Tag Archives: rummaging

Episode 1085: Our Ignorance and Folly

“David, they’re nowhere in the room! They’re dead people! They’re ghosts! And we look exactly like them!”

There is no such thing as time. There’s only space, physical space, and it is space that measures the distance between those points which we, in our ignorance and folly, insist are points in time. All time is one point, one moment, it is ever existent and it is ever accessible, and it is physical space that can be used to make all time easily accessible. Well, physical space and LSD, obviously.

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Episode 1074: Future So Bright

“Charting the future is not a whim with me.”

Gentleman vampire Barnabas Collins is terribly concerned about the future, and for good reason; he’s been there, and it sucks. He spent a couple weeks trapped in the 90s, where he found his house tore up from the floor up, and he’s desperate to counteract the oncoming calamity.

But we all know that he’s going to fail; the future for Barnabas Collins is not going to be on ABC-TV at four o’clock in the afternoon. Collinwood will fall, and the family will move to a series of temporary shelters in paperback novels and comic strips and audio plays. That future is fast approaching — not today, and not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of his life.

And he might have figured that out, if he’d bothered to learn anything about the world in 1995. He didn’t even crack a newspaper; the name “Bart Simpson” means nothing to him. He spent the entire time running around the house, looking for ghosts.

Dark Shadows has spent the last year and a half turning inward, gradually losing touch with the world outside the great estate. Even the town of Collinsport hardly matters, these days. Barnabas came back to the present with the name “Rose Cottage” on his lips; nobody’s ever heard of it, but I’d bet money it’s going to turn out to be somewhere on the Collinwood grounds. It’s the only place they care about.

But this isn’t the only example of Barnabas Collins flash-forwarding on a mission of purely parochial interest. In November 1971, he shot a whole hundred years into the future, and you’ll never guess what he was looking for. Nope, don’t even try. Whatever it is you’re thinking, it’s dumber than that.

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Episode 1031: The Last Day of Parallel Time

““Why do you keep insisting, despite the fact that there’s no evidence, that Maggie was kidnapped or something?”

New Stokes says he’s stolen some life force, but who hasn’t, right? Barnabas drinks other people’s blood, Yaeger gets off on other people’s fear, and television exists to take your time and attention, and turn it into commercials. Now we find out that Angelique’s got a psychic hook-up that drains some rando in the back room. What’s the difference?

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Episode 872: Tick Tock

“So much happens in this house! So much what you can’t understand!”

The mad wizard Count Petofi, currently assuming the guise and garb of black sheep pop star Quentin Collins, is holding the temples of the renowned painter Charles Delaware Tate. He’s guiding the artist on a magical mystery tour through the cosmic corridors of the I Ching, hoping to discover the hexagram that leads to another time. It’s actually going really well so far.

Gazing into the infinite, Tate describes what he sees. “It’s the drawing room at Collinwood,” he breathes. “It’s different… and the people are different, too. There’s a little boy, and a little girl, and a woman. Another woman’s just come into the room. They’re greeting her, and calling her Julia.”

Which is just entirely unfair. Tate’s watching a better episode of Dark Shadows than we are!

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Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 5: Try to Forget

“All my instincts tell me… it wasn’t a wolf! No… It was another kind of creature!”

So here’s the question: Is Dark Shadows cursed?

Over the last couple years on this blog, I’ve watched and read and listened to a growing number of Dark Shadows spinoff products — the 1991 revival series, the Gold Key comics, the Paperback Library novels, the trading cards, and the Big Finish audio dramas — and they all have one thing in common, namely: They don’t make any goddamn sense. And we haven’t even gotten to Night of Dark Shadows yet, one of the outstanding leaders in the field.

It seems like people are unable to write Dark Shadows stories that hang together in a coherent way, up to and including the writers of Dark Shadows. So what kind of chance does the Dark Shadows comic strip have? For these two weeks, while I’m out traveling, we’ve been reading this 1971 strip, and so far, it looks like the curse of not making sense is in full effect. So as we go along today, I’m going to periodically check in with the ABC7 AccuWeather Sense Tracker, to see if we can figure out what’s wrong with the structure of Dark Shadows stories.

Continue reading Dark Shadows Comic Strip, part 5: Try to Forget

Episode 700: I Ching the Body Electric

“Is this some kind of black magic?”

