“I can sentence you to walk the Earth in an agony of loneliness for the rest of time.”
“The Reverend Trask, I presume!” says Nicholas Blair, to the skeleton chained up in the cellar of the Old House. “Where is Cassandra? What have you done with her?”
Nicholas just arrived on Dark Shadows yesterday, and he’s been strutting around like he owns the place, and by “the place”, I mean the planet Earth. It’s not clear what he is, exactly, but he’s introduced himself as the brother of Cassandra, the Collins family’s personal nightmare. She was cast into darkness recently by the spirit of an 18th-century witch hunter, and now her dear brother has come to her rescue.
Nicholas raises his arms, and makes malevolent hand gestures towards the skeleton. “I command you to come back!” he cries. “Back from the grave… Appear before me in this room as you really are! NOW, Reverend!”
So that’s what we know about Nicholas, so far. He’s a dude that threatens skeletons.
Continue reading Episode 523: The Devil You Know
“I want you to come over immediately, and bring your medallion.”
Well, it’s another day in the Land of Shouty Men, where nothing changes, including the volume level.
Yesterday, Dr. Lang was planning to kill his lab assistant Jeff, so he could use Jeff’s head for the monster he’s been stitching together. But then Barnabas — who Dr. Lang is planning to suck the life force out of, to bring the Jeff-headed monster to life — says that he doesn’t even want Jeff’s head, and they have to let him go.
But Lang says that they can’t let Jeff go or he’ll tell everyone about the monster, so now Lang is going to kill Jeff anyway. And if Barnabas gets in the way of Lang killing Jeff, then Lang will kill Barnabas, and then Jeff, and then hopefully you and me, because honestly I don’t think I can explain this all again on Monday. It’s just not going to happen.
Continue reading Episode 480: One More Life
“You don’t know what you’re saying! The horror of that hand!”
In yesterday’s episode, vampire-about-town Barnabas Collins was down at the docks, looking for a bite to eat. He was just about to feed on streetwalker Maude Browning, but she screamed and fought him off, and it attracted attention. He scrambled away, leaving behind his signature silver wolf’s head cane.
So Barnabas needs to learn one of the fundamental rules of crime: If you’re going to go out and attack people, leave your identifiable accessories at home. This is no time for expressing your individuality; you need to be able to blend. This is why hipsters can’t be criminals.
Continue reading Episode 440: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Vampires
“What really upsets you is the fact that you chose the losing side in this battle between the Almighty and the forces of Evil!”
At the top of today’s episode, vampire recluse Barnabas Collins asks his servant for an update on current events. Ben says that he was at Vicki’s witchcraft trial today, and stayed late to hear the verdict.
Barnabas pauses, and says, “I don’t like the expression on your face, Ben.”
Look, dude, you’ve had just as much time as the rest of us to get used to the look on Ben’s face. It’s a bit late in the day for constructive criticism in that department.
Continue reading Episode 438: Drag Me to Hell
“Just how does one go about sensing an evil spirit? I’ve always been curious about that.”
We take you now live to the Old House drawing room, where an argument is already in progress.
Trask: Miss Winters was bound securely to the tree. She could not possibly have freed herself. Someone must have untied those ropes for her.
Joshua: Are you suggesting, Reverend, that it was a member of this family?
Trask: I am saying that whoever helped her escape is also in league with the Devil, and that can mean only one thing. We are dealing with a coven of witches!
And that’s what Dark Shadows is like these days. Zero to sixty.
Continue reading Episode 387: Truth or Dare
“Do you remember when this mark was the only sign we belonged to each other?”
And this is it, this is how you end a love story. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in toasting the happy couple, as they enjoy their first and only dance as Mr. and Mrs. Jeremiah Collins. This is their moment.
It lasts for exactly two minutes and twenty seconds.
Continue reading Episode 383: The Newlywed Game
“I don’t know who she was. But your love was wrong, terribly wrong.”
You know, people talk about breaking new ground in the arts, but then you go and make an episode of afternoon television that ends with a woman holding the bloody stump of another woman’s demon-possessed arm, and all of a sudden everyone gets all weird about it.
They say, Where’s the romance? because apparently people think that soap operas should be about characters falling in love with each other. Personally, I don’t see what the big deal is. If you’ve got voodoo dolls, time travel, tarot cards and marionette bats, then who has time for all that sappy girl stuff?
But fine, whatever. Today — just for you — Dark Shadows is all about the love.
Continue reading Episode 377: Speed Dating
“Blood… oozing through the wall! Where’s it coming from? What does it mean?”
This is the beginning of an important week for Dark Shadows, as we lead up to one of the all-time great storyline twists in soap opera history. In fact, the upcoming story is so bizarre that they aired a special promotional announcement to warn the audience that it was coming.
In the 25-second bumper, Vicki is filmed against a stark black background, looking off into the distance with her typical dazed expression. They play one of those rising-tension music cues, made of strings, kettle drums and reverb.
An announcer says, “This Friday, you and Victoria Winters begin a strange and terrifying journey into the past, back to the year 1795, to discover the origins of this man,” — Barnabas, posing against the darkness — “and the secret of the chained coffin.” The scene fades on a shot of his hand resting on the coffin.
They don’t actually say, “Oh, by the way, it’s Dark Shadows,” or the time slot or anything. They don’t have to. What else could this possibly be?
Continue reading Episode 361: The One Where Julia Loses Her Mind
“Did you ever try to find the exact center of a piece of fine crystal?”
The doctor is advising prudence. She asks the patient, “Are you sure you want it this way?”
“I am through arguing the point,” he sniffs. “The treatments must be accelerated without further comment.”
She reminds him that she will not accept responsibility for the consequences.
“If we don’t hurry,” the patient says, “it will soon be morning. Now, begin the treatment.”
And then she fastens the straps on his electric chair.
Continue reading Episode 347: Mad Science