“Human, yes… except for his hatred! That’s what makes him so dangerous!”
Yesterday, sporadic vampire Barnabas Collins burned down the local antiques store, because his enemies turned him into one of the living dead, and then they didn’t know where the off switch was. This should be a lesson for us all.
But this isn’t the first time that Barnabas has been revamped, and it won’t be the last, not by a long shot. He’s been bouncing back and forth between the living and the dead for a couple of years now, and every treatment is only a reprieve, not a cure. Barnabas may long to be human again, but the audience wants fangs, and we cannot be denied our simple pleasures.
So it’s no surprise that the Gold Key Dark Shadows comic books have gone through the same cycle this year. In February 1970, the same month that flappy bat reclaimed TV Barnabas, comic book Barnabas was suddenly freed from his curse with no explanation, apparently sprung on a technicality. He mentions “the day Angelique’s curse dissolved,” and then he’s human for four issues, or as close to human as Barnabas ever gets.
But a year later — issue #8, February 1971 — the bat came back. “Barnabas Collins… the VAMPIRE!” says the caption. “Caught in a web between the lust for blood and the peace of normal life, Barnabas Collins laments his fate… even as he PREPARES TO STRIKE!”
So this is an opportunity for us to look at Barnabas’ current difficulties from another angle, and since the antiques shop is still smoldering, we might as well see what’s cooking at Gold Key Collinwood.
Continue reading Episode 952: Something Evil People Are Afraid Of
“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
“She called your name, and then she became unconscious again.”
One nice thing about being a soap opera character — and overall the benefits are not numerous — is that every once in a while the writers need you to figure something out in a hurry, so they hand the entire solution to you on a platter, whether it makes sense or not.
For example: the Dark Shadows writers have decided that straight-laced Charity Trask needs to know that Quentin, her prospective fiancé, is a werewolf who murders people on the regular. So they’ve arranged an educational tableau for her to discover, on her morning walk through the woods.
Lying on the turf is the unconscious Quentin, with his shirt all ripped up and decorated with blood spatters. A couple feet away, there’s a young woman who we haven’t seen before and aren’t likely to see again, because she’s sporting the telltale fang and claw marks of a werewolf victim.
Feebly, the girl mutters Quentin’s name, and Charity finds the crucial piece of evidence in his hand — he’s clutching a piece of taffeta, torn from the young lady’s dress. There isn’t a sign that says WEREWOLF with an arrow pointing to Quentin, but Charity’s a bright girl. She can put two and two together, especially if one of the two is currently bleeding out on the green burlap that everybody’s agreed to pretend is the ground.
Continue reading Episode 809: Twice Burned
“I don’t think that two supernatural creatures appearing simultaneously at Collinwood could be just a coincidence.”
A metaphor for masculine hunger and violence is loose in the dark forest, a bottomless appetite for carnal destruction preying on the weak. Faced with this upsetting symbolic rejection of civilized cultural norms, Collinsport Animal Control sets up a traffic stop and hopes for the best.
And now we’ve got a new kind of juvenile in detention, a crossbreed nightmare on two legs dressed in grown-up clothes, snarling and clawing at anyone foolish enough to approach its cage. So here’s my question: How do you think they got him out of the bear trap and into a jail cell?
Continue reading Episode 787: The Dog Pound
“I’m always with fear, Barnabas, but we don’t have time to think about that.”
Okay, I get that it’s a rough way to wake up. It’s dusk, and Barnabas gets up out of his coffin, and the door to the secret room in the mausoleum is wide open. Someone’s been sneaking around his coffin, and obviously that’s an unpleasant surprise.
But then Quentin appears at the door, which is pretty much the best case scenario. If somebody’s going to suddenly appear in your bedroom, then it ought to be Quentin Collins, right? You can’t improve on that.
And this is how out of control things have become for Barnabas: he opens his mouth and bares his fangs. Dude, seriously. What are you planning to do? Put that back in your mouth, and try, for the first time in your long and ridiculous life, to be a grownup.
Continue reading Episode 780: The Establishment Vampire
“How they must have laughed when you told them that you had turned a Collins into a werewolf!”
Barnabas asks, “Why do we destroy the people we love?”
Well, “we” don’t. You do, and we’ve been meaning to talk to you about that.
Continue reading Episode 779: Blood and Thunder
“Don’t you ever do that to me, or you’ll find yourself beyond the borderline of death!”
This is how Barnabas’ life is going these days — he walks into the cottage, and finds his ex-wife Angelique standing over Quentin, who’s out cold on the carpet. And Barnabas just sighs, and says, “Is he dead?” in the resigned tone that you use when the puppy’s peed on the rug again.
After all, this is the second time that Quentin’s died, just in the last two weeks. It’s like the Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow, except the aliens are sarcastic women and it all takes place in the same house.
Continue reading Episode 732: Rules of Engagement
“I don’t see much point in a party that isn’t a surprise.”
It all started ages ago, back when handsome, irresponsible Chris Jennings was just beginning his career as a werewolf. A bad moon was on the rise, and Chris was planning to spend a quiet evening at home, chained to the radiator. But then his girlfriend came over unexpectedly, and booked a ringside seat for his hideous transformation.
The next morning, Chris decided that this would be a good opportunity to travel, so he took off, apparently without pausing to determine whether Sabrina was alive or dead. He just packed a bag, and ran. The worst thing about being a werewolf is that you don’t get a lot of security deposits back.
Continue reading Episode 698: Sister Act
“I was hoping you’d say it was just a wild coincidence.”
Barnabas Collins has driven a stake through a vampire’s heart, beaten a werewolf into submission with his cane, bricked up an enemy behind a wall, and burned a witch to death with a torch, and Dr. Julia Hoffman has done everything that Barnabas did, except backwards and in high heels.
So you’d imagine that these two heavyweights would have no problem dealing with an awkward social situation, like if a guy shows up at your friend’s house in the middle of the night, and you can’t get him to leave. And yet here they are, stymied. Us Weekly was right; celebrities really are just like us.
Continue reading Episode 688: Mostly Charmless
“Well, it’s obvious you’ve forgotten that you attacked me in this graveyard, the night before last.”
And then, one day, you find yourself walking with a mysterious older man to a secret place where he says he can keep you all night and nobody will ever know, and you ask yourself, how did my life end up this way?
Continue reading Episode 676: Murder Club