Tag Archives: casper

Episode 1087: Stranger Things

“What makes you think that you can describe a man from my dream?”

What do you think they were doing, all that time?

Gerard Stiles is an evil pirate-sorceror-ghost, an advanced energy-being with the power to control people’s minds, by either hypnotizing them or, if necessary, dropping heavy objects on them. He’s got a governess gun-moll sidekick who can magically seduce romantic leads, and two teenage enforcers who can convince kids to turn on their own families. He can utterly destroy Collinwood, and kill everyone who lives there, one at a time or in handfuls.

So what do you think he was thinking a year and a half ago, when some young upstart named Quentin Collins kyped his whole strategy? I mean, there’s Gerard, just biding his time until a blonde girl showed up, and all of a sudden, Quentin and Beth jump the line, and start doing exactly what Gerard has been planning to do since fifty-seven years before Quentin even died. And they failed, obviously, because they were noobs who didn’t even have a single zombie.

Now that Gerard’s pushed the button and put his own plan into operation, he can finally show everyone how to follow through on a Turn of the Screw-themed extreme home makeover. But when Gerard goes to his girlfriend’s room, he finds her kissing on — guess who? — Quentin Collins.

No way, Gerard emits. Are you kidding me? Fuck that guy.

Continue reading Episode 1087: Stranger Things

Episode 1081: Born to Rock

“I never thought I’d have to introduce you to yourself.”

So, here’s where I struggle. I’m looking down the barrel of a whole week of Dark Shadows featuring my current least-favorite characters — young David Collins and his accomplice, Hallie Stokes — and they’re going to keep on doing the same things that I didn’t enjoy watching them do last week.

Continue reading Episode 1081: Born to Rock

Episode 685: A Fish Called Ezra

“Don’t get mad at me, Quentin. I just don’t like when you do terrible things.”

INT. COLLINWOOD — NIGHT.

We hear a young boy’s voice, as we pan across the foyer. “Are you sure that’s all you want me to do?” he wheedles. “Are you telling the truth?”

We move through the open drawing room doors to find young David, communing with an impossible shred of hatred and regret which has clawed its way out of the unseen, a forgotten trespasser bespoiling the surface of the earth. It’s just standing there, in the drawing room. It’s the damnedest thing.

Continue reading Episode 685: A Fish Called Ezra

Episode 681: Could He Talk?

“You think he went upstairs, knowing a strange man was lurking there, and told him to frighten you?”

In the first week of February 1969, David Selby was on daytime television four days out of five, with dark eye makeup and glued-on muttonchops, making faces at the camera. But on the inside, something even more mysterious was taking place, as Selby described in his 2010 memoir, My Shadowed Past:

Perhaps the few months of silence that Quentin endured gave me a chance to get acquainted with him. The fun an actor gets to have when creating a character. While in Illinois I discovered an Edgar Lee Masters poem, Silence. I rediscovered it when conjuring Quentin. Silence was my bridge to Quentin.

And there is the silence of the dead.
If we who are in life cannot speak
Of profound experiences,
Why do you marvel that the dead
Do not tell you of death?
Their silence shall be interpreted
As we approach them.

So, I cautiously approached Quentin — trying to learn what he was, who he was, what he wanted, what he desired, what he was seeking, what he was curious about, angry about. He could walk into a situation and know who was his enemy, who was a fool. He could be much smarter, much more charming, more ruthless than I ever could be. He liked brandy. He could be self-deceptive, vain (check the pompadour), foolish, hyper, lonely, ridiculous, macho (where was Gloria Steinem when they needed her), and he was inflicted with a false confidence. But first, would he, could he talk?

Continue reading Episode 681: Could He Talk?

Episode 306: Out of Order

“Dead people don’t just walk away.”

You know, I complain a lot about the lengthy recap conversations on Dark Shadows, but then I find myself trying to explain the current state of play to a reader who may have just stumbled onto the blog for the first time, and it’s hard to know where to begin.

Here’s where we left things on Friday — young David Collins is playing with his friend Sarah, who he doesn’t realize is a ghost. Sarah wants David to play with her, so she’s brought him to the family crypt where she’s buried, and she’s instructed him to open the panel that leads to the secret room, where her brother Barnabas was chained up in a coffin for 170 years.

And here’s the problem — if you, dear reader, have managed to cram all of those story points into your head simultaneously, then the next question is: Why has Sarah brought David to the secret room, and why is she telling him to open the coffin? And then I have to confess that I don’t really have any idea.

Continue reading Episode 306: Out of Order

Episode 297: The Honest Truth

“You’ll have to forgive me just now. My memory isn’t what it should be.”

Okay, settle down. I looked into it, and it turns out that hypnosis is actually a real thing.

