“He is my cousin, as you are my cousin, in this time or any other time!”
“The countryside near Collinwood,” says Nancy Barrett, “lies quiet and serene on this night, in Parallel Concurrent Time. But in the great house, the web of evil being woven by Angelique will begin to ensnare its first victim — Maggie Collins — who will be placing herself in double jeopardy by her presence at her husband’s side, for Angelique is not the only force that could conspire for Maggie’s destruction.”
So, a few things. First, nobody calls it Parallel Concurrent Time. Second, the first victim of Angelique’s web of evil was Alexis, and the second victim was a random day player handyman, so Maggie is either the third victim or the fourth, depending on whether you count Dameon or not. Also, that’s not what “double jeopardy” means.
Still, Nancy’s talking about a character that we recognize doing things that we more or less understand, so hooray, Dark Shadows is saved.
Continue reading Episode 1017: The Struggle
“Be cautious with it! We don’t want a string of strange deaths in our group.”
But it’s the age old story, isn’t it? Man comes into contact with something other — something beyond our grasp, beyond understanding, beyond words — and it changes us, occasionally for the better. And we take that encounter, and we turn it into story.
I mean, not this story, obviously. This story is insane. You know how Joseph Campbell and the Mythkateers say that all mythic narratives are just variations on a single great story? Yeah. This is one of the exceptions.
But even the strangest sound has an echo, and here, in the midst of the ragged and unruly Leviathan tale clattering across our screens in double-time, we can reach out and grab hold of another story that’s following a similarly erratic track.
There is another story where Barnabas very gradually fights an otherworldly menace, where Quentin appears and disappears with little consequence, where Maggie experiences carefully controlled doses of mild peril, and where an upsetting reptile pulls the strings, and makes the puppets dance.
This is a story that our people tell. We call it Barnabas, Quentin and the Mummy’s Curse.
Continue reading Episode 946: Universal Monsters
“What difference does it make who catches the vampire?”
Hey, look who’s come over for a social call — it’s Sheriff George Patterson, the three-time winner for Least Effective Police Officer in the Dramatic Arts. In the two years that he’s been on Dark Shadows, Collinsport has grown from a gloomy little seaside town into a nightmarish hellscape ruled by demonic mob bosses, who never get prosecuted or even questioned very hard. We’re not going to see another law enforcement losing streak like this until the Pink Panther movies in the mid-70s, and even Inspector Clouseau managed to catch the bad guy once in a while.
As we’ve seen this week, there’s been a massive conspiracy to kill that nice young Joe Haskell, with four characters directly involved in a plot to poison his medicine. Furious, he decided to take the law into his own hands, and there’s an eyewitness alleging that she watched Joe strangle Barnabas Collins while he was innocently napping in an armchair.
Joe is not technically in custody at the moment, because he’s in the hospital, recuperating. But he never gets booked, and nobody else in the crime syndicate does either. Sheriff George Patterson lives in the law-breakiest town in the world, and he never even makes a goddamn arrest.
Continue reading Episode 615: The Truth About Cats and Dogs
“This house has some hold over you, and I want you to resist it!”
This entry is a couple of days late, I’m afraid. The blog is called Dark Shadows Every Day, but to be honest, sometimes it’s more like Dark Shadows Five Times a Week at Irregular Intervals. But Dark Shadows Every Day is easier to fit on a T-shirt, if I ever had time to make T-shirts, which apparently I don’t.
I’d like to explain to you why this entry is so late, but I can’t. All I can say is that there’s some force trying to control me, to make me do things I shouldn’t do, make me go places that I shouldn’t go. I know that’s hard for you to accept, but I want you to try.
Continue reading Episode 573: This Strange Way That You’ve Been Behaving
“The howling of these dogs, that’s what’s wrong.”
So the score, at press time, is Vampires 5, Humans 1.
This month has seen an astonishing comeback for the Vampires, a team that suffered a devastating setback in May when their star player, Barnabas Collins, was benched after being cured by a mad scientist.
