“They’ll show you all the people you really are!”
See, this is what I’ve always said about homeschooling. I get that public schools are overcrowded and underfunded, and kids don’t get the personalized attention they really need. But you go outside the core curriculum, and what happens? Demonic possession. Every single goddamn time.
Today’s case study: young David Collins, who’s been reading a book of forbidden ancient wisdom. It’s put him under the spell of the four-headed snake, and turned him into the servant of an Elder Thing. Specifically, he just bought the Elder Thing some slacks.
Now he’s in the Chosen Room of this unholy antique shop, the dwelling place of the snuffling, tentacled pig weasel that holds David’s soul in abeyance. David has brought the blasphemous abomination some new clothes from Brewster’s department store, so it has something to wear when it moves into the next horrifying stage of its horrifying development.
But then, wouldn’t you know it, Aunt Elizabeth is just outside the door. She saw David enter the Elder-occupied antique shop, and it’s way past his bedtime. She insists on looking for him in every room in the house, up to and including.
Her hand is reaching for the Chosen Doorknob. We are teetering on the verge of a Liz-less future.
Continue reading Episode 904: Watching the Detectives
“The time is over when no one would listen to you. The time is over when you were alone.”
“Angelique!” he gasps.
The wicked witch smiles. “Hello, Quentin.”
“How did you escape from Petofi?”
She looks away. “I just did,” she shrugs.
Okay. Well, screw you too, I guess.
Continue reading Episode 871: Give Me Back My Talent
“Do you think I’m fool enough to leave the power of the Hand in that body?”
Over the last ten months, mercurial trickster Quentin Collins has been just about everything it’s possible for a Dark Shadows character to be. Lover, scoundrel, zombie, ghost, mortal enemy and loyal friend, brother, father, uncle and antihero, black sheep and white knight, victim, villain, werewolf and wife-killer, teen idol, trading card, day player, pop star and devotee of the dark arts, he has seen and done and been it all. In a fiercely competitive narrative environment, he’s adapted to every new situation, the undisputed champion of 1969.
Now, a powerful wizard sits alone in the back room of his crummy old basement lair, calling on the fire and the air and the water and the earth — and hey presto, with a wave of the wand and a puff of smoke, Quentin Collins changes his mind again.
Continue reading Episode 856: The Switcheroo
“I can’t take my mind off this bullet.”
Yesterday, somebody found a silver bullet outside Collinwood, and now Quentin’s taking it super personally. As a Werewolf-American, naturally he’s sensitive to displays of lycanphobic sentiment. Trying to explain that anybody could be killed by a silver bullet and that all lives matter is not at all reassuring.
Continue reading Episode 768: Number One with a Bullet
“Do you think it’s right, to pray for a cursed thing like this?”
So it all turns out okay, obviously, it’s Quentin, of course it’s going to be okay. It takes more than a silver bullet to the chest to stop a phenomenon like Quentin. At this point, the only thing that could destroy the audience’s interest in Quentin Collins is a 95-minute MGM motion picture where he tries to drown Kate Jackson in a swimming pool. And what are the odds of that?
Continue reading Episode 766: You Have to Admit She’s Got a Point
“What you saw consumed in flames was an exact replica of me.”
“Get me a mirror,” Angelique says, out of the blue. “A full-length mirror.” This is her idea of a security system.
This week, the Dark Shadows A-Team has united against Laura Collins, a phoenix firestarter who’s returned to Collinwood to turn her children into fire demons. Barnabas, Quentin, Angelique and Magda are on the case, each of them distracting Laura from her mission just long enough for another one to plan a new attack.
This is a new team that’s just emerged this week, and Angelique has stepped into the role of tactical expert. It’s a surprisingly natural fit, considering her dismal track record — remember, this is the woman who cursed the man she loves with a spell that kills everyone who loves him.
But in this context, it makes sense for Angelique to step up. Barnabas is terrible at making plans, Quentin is impulsive and reckless, and Magda is the loosest possible cannon. So when the woman says “get me a mirror,” the appropriate response is: one mirror, coming right up.