I mean, there’s stage hypnosis, which is silly — that’s the magic show kind where they bring you up on stage and make you cluck like a chicken. That’s not real hypnosis. It’s just saying things, and then picking someone from the audience who looks like the kind of person who probably clucks like a chicken anyway.

Then there’s hypnotherapy, which is a legitimate technique that can help a patient to relax and focus. It’s helpful for relieving chronic pain, anxiety, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, bulimia, and other disorders that are amenable to a change in mood or outlook. The term was coined in the 1840s by a Scottish surgeon named James Braid, who developed the Eye-Fixation Hypnotic Induction Method that Julia used when she hypnotized Maggie at Windcliff Sanitarium.

But it turns out you don’t need to wave a watch or a light at somebody. It’s possible to get the same effect just by helping them relax and focus. Braid was actually a very interesting and thoughtful guy, who studied and wrote about hypnotism as a helpful complementary therapy that could be used in conjunction with other conventional forms of medical care.

Oh, and P.S.: It’s also possible to use hypnosis to record over a person’s memory, like it’s a cassette tape. That totally happens ALL THE TIME.

Continue reading Episode 297: The Honest Truth

Episode 294: House Party

“He said you were dead, but I knew you weren’t. And I was right!”

Today’s episode starts at Windcliff Sanitarium, where Maggie is clutching the bars on the window and wishing she could go home. And no wonder she’s restless — she was kidnapped three months ago, and she’s been confined in one room or another ever since. She’s missed practically the entire summer.

Happily, Maggie gets a visitation from Sarah, the ghost of a little girl who she met in lockup.

Sarah apologizes for taking so long: “I didn’t know where to find you. I just kept looking. I just kept listening very hard, and I began to hear you. And I found you at last!  And I’ll help you go home!”

Which brings up some questions: First, does Sarah operate with some kind of ghost radar? And second: what does she want, exactly?

Continue reading Episode 294: House Party

Episode 292: I Know Who’s Dead

“You know about leaves and everything. Well, I know who’s dead, and who isn’t.”

Okay, let’s see where we are. Yesterday, Dr. Julia Hoffman — the noted blood specialist and dangerous lunatic — managed to convince a vampire that she should hang out in his haunted mansion and purge his arterial system. She seems to feel that somehow this will be beneficial for humankind, and who’s going to argue with her?

Well, I guess Dr. Woodard will. It’s been a whole two episodes since the last time he came over and said sensible things to Julia, and here he is again. Apparently he thinks that it’s “unethical” for Julia to abandon her patient, Maggie, in the middle of a very delicate and intense course of treatment.

He’s right, of course. In fact, we learned yesterday that Julia is planning to ensure that Maggie’s amnesia will be permanent, in order to protect the monster who abused her.

Unfortunately, if Woodard succeeds in getting Julia to take more responsibility for Maggie’s treatment, then the story gets less interesting. So, on behalf of the entire audience, I would like to shake his hand, tell him he’s one hundred percent correct, pin a medal on him, and then send him out to play in traffic.

Continue reading Episode 292: I Know Who’s Dead

Episode 264: Unconscience

“This has the terrible sound of a family disintegrating.”

Happy birthday, Dark Shadows! Today’s episode aired on June 29, 1967, which is just a couple days past the show’s first anniversary. It’s an exciting milestone, because until very recently, it looked like the show was going to get cancelled at the end of the first year. The ratings were declining, and they’d never been that great in the first place. The end seemed inevitable.

And then they introduced a vicious, psychotic madman to the show, and America fell in love. Dark Shadows was renewed, and now they have the interesting problem of coming up with a new storyline for the undead creature that they never intended to keep around for this long.

This episode takes the first steps toward a new direction for Barnabas. When we saw him last, he was the vicious monster relentlessly pursuing Maggie through underground tunnels, determined to end her life.

But that was three days ago. Today, he’s… something else.

Continue reading Episode 264: Unconscience

Episode 260: The Secret of My Suspense

“The clue is large! That doesn’t make any sense.”

Picture this: It’s 3:30, on a sunny Friday afternoon. It’s late June, so this might actually be the last day of school, and it’s 1967, so the kids are looking forward to a long, hot and mostly unsupervised summer. Mom’s been watching General Hospital, so the TV is tuned to ABC. The last notes of the Wurlitzer pipe organ playing the GH theme have faded away, as the kids pile into the house and throw themselves down on the living room floor.

And just at that moment, in a dirty prison cell in the basement of a haunted house, a man brings a tray of food to the pretty young woman who’s trapped there. They exchange a few words, and then he hands her a glass of poisoned milk.

Continue reading Episode 260: The Secret of My Suspense