Tag Archives: mulder

Episode 1076: Say Yes to the Dress

“You know, it might be the ghost of a room.”

Hallie is enchanted, in the sense that she’s delighted. She’s also enchanted, in the sense that someone has cast an enchantment on her.

“What does it matter?” she chirps. “We wanted to find the room, and we have!”

Hallie and David have opened the door to the playroom, a magical portal of the kind that you typically see in wardrobes and police boxes, leading to looking-glass worlds with silver-leafed trees and marmalade skies. Cue the enchantment.

“It’s the most marvelous place there is,” she smiles. Hallie isn’t Hallie right now, which is fine with me, and it’s even more fine with Hallie. Nobody is happier about Hallie not being Hallie than Hallie is.

“Look!” she coos, bending down to appreciate the twirling toy carousel. “There’s Dapple, and Charger, and Jewel, and all the others! Running a race that no one will ever win.”

“Who are Dapple and Charger?” David grouses.

“The horses, silly!”

And there they go, Dapple, and Charger, and Jewel, and all the others, revolving in an endless circle, just like this storyline is starting to. It’s only been a week, and already it feels like we’ve been listening to this tinkly music box tune for most of our lives. That’s always how it feels when Dark Shadows tries to stretch a three-week story into six to eight weeks, like they’re about to. Hallie is smiling, and soon she’ll be whining, and then she’ll start smiling again, twirling in a graceful circle as the audience drifts away.

Still, I bet Dapple is in the lead. I know, they’re all chasing each other, but Dapple be Dapple. You know what I mean? The rest of you need to step out of the way.

Continue reading Episode 1076: Say Yes to the Dress

Episode 970: A Less Rational Explanation

“I have the feeling that perhaps all of us are leading a different life in that room.”

Yesterday, eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins had a strange and frightening experience, namely: watching an episode of Dark Shadows that he wasn’t in.

He was poking around in the deserted east wing of Collinwood, opening doors and closing doors and hunting for a coffin — you know, typical Dark Shadows stuff — when he suddenly came upon a room where Elizabeth and Julia were dressed up in other people’s clothes, and talking about other people’s problems.

We’re meant to be intrigued by this strange desert otherworld, so they made use of that great guarantor of television mystery: the unheralded pronoun.

“I’m cleaning out her clothes,” says Liz. “You will not touch her clothes,” says Julia. “It will be their room,” Liz proposes. “It is hers; it will always be hers,” Julia counters.

She is dead! She’ll be back! and back and forth they went, acting for all the world as if proper nouns were prohibited by law, and then they slammed the door and ran away into the night, giggling.

It’s a good gag, if you can pull it off. Other people have trolled Barnabas in the past — like all gloomy and self-involved people, he is particularly susceptible to trolling — but I don’t think anybody’s ever done it by just standing around in a room and pretending they don’t notice him. They’re breaking new ground in the field of Barnabas-bothering.

Continue reading Episode 970: A Less Rational Explanation

Episode 934: The Pet Detective

“I don’t know what to say either, except that he died horribly.”

A man is dead.

Like, super dead. You know how some people are dead? Well, this guy is even more dead than that. Way more.

Kneeling, the Sheriff pulls a discreet sheet over the deceased, shaking his head.

“Have you told his family?” he asks the people who were in the room when the man died but claim that they have no idea what killed him.

“No, I didn’t quite know what to say. I thought after you saw him…”

“Well, I’ve seen him,” nods the sheriff. “And I’ve seen that room that he was destroyed in. I don’t know what to say either, except that he died horribly.”

He paces around the crime scene. “I’ve never seen a room destroyed the way that one was, or a corpse that looks like that!” He sighs. “I haven’t the faintest idea who, or what, murdered him.”

Yeah, no kidding; you’re a Collinsport sheriff. You live in the most murdery town in America, and you’ve never solved a single crime.

Continue reading Episode 934: The Pet Detective

Episode 834: The What’s-Thatters

“Death runs faster than any man.”

A memo from young Icarus to his father, re: altitude. What are you talking about, Dad? These wings that you made from feathers and wax are working great. Why do you say that I’m flying too high? You’re supposed to fly as high as you can, that’s the whole point of flying!

