“You’ve had too many victims! It’s over for you!”
Morgan Collins, the self-proclaimed god-emperor of the great estate at Collinwood, has learned that his emotionally explosive wife, who he had always feared was cheating on him with his cousin, was actually cheating on him with his cousin, to the extent that she is currently pregnant with her lover’s child.
Driven mad by this betrayal, in addition to the general background madness of being a Collins in the first place, Morgan has locked up Barnabas and Angelique in the cursed room that plagues this parallel hell. Everyone who spends a night in that room either dies or goes insane, at the pleasure of an angry ancestor who’s determined to spoil everyone’s fun. So far, the trapped lovers have been alternately possessed and throttled, but the evil wizard running the no-escape room hasn’t gone in for the kill.
As dawn approaches, Morgan strides down the hall towards the sealed portal, with a six-shooter in his hand. When he opens the door, if he finds that the couple has managed to survive the night, then he’s just going to shoot them, and take his revenge the old-fashioned way.
So I’ve got some hard news for Morgan this morning: opening that door is not going to benefit you in any way. Letting Barnabas out of a box is what got us into this mess in the first place.
Continue reading Episode 1245: Sunset at Collinwood
“I’ve been insane for years! I just became sane, just a short time ago!”
Gabriel Collins is a new visitor to the mountains of madness, thanks to a recent half-hour soujourn in a Lovecraftian 4D immersive escape room that he has only recently escaped from. They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but apparently there are exceptions; Gabriel hasn’t managed to murder any of the three people he’s tried to extinguish tonight. And now that I think about it, not being killed by Gabriel has probably made Kendrick, Daphne and Morgan stronger, which means he’s even farther behind.
But he’s still in the game, and he’s currently lurking behind a tree with his knife, waiting for an unsuspecting victim to walk by. And here comes Kendrick, tromping through the woods en route to the police to report his recent brush with that very knife.
As Kendrick passes by, Gabriel grips the knife tightly in his fist, raising his weapon and preparing to strike.
But then he takes a look at himself, out in the woods, attempting murder for the fourth time today. In a moment of clarity, he looks at the knife, and asks, “What am I doing?” It’s the portrait of a man suddenly going stark raving sane.
Continue reading Episode 1217: The Next to Last
“The spirits don’t care. They don’t care, they just want a sacrifice!”
The portal is open; the dark work is complete.
There is a haunted chamber in this mansion, made of hurt feelings and eternity, and it demands to be fed. At least once in each generation, the Collins family chooses the relative that they like the least — they say it’s a random lottery, but guess who gets chosen every time, go figure — and they throw that irritating uncle to whatever happens in this room after dark. Nobody knows what ordeal these luckless loners undergo, while they inhabit this solitary torture cell.
“Look at his eyes, filled with fear,” says Flora Collins, shuddering. “Yet now, this room is like any other room!” Sure, except that it sucks.
Continue reading Episode 1215: The Not Gabriel
“Do you know that I’m shortly going to be a martyr to our blessed family name?”
Life was fun
Life was great
‘Til I made my big mistake
Oh no, it’ll never happen to me
Continue reading Episode 1213: Violent Femmes
“How I mourn for my lost love Josette. I couldn’t help but remember how beautiful she was the night we met.”
Time is running out for the Collins family of 1841, if you believe in the letter that Brutus Collins wrote, and if you don’t, then take a look at the Nielsen ratings and get back to me. With only seven weeks left for me to write down everything I ever want to say about Dark Shadows, I’m going to take a day off from this parallel time, and circle back to The World of Dark Shadows, the unparalleled fanzine that reigned supreme for the first twenty-five years of DS fandom.
Continue reading Episode 1210: The Night We Met
“He left the sanitarium with no memory of the circumstances which had caused him to lose his mind.”
And in another band of time, running parallel to our own, ABC-Television makes some different choices, and Dark Shadows stays on the air.
Here’s how it wouldn’t have gone.
Continue reading Time Travel, part 15: Dark Shadows Without Dark Shadows
“The fire which will burn Collinwood cannot destroy a figure of four!”
So what, you may ask, of the young set? It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the middle schoolers, who used to be one of the driving forces of the show’s popularity.
They got on board with Dark Shadows in early ’68, as the show took a hard swerve toward Halloweentown, with a vampire, a witch and a Frankenstein monster all featured at the same time. The young set is here for the skeletons, the dream sequences, and the disturbed graves. A magic mirror that lets you peek into a basement full of mad science equipment. A werewolf, crashing through a plate glass window. A woman screaming, trapped inside a ring of fire. A devilish man, calling to the dark creatures of nature as he passes his hands over the body of an unconscious babysitter. These discerning viewers demand playground games, and if Dark Shadows doesn’t provide them, then there’s a risk that they’ll drift over to Scooby-Doo, and stay there.
And now, it seems like that’s a demographic that the show is no longer interested in serving. This 1841 PT storyline is just people talking all the time, and occasionally pulling knives on each other. Nobody’s casting any spells, or bringing anything to life. They just put people’s names into a vase, and then take them out again and throw them away. There’s nothing here to stir the soul of a ten year old, and give them ideas for interesting things they could do with a curtain tie.
Continue reading Episode 1206: The Eyes of Children
“You are a demon — and the demons in me are in league with you!”
There is something about him that stirs you.
All it took was one look, and he knew. He can see that you’re lonely and unhappy, and he knows what you really want. He knows who you really are. He understands you better than you know yourself.
That moment you had together… it meant something. You can’t deny it, and wish it away. He felt it, too. And he remembers.
You try to fight it, but you can’t. You are drawn to him. It doesn’t matter what you say; you don’t have a choice. In the end, he will have you.
And then you have him arrested, I guess, or he gets shot in a duel. That’s usually how those stories end up.
Continue reading Episode 1205: The Bad Behavior of Bramwell, or Romance and Rape and Why Nobody Seems to Do Anything About It
“Tears never got anyone out of anything!”
Let’s talk about the decision-making process for the Collins family here in 1841 Parallel Time, a next-door existence where people have made different choices, all of them terrible.
In this version of the timeline, the Collinses are being held captive by a room in their own house. Refusing all entreaties and resistant to redecoration, this room has bedeviled them since before the house was even built. The room’s been there since 1680, and as I recall, they finished construction around 1795; they must have architected this entire mansion around the sinister locked door, which was floating in the air a couple stories above sea level.
I wish that I could say that was the stupidest choice this family ever made, but they have been breaking that record non-stop for as long as anyone can remember.
Continue reading Episode 1204: Minimum Security
“No one will find me, including the thing in that room!”
It’s difficult to build up an audience for a daytime soap opera; you have to catch lightning in a bottle just to get people’s attention in the first place. You need to create likeable characters that people can relate to, and put them in interesting and dramatic situations. You have to write dialogue that speaks to the audience, and touches on their concerns. You have to create an intimacy, a real connection, that makes the audience want to tune in every single day.
I mean, unless it’s the last two months of Dark Shadows, in which case don’t bother. Who even cares?
Continue reading Episode 1200: The Woman in What?