“Sleeping is not one of the safest things you can do in this house.”
When you think about it, isn’t there a fine line between passion and obsession? Isn’t true love a kind of madness, in which nothing else really matters beyond your shared feelings?
“Morgan went into that room to save me!” Catherine cries. “That’s why I must stay here and help him, even if it takes the rest of my life!”
Bramwell glowers at her. “You’re remarkably generous with the rest of your life, considering it belongs to me!”
She turns away, her mind a whirl.
“Every minute you live is mine,” Bramwell urges, “just as every breath I take is yours! There is no Morgan. There never was! Other people are only shadows that we use to hurt each other with, to frighten each other with! That’s true, isn’t it?”
“Morgan did it for me!” Catherine cries. “He went into that room for me!”
“You and I are the only real ones,” he insists. “You and I!”
So the answer is no, there isn’t a fine line between passion and obsession, true love is not a kind of madness, and these people are psychopaths.
Continue reading Episode 1229: Catherine the Not-So-Great
“Without even planning it, I’ve committed the perfect crime.”
And then, I suppose, Gabriel and Edith’s children come home from boarding school to find an empty house. Their parents are dead, their grandfather is dead, Aunt Samantha is dead, Uncle Quentin has run off to Boston with the governess, and Uncle Desmond has run off to New York with a music hall performer. Nobody’s buried Samantha or their mother, or this strange Valerie Collins who they’ve never even heard of, because the funeral director has mysteriously disappeared, and the police are busting open brick alcoves all over Collinsport, just in case he’s behind one of them.
Aunt Flora is the only one left on the estate, and she’s gone mad, apparently; she can hardly answer a single question about the last four months without babbling about ghosts and vampires and mysterious decapitations. Uncle Quentin was tried for witchcraft, she says, but he was spared at the last moment by a witch, who accused somebody else of witchcraft, and then Uncle Desmond shot somebody, and somehow nobody went to prison.
Now they have to arrange for Aunt Flora’s stay at Rushmore Sanitarium, and sell Rose Cottage to young Mr. McGruder, and clear out the empty coffin in the basement of the Old House that their mysterious cousins from Philadelphia apparently left behind, before they too vanished without a word of explanation.
And then they’re alone, this unknown handful of necessary descendants, to repopulate the mansion and try to survive. Is it any wonder, on that terrible night, that they called upon the dark creatures of nature to bring their dead mother back from the grave?
Continue reading Episode 1198: Goodbye to All That
“There’s only one flaw in your logic: it makes too much sense.”
You know how sometimes you get tired of arguing with somebody about whether they’re a ghost, so you shoot them in the stomach just to get them to shut up, but it turns out they really are a ghost so your bullet goes right through them, and then they’re still pretending that you’re crazy and they’re not a ghost? It’s like the worst case scenario for winning an argument.
Continue reading Episode 1193: Already Dead
“We cannot ignore the fact that that hairpin was your mother’s.”
So, for starters, it’s not a dream. I know what a dream sequence looks like on Dark Shadows, and that isn’t what this is. Carolyn’s eyes are open, and she’s sitting on the couch. This is some kind of wide-awake Chromakey phenomenon that they apparently have in this parallel band of concurrent time when they want somebody to think about something, but they don’t have time to put her to bed.
In this weird green-screen memory mashup, Carolyn sees Angelique lying dead on the floor, after her murder at the infamous seance that Carolyn did not attend. And lying on the floor next to the remains, there’s the head of a hatpin. That’s the whole thing, not a lot to shriek about.
But Carolyn shrieks like she’s being attacked by parallel pig weasels, and Julia comes running.
“I remember it now!” Carolyn cries. “I know who murdered Angelique!” But the dream only told her something that she already knew, and it’s not a very interesting revelation. Also, it wasn’t a dream.
Continue reading Episode 1043: The Heat Death of the Universe
“You can’t stop the trouble, Wicks!”
Time is running out for Sabrina Stuart. I mean, it’s running out for all of us, technically, but in Sabrina’s case, it’s running out even more than usual.
Yesterday, Sabrina watched as her mad scientist fiancee, Dr. Cyrus Longworth, clutched at his chest and transmogrified into a hideous angry man-monster, without warning, and without the aid of any magic potions or energy drinks. This is typical of late-stage Jekyll/Hyde syndrome, a metaphorical malady that will only get worse from here.