Continue reading Episode 759: Kill Me Maybe
“If I were a ghost, as I assume someday I shall be, I would not let mere words drive me away from my home. “
This morning, occult expert and exorcism consultant Professor Eliot Stokes woke up to the sound of a crow perched on his windowsill, muttering Russian slang words with the voice of a human child. Touching each of the eight protection stones that surround his bed, Stokes got up and went about his usual routine: selecting an amulet, sweeping away the animal bones that appear each night in his fireplace, and reading the news in the swirls of cream in his coffee.
The omens weren’t particularly favorable, although he made a mental note to brush up on his Russian. Apparently, by evenfall, he would do battle with a powerful energy source for the soul of a young person whose name begins with the letter D. The encounter would end in defeat, fire, and the irreparable loss of innocence.
Still, you never know, he mused, adjusting his necktie. You might get lucky.
Continue reading Episode 694: The Surrender
“You know how girls are, they’re always having dizzy spells.”
Carolyn’s heading out for a moonlight stroll over to her mother’s private mausoleum. Elizabeth died three weeks ago, but Carolyn insists on paying regular visits to the crypt, just for old times’ sake.
Before she clocked out, Liz was convinced that she would be buried alive — everyone would think she was dead, but she’d really be lying in a comatose state, trapped in a coffin and unable to call for help. So she built herself a state-of-the-art mausoleum, complete with a push-button at her fingertips that she could press if she suddenly got better.
So Carolyn goes to visit every day, wondering if her mother will ever revive. Maggie tells her that it would be better if she could just accept her mother’s death, but Carolyn says that she still keeps hoping.
Maggie finally blurts out, “It’s not possible for someone to come back from the dead,” except on Dark Shadows, of course, where they never do anything else.
Continue reading Episode 671: The Phone Book of the Dead
“It was the moon! I’m afraid of the moon, Barnabas, and I don’t know why!”
We’re in the dying days of the Great 1968 Wrap-Up, when all of the year’s dangling plot threads are finally resolved, and we can move on with our lives. Today’s episode aired on Christmas Eve 1968, and there’s just a couple more shoes to drop before the clock strikes midnight and we start a new year.
One of the last remaining storylines is the curse that Cassandra put on Elizabeth in a fit of pique, condemning her to do nothing but ruminate obsessively about her own death. This is an incidental story thread that’s been dragging on for more than six months, and for a while it seemed like they might forget all about it. But now Cassandra’s revenge is back with a vengeance, and we’re just going to have to deal with it.
When we left Liz yesterday, she’d wandered out of the house and walked to the graveyard, where she collapsed and pretended that she was dead for a minute. Barnabas went out to retrieve her, and now he’s scooped her up and brought her back home.
The interesting thing, as we close up these remaining story threads, is that Barnabas now appears to be in charge of everything. Liz’s collapse has left Collinwood with a bit of a power vacuum — Roger’s away on business, Vicki’s run off with her husband, and Carolyn has stepped off screen and won’t be back unti Friday. So Barnabas steps in, spending all of his time this week just fussing around and taking care of everybody.
This may be the point in the show when Barnabas the serial killer turns into the redeemed character that people remember — a cross between kindly uncle, butler and babysitter.
Continue reading Episode 652/653: Kill the Moon
“It doesn’t necessarily mean something.”
David and Amy, two young kids prowling the halls of the enormous haunted house where they live, are currently the subjects of an escalating struggle between two ghosts — Quentin, who wants to lure the children into a sinister scheme, and Magda, who’s trying to protect them. So far, we haven’t actually seen or heard either of these spirits, and there’s still a chance that this might all turn out to be one big misunderstanding.
The kids make their way through a secret passage to the west wing, where Quentin is silently urging them to go. Suddenly, a busted old grandfather clock tips over, and faceplants right in front of them with an unholy clatter.
This could be a symbol of today’s generation trying to avoid being trapped by the fears and prejudices of the past, but it’s probably not. Sometimes a child-endangering poltergeist clock attack is just a child-endangering poltergeist clock attack.
Continue reading Episode 644: Phoning It In