“All our dead have turned into skeletons!”
And so, as teen dream tentacle god Jeb Hawkes swings the scepter and destroys the Leviathan box, the Leviathan altar and the whole goddamn Leviathan storyline, we have to ask ourselves: What have we learned?
Continue reading Episode 966: A Happy Ending
“I’m caught in something — a web!”
So Dark Shadows is pivoting, is the point, away from a weird story that nobody likes, and off into the uncharted territory of an even weirder story that nobody expects. And when Dark Shadows pivots, god damn, they pivot hard. Today, Fortune’s wheel takes a hairpin turn, directly into traffic.
There’s action and adventure today, up to and including frantic phone calls, rickety bridges, slammed doors, abrupt edits and giant fuck-off spiders, and if we’re not careful, we might lose a couple cast members before we’re done. And it’s only Wednesday, too. Nothing happens on Wednesdays, everybody knows that, but giant spiders don’t punch a timeclock. That is a thing you need to understand about giant spiders.
Continue reading Episode 933: King Kong vs Godzilla
“It sounds coocoo, going through a door that ain’t there!”
Anything is possible beyond the I Ching door… ANYTHING!
What, you need me to be more specific? All right. Dig this.
Continue reading Episode 857: All of Him
“The sealed room — that’s my room! And the skeleton is my skeleton!”
There’s a special guest star on the blog today: eccentric millionaire Stephen Robinson, a long-time reader and commenter who I wanted to hang out with and watch Dark Shadows.
Danny: Hello, Stephen! I’m speaking with you through my time television, which is built into a cupboard that I wasn’t using anyway.
Stephen: Hello! It’s great to talk to you.
Danny: You too! Now, I have to warn you that this may actually show you a vision of your own death.
Stephen: But probably not.
Danny: Yeah, most of the time it’s okay.
Continue reading Episode 828: It’s My Skeleton
“Satan is determined to take over Collinwood!”
In the summer of 1969, the young set gather every afternoon at four o’clock to watch one of the great pioneers in educational programming.
Not Sesame Street, of course; that doesn’t start until November. For the summer, at least, the kids’ choice is Dark Shadows, and what they’re learning is that murder is awesome, and you can totally get away with it.
Continue reading Episode 810: The Most Dangerous Game
“Someone now dead lived in this room.”
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Tonight, our feature bout is a winner-takes-all cage match between the savvy psychic, Madame Janet Findley, and the sinister specter, Mr. Quentin Collins (deceased).
Quentin has been quietly haunting the halls of the great house at Collinwood for seventy years, lurking in his sealed-up chamber in the abandoned west wing. Lately he’s been reaching out to the two children of the house, urging them to visit his room, plot against family members, scatter tarot cards around the house, and listen to his hit song, not necessarily in that order.
Earlier this week, under their ancestor’s malign influence, David and Amy tricked Roger into falling down the stairs in the foyer. Concerned, Elizabeth has called in Madame Janet Findley, an exterminator for the already exterminated.
Madame Findley is one of the craziest dames that we’ve seen on Dark Shadows, and that’s getting to be a crowded field. She says surprising things, makes extravagant hand gestures, and goes into a trance at a moment’s notice. I will miss her terribly.
Continue reading Episode 649: The Rise and Fall
“What we did was bury Quentin’s bones. His spirit is still alive, isn’t it?”
There are eight turning points in the history of Dark Shadows — moments where the focus and direction of the show changes permanently. You can’t really talk about the development of the show without these eight pivotal events.
Four of the turning points are character introductions, and four of them are backstage developments. In order, they are:
- the introduction of Barnabas,
- Julia’s offer to cure Barnabas,
- writer Sam Hall joins the show,
- the introduction of Angelique,
- Jonathan Frid’s ten-city publicity tour,
- writer Ron Sproat leaves the show,
- the introduction of Quentin,
- and MGM greenlights House of Dark Shadows.
Today isn’t one of them, by the way. I just thought I’d mention it.
Continue reading Episode 646: The Turning
“Your powers, Mr. Blair. Where are they now?”
Okay, so that happened.
Nicholas Blair, who we might as well call the Big Bad until something Big Worse comes along, has realized that he’s going to be transferred back to the home office in the Netherworld pretty soon, and if he wants to hold on to his girlfriend Maggie, then he needs to put The Ring on it.
So he does what any young lover would do, namely: drug her champagne, carry her downstairs to the bloodstone circle, and recite a romantic selection or two from the Malleus Maleficarum.
Yesterday’s episode is the example that I cite whenever I’m trying to explain how unbelievably weird Dark Shadows can be, because it’s pretty much the furthest they ever go in this particular direction. Not because it doesn’t work (although it doesn’t, really) — just because at this point there is literally nowhere left to go.
You’ve just shown America’s children how to perform a Black Mass. The only thing you can do after that is run away, screaming You’ll never catch me alive! and laughing maniacally.
Continue reading Episode 633/634: All Our Dead Have Turned Into Skeletons
“I can sentence you to walk the Earth in an agony of loneliness for the rest of time.”
“The Reverend Trask, I presume!” says Nicholas Blair, to the skeleton chained up in the cellar of the Old House. “Where is Cassandra? What have you done with her?”
Nicholas just arrived on Dark Shadows yesterday, and he’s been strutting around like he owns the place, and by “the place”, I mean the planet Earth. It’s not clear what he is, exactly, but he’s introduced himself as the brother of Cassandra, the Collins family’s personal nightmare. She was cast into darkness recently by the spirit of an 18th-century witch hunter, and now her dear brother has come to her rescue.
Nicholas raises his arms, and makes malevolent hand gestures towards the skeleton. “I command you to come back!” he cries. “Back from the grave… Appear before me in this room as you really are! NOW, Reverend!”
So that’s what we know about Nicholas, so far. He’s a dude