Tag Archives: books

Episode 1026: The Seventh Level of Witchcraft

“Relax, and enjoy the spectacle of Barnabas Collins trying to prove anything.”

Imagine there’s a man who’s seen the truth.

Have you ever woken from a dream, and felt like you were losing touch with the world where you belonged? Like the world in your dream was the real world — where you were happy, where things made sense — and when you were there, it was so easy to see how everything fits together?

Don’t you get that weird itch sometimes, in the back of your head, like there’s someplace else that you’re supposed to be?

Imagine there’s a man who’s stepped through a crack between the world you know, and the world as it should be. Imagine that he understands how to trace back through your life, to find that awful choice that you made, the moment when you made the wrong turn. He knows your deepest regret, and he’s seen the world where you didn’t do it. He knows the person you might have been.

And he knows it instinctively, without even trying. You walk into the room, and he knows your name. You’ve never seen this man before, but at a glance, he recognizes who you are, who you should be, and where it all went wrong. He knows everything about you. He knows things about you that aren’t even true.

Has he come to save you? To take you by the hand, and bring you to that other place, where you can live the life that you were always meant to live? Or is he here to destroy this false world, while you’re still in it?

Imagine there’s a man. For the sake of argument, let’s call him Barnabas Collins.

Continue reading Episode 1026: The Seventh Level of Witchcraft

Episode 1008: This Terrible Truth

“No, it wasn’t in this room, it was in another room, but it was behind the same door!”

Young Daniel is drawn to the drawing room of Loomis House, aka the Old House to anyone who matters. He’s here on an art school field trip, on the advice of a spooky oil painting of a Collins ancestor who speaks to him through the pounding of an off-screen kettle-drum heartbeat. Once he enters the house, Daniel isn’t sure what he’s supposed to do, because it turns out kettle-drum heartbeat is not as precise a communications medium as people sometimes think.

Looking around, his eye lights upon a manuscript sitting on the sideboard. He picks up the top page and begins to read, because Daniel is nosy and he has no respect for other people’s intellectual property.

“For long enough,” he reads, “the world has lived in ignorance of this terrible truth.” Realizing that this must be a page of Will’s new book, Daniel sits down and helps himself to some literature.

So, yeah, me too. This is a thing that young Daniels do, apparently, when we find ourselves just south of episode 1006, wondering what happens next. We read a book.

Continue reading Episode 1008: This Terrible Truth

Episode 735: The Punishment Book

“I’ve always thought the telephone an instrument of the Devil. Haven’t you?”

Two months ago, in the early days of the 1897 storyline, eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins went down to the Collinsport docks and attacked a young woman named Sophie Baker. Or was it Sophie Barnes? She said Baker, but the credits said Barnes, and it’s too late to ask her now. It’s just one of those gaps in the chronicles, another unsolved mystery.

Anyway, he was hungry and frustrated, and she was a day player, and you know how that story goes. He stuck his fangs in her, fed on her precious life essence, and then — what? Killed her? Spared her? Told her he would call? It doesn’t matter either way. He bared his fangs, they cut to commercial, and when we came back, Sophie Baker Barnes was no longer a factor.

And as far as I can recall, nobody’s mentioned that women are being attacked on the streets of Collinsport. There are no consequences to murder anymore, not on this show.

When Jenny stabbed Quentin a few weeks ago, the police showed up, but they didn’t do a very thorough job. Judith told them the murder was probably committed by a sailor that Quentin met in the village, and if they were quick, they still might be able to catch him. They scurried off obligingly, and Judith went back to scolding the survivors.

Not that we actually saw the police; that all happened off-screen, and we heard about it later. They don’t have police officers on Dark Shadows anymore, because they’ve figured out that investigations are tedious and take up valuable time that could be spent on further mayhem.

Law and order mean nothing on Dark Shadows now. There is no justice. This is what we have instead.

Continue reading Episode 735: The Punishment Book

Episode 700: I Ching the Body Electric

“Is this some kind of black magic?”

Fire in the lake: the image of revolution.
Thus the superior man
Sets the calendar in order
And makes the seasons clear.
Professor Stokes, this I Ching that you’re studying. How does it work?

For the last few months, Dark Shadows has concerned itself with two big storylines — the werewolf, and the haunting of Collinwood.

Currently, our sexy young wolfman, Chris, is all locked up in the secret room of the Collins mausoleum, unable to change back to human form.