But two weeks ago, another rising star came out of nowhere. Angelique, who’d formerly played for the Salem Witches, was traded to the vampires by her manager, and she’s been biting people at a rate that we’ve never seen before in the history of the sport. She’s got Joe as a blood slave, and she’s turned Tom into a vampire, and just in the last week we’ve seen five on-screen vampire bites — seven, if you count reprises. The only human who got away unscathed was the Deputy from a couple weeks ago, and that was with an assist from Nicholas.
Continue reading Episode 566: The Hangover
“Why would you imagine dogs howling?”
It was the best of times.
“Mail for the show recently has been running to almost 6,000 letters a week since Barnabas soared to fame, with Frid himself receiving nearly 5,000 of that total.”
It’s late summer 1968, and Dark Shadows’ ratings have skyrocketed from 2.8 million viewers to 4.5 million, since Jonathan Frid debuted as reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins.
“Ben Cooper has licensed a line of masks and costumes based on the Dark Shadows theme and featuring Barnabas. Western Publishing is also on the way with a boxed board game, comic books and puzzles.”
Call it magic or genius or just being in the right place at the right time, but apparently what American housewives and teenagers want more than anything in the world is a vampire soap opera at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.
“Several weeks ago, Frid appeared in three Stern Brothers stores in the New York City area as a guest at fashion shows displaying ‘Monster Shoes’ — the latest in girls’ and women’s footwear. Stern’s officials described his appearance as one of the biggest in memory.”
There’s just one problem: Barnabas Collins isn’t a vampire anymore. He used to be, once upon a time, but he was cured three months ago. Any viewers tuning in to see neck-biting will be sorely disappointed, and so will their 4.5 million friends. Continue reading Episode 554: Fresh Blood
“How odd it is that I should feel this urge on this night.”
I hope everybody’s excited, because today’s the day that we’ve all been waiting for. It’s Experiment Day!
Yes, after weeks of build-up, we’ve finally reached this historic episode — the day that Barnabas regenerates.
Continue reading Episode 485: A Huge Naked Dead Guy
“What have I become? How can I do things I do?”
Overall, it’s been a tough week for the women of Dark Shadows. Angelique was killed, Vicki’s in jail, and Josette probably shouldn’t be making any long-term plans.
1968 was the year they coined the phrase “Sisterhood Is Powerful”, which is good because these girls could use all the power they can muster. Today’s episode is practically a nature documentary about the lust, greed and hunger that’s making the pre-liberated ladies of Collinsport an endangered species.
Continue reading Episode 414: That Thing You Do
“I don’t think it’s very healthy, living in this house.”
Mrs. Johnson must be an angel in human form, that’s the only way you can explain it. I don’t care how many wings they’ve shut down — Collinwood is a mansion, and as far as we know, she’s the only person taking care of the whole place. She cleans all the rooms, cooks all the meals, and monitors the radio for plot-relevant air disasters. Plus, four months ago, Mrs. Stoddard held a wedding in the drawing room, confessed to killing her first husband, and asked the local sheriff to dig up his body in the basement, and Mrs. Johnson wasn’t even invited.
And now she has to deal with this nonsense. She walks into Julia’s room, and finds her standing on a chair, trying to take the drapes down.
Continue reading Episode 359: Love and Death
“I’m sorry, Maggie, it happens to be my favorite scarf, but if my touching it bothers you, I’ll stop.”
You know that it’s been a fairly static week on Dark Shadows when the first line of dialogue in Friday’s episode is, “How long are you going to stand there?”
Lately, I’ve been postulating a lot of hypothetical writer’s room drama, because things are starting to seem a little fraught in there. Gordon Russell handed Ron Sproat a pretty interesting situation this week — Carolyn, now under the vampire’s control, discovers that Julia is hypnotically conditioning Vicki to reject Barnabas’ advances — and now Sproat is handing it back, two days later, entirely unchanged. He basically just had everybody walk in place for a couple days.
So today’s episode opens with Carolyn asking Barnabas what the hell he’s waiting for. After all, he’s been talking about getting rid of Julia all week. What’s the holdup?
Continue reading Episode 355: Julia Hoffman Must Die