“Don’t you feel the evil in this room?”
If it seems like the Collinwood halls are filled with more ghosts and fewer people than usual, that’s because three of the stars — Jonathan Frid, Kathryn Leigh Scott and Nancy Barrett — are out this week on separate press tours for House of Dark Shadows, the feature film which keeps on finding ways to make the show worse.
In the film, Jonathan Frid plays a vampire, Kathryn Leigh Scott plays a girl, and Nancy Barrett plays a girl vampire, so she wins. You see a lot of Carolyn-the-vampire images in the promotional materials, because that’s the traditional early-70s horror movie draw — a pretty girl in a flimsy nightgown, with blood all over her face. This was the period after they invented red paint and before they invented slasher movies, so sometimes the girls had to go and get bloody some other way.
Continue reading Episode 1088: The Summer of Our Discontent
“I’m caught in something — a web!”
So Dark Shadows is pivoting, is the point, away from a weird story that nobody likes, and off into the uncharted territory of an even weirder story that nobody expects. And when Dark Shadows pivots, god damn, they pivot hard. Today, Fortune’s wheel takes a hairpin turn, directly into traffic.
There’s action and adventure today, up to and including frantic phone calls, rickety bridges, slammed doors, abrupt edits and giant fuck-off spiders, and if we’re not careful, we might lose a couple cast members before we’re done. And it’s only Wednesday, too. Nothing happens on Wednesdays, everybody knows that, but giant spiders don’t punch a timeclock. That’s a thing that you need to understand about giant spiders.
Continue reading Episode 933: King Kong vs Godzilla
“You will be what you were — that loathsome bird of the night!”
“Good evening, my fellow Americans,” quoth the monster, wiping the blood from his jaws with a discreet hanky. “I would like to address a word, if I may, to the young people of this nation.”
Continue reading Episode 873: The Violent Majority
“It sounds coocoo, going through a door that ain’t there!”
Anything is possible beyond the I Ching door… ANYTHING!
What, you need me to be more specific? All right. Dig this.
Continue reading Episode 857: All of Him
“You told me that hand was the most magical hand in the world!”
There are moments in life when you have to step back and ask yourself: How did I get here? For example, Grayson Hall. She moved to New York City to pursue an acting career when she was 19 years old. She studied with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio. She was in a Broadway revival of Six Characters in Search of an Author. She was nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her work in The Night of the Iguana. She’s done Pinter and Shaw and Chekhov.
And today she’s on network television at 4:00 in the afternoon, blacked up like a Universal Monsters gypsy, and she’s locked in a life-or-death struggle with Halloween Express.
Continue reading Episode 799: When Halloween Decorations Ruled the World
“I don’t know what to believe. Everyone tells me the sensible thing to do is the crazy thing to do.”
Okay, let’s review the rap sheet.
Mon, Oct 21 : Breaking and entering (Barnabas sneaks into Nicholas’ house), attempted murder (Barnabas tries to kill Eve), first degree assault (Angelique bites Barnabas).
Tues, Oct 22 : Attempted suicide (Joe, with a letter opener).
Wed, Oct 23 : Attempted murder, conspiracy (Angelique tells Barnabas to take Joe into the woods and kill him).
Mon, Oct 28 : Conspiracy to commit murder (Nicholas gives Harry poison to kill Joe).
Tues, Oct 29 : Breaking and entering (Harry sneaks into the Old House), attempted murder (Harry puts poison in Joe’s medicine), first degree assault (Angelique bites Barnabas), conspiracy to commit murder (Angelique tells Barnabas to kill Joe), attempted murder (Barnabas gives poison medicine to Joe).
Wed, Oct 30 : Attempted murder (Joe tries to kill Barnabas with a curtain tie).
So we’ve reached the point where they’re averaging one major felony an episode. Dark Shadows might have more murder per hour than How to Get Away with Murder.
Continue reading Episode 614: Curtains, Foiled Again
“One day she’s perfectly rational, and the next day, she’s suddenly back to talking about death, and mausoleums, and being buried alive.”
As the Bride of Frankenstein storyline ends its seventh straight week of boring the hell out of me, I’ve decided that I’m going to sneak off and play a game today — specifically, the Dark Shadows board game, released by Whitman Publishing in fall 1968 to an eager audience of eight-year-old psychedelic soap opera fans.
Sometimes I do a little late-60s archaeology here, and try to imagine how watching the show might have felt at the time that it was airing, using books and old newspaper articles and TV schedules and guesswork. But there’s one thing that I’ve never really been able to get my head around, which is how old the audience was supposed to be.
My basic understanding of the Dark Shadows audience is that it was mostly housewives and teenagers, with side bets on hippies, mental patients and stoned college students. But then something like the board game comes along, and I have to wonder: were elementary school kids watching Dark Shadows? And, if so, why didn’t anyone stop them?
Continue reading Episode 585: The War on Halloween
“I created it — and your life force will make it live!”
Laugh at ME, will they! The FOOLS!
That’s basically how it starts.
They scoff at me; they dare to think me mad! Because I have vision, a will of my own, because I do not swear allegiance to their committees and their trifling sentimental concerns! Well, they can say what they like now — but I will SHOW them!
And from there, it’s pretty much just like regular apartment-hunting. You want high ceilings, and room to spread out, and you’re definitely going to need a lot of electrical outlets. In-unit laundry is probably a nice-to-have.
Continue reading Episode 476: Monster Mash
“This room could play an important and perhaps tragic part in your life, if you let it.”
Happy Halloween, everyone! Today’s episode aired on October 31, 1967 — not that you can tell from watching the episode, because they don’t mention it. But Carolyn seems to be getting into the holiday spirit — she wakes up early, walks downstairs to the foyer, stands in front of Barnabas’ portrait, and brushes her fingers across her brand-new gaping neck wound.
Continue reading Episode 352: Disturbed Children