“At least the companions I pick are human!”
So here’s the method: First, you take a chemical synthesis. This can be homemade, or delivered from a chemical synthesis company. Either one, it just has to be worryingly potent. Turn on the apparatus, set those fluids bubbling in their beakers. Add some powder to the synthesis. Now it’s a compound. Approach some truths that are better left unknown. Pour the result into a juice glass, and down the hatch.
It’s a simple dramatic recipe, but I do have a few questions for the reckless chemist, starting with: Why test this on yourself first? You literally have a guinea pig right there in the room with you. Wouldn’t it be easier to jot down observations, if the composition that’s getting reoriented isn’t yours? Also, what were you expecting to happen? What was the beneficial outcome you were aiming for?
Continue reading Episode 989: Scientific Progress Goes Boink
“Why? Why alter a human being?”
“Let me begin,” the doctor says, “by saying that man is chemical in his composition.” Oh boy, here we go.
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce the simpering Dr. Cyrus Longworth: a man, a plan, an apparatus. That’s him back there, behind the equipment, workshopping his defense attorney’s closing arguments.
We’re in another weird basement science dungeon today, one of those makeshift conceptual sets made of equal parts brick, stone and middle school classroom. There are wire cages holding a rabbit and a guinea pig, quietly munching on carrots and wondering why they ever got into show business. The apparatus isn’t bubbling and nobody’s having their head removed yet, but give them time; they’re just getting started.
But I’m interrupting Dr. Longworth, who has a theory to expound that you may find difficult to swallow. Still, people used to believe that the sun was flat.
Continue reading Episode 986: Down in the Science Dungeon
“And then suddenly, he seemed to burst into flames!”
So then the whole show just goes to Hell. I mean, they did already. They went to Hell, and they talked to the devil. It happened last week.
Continue reading Episode 635: One Damned Thing After Another
“Your powers, Mr. Blair. Where are they now?”
Okay, so that happened.
Nicholas Blair, who we might as well call the Big Bad until something Big Worse comes along, has realized that he’s going to be transferred back to the home office in the Netherworld pretty soon, and if he wants to hold on to his girlfriend Maggie, then he needs to put The Ring on it.
So he does what any young lover would do, namely: drug her champagne, carry her downstairs to the bloodstone circle, and recite a romantic selection or two from the Malleus Maleficarum.
Yesterday’s episode is the example that I cite whenever I’m trying to explain how unbelievably weird Dark Shadows can be, because it’s pretty much the furthest they ever go in this particular direction. Not because it doesn’t work (although it doesn’t, really) — just because at this point there is literally nowhere left to go.
You’ve just shown America’s children how to perform a Black Mass. The only thing you can do after that is run away, screaming You’ll never catch me alive! and laughing maniacally.
Continue reading Episode 633/634: All Our Dead Have Turned Into Skeletons
“For a variety of reasons. All of them, I think, quite valid.”
Barnabas Collins is standing around helplessly in the Old House drawing room, constitutionally unable to take a step that will advance the storyline in any meaningful way.
Then there’s a knock at the door, and who should walk in but Leona Eltridge and a Large Teen Idol.
Continue reading Episode 595: Electric Ladyland
“I felt it in that room! I felt LIFE being drawn out of me!”
Oh, thank God you’re here.
Seriously, I’m really glad you showed up to read the blog today. Every once in a while, I get scared that everyone will stop reading at the same time, and I’ll be all alone here, just me… and the episode.
Continue reading Episode 592: And The Walls Fell Down
“Adam, this is exactly the conversation I didn’t want to have.”
It seemed like such a good idea at the time.
We’ve got an empty basement, they said. We’ve got an apparatus, and some electricity, and a Mark 7 respirator, and a whole lot of spare time. Let’s go downstairs and make a human woman.
Continue reading Episode 591: The Sound of Science
“Do you think a woman’s just going to volunteer to risk her life for something as insane as this?”
Jeff Clark — an 18th century lawyer who’s been transported through time to 1968 — rubs his neck, and tries to concentrate on the journal he’s studying. He’s in the basement of a spooky old haunted house, where he’s helping a mad scientist assemble a female Frankenstein monster, because the local male Frankenstein monster has threatened to kill Jeff’s fiancee if he doesn’t.
So he’s leafing through the journal of his former employer, who was murdered by a witch in the middle of the last experiment, and Julia is next to him, painstakingly pouring some suspicious-looking red fluid from one test tube into another.
Jeff stands up, and says that he’s going to Collinwood — but then he stops, and sighs. Julia walks over to him, concerned.
“Jeff,” she says, “there’s something bothering you.”
Continue reading Episode 580: Temporary Sanity
“I think it’s time you knew how revolting and disgusting you really are.”
And now we have come to another installment where I honestly do not have the power to adequately describe how thoroughly certifiable this television show has become. It has broken free from its keepers, and is, at press time, rampaging through the streets, barking and snapping and uncoiling reality as it goes.
My only recourse as a commentator is to use William S. Burroughs’ cut-up technique, because I don’t have access to the acres of marijuana that the 1968 teenage audience was smoking at the time.
Continue reading Episode 575: Crazy Talk
“If we fail, well… then we must go through with it anyway.”
Yesterday, in my round-up of the Collinsport fashion scene, I neglected to mention the one guy on Dark Shadows who’s been breaking all the wardrobe rules — Adam, the patchwork Frankenstein.
Last week, mad scientist and artisanal monster enthusiast Dr. Eric Lang tried to bring his creation to life, squeezing Barnabas’ life force out of his vampire-cursed body, and using it to jump-start the new guy.
In a town with a mandatory “ties or turtlenecks” rule, Adam has brazenly flouted convention, clearly going full commando under his sheet. This bold sartorial statement has made him an eye-catching addition to the landscape, but it was also kind of a clue that he wasn’t planning to get up off the table until somebody found him something in extra-extra-large.
But in this episode — as Julia and Barnabas prepare to give the experiment one more try — Adam’s sheet is pulled all the way up to his chin, which means that he might have some clothes on under there. I think this might be the day we actually get this dude up onto his feet.
Continue reading Episode 490: What to Expect When You’re Expecting