“But there’s always violence in love!”
Barnabas is trapped in Parallel Time, a fantasyland where everything’s the same as our world, except the stuff that isn’t. To the extent that there’s any logic at all, it’s the logic of dreams. People appear and disappear, taking various forms and shapes. Things that seemed dramatic and important in an earlier stage melt away, replaced by other concerns that are equally difficult to express. The ring. The seance. Someone is humming. Where is that sound coming from? Evil, calling to evil. Didn’t I tell you to take down that painting? The people in that room are different, but the same. Who was standing nearby when she died? We couldn’t explain it, so we burned the body, and nobody saw the fire, because we were quiet. Come, we will burn the book together. What happened to the ring? A skeleton, hanging in the cupboard, extinguished by candlelight. She was in Italy visiting with friends, now she’s in our house, visiting with friends. Does she have a job? What does she do for a living? Shouldn’t one of us be going to work occasionally?
Continue reading Episode 1014: Are You the Quentin
“Not anything’s going to keep me from destroying you!”
More than once upon a time, there was a little lost princess…
Continue reading Episode 967: Vicki Ruins Everything, part 3: The Way It Happened
“All our dead have turned into skeletons!”
And so, as teen dream tentacle god Jeb Hawkes swings the scepter and destroys the Leviathan box, the Leviathan altar and the whole goddamn Leviathan storyline, we have to ask ourselves: What have we learned?
Continue reading Episode 966: A Happy Ending
“You killed Paul, you killed the sheriff, and now this!”
But enough with the fancy writing tricks. Who feels like watching Dark Shadows today?
Continue reading Episode 950: Flappy Bat for the Win
“There are two things you’ve got to know. One is that I think he’s slightly mad.”
And we’re back! Yesterday’s Dark Shadows episode was recorded three weeks out of sequence, and slotted into place in order to signal an upcoming storyline course correction. This is a situation that does not occur in nature.
They had this idea, you see, where Barnabas Collins, the main character of this daytime creeps machine, would suddenly swear allegiance to some kind of interplanetary invasion force of shapeless pre-prehistoric essence, which is plotting to replace the human race with a population of quick-growing four-headed snake monsters. Or something. It’s hard to explain, which I guess is the problem.
The kids who hang around outside the studio door after school said that a) they didn’t understand the storyline, and b) they wouldn’t like it even if they did, so the producers said I know what let’s do, let’s make a special episode where we explain that Barnabas doesn’t really want to be doing all the things that he’s been doing lately, and stick it in three weeks early, to signal to the audience that we’re aware that our story doesn’t make any sense, and we’ll change it as soon as we can. And then they went ahead and did it.
What I’m saying is, that’s a really not-normal way to run a television show, especially a high-rated show like Dark Shadows. Yes, the ratings have been slipping a bit since they started the Leviathan story, but that’s coming down from an all-time ratings peak that they hit only two months ago. There’s still a lot of people watching this show.
So what just happened was that the main character of a television show went to sleep, had a dream where the show apologized for the current storyline, and then woke back up and continued on as usual. I can’t think of anything to compare that to. That’s an approach that begins and ends with Dark Shadows.
Continue reading Episode 916: The One of Us
“You can’t let sentimentality make you careless!”
For the last six weeks, Barnabas Collins has been behaving oddly, even by eccentric millionaire standards. He’s been freezing out his friends, and striking them with cars. He’s revoked his Murder Club membership by warning his family that werewolves are dangerous. He’s appeared unbidden in other people’s dreams, and he’s arranged for the remote involuntary circling of dates on calendars.
But we finally have an explanation for everything. He was being sarcastic!
Continue reading Episode 915: The Walkback
“They’ll show you all the people you really are!”
See, this is what I’ve always said about homeschooling. I get that public schools are overcrowded and underfunded, and kids don’t get the personalized attention they really need. But you go outside the core curriculum, and what happens? Demonic possession. Every single goddamn time.
Today’s case study: young David Collins, who’s been reading a book of forbidden ancient wisdom. It’s put him under the spell of the four-headed snake, and turned him into the servant of an Elder Thing. Specifically, he just bought the Elder Thing some slacks.
Now he’s in the Chosen Room of this unholy antique shop, the dwelling place of the snuffling, tentacled pig weasel that holds David’s soul in abeyance. David has brought the blasphemous abomination some new clothes from Brewster’s department store, so it has something to wear when it moves into the next horrifying stage of its horrifying development.
But then, wouldn’t you know it, Aunt Elizabeth is just outside the door. She saw David enter the Elder-occupied antique shop, and it’s way past his bedtime. She insists on looking for him in every room in the house, up to and including.
Her hand is reaching for the Chosen Doorknob. We are teetering on the verge of a Liz-less future.
Continue reading Episode 904: Watching the Detectives
“I don’t think that two supernatural creatures appearing simultaneously at Collinwood could be just a coincidence.”
A metaphor for masculine hunger and violence is loose in the dark forest, a bottomless appetite for carnal destruction preying on the weak. Faced with this upsetting symbolic rejection of civilized cultural norms, Collinsport Animal Control sets up a traffic stop and hopes for the best.
And now we’ve got a new kind of juvenile in detention, a crossbreed nightmare on two legs dressed in grown-up clothes, snarling and clawing at anyone foolish enough to approach its cage. So here’s my question: How do you think they got him out of the bear trap and into a jail cell?
Continue reading Episode 787: The Dog Pound
“David Collins is nobody that exists.”
Back in ’97, Samuel Taylor Coleridge awoke with a splitting headache and a magnificent idea. Grabbing a pen and ink, his hands shaking with inspiration, he scribbled the first words of his masterpiece.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
David Collins is dead!
“That can’t be right,” Coleridge frowned, and scratched out the last four words, passing them along to the next available dreamer.
And so the crossed wires uncrossed, and the message wound its way from 1797 to 1897, whispering itself into Jamison Collins’ receptive ear.
But just imagine: if that mixed message had been traveling in the other direction, young Jamison could have become one of the great poets of his time.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round;
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
This is what Jamison got instead.
Continue reading Episode 767: Elegy for David C
“Spend your time with girls down at the docks.”
Tonight, for the first time, he has met Laura Collins, and seen to his horror that beyond this past lies another past, containing even more terror than he has yet dreamed of.
Continue reading Episode 739: Another Weird Afternoon