Tag Archives: chill

Episode 1003: The Way We Live Now

“You can believe that rooms can change, but you can ignore a simple fact.”

This is what it feels like to be dead, by which I mean it doesn’t feel like anything except that you’re this fucking cold all the time. This is what keeps vampires and zombies going. They’re not hungry, obviously, they say they’re hungry but what they really mean is that it’s cold why is it so cold, I am lost and so far away, I need to eat something or I’ll stop moving, and when you stand still it gets so much colder, it’s like you’re already as cold as it could possibly be except it gets even colder than that if you stop moving, so you keep going keep eating keep spreading out you can’t hear speech anymore you can’t feel anything, but if you can’t feel anything then why the fuck is it so fucking cold

So you’ve got that rattling in your brain all the time, until you can’t think anymore, and the only thing that exists is whatever kind of warmth you can possibly get at, and people stop being people in your head. I’m not saying that like it’s an excuse, because it’s not, it’s just that being dead is really hard and people need to understand that.

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Episode 959: Do No Harm

“Only the spirits of those that we’ve killed would dare to harm us this way!”

They all lay in stone houses in their great city of R’lyeh, preserved by the spells of mighty Cthulhu for a glorious resurrection when the stars and the earth might once more be ready for them.

The time would be easy to know, for then mankind would have become as the Great Old Ones; free and wild and beyond good and evil, with laws and morals thrown aside and all men shouting and killing and revelling in joy. Then the liberated Old Ones would teach them new ways to shout and kill and revel and enjoy themselves, and all the earth would flame with a holocaust of ecstasy and freedom.

But not today, obviously. They’re busy today.

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Episode 902: Bringing Up Baby

“I had Philip look all over the house, for a monster of some kind.”

Now, granted, I don’t have any kids myself, but I think if you’re going to care for a telepathic space baby that came out of a box, you’re probably better off doing it within the confines of a private residence.

That’s what the Whateleys did, in the H.P. Lovecraft story The Dunwich Horror, which is what this cockamamie Leviathan storyline is based on. They had a whole farmhouse and a barn all to themselves, where they could raise their hideous blasphemies in relative peace.

But Megan and Philip have been chosen by the Leviathan people to house a monstrous god-creature at their antique shop, a site which has two obvious drawbacks as a storage area for unseen horrors: employees, and customers.

It probably would have been easier if they’d just closed down the shop for a while, until this all blew over. Then they wouldn’t have to worry about people examining their forbidden space artifacts, or asking impertinent questions, like why is your child mostly packaging material.

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Episode 641: Left Behind

“I’m positive he’ll give you a sign — a sign for you to forget all of this insanity!”

It’s a theme week on Dark Shadows — five straight episodes of ghost stories, featuring three different ghosts. That means a whole lot of windows blowing open, and a whole lot of doors slamming shut.

People will sit around a table, and make sure that their fingers touch. A book will fall off of a piano. A grandfather clock will commit suicide, right in front of us. And there’s a better than average chance that somebody’s going to feel a chill. A CHILL!

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Episode 400: Playing with Fire

“Victoria Winters, your name is now known to fire!”

So here’s a way that you could open your TV show: start with a long scene of a witch chatting with her homemade tarot deck, as she assembles a house of cards in real time.

“It’s been a long time, hasn’t it,” Angelique says, “since I’ve had work for you. You must see each other face to face, and watch that each of you obeys my least command.”

She’s always giving little pep talks to her props like this. It’s sweet, and it encourages them to stay engaged in the process. Also, she doesn’t have any friends.

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Episode 390/391: The Princess

“Well, if you went to her and told her that, just told her that she wasn’t involved in any way.”

Okay, back to the writers’ room. Ever since we started this uncertain and frightening journey into the past, almost all of the episodes have been written by Sam Hall and Gordon Russell. I talked the other day about Russell’s recent game-upping, and obviously Hall is beautiful and perfect, so the show has been, on the whole, amazing.

And then along comes Ron Sproat, who’s my third favorite out of three.

Continue reading Episode 390/391: The Princess

Episode 361: The One Where Julia Loses Her Mind

“Blood… oozing through the wall! Where’s it coming from? What does it mean?”

This is the beginning of an important week for Dark Shadows, as we lead up to one of the all-time great storyline twists in soap opera history. In fact, the upcoming story is so bizarre that they aired a special promotional announcement to warn the audience that it was coming.

In the 25-second bumper, Vicki is filmed against a stark black background, looking off into the distance with her typical dazed expression. They play one of those rising-tension music cues, made of strings, kettle drums and reverb.

An announcer says, “This Friday, you and Victoria Winters begin a strange and terrifying journey into the past, back to the year 1795, to discover the origins of this man,” — Barnabas, posing against the darkness — “and the secret of the chained coffin.” The scene fades on a shot of his hand resting on the coffin.

They don’t actually say, “Oh, by the way, it’s Dark Shadows,” or the time slot or anything. They don’t have to. What else could this possibly be?

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Episode 298: Dread Alert

“I don’t know what it is. I just know it’s going to happen.”

Today’s episode opens with Carolyn standing on the landing with a glum expression, probably because it’s been almost two weeks since she’s been on the show, and so far nobody’s noticed.

She walks downstairs at a moderate pace, and sets course for the drawing room. She reaches the fireplace, and then she whirls around, looking behind her. Nobody’s there, so she walks back across the drawing room.

It’s almost a shame that Liz comes in at that point and starts talking; this could have turned into a whole half hour of Carolyn pacing silently around the house.

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Episode 280: Costume Drama

“I must insist, I think this is a great deal of nonsense.”

We’ve seen a remarkable change in Barnabas’ character this week — not necessarily a change in his core values and moral system, but certainly a change in the way that he’s being presented. But as striking as that change is — killer ghoul on Monday, perky party host by Friday — he actually isn’t the only villain-school dropout in the room.

In fact, all four of the male characters in today’s episode have played the heavy in past storylines. When Dark Shadows began, just a little over a year ago, Roger was an unsympathetic absent father and possible murderer, and Burke was a ruthless businessman intent on revenge against the Collins family. And it was only a few weeks ago that Vicki and Carolyn didn’t feel safe in the same house as Willie Loomis. And yet here they all are in today’s episode, chatting away, like a happy group of friends.

There’s actually a tendency over time for soap opera characters’ personalities to drift a bit, usually in the direction of becoming more like the actors who play them. This is partly a result of the hectic schedule of soap opera production, which requires a round-robin of writers and producers to keep the story going, sometimes over decades. After a while, the actor is the only person who’s consistently been paying attention to what their character is supposed to be like.

And in Barnabas’ case, nobody has any idea what his character is going to be. The original plan was that Dr. Woodard would rescue Maggie from the Old House weeks ago, banging a piece of wood through Barnabas’ undead heart along the way. But the vampire got a reprieve, thanks to the fan mail that’s been pouring in, so they’re just making it up as they go along.

This isn’t an arc. They don’t have a plan. There is literally not a single person on the Dark Shadows production staff who has any idea what’s going to happen next.

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