“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
“Is there anything in that milk?”
Sssh! Someone might hear! They’re after me! I’ve got to get away! Anywhere, away from here!
Continue reading Episode 917: The Spoon
“Count Petofi, do you think this is some sort of a carriage ride?”
Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a mad god, an assassin and a vampire walk into a basement. The mad god says, “Look into that cupboard, Mr. Collins! What do you see?” And the vampire says, “I see the inside of the cupboard.”
All right, it’s not that funny, but you have to admit you haven’t heard it before. It’s kind of hard to believe that we’re hearing it now.
Continue reading Episode 815: The Time Television
“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
“Are there dead people in that building?”
Well, there she goes again. Girl governess Victoria Winters has vacated the premises, dashing off to the 18th century to set a world record for the number of times you can get yourself hanged. She was ashes, she was memory, she was a dream that never came true, and there’s a very good chance that she just created an alternate timeline where Dan Curtis had a dream about Phyllis Wick.
Winner and still protagonist Barnabas Collins and perpetual runner-up Liz Stoddard were live on the scene when Vicki clicked her heels three times and fell backward into the time vortex. Now they’re standing around in the drawing room, trying to process the unprocessable.
“It’s beyond our understanding,” Liz says, “like death.”
Oh, great. Here we go.
“We don’t understand death, do we?” she continues. “Because we can’t. We can only wait for it, knowing it will reach out for us, when it’s ready.”
Yup, that tears it; she’s gone all gloomy again. This is why they never did a blockbuster remake of the Elizabeth Stoddard story.
Continue reading Episode 651: Mother’s Little Helper
“And then suddenly, he seemed to burst into flames!”
So then the whole show just goes to Hell. I mean, they did already. They went to Hell, and they talked to the devil. It happened last week.
Continue reading Episode 635: One Damned Thing After Another
“You were convinced that I was dead — and I was, for a while! I was actually dead!”
Hey, you know how Elizabeth has been telling everyone for weeks that she’s going to lose consciousness, and everyone’s going to think that she’s dead? Well, guess what: it happened! And she’s still upset about it. I guess there’s no pleasing some people.
Continue reading Episode 604: The Sedating Game
“I know you are men! She is a woman! I know this is a basement!”
They said we were mad, those fools at the Institute, but who’s laughing now? We found a loophole in the laws of nature, thumbed our nose at God — and what’s more, we’ve done it twice. Barnabas and Julia, those celebrated myth makers, have once again stolen fire from the heavens, and gamma-radiated a brand new monster.
And so, with a scream, a sizzle and a sigh, we offload a tedious day player, and zap some life force into our Corpse Bride. At long last, mourning becomes electric.
Continue reading Episode 596: Spook Fortresses
“This house has some hold over you, and I want you to resist it!”
This entry is a couple of days late, I’m afraid. The blog is called Dark Shadows Every Day, but to be honest, sometimes it’s more like Dark Shadows Five Times a Week at Irregular Intervals. But Dark Shadows Every Day is easier to fit on a T-shirt, if I ever had time to make T-shirts, which apparently I don’t.
I’d like to explain to you why this entry is so late, but I can’t. All I can say is that there’s some force trying to control me, to make me do things I shouldn’t do, make me go places that I shouldn’t go. I know that’s hard for you to accept, but I want you to try.
Continue reading Episode 573: This Strange Way That You’ve Been Behaving
“We’re not robbing a grave, Willie. We’re dealing with an enemy.”
I know, everybody’s got their own problems, and when there’s an immediate crisis in your life, you tend to put off the long-term thinking, and just focus on what’s in front of you.
Still, I think that if your planned evening of grave-robbing is interrupted by an urgent need to go on a completely unrelated grave-robbing excursion — that is the moment that you need to stop and re-evaluate.
Continue reading Episode 564: Dig Dug