“There’s only one flaw in your logic: it makes too much sense.”
You know how sometimes you get tired of arguing with somebody about whether they’re a ghost, so you shoot them in the stomach just to get them to shut up, but it turns out they really are a ghost so your bullet goes right through them, and then they’re still pretending that you’re crazy and they’re not a ghost? It’s like the worst case scenario for winning an argument.
Continue reading Episode 1193: Already Dead
“Angelique was killed too, we can hardly blame her for that murder.”
Julia: Carolyn, where have you been?
Carolyn: Out walking on the cliffs, trying to forget about all the terrible things that have happened.
Continue reading Episode 1042: Still Another Murderer
“Did you really think that if you didn’t answer me, I’d go away?”
Now that the time draws near, Mr. Jennings, are you willing to be sensible?
Continue reading Episode 975: Bruno Dies at the End
“Be cautious with it! We don’t want a string of strange deaths in our group.”
But it’s the age old story, isn’t it? Man comes into contact with something other — something beyond our grasp, beyond understanding, beyond words — and it changes us, occasionally for the better. And we take that encounter, and we turn it into story.
I mean, not this story, obviously. This story is insane. You know how Joseph Campbell and the Mythkateers say that all mythic narratives are just variations on a single great story? Yeah. This is one of the exceptions.
But even the strangest sound has an echo, and here, in the midst of the ragged and unruly Leviathan tale clattering across our screens in double-time, we can reach out and grab hold of another story that’s following a similarly erratic track.
There is another story where Barnabas very gradually fights an otherworldly menace, where Quentin appears and disappears with little consequence, where Maggie experiences carefully controlled doses of mild peril, and where an upsetting reptile pulls the strings, and makes the puppets dance.
This is a story that our people tell. We call it Barnabas, Quentin and the Mummy’s Curse.
Continue reading Episode 946: Universal Monsters
“We must send that demon back to Hell. The mystic drums must sound again!”
This week, we’re taking a break from Dark Shadows to watch the first week of Strange Paradise, a strange Canadian/US knock-off supernatural soap that began here, in fall 1969. If you need the links, here’s the other Strange Paradise posts and a YouTube channel that has all the episodes, although you can consider this a week-long warning label, rather than a recommendation.
What I’m interested in is figuring out what happens when somebody decides to make a Dark Shadows-like show, using the same format and timeslot as Dark Shadows, with similar resources, and with exactly the same cultural context, and still winds up with something that doesn’t feel like Dark Shadows at all. I’m not sure what the rest of you are interested in.
Continue reading Strange Paradise, Episode 2: Crypt Kicker
“Isn’t it possible that Vicki is her own descendant?”
I’m taking a week off, so that I can concentrate on vengeance, and nothing else. But I don’t want to abandon you completely, because I know what it’s like to feel alone. I’m a Dark Shadows fan too.
So this week, I’ve been posting snippets from The World of Dark Shadows, a fanzine that was very important to me in the 80s and 90s. My favorite part of the magazine was the Collinsport Debating Society, where fans asked open-ended questions about the characters or the storylines, and then everybody speculated. It’s basically what people do now in forums, except it was way, way slower. That means the writers had more time to think about their response, and the readers had more time to wonder what the hell they were talking about.
Today, I’m going to share some excerpts from the Collinsport Debating Society. I haven’t asked anybody for permission, so I hope nobody minds, and here it is.
Continue reading X5: That Troublesome Problem
“Do you still believe we cannot gain help from the dead?”
Professor Stokes steps to the phone, and places a call. “Julia, thank goodness it’s you,” he says. “You must come here immediately.”
“What’s wrong?” says Julia.
“I’m afraid I’ve just killed a man,” Stokes says, and then the opening titles kick in.
See, I told you that Professor Stokes is amazing. Can you believe this guy? This is how he starts an episode.
Continue reading Episode 510: Some Enchanted Evening
“I cannot die… because I am already dead.”
It’s another gloomy evening in the great house at Collinwood. Naomi has died from poison and plot points, and they’re going to have to reset the “3 days since last accident” sign again. It’s a good thing we’re leaving the 18th century soon; we’re pretty much down to the minimum viable family.
Continue reading Episode 459: Nathan Forbes Must Die
“I told you I killed her. I never said she was dead.”
Okay. It’s Tuesday, we’re still in the basement, Barnabas is still talking to his dad, and we’re not getting out of here until somebody shoots somebody.
Joshua Collins has descended into the underworld — also known as the cellar in the Old House — where he’s found his dead son climbing out of a coffin. As you might imagine, the discussion has become somewhat complex.
Here’s where they left off: Barnabas has finally confessed that he’s a vampire, and he feeds on human blood. Horrified, Joshua raises his pistol, and says, “Forgive me. Forgive me, dear son.”
And then: Ka-CHOW! Joshua shoots his son, right in the chest.
Barnabas clutches at the entry wound — and then straightens up, unharmed. He walks over to his father, and says, “Don’t you understand? What I’ve been trying to tell you all along is that I am already dead.”
It’s kind of a dream situation, if you’ve ever had a long argument with your parents. I mean, who wouldn’t take a bullet, just for the satisfaction of delivering the ultimate “I told you so”?
Continue reading Episode 447: My Family, and Other Crazed Animals