And so, as Icarus sinks slowly in the west and learns some valuable lessons about swimming, let’s turn to Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis. In defiance of good taste and common sense, Dan has turned his poky little soap opera into a five-alarm spookshow spectacular, delighting the teenagers and housewives of America with larger-than-life characters, hair-raising plot twists and inventive special effects. The ratings are still climbing, which makes Dan wonder: What can I do for an encore?

Today, we see Dan’s first answer to that question — Dead of Night, a primetime pilot for ABC that tried to adapt the Dark Shadows formula to an hour-long nighttime drama. Dan produced this pilot in late 1968, with several members of his Dark Shadows family — director Lela Swift, writer Sam Hall, composer Bob Cobert, and actors Thayer David and Louis Edmonds.

ABC finally broadcast the hour-long pilot in late August 1969, because they’d already paid for it and you might as well. While he’s been waiting for it to air, Dan’s scaled his ambitions up even further — he’s currently pursuing a deal with MGM, to make a Dark Shadows film. So before that kicks off, it’s useful for us to take a look at this pilot episode, “A Darkness at Blaisedon”, and see Dan’s first attempt to bring Dark Shadows to a wider audience.

Constructed haphazardly out of feathers and wax, Dead of Night introduces a trio of new characters — psychic investigator Jonathan Fletcher, his live-in chum Sajeed Rau, and the beautiful young heiress Angela Martin — and throws them onto a haunted house set, to see how far they can fly. Icarus, you are cleared for takeoff.

Continue reading Episode 834: The What’s-Thatters

Episode 694: The Surrender

“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

Episode 482: Witches Be Crazy

“I should go to Collinwood, and drag her from the house, and BURN her!”

So, what do you do with a guy who just refuses to understand what kind of story he’s in?

I’m not talking about a Mulder-Scully dynamic, where the tension between belief and skepticism is the whole point of the series. I’m talking about a guy who’s standing smack in the middle of a spook show, and he can’t get his mind around the fact that there’s a witch who’s trying to kill him, even though she’s already openly attacked him using her magic powers. I’m talking about a guy who needs to have the situation explained to him over and over, plus he’s obnoxious and a terrible actor and he shouts all the time.

All right, it’s Lang. I’m talking about Dr. Eric Lang. He’s driving me crazy, and he’s got to be stopped.

Continue reading Episode 482: Witches Be Crazy

Episode 376: Card Tricks

“The tarot cards give us access to knowledge of the occult which cannot be transmitted either orally or in writing.”

On Friday, a vengeful Angelique cast a spell on Josette and Jeremiah, sending them like sleepwalkers to a forbidden tryst, outside in the moonlight. Josette was followed by her aunt, the Countess Natalie, who was an eyewitness as the spellbound couple embraced, and pledged their love.

Now it’s the next morning, and Natalie does the only sensible thing she can do — she brings Josette’s father, Andre, out to the spot where the lovers met, and tells him that they’re being menaced by an evil force.

That doesn’t necessarily sound like the logical next move, but soap operas are approximately 90% information management. If somebody does something, then the next day, everybody has to stand around and talk about it. And if it’s a secret, then there’s all kinds of extra information management activity, including eavesdropping, speculating and making up excuses. Frankly, we’re lucky anything ever happens at all.

Oh, and we’re still in the past, by the way. Remember how we were in the past? Well, we’re still there.

Continue reading Episode 376: Card Tricks

Episode 317: The X-Files

“When I came into your room that night to kill you, I should have gone through with it.”

Today’s episode opens with Dr. Julia Hoffman walking into the Old House to find Barnabas getting ready to leave. Technically, she’s supposed to be coming over to continue her experiments; she believes that she can cure Barnabas of being a vampire. This usually involves injections, seasoned with dialogue about the structure of his blood cells.

But we’ve seen that situation so many times lately that they apparently don’t even need to mention the experiment anymore. Julia just walks in, and asks Barnabas what he’s up to. He calls her “doctor” a few times, but otherwise there’s no mention of the cure, or any other reason that she might be strolling in this evening. It’s actually surprising that she even bothers to knock on the door. Things have become noticeably casual at the Old House.

The main topic of the week is whether young David knows Barnabas’ secret, and what Barnabas is going to do about it. Julia urges him not to do anything rash, and he tells her to mind her own business. You’d think that watching people talk about murdering a child would be inherently interesting. Apparently, that is not always the case.

Continue reading Episode 317: The X-Files