Tag Archives: merchandise

Episode 720: Halfway

“And there it was… a MYSTERY BODY!”

The story so far: I began writing this blog two Labor Day weekends ago, starting with Barnabas emerging from the mystery box in episode 210. Now it’s Labor Day weekend again, and by some cruel trick of time, my journey into the past has reached the halfway mark.

This is the midpoint between episode 210 and the end of this uncertain and frightening television show, and to mark the occasion, I should probably say something profound and clever about this episode that sums up what these last two years have taught us about vampires and storytelling and character development and natural selection and chromakey and why you should never give a gun to an actor, even an unloaded prop gun, because honestly, they will find a way to hurt themselves.

Unfortunately, it turns out that I don’t have very much to say about today’s episode, except that this is the one where, for one tantalizing moment, it looks like Quentin and Barnabas are about to kiss.

Continue reading Episode 720: Halfway

Episode 692: The New Mischief

“It is strange, isn’t it, how suddenly the swamp seems to be playing a leading and sinister role in the affairs of Collinwood?”

Let us speak, then, of Barnabas Collins Versus the Warlock.

It’s book #11 in Paperback Library’s long, strange line of Dark Shadows-inspired novels, and it’s the first one in a while that actually takes inspiration from the show in any meaningful way.

In this book, governess Maggie Evans has to save her young charges, David Collins and Amy Jennings, as they — more or less — fall under the influence of an evil phantom that stalks the halls of Collinwood. It’s complicated.

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Episode 689: The First Theremin Era

“It’ll be a lot easier to deal with him if he isn’t here to kill you.”

So here’s the score for the first couple months of 1969.

Paperback Library has released a novelty joke book called Barnabas Collins In a Funny Vein, which we’ve discussed at some length. They’ve also published another in the series of Dark Shadows gothic romance novels. This one’s called The Secret of Barnabas Collins, and it tells the story of Barnabas in 1870s London and his love affair with Lady Clare Duncan, who follows him to France and then to Boston, as he tries to find a witch doctor to free him from the vampire curse.

Meanwhile, Gold Key has published the first issue of the Dark Shadows comic book, which involves Barnabas and Angelique alternately killing and reviving three attractive college students for basically no reason except they felt like it.

So that’s three new Dark Shadows products, all on sale this month, and each of them is aimed at a different subset of the Dark Shadows audience: the novel is for the housewives, the comic book is for the teenagers, and then the young set get the joke book. None of them are very good, but that doesn’t seem to bother anybody. In February 1969, if it says Dark Shadows on it, somebody is going to buy it.

And then — busting into the party like a belligerent gatecrasher — here comes The First Theremin Era.

Continue reading Episode 689: The First Theremin Era

X5: Why Did Barnabas Sell Fangs for a Dollar?

“They live in a cemetery.”

I’m away this week, because I need to spend some time standing in a cemetery and yelling at Julia to hear my voice, which is echoing through the centuries. But I don’t want to leave you with nothing to do just because I’m off time traveling, so here’s the final day of extracts from Paperback Library’s death-defying attempt to write 91 pages of vampire jokes without the use of a sense of humor.

Continue reading X5: Why Did Barnabas Sell Fangs for a Dollar?

X4: Does Barnabas Ever Drink Milk?

“He’s the one who made the raven rave.”

I’m away this week, probably in Bangor or Boston or someplace. But if I leave you alone for too long, you’ll probably invite clumsy occult experts over and let them wander about the house, waving their hands in the air and talking about the letter M.

So in lieu of actual episode posts this week, I’m filling in with selections from Paperback Library’s novelty joke book, Barnabas Collins In a Funny Vein.

Continue reading X4: Does Barnabas Ever Drink Milk?

X3: What Does Barnabas Use in His Coffee?

“Barnabas’ sheets are made of…”

I’m away this week, but I don’t want you to think that I’m dead, so I’ve prepared some posts in advance. Please do not bury me alive. Or if you do, at least put me in an open casket with a little doorbell next to my hand, just in case I want something.

But honestly, I would prefer it if you just didn’t think I was dead at all. Is that really too much to ask?

Continue reading X3: What Does Barnabas Use in His Coffee?

X2: Why Did Barnabas Become a Vampire?

 “Because that’s where the blood is.”

I’m out of the country this week — it’s one of those “He dropped out of school, alienated all of his friends, started going off to the mountains for weeks at a time” type situations. But if I leave you all alone, you’ll wander off to the west wing and start talking into broken telephones, so instead I’m going to leave you with selections from the February 1969 Paperback Library effort, Barnabas Collins In a Funny Vein.

My theory is that this is better than nothing. That theory is looking pretty shaky already.

Continue reading X2: Why Did Barnabas Become a Vampire?

X1: What Does Barnabas Say After He Bites a Girl?

“Dig the groovy new humor craze that’s sweeping the country!”

I have to take a week off, I’m afraid, because I’m out of town at a conference. Plus, I’ve finally moved past the “writing about Ron Sproat” phase of my life, so it’s a good time to take a moment and reflect.

But I can’t just leave you with nothing to read all week, so instead of episodes, I’m going to post excerpts from Barnabas Collins In a Funny Vein. Allow me to explain.

Continue reading X1: What Does Barnabas Say After He Bites a Girl?

Episode 629: In Many Somber Colors

“Again, fate took a hand in the form of a woman.”

Have you ever tried to describe a childhood toy to someone, and realized halfway through that time is real, and mortality is real, and you have become super mega tragically old?

Well, if you haven’t, then listen up. This is what it sounds like.

Continue reading Episode 629: In Many Somber Colors

Episode 588: Maggie Evidence

“Sometimes I was frightened of Barnabas, and sometimes I wasn’t.”

So, yeah. It’s been a weird couple weeks on Dark Shadows, and it was already a pretty weird show to begin with. We had some fun vampire time for a while, but that seems to have passed, and now we’re back in detention with the Bride of Frankenstein story.

Adam, our resident Frankenstein, wants Barnabas and Julia to create a female creature for his bride. They’ve got the body assembled, but now they need a woman to provide the life force to get the new girl up on her feet. This part of the process has been exactly as much fun as you’d expect.

The most perplexing thing this week has been this odd little plot cul-de-sac with girl-next-door Maggie Evans. Barnabas decided that Maggie would be the life force, but Willie’s got a crush on her, and he’s determined to protect her. So Willie’s kidnapped Maggie, as you do, and now they’re hiding together in the secret room in the Collins mausoleum.

This has jogged Maggie’s suppressed memories of being abducted and brainwashed by Barnabas last year, back when he was an evil Dracula. He’s cured now, and trying to put those days behind him, but if Maggie remembers what actually happened, then she’ll expose him, and he’ll be destroyed. So they’ve been doing some flashbacks to the 1967 story, showing us what Maggie remembers about her ordeal.

The puzzling thing about this sequence is that it doesn’t seem to be affecting the mad science story in any meaningful way. By the time Adam found out that Barnabas wanted to use Maggie, she was already gone. And it doesn’t even matter, because he wants to use Carolyn for the life force anyway, so it seems like the Maggie thread was just a pointless side trip.

But we’ve got it backwards. The “Maggie in the mausoleum” story isn’t here to support the Adam story. It’s the other way around — they’ve added a litle bend in the Adam story, so that they can do the flashbacks. Maggie’s flashbacks are the whole point of this week.

Continue reading Episode 588: Maggie Evidence