Fire in the lake: the image of revolution.
Thus the superior man
Sets the calendar in order
And makes the seasons clear.
Professor Stokes, this I Ching that you’re studying. How does it work?

For the last few months, Dark Shadows has concerned itself with two big storylines — the werewolf, and the haunting of Collinwood.

Currently, our sexy young wolfman, Chris, is all locked up in the secret room of the Collins mausoleum, unable to change back to human form.

Meanwhile, the spirit of avenging ancestor Quentin Collins has chased the family out of Collinwood, and they live in exile. Quentin is holding young David, the future of the Collins line, in a hidden room somewhere in this utterly haunted house, and we fear the worst. Both stories have reached a crisis point, and Barnabas and Julia have absolutely no idea what to do next.

So here comes Professor Stokes to tell us absurd things about Chinese divination, because wisdom comes from far away, and besides, seances are so 1967.

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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.

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Episode 412: You’ve Got to Believe Me

“I can see you know nothing about the power of witchcraft.”

The notorious Salem Witch Trials were a series of arrests, hearings and executions that took place from March to October 1692. Twenty people were executed, and more than a hundred people were held in prison for almost a year.

The story is often used as an example of the devastating power of superstition and the suggestibility of the mob, but more than anything, it’s actually the story of a pre-Revolution American colony trying to figure out how justice works.

This was more than seventy years before the Declaration of Independence, when the colonies joined together to form a more perfect union. At the time, the Massachusetts Bay Colony was a Puritan settlement. There was no real distinction between civil law and religious law; the judges and magistrates mostly operated according to guidelines agreed upon by the senior ministers in Boston.

The accused witches didn’t have lawyers, or any representation. The charges against them were almost entirely imaginary, based on the “spectral evidence” of the possessed girls who screamed that they saw the witches’ shapes stabbing at them, and allowing invisible birds to suckle from the blood of their fingers. There were a lot of confessions, especially in the later months of the trials, but the confessed “witches” were mostly just answering yes to the magistrates’ leading questions.

And the hearings were just three-ring circus nightmares, day after day. While the defendant stood in the dock, the growing chorus of “afflicted girls” screamed and rolled on the floor, sometimes running up to the magistrates holding out their arms to show tooth marks where the defendant’s spectre had just bitten them.

The defendant would look at the girls, and the girls would fall down on the floor. The defendant would look away, and they’d get up again. That interaction on its own was enough to put somebody in chains for months.

During Martha Corey’s trial, one of the accusers threw her muff at the defendant. When that fell short, she took off her shoe and threw it, nailing Goodwife Corey in the head. The trial just continued after that, like that was normal trial procedure. Martha Corey was convicted, and executed. That’s how witch trial justice worked.

Continue reading Episode 412: You’ve Got to Believe Me

Episode 389: It’s Complicated

“You see? I can be merciful. But next time, I will show you no mercy.”

Look out, everybody; Angelique’s mad at a toy again.

Yesterday, she thought she was making progress in her relationship with Barnabas, and by progress I mean they were kissing in a fairly serious way.

Barnabas promised to come to Angelique’s room later, but then he had kind of an emotional conversation with Josette, and all of a sudden, the relationship status updated again.

So Angelique is disappointed, and when she’s upset, she tends to say it with voodoo. Now she’s got Sarah’s doll, a handful of pins and a bottomless white-hot fury. You know, the Collins family really needs to stop leaving toys lying around; this is what happens.

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Episode 382: A Witch in Time

“If the Devil has blinded me, Abigail, I consider it curious that he lets you in on all his plans.”

You know, everybody likes to talk smack about Abigail Collins, but when you think about it, every single thing she says is exactly one hundred percent correct.

Let’s run through some of her pet theories.

Abigail believes that Phyllis Wick, Sarah’s real governess, was replaced by Victoria Winters in some unnatural way. This is true.

Abigail thinks that the clothes Vicki was wearing when she arrived were shockingly immodest. According to the standards of the 1790s, this is true.

Abigail thinks that Vicki’s lying when she claims that she doesn’t know where she came from, that Vicki has uncanny knowledge about the future, and that the world would be a better place with one less Victoria Winters in it — check, check and check.

She’s basically nailed it, all the way down the line. Is it too late to go back and make this a television show about Abigail?

Continue reading Episode 382: A Witch in Time