“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
“It’s not difficult to die! Did you know that?”
#1: Why is it still happening? Brutus Collins, invoking the curse in 1680 after murdering two family members and his best friend, said: “It shall not end, until that time that someone spends a night in this spot, and survives with his sanity!” Well, Morgan spent a night on that spot three weeks ago, and he’s alive and sane, judging by the local standards for sanity. He’s currently parked on the sofa, drinking his morning tea. That means the curse is over, it’s been over for weeks, it wasn’t that big of a deal in the first place, and nobody has to listen to Brutus Collins anymore.
Continue reading Episode 1236: Infrequently Asked Questions About the Collins Family Curse
“All she did was tell me what you had planned — to betray me — and you killed her for it, just as you killed me, and you killed your wife Amanda, because she tried to help me too.”
The late James Forsythe, shipping magnate and finder of lost boats, has unearthed the skeleton of his sister Sarah in the basement of the gatehouse on the great estate at Collinwood, buried under what appears to be zero inches of dirt in the floor. It’s kind of a wonder that nobody ran across it before; it looks like a century and a half of normal wear and tear on the linoleum would probably have uncovered a couple of suspicious bumps in the floor over the years. I guess some people are naturally curious and some aren’t, and that’s all there is to it.
James’ spirit is currently occupying the body of Morgan Collins in order to right some of the pertinent wrongs of the past, and digging up Sarah is step one. But as he gazes at his aged relative, an interior squall kicks up and starts making itself known, which is not ordinarily part of a basement’s weather system. If you were under the impression, as I was, that ghost-related wind came in through the windows, then now we know better. It seems to just happen on its own.
“Well, blow me down!” James says, as it tries to. “I have found her, Brutus! I know you are in this room, and I am ready for you!” He whirls around, looking for his opponent. “Show yourself to me, Brutus!” he says, putting up his fists. “Let me fight you again! I’ve had all I can stands, ‘cuz I can’t stands no more!”
And Brutus appears, snarling and snapping, ready to battle over Sarah’s shallow grave. So I guess nothing changes; after a hundred and sixty years, these two sailor men are still fighting over a skinny girl.
Continue reading Episode 1225: Strong to the Finish
“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
“Without even planning it, I’ve committed the perfect crime.”
And then, I suppose, Gabriel and Edith’s children come home from boarding school to find an empty house. Their parents are dead, their grandfather is dead, Aunt Samantha is dead, Uncle Quentin has run off to Boston with the governess, and Uncle Desmond has run off to New York with a music hall performer. Nobody’s buried Samantha or their mother, or this strange Valerie Collins who they’ve never even heard of, because the funeral director has mysteriously disappeared, and the police are busting open brick alcoves all over Collinsport, just in case he’s behind one of them.
Aunt Flora is the only one left on the estate, and she’s gone mad, apparently; she can hardly answer a single question about the last four months without babbling about ghosts and vampires and mysterious decapitations. Uncle Quentin was tried for witchcraft, she says, but he was spared at the last moment by a witch, who accused somebody else of witchcraft, and then Uncle Desmond shot somebody, and somehow nobody went to prison.
Now they have to arrange for Aunt Flora’s stay at Rushmore Sanitarium, and sell Rose Cottage to young Mr. McGruder, and clear out the empty coffin in the basement of the Old House that their mysterious cousins from Philadelphia apparently left behind, before they too vanished without a word of explanation.
And then they’re alone, this unknown handful of necessary descendants, to repopulate the mansion and try to survive. Is it any wonder, on that terrible night, that they called upon the dark creatures of nature to bring their dead mother back from the grave?
Continue reading Episode 1198: Goodbye to All That
“Why is she so young and beautiful, instead of being a decaying mess?”
“I’ve got to get to Collinwood,” says condemned criminal Quentin Collins, heading for the door of his makeshift hideout.
“No, no,” Joanna urges. “The police are watching Collinwood!”
Quentin considers this. “No, I know what I can do,” he decides. “I can reach the estate through the back forty. The woods are very thick there.”
His wounded sidekick moans, “Quentin, Gerard is at the house. And Samantha would turn you in, if she saw you there!”
“I’ve got to take that chance,” says Quentin, and somewhere in Vienna, an angel gets its wings.
Continue reading Episode 1192: The Weissman Theory
“I know it’s wrong to love the dead.”
This is what we currently know about Daphne Harridge:
She doesn’t speak.
She died 130 years ago.
She’s a governess.
She smells like lilacs.
Her hobby is encouraging living children to wear dead children’s clothes.
And she is partly responsible for killing everyone that Quentin knows.
So you can see why Quentin likes her so much, she’s a real catch. And it’s not like there’s anyone else who would want to date Quentin, except for one hundred percent of the population of the world.
Continue reading Episode 1077: The Scent of Lilacs
“They didn’t dance that way in 1970!”
“I’m convinced that this room holds the key to what we’re looking for,” Barnabas tells Julia, without evidence. “I know this room didn’t exist in 1970, and yet — this room had something to do with what happened then!”
“Even though it didn’t exist?”
“Strange as that sounds — yes.”
So this is the curious incident of the playroom in the night-time, where, as Alexis Stokes once put it, the absence of the disturbances is more frightening than the disturbances themselves. Dark Shadows has once again declared its independence from material reality, and taken up residence in the world of dreams.
Continue reading Episode 1066: This Is How We Do It
“We cannot ignore the fact that that hairpin was your mother’s.”
So, for starters, it’s not a dream. I know what a dream sequence looks like on Dark Shadows, and that isn’t what this is. Carolyn’s eyes are open, and she’s sitting on the couch. This is some kind of wide-awake Chromakey phenomenon that they apparently have in this parallel band of concurrent time when they want somebody to think about something, but they don’t have time to put her to bed.
In this weird green-screen memory mashup, Carolyn sees Angelique lying dead on the floor, after her murder at the infamous seance that Carolyn did not attend. And lying on the floor next to the remains, there’s the head of a hatpin. That’s the whole thing, not a lot to shriek about.
But Carolyn shrieks like she’s being attacked by parallel pig weasels, and Julia comes running.
“I remember it now!” Carolyn cries. “I know who murdered Angelique!” But the dream only told her something that she already knew, and it’s not a very interesting revelation. Also, it wasn’t a dream.
Continue reading Episode 1043: The Heat Death of the Universe
“I assure you, I am who I am.”
Parallel housekeeper Julia Hoffman approaches the coffin with hammer and stake. There’s a vampire at Loomis House, an undead creature with jaws that bite and claws that catch, and the only one who’s able to do anything about it is this fearless domestic. She alone will wield the strength and skill to fight the forces of darkness. She is the one that destiny has chosen. She is the Slayer.
Continue reading Episode 1036: I’m Not Hoffman