterpillar!” she cries, and she gets eight points.

This is what will happen to them. It’s called Password.

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