Sabrina was surprised, of course, but she dealt with this biology-busting miracle surprisingly well, by which I mean that she didn’t slump over in a chair and grow a mop of silver hair extensions, like she did the last time she saw a boyfriend transform into a monster before her very eyes.
When the problem was Chris turning into a wolfman, Sabrina was able to rally and reconnect with him, using the power of love and persistence and hair dye. He kept pushing her away, and she kept on loving him, and then she went out and bought a super-rare moon poppy to cure him. It didn’t work, but we all learned a valuable lesson about how you can’t solve every problem with flowers.
Continue reading Episode 1028: Can’t Stop the Trouble
“I haven’t seen the light of day in almost two hundred years.”
Right this minute, teenage bad boy John Yaeger is in the basement of the Old House, pulling apart the locks and chains that keep Barnabas Collins shut up tight in his coffin. Six weeks ago, the Dark Shadows cast took off for Tarrytown to shoot a feature film, leaving the newcomers and second-stringers to keep the show warm while they’re gone. Now they’re cracking open the mystery box, and once more unleashing Barnabas upon the populace. Dark Shadows is back at work.
To celebrate, I’ve invited actual famous grown-up film critic David Edelstein to come watch the 1970 film House of Dark Shadows. David’s the film critic for New York magazine, NPR’s Fresh Air and CBS Sunday Morning, and he’s also a lifelong Dark Shadows fan and a friend of the blog.
Five years ago, David wrote a very funny review of the Tim Burton movie, which he figured was his only chance to write about Dark Shadows. But it turns out he’s got more in the tank, so we’re going to watch the 1970 film House of Dark Shadows together, and discuss the whole thing from start to finish. David saw HoDS when it first came out, and he’s always loved it, so yeah, I know, just another example of bias in the mainstream media.
Today’s journey involves Hammer movies, overstuffed sets, inadvertent love triangles, how you can tell it’s daytime, cameos, cannons, the color of blood, and the age-old war between actors and scenery, and it ends with the extermination of everything that you love.
Continue reading House of Dark Shadows: Let’s Not Play Insane Games
“I thought killing him would help me release from loving him. But it didn’t.”
Terror stalks the great estate at Collinwood this night, just exactly as it has for the last 189 nights in a row. The terrifying specter of Quentin Collins still rules the silent halls, while the family is couchsurfing at the Old House, waiting for it to blow over. Young David is still leaking get-up-and-go, teetering semi-permanently on the brink of death.
Hoping to resolve this difficult problem, Barnabas Collins used an ancient Chinese divination technique to contact the spirit of Quentin, and negotiate a cease-fire. It’s now six months later, and the problem has not been resolved in even the tiniest way. I think Barnabas needs to step aside, and let somebody else take a crack at it.
Continue reading Episode 836: Murder, She Wrought
“I could kill you a dozen times over in five minutes!”
Count Petofi doesn’t play by the rules. He’s a maverick, a mad god who could murder you, show you visions, and then pick your pocket in six directions. He’s bad news. He answers to no one. He could change your shorts, change your life, change into a nine-year-old Hindu boy, get rid of your wife. His outer casing is made from a metal ten times stronger than Earth steel. He’s strong enough for a man, but made for a woman. He will stop at nothing. He will kill you. He has probably already killed you.
But you show the guy a tambourine, and he goes to pieces. Go figure.
Continue reading Episode 823/824: The Deadly Tambourine
“I would laugh, if there was any laughing left in me!”
Quentin Collins returns to the Old House on the Collins estate, empty-handed in several senses of the word. Earlier in the evening, he went to his friend Evan’s house to retrieve the legendary Hand of Count Petofi, a magical artifact that may have the power to release him from a terrible curse. But he returns without it, and his gypsy friend Magda is crushed. She was the one who put the terrible curse on him in the first place, but they’ve made peace with each other, and now they’re bonded together in a way that only two people who wear too much makeup can be.
Continue reading Episode 792: Dances with Wolves
“And Barnabas will grab her, and carry her off to a triumphant life behind a locked door!”
Rascal-in-chief Quentin Collins has spent the better part of a week hunting for his lunatic soon-to-be ex-wife Jenny, vowing to kill her before she kills him. But it hasn’t happened yet, and he’s starting to get bored, so he settles in for a quiet evening of drinking sherry, propositioning the domestics, and not giving a shit.
Continue reading Episode 747: Die Laughing