Meanwhile, the spirit of avenging ancestor Quentin Collins has chased the family out of Collinwood, and they live in exile. Quentin is holding young David, the future of the Collins line, in a hidden room somewhere in this utterly haunted house, and we fear the worst. Both stories have reached a crisis point, and Barnabas and Julia have absolutely no idea what to do next.

So here comes Professor Stokes to tell us absurd things about Chinese divination, because wisdom comes from far away, and besides, seances are so 1967.

Continue reading Episode 700: I Ching the Body Electric

Episode 626: The Amazing New Phenomenon

“You want to keep track of me? The amazing new phenomenon? The ghost who breathes?”

As the black-robed executioner opened the door to Vicki’s cell, her lover looked into her eyes, and promised her every last thing he could think of.

I love you, Vicki, he said. That’s all that matters.

The hangman grabbed her shoulder, and pushed.

Somehow you managed to travel through time, and find me. Somehow, I’ll find you. No matter what happens, I will find you.

She was led from her cell, down a dark corridor, to the gallows.

Our love will transcend time, her lover cried, shouting desperately over the squeal of the waiting crowd. We are stronger than time! We are stronger than death!

The hood was placed over her head.

Remember me!

It was a promise, and a prayer.

I will find you!

It was the only thing she could hear, as the rope tightened around her throat.

I will find you, through the centuries, and we will be together again! Our love will never die!

And as it turns out, that is exactly what happened, so I don’t know what the hell he’s complaining about now. That’s a three-pointer if I ever saw one. That was nothing but net.

Continue reading Episode 626: The Amazing New Phenomenon

Episode 577: Artificial Intelligence

“We’re not going to solve my mother’s problems by talking about them.”

You know, I like Carolyn Stoddard a lot. She’s a great soap heroine — she’s pretty and funny and feisty, she’s got a smart mouth, she falls in love with all the wrong men, and she’s got this little catch in her voice when she’s sad that makes you want to go out and rescue a cat from a tree or something. I think she’s fantastic.

But I don’t think she’s very good at planning ahead. That’s where Carolyn and I part ways. She’s got this enormous Frankenstein that she keeps in an abandoned wing of the house, and she comes by every once in a while to bring him food and books and a clean turtleneck, and I don’t think she has the slightest idea what’s supposed to happen next. The writers don’t, either. Bad planning is kind of an epidemic around here.

Continue reading Episode 577: Artificial Intelligence

Episode 553: What Not to Do

“I’m certain that’s a possibility.”

Well, here we are again.

The current storyline has hit something of an impasse — Adam, the enormous and lonely Frankenstein man, is demanding that Barnabas create a woman to be his mate. Barnabas, who has no idea how to do such a thing, tells Adam that he has no idea how to do such a thing. And that’s pretty much where we left off.

Continue reading Episode 553: What Not to Do

Episode 551: Cruel World

“I’ve always wanted to at least not hurt you in any way.”

Welcome back to another week of Dark Shadows, the pop culture sensation that’s been gaining in popularity as its storylines grow progressively darker. It’s August 1968, and this crazy little daytime horror show is the success story of the summer.

Lately, we’ve been following Adam, the love-struck Frankenteen who’s hiding out from the police in an abandoned wing of Collinwood. He’s been there for a couple weeks, reading poetry and developing a full-scale crush on Carolyn, who just wants to be friends. Adam’s finally been told that he was created in a mad science lab, and there’s no chance that Carolyn will ever love him.

Left on his own, Adam picks up the knife from his breakfast tray, and considers ending it all. I believe the headline would be: World’s Largest Man Kills Himself with World’s Smallest Knife.

Continue reading Episode 551: Cruel World

Episode 544: The Facts of Life

“Maimed and suffering spirits robbed after death in the name of false creation, I speak as your benefactor!”

Welcome back to another episode of Frankenstein in Love, the story that asks the question: Can a monster from a little mining town in the West find happiness as the wife of a wealthy and titled Englishman?

Here’s Adam, the jigsaw puzzle that walks like a man, currently hiding out in the abandoned west wing of Collinwood, reading poetry and developing a full-scale crush on the young mistress of the house.

From the audience’s perspective, the story’s a little tough to process, because everyone is supposed to act like Adam is a hideous God-defying abomination. In actual fact, he’s only Hollywood ugly, which means that he’s a very handsome man with some scars painted on his face. Also: he is a player.

Continue reading Episode 544: The Facts of Life