Tag Archives: countdown

Episode 1012: Trapped in a World (Not Mine Own)

“Nothing must disturb the sleep or sully the name of that other Barnabas Collins who died in this time.”

Trapped in a false dimension and freshly liberated from a chained coffin not specifically his own, the strange and brutal Barnabas Collins, fugitive vampire in a world he never made, is onboarding a new employee.

“Please let me go,” Will pleads, “and I won’t tell anyone anything about you.”

Barnabas gives the trainee a lopsided grin. “Go, if you want to go.”

Will concentrates. “I can’t get away!” he grimaces. “You know I can’t.” He stares helplessly into a future he doesn’t care for. “What are you going to do with me?”

It’s a close-up so we can’t know for sure, but the smart money says Barnabas is steepling his fingers. “Surely you’ve learned enough from our conversations recently to realize the position that you’re in.”

“I must do your bidding?” Will gulps.

“Precisely. Your agonizer!”

Will takes a step backwards. “No. Wait!”

Barnabas is firm. “Your agonizer, please!”

Continue reading Episode 1012: Trapped in a World (Not Mine Own)

Episode 932: The Gates of Heck

“I find most mortals difficult to understand.”

So I guess there’s no way around it; I have to write about the Quentin/Amanda/”Mr. Best” storyline. Two weeks ago, I got so exasperated with my Quentin/Amanda post that I didn’t even finish writing it. I got as far as Mr. Best showing up on the bridge, and I couldn’t go any further. I just stopped writing and hit Publish, and that was that. My thinking basically went like this: Some of my posts are heartbreaking and brilliant; some of them are not. I guess this is one of the ones that’s not.

But here I am, dragged back to the scene of the crime. The Quentin/Amanda story is wrapping up over the next two days, and I can’t just pretend it’s not happening. Can I?

Continue reading Episode 932: The Gates of Heck

Episode 883: The Tate Murders

“You know, I rather look forward to going to the future as Barnabas Collins.”

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Continue reading Episode 883: The Tate Murders

Episode 882: The Don’t Sleepover

“You drift away, love, you’ll drift back sadly changed.”

And then sometimes everything comes together, and they make all the right choices, and I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it lately but Dark Shadows is my favorite television show.

Continue reading Episode 882: The Don’t Sleepover

Episode 825: The Watched Pot

“She travels with a certain Timothy Shaw, a man who for a short time had the use of my hand.”

If you remember yesterday’s episode, and there’s no particular reason why you should, then you’ll recall that Quentin Collins is currently engaged in a medium-stakes game of chicken with the legendary Count Petofi. Quentin wants the mad Count to free his buddy Barnabas, who’s currently encased in a carbonite coffin with nothing but a dated copy of Ladies’ Home Journal for company.

To understand Quentin’s plan, you need to keep in mind the location of the following characters: a) Johnny Romana — King of the Gypsies! — who’s searching in the woods for b) Magda Rakosi, gypsy fugitive, who’s being sheltered by c) Beth Chavez, Collinwood domestic. If d) Count Petofi doesn’t release e) Barnabas Collins into f) Quentin’s custody by 12:45am, then f) Quentin has instructed c) Beth to bring a note to a) King Johnny, explaining the whereabouts of d) Petofi. But to make sure that d) Petofi doesn’t mess with c) Beth, f) Quentin has lied to d) Petofi, claiming that the note is actually in the possession of g) Angelique, who doesn’t actually have anything to do with this whatsoever.

Continue reading Episode 825: The Watched Pot

Episode 808: Twisting

“I don’t understand how to believe these things.”

I talk a lot on this blog about how serialized narrative is natural selection for stories, and when I say that I talk about it a lot, what I really mean is that it’s my incessant catchphrase that I’m really hoping will catch on, because otherwise I don’t know what to do with all these T-shirts I’ve printed up.

Continue reading Episode 808: Twisting

Episode 796: Death and Taxes

“I have a small nagging wonder at your even being here.”

When we last left Quentin, he was strapped to a table under a slowly descending swinging axe, not at all in danger of being brutally killed. Quentin was trapped in this entirely non-lethal predicament by Aristede, who rigged up some “Pit and the Pendulum” machinery, and then left him here to not die.

The clock was not winding down and time was not running out, and the pendulum was not inching ever closer to our hero. It was inching, yes. I will concede the inching. But towards what?

Continue reading Episode 796: Death and Taxes

Episode 795: The Pits

“You have never been willing to admit to yourself that I might have feelings.”

Aristede smiles, as he tightens the straps around Quentin Collins’ wrists. So far, the plan is working out just fine. The razor-sharp axe is suspended by a rigged-up pulley system that allows it to slice in a nice, clean arc. The gears are timed to lower the axe slowly, inch by inch, until it reaches the helpless body strapped firmly to the wooden table. And Quentin will be trapped, watching the blade as it descends inexorably in the direction of down. Unfortunately, it’s still uncertain at what point this turns into anything but a crafts project.

Aristede wants the Legendary Hand of Count Petofi, a powerful artifact that Quentin does not have. And there’s nothing that Quentin can do to help Aristede obtain it, especially not when he’s tied down to this horological murder machine.

The big idea appears to be that Aristede is going to go to Angelique, who actually does have the Hand, and tell her that Quentin only has thirty minutes to live. As the pendulum swings closer to Quentin’s midsection, Angelique will gladly give up the Hand in exchange for her friend’s life.

Now, obviously, he could achieve exactly the same results by just locking Quentin up in a closet and telling Angelique anything he wants. That would have saved him all that time and expense, and probably two trips to Home Depot. This just looks like a whole lot of hassle to me.

Continue reading Episode 795: The Pits

Episode 656: Unspooky

“No human hand has touched these clothes since I took them away.”

Okay, the Ron Sproat script countdown continues; we are currently at nine episodes and holding.

Sproat, if you haven’t read my other posts on the subject, is the third-best out of three on the Dark Shadows writing team, and he and I have been engaged in a tense standoff since April 1967. He’s got one month left until he leaves the show, and it’s going to come down to the wire on which of us is going to crack first.

Now, I’m going to write today’s post as if there’s somebody out there who still likes it when I spend the entire day complaining about Ron Sproat and his terrible scripts. “Oh, boy,” this make-believe person might say, passing by in a hot-air balloon. “These are my very favorites. I shall read today’s entry with particular relish.”

But now that I’ve written that down, it doesn’t sound super likely. I mean, does anyone even talk like that? And why a hot-air balloon?

Continue reading Episode 656: Unspooky

Episode 568: Do You Want Vicki to Die

“Yes, Mr. Clark. We’re going to create another one.”

It’s currently 5:00am on Thursday as I’m writing these words. I woke up early, because I still have to write Wednesday’s entry. Last night, I was just sitting here looking at this episode, and I couldn’t think of a damn thing to say about it. But that’s the challenge that I created for myself on this blog — a four-year-long series of daily deadlines, mostly just to see if I could manage it. Apparently I could, until today.

The real problem with writing to a deadline is that as the time approaches, it’s hard to think about anything except that ticking clock. I think this is why there are so many movies and television show episodes where the climax is defusing a time bomb — the countdown to a deadline is the scariest thing that a writer can think of.

Continue reading Episode 568: Do You Want Vicki to Die