“The sealed room — that’s my room! And the skeleton is my skeleton!”
There’s a special guest star on the blog today: eccentric millionaire Stephen Robinson, a long-time reader and commenter who I wanted to hang out with and watch Dark Shadows.
Danny: Hello, Stephen! I’m speaking with you through my time television, which is built into a cupboard that I wasn’t using anyway.
Stephen: Hello! It’s great to talk to you.
Danny: You too! Now, I have to warn you that this may actually show you a vision of your own death.
Stephen: But probably not.
Danny: Yeah, most of the time it’s okay.
Continue reading Episode 828: It’s My Skeleton
“I remember the firelight, how the knife gleamed as it came close to my hand.”
Imagine, if you will: A gypsy, emoting furiously, on a high cliff overlooking the sea. The night is rough, and thunder-kissed. She has banished the shade of her dead husband, refusing to accompany him to the world beyond. Then a mob boss from Boston in a check suit emerges from the darkness, accompanied by his muscular, partly-clothed assistant. “The game is over, Magda,” he says, advancing on her with a switchblade. “You lost.”
But you don’t have to imagine this scene, because here it is, recorded and preserved for posterity, using magnets and lasers and nostalgia and hope. They actually performed this scenario and broadcast it on television; I can’t say why. Surely somebody tried to stop them.
Continue reading Episode 827: A Cloud of Bats
“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
“I could kill you a dozen times over in five minutes!”
Count Petofi doesn’t play by the rules. He’s a maverick, a mad god who could murder you, show you visions, and then pick your pocket in six directions. He’s bad news. He answers to no one. He could change your shorts, change your life, change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife. His outer casing is made from a metal ten times stronger than Earth steel. He’s strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. He will stop at nothing. He will kill you. He has probably already killed you.
But you show the guy a tambourine, and he goes to pieces. Go figure.
Continue reading Episode 823/824: The Deadly Tambourine
“This is a little more grisly than your usual request.”
There was a storm kicking up that night, one of those dry storms you get this time of year that are heavy on sound effects and light on moisture. The boss had a plan, or at least he said he did.
The gypsies were in town, he said. Black-robed, silent, faceless gypsies with curved scimitars and impenetrable cloaks, who could melt into the shadows and then appear over your shoulder, ready to chop something off and keep it as a souvenir. Some kind of unstoppable Persian ninja gypsy with a prop-closet sword, who needs an extra hand in a big hurry.
The boss said he saw them in somebody else’s dream, which figured. It’s just the kind of thing an android vengeance gypsy would do, show up in some hallucination next door just to let you know they’re en route. Everything’s got to be a legend with gypsies; they’re theater people with a bad case of mythology. But the boss had a plan.
Come on, he said. Let’s go out back and see what we can dig up.
Continue reading Episode 820: The Hand Shakedown
“I know your feeling. Everyone I love must die, too.”
“How dark it is!” says the unresting spirit of Julianka. “I do not like death at all!” She was only killed a few hours ago, so she hasn’t had a lot of time to get used to it, but here she is, already submitting her post-mortem Yelp review. I guess even dead people get impatient sometimes. That’s kind of comforting, in a way.
Continue reading Episode 798: Everyone You Love Must Die
“I regard anyone who tries to choke me as an enemy.”
Okay, the story so far: The Dark Shadows writers have decided that they want to stick around in the 19th century for a while, because the 1897 storyline is fun and popular. Plus, it’s got great characters, not counting the ones that they’ve murdered recently, which is most of them.
So we’re currently four days deep into the 1897 Relaunch week, where they start staffing up again for another few months on this uncertain and frightening journey into the past. So far, we’ve met Aristede, a dangerous, dark-eyed rogue from the Arabian Nights, and we’ve seen the latest reboot of Angelique.
Today, another mysterious stranger strolls into town, and he’s even more mysterious than the last one. We’re going to see a lot of mysterious strangers over the next month or so; it’s like an epidemic or something.
Continue reading Episode 794: Victor and the Wolf
“I’m not going to be inside any pentagrams. I’m going to be doing something that makes sense!”
In the morning, Beth finds Quentin stumbling into the house, exhausted and dirty, his clothes ripped to pieces, and with no memory of what happened to him.
“Quentin!” she cries. “Where have you been? How did you get like this?” Yeah, and how do we get you to do it again?
Continue reading Episode 752: The One Where Evan Ruins the Carpet
“I want to stay here, and watch them be destroyed one by one.”
So the lesson, I suppose, is don’t murder your wife, because it could turn out that she’s secretly a gypsy, and her siblings will trick you into drinking a magic potion. I mean, there are probably other reasons not to murder your wife, but that’s the one that comes to mind at the moment.
Continue reading Episode 750: Gypsy Ascendant
“What I was is not what I am. What I am is what I will be.”
So let’s say you have an entirely crazy person on your hands, and you need to keep her in your home for an unspecified amount of time. This is a common concern for modern homeowners. According to the experts, you should keep her in a warm room with indirect light, check the top of the soil before watering, and fertilize once a month in the spring and summer. No, wait, that’s ficus trees.
Well, here’s what vampire-about-town Barnabas Collins does, once he’s taken it upon himself to immure Quentin’s crazy wife for the foreseeable. He stashes her in an upstairs bedroom, locks the door from the outside, and then goes down to the basement to sleep in a coffin, leaving a note for the comedy gypsies who serve as his unwilling housekeepers.
I’m not saying that’s the appropriate way to handle it, I’m just telling you what Barnabas does.
Continue reading Episode 745: Rendezvous at the OK Corral