Tag Archives: go back to your grave

Episode 1006: Too Big to Do Anything But Fail

“I’m Larry Chase. I’m Chris Collins’ partner, and as you know, Chris is Dr. Longworth’s lawyer.”

Angelique Collins is talking things over with an old friend, who’s been summoned by the candles of the seventh secret. “They can send you back to your grave, forever!” she explains. This is a thing candles can do.

“I’m not a living being anymore,” Dameon points out. “The candles have no power over me!”

“Then try to move!” she says. Angelique gets into arguments like this all the time. “Try to lift your hand, and snuff the candles out!”

Suddenly, Dameon looks frightened. “I — I can’t move!” he yelps. Dameon is a ghost.

She breaks it down for him. “When the seventh candle was lit, you appeared. When the seventh candle is snuffed out, you will return to your tomb, and never appear again!”

“NO!” he cries. “No, you can’t do it! You CAN’T DO IT!” But she does it. And with one last agonized squeal, he disappears, leaving his bug-eyed skeleton hanging up in the closet, which is where Angelique keeps that kind of thing.

The witch lets out a triumphant cackle. “Now, nothing stands in my way!” she exults. “The house will be mine again! Quentin will be mine again! And nothing can stop me. NOTHING!”

And then something stops her, like, immediately.

Continue reading Episode 1006: Too Big to Do Anything But Fail

Episode 968: The Only Weakness

“When the cairn blew up and the room burned, that should have been the end for you, too.”

So here we are at the tippy top of Widow’s Hill, waiting for teen gang leader Jeb Hawkes to drown his sorrows, and ours. Jeb is a Leviathan, which is a word you use when you’re not really sure what your monster is supposed to be. He used to be a hundred feet tall, with glittering teeth and eyes like opals, but he’s given it all up for love. And now we’re here, potentially ending it all.

The spirit of Peter Bradford blew into town yesterday, with a king-sized kick against Jeb that he’s been bottling up for a hundred and seventy-three years and counting. You remember young barrister Bradford, of course; he’s the lawyer who couldn’t win a witch trial, a hundred years after they’d stopped having witch trials.

But somehow — by luck or inspiration or lunatic plot contrivance — Peter Bradford figured out the Leviathans’ only weakness, which is drowning, and he figured it out by pushing a Leviathan off Widow’s Hill and into the water, where it drowned. Or maybe he found out some other way, like reading the Book, which has a whole chapter on what the Leviathans’ only weakness is. The Leviathans would apparently write down their only weakness in a handy reference guide and then leave it on display in an antiques store, because they’re a secret society that isn’t really very good at keeping secrets. They also wear jewelry with a four-headed snake on it, so you know who to drown.

The only way that Jeb can die is to fall from the top of Widow’s Hill to a messy death on the rocks below, like Josette and Beth did, which I believe means that they were both secret Leviathans the whole time. And then there’s the three widows from the old legend that Elizabeth got all worked up about; they were probably Leviathans too.

Oh, and then there was the other Jeb, the impossible Jeb, who lived in 1797 somehow, and died right here, impossibly, at Peter’s hand. Peter was annoyed with Jeb at the time because he’d lured Victoria Winters to these cliffs, and made her jump to her death, so I guess she was a Leviathan, too. Oh my god, you guys, I think Vicki was a Leviathan.

Continue reading Episode 968: The Only Weakness

Episode 862: Z-Jay

“Why did you come out here at this hour, and why are you wearing that gown?”

As you know, I hate to speak ill of the dead, especially when they’ve gone to a lot of trouble and they’re only trying to help, but I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a ghost successfully deliver a coherent warning to anybody. Either they moan a person’s name and nothing else, or they issue a bunch of unheralded pronouns and don’t explain the context. They put all this spectral energy into piercing the veil between the living and the not, but when they get through, it turns out they haven’t really figured out their messaging.

The current example is even more baffling than usual. Kitty Hampshire — known Josette lookalike and alleged reincarnation — finds a note in her bechamber that says, “Know yourself. Be who you must be.” Then she hears the hypnotic chimes of a music box, which direct her to a vintage gown hidden in the cedar chest. Putting it on, the damsel in this dress drifts down the stairs, and out to the cliffs atop Widow’s Hill, a popular nightspot for the young and doomed. This is all standard practice for gothic heroines who are gradually becoming aware that they’re somebody else.

Arriving at the rendezvous point, Kitty finds the specter of Jeremiah Collins, who was shot in the face a hundred years ago. “YOU MUST LEAVE THIS PLACE!” he bellows. “LEAVE COLLINWOOD, AND NEVER RETURN! IF YOU STAY — HE WILL KILL YOU!”

So Kitty just stands there, and screams her head off. And Jeremiah, honestly, what did you think was going to happen? You’re an undead creature with an untreated head wound. You are scary. That is a thing that you are now; you need to recognize that, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Continue reading Episode 862: Z-Jay

Episode 826: Hungarian Crime Story

“If I only knew how you died, maybe I would know how to banish you!”

Order in the court! The honorable Johnny Romana — King of the Gypsies! — presiding.

In today’s episode, the accused, Magda Rakosi, stands before a jury of her peers, charged with the theft of the Legendary Hand of Count Petofi, and the murder of Julianka, a miniscule gypsy witch who came to fetch the Hand back.

Magda actually did steal the Hand, but she was only indirectly responsible for Julianka’s death, so I’d call this a draw. As a tiebreaker, I’d like to point out that Magda is a major character played by Grayson Hall, one of the all-time most interesting actors to look at, so there’s no way she’s going to be executed by a crew of day players and walk-ons.

Still, having a gypsy trial in the secret room of the mausoleum sounds like a blast, so I’ll allow it. Proceed.

Continue reading Episode 826: Hungarian Crime Story

Episode 813: Happy Haunts

“It suddenly occurred to me that you might be telling the truth.”

Meanwhile, in the other spooky old haunted house of the American imagination, 999 restless spirits were settling into their new digs on the opposite coast.

This is the week that Disneyland opened the Haunted Mansion, a long-awaited E-ticket attraction that invites theme park guests to tour a post-mortem retirement home for the corporeally liberated. This is the old house, abandoned by the family after the dark and terrible tragedies of the distant past, now left available for whatever ghouls care to move in and set up housekeeping. I wonder if Quentin knows about this one?

To be honest, the Haunted Mansion has nothing to do with Dark Shadows, but I love Disneyland, and there’s no way I’m going to ignore the other spook sensation of ’69.

Continue reading Episode 813: Happy Haunts

Episode 723: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Vampires

“Now, I want you to stay here, and look after the ladies, take them upstairs, and lock yourself in a room.”

Well, it’s true what they say, you can’t keep a good man down. Handsome rascal Quentin Collins has been stabbed in the chest, in the cottage, and in the prime of life, and that’s three strikes. We watched him bleed out on the carpet, and he’s currently the featured attraction at a swinging wake in the drawing room.

But dark sorcery has brought him back to life, sort of, by which I mean he’s lurching around with a glazed expression on his face. It’s not much of a life, more mannequin than man. Let’s say “life” with air quotes.

Barnabas is in this episode too, and he’s a vampire, so that makes two dead characters out of five today. Although I suppose from the point of view of the 1969 audience, everyone in the 1897 storyline is dead.

Actually, when you really sit down and think about it, we’re all dead — just a pack of not-yet-rotting corpses, advancing inexorably to the grave. That’s why I try not to really sit down and think about it.

Continue reading Episode 723: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Vampires

Episode 594: Weak Shoddy Adversary

“The one that she will try to kill will be you. So, you see, your presence is vital.”

So I guess it’s fair to say at this point that the current Bride of Frankenstein storyline is not setting any land speed records for Dark Shadows. It’s been dragging on for weeks, and the Bride is still just a bandaged-up mannequin, lying on the lab table and not even bothering to decompose.

Still, it’s part of Dark Shadows’ nature that even in its darkest and most shadowy hours, they’ll find something to do that justifies our patience.

Today’s episode is weird and disappointing in several ways, but the cliffhanger sets up one of my favorite lunatic plot contrivances. When I am old and gray, and the world has taken everything from me but my basement murder lab and my hypnotic medallion, I will think of today’s cliffhanger, and a flicker of a smile will play across my careworn features.

Continue reading Episode 594: Weak Shoddy Adversary

Episode 517: Burn Notice

“In a moment, your flames will be nothing but harmless smoke.”

Here’s Cassandra Angelique Bouchard Blair Collins Collins, a poor girl from the mean streets of Martinique. She worked her way up from a menial servant position to become the lady of the manor — twice, in two different centuries — thanks to her charm, her intelligence, her boundless capacity for ruthlessness, and her contract position with the Lord of the Flies.

She’s currently living with rich Collins husband #2, and scheming to turn husband #1 back into a vampire. But you can’t just sit around and scheme all day. Here’s what she’s doing with her free time.

Continue reading Episode 517: Burn Notice

Episode 426: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern

“The more one learns, the worse one feels. I did not realize life was like that. But probably it is a well-known fact that no one bothered to tell me.”

There’s big news from the royal family, as usual. They think that just because they’re rich and powerful, that means they’ve got a patent on the epic tragedy — although to be fair, they usually do. Regular people don’t poison each other and throw themselves off cliffs; they just don’t have the time.

So here’s the top headlines: Barnabas, Prince of Collinsport, killed his uncle Jeremiah in a duel. Barnabas was then killed by his own wife, the witch Angelique, and cursed with eternal life. After dispatching Angelique, Barnabas courted his dead uncle’s wife, Josette, and planned to make her his vampire bride.

On Friday — confused and frightened by a vision created by the ghost of Angelique — Josette rejected the undead Prince, and killed herself by jumping from the cliff on Widow’s Hill. It’s basically a cross between Hamlet, Macbeth and the juicier episodes of Dynasty, as directed by George Romero.

Continue reading Episode 426: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern