“I’m thinking that the spirit of James Forsythe has gradually retrogressed.”
One-time parallel pop idol Quentin Collins manhandles his older brother Morgan into a bedroom at gunpoint, an eventuality which under other circumstances could be the starting point for an intriguing afternoon.
Morgan Collins, currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of 1680 power-broker James Forsythe, was found throttling his aunt Julia with a garotte under the impression that she’s Constance Collins, also of 1680, which she clearly isn’t, so I’m not sure where he got the idea. Morgan was stymied, but he plans to try again, and he’s going to keep on trying until he runs out of aunts.
So Quentin locks Morgan in the bedroom, with a pair of armed servants guarding the room, one in the hall and the other outside the window. This is how the Collins family of 1841 Parallel Time deals with civil unrest; they’ve also got brother Gabriel locked up in the tower room for exactly the same reason.
Morgan pounds on the door fiercely, with both fists. “Let me out of here!” he shouts. “Do you hear me? I’m going to get out somehow, and when I do, I’m going to kill you! I’m going to kill every Collins I can get my hands on! Do you hear me?” They do, but they don’t find his argument compelling. They’re already aware that he wants to kill them; that’s why they’re locking him up in the first place. This is not going to go over well at his pre-trial detention hearing.
So now there are two people whose response to this storyline is to become a crazed, ranting lunatic with violent tendencies, and neither of them is me, which is a miracle.
Continue reading Episode 1230: Mortal Engines
“We are becoming closer and closer to catastrophe.”
Here we are, in a thrilling seven-week countdown to calamity, as the wealthy and powerful move gloomily from room to room, in this enormous and temporary brick-stack called Collinwood. The house is doomed, fated to fall in on itself with a tremendous crash, any time between right now and four and a half months from now. Spoiler: It’s not happening right now. Almost nothing is.
Time-traveling houseguests have appeared in the hall, with prophecies of disaster outlined in a handy list of six bullet points that nobody cares about or understands. Two of them have already come to pass in the last week and a half — an eclipse, and a picnic — and so far nothing has happened, except for a faint prickling of unease. Maybe these aren’t our clues after all; there’s been a mix-up, and we’ve gotten hold of somebody else’s clues. I wonder who they belong to. I hope it’s not somebody who really likes their house; they’ll be terribly cross.
Continue reading Episode 1079: Carry a Big Stick
“Well, of course you have a hand. There it is, see?”
Edward Collins comes home from a hard day of whatever, and finds his younger brother Quentin swilling brandy in the drawing room. Quentin says that he needs it, after what happened today.
“All right, Quentin,” Edward sighs. “What has happened this time?”
And then this is the nonsense that happens next.
Continue reading Episode 803: What Fresh Hell
“I would’ve thought it idiocy to assume that a praying bigot could turn a zombie into a man.”
Rounding the turn at the 1897 Dark Shadows Character Invitational, we find track favorite Quentin Collins showing signs of weariness. He got off to an astonishing start in the early weeks of the race, even against seasoned thoroughbreds like Barnabas Is a Vampire Again, and Julia Wearing a Wig.
But Quentin called in dead last week, spending Monday and Tuesday flat on his back, and the rest of the week stomping around as a mindless zombie. That’s been interesting and fun, and his bulging, sightless eyes have made for some chilling-slash-amusing moments. But you can’t rely on a gimmick like that for long, and by the end of the week, he’d taken it about as far as it could go. Quentin needs to get back up to speed if he’s going to qualify for the championship.
Stamina is everything on this course, because it’s a race that never actually ends. The horses just keep running around and around the track without stopping, only taking breaks for Thanksgiving, Christmas and the occasional assassination.
Continue reading Episode 726: The Comeback
“Where is this uncle he thinks he is?”
Okay, let’s see if we can summarize.
Eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins has traveled back in time to 1897, in order to stop Quentin from dying alone, sealed up in his bedroom, and then sitting around and stewing about it. If Quentin dies under those circumstances, then he’ll return as a ghost in 1969, to haunt the family and kill David.
We’re currently a month into this loosely-defined rescue mission, and Quentin has already been stabbed to death. Barnabas decides that this is a mission-critical failure for some reason, and he asks Angelique to use her magic and bring Quentin back to life. As an act of spite, Angelique brings Quentin back as a mindless zombie who attacks the governess and tries to bury her in his own grave. To make matters worse, Quentin’s spirit possesses the body of his nephew Jamison.
Once the governess is rescued, Zombie Quentin leaves the cemetery and goes to the Old House, bashing the door in and fighting his way past several gypsies to make it to the basement, where he sits down quietly in a chair and just kind of chills out. Barnabas and the gypsies try a seance to reunite his body and his spirit, but it doesn’t work, and the zombie leaves the basement, with Barnabas in pursuit. We finished yesterday with a shot of Zombie Quentin on his belly, dragging himself desperately toward his open grave.
Nope, it looks like we can’t summarize this after all. That’s a negative.
Continue reading Episode 725: The Unrest
“They become just as helpless as this pencil.”
Dr. Julia Hoffman comes home to her luxurious mansion, which belongs to other people. She’s brought a friend, a handsome young serial killer named Chris. They’ve just had an unpleasant afternoon with Chris’ ex-girlfriend, who was traumatized by Chris several years ago to such an extent that she no longer moves or speaks.
Chris is a little uneasy after the encounter, but Julia’s in full Murder Club mode, telling him that Sabrina still can’t speak, so she can’t identify him to the police. This is Julia’s idea of reassurance.
After Chris leaves, she’s joined by Professor Eliot Stokes, another dangerous houseguest who’s snapped his leash and is now wandering around at will, drinking other people’s liquor and planning unholy rituals in other people’s back gardens.
“I’m glad you’re here, Julia,” he smiles. “I’m going to exorcise the ghosts from this house tonight, and you are going to help me.” This is what Julia’s life is like, just one damn thing after another.
Continue reading Episode 693: Sticks and Stokes
“This painting can’t be in the house. I was responsible for bringing it here, and I am going to dispose of it.”
It’s another dark and stormy night in the great house at Collinwood, and Victoria Winters, girl governess, is creeping around the house in her nightgown, eavesdropping on people. As she approaches the closed drawing room doors, she hears Roger speaking to someone. This is what you do when you live at Collinwood — you walk the perimeter, and check on the inmates. It’s a survival skill.
As usual, there’s something unearthly going on in the drawing room — Roger is being hypnotized by an oil painting, and when he flings open the doors to confront the interloper, he believes that he’s Joshua Collins, an ancestor from the 18th century. Lord knows what everyone else is getting up to. This could be contagious, you never know.
Continue reading Episode 470: Mad Men
“Then the combat would take place in the deepest recesses of the deepest darkness!”
Okay, it’s Monday; the start of a new week. Now, where did we leave off?
Oh, right. Barnabas was choking the crazy Irish witch lady. Obviously.
Continue reading Episode 451: Exorcise in Futility
“Your hand will burn if you touch me!”
Her name is Bathia Mapes. Even that doesn’t make sense.
It’s difficult to say exactly how we got here; it all seems like a dream. A year ago, Dark Shadows was a daytime soap opera that did a couple of mild ghost stories. And now it’s 170 years ago, where a French aristocrat from Martinique is praying over a candle, trying to bring a witch to the house to cure a vampire who’s locked in a tower upstairs. The door slams open, and there’s the sound of thunder, and then in walks this magical Yiddish elf.
Continue reading Episode 450: Scary Godmother
“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.
Continue reading Episode 400: Playing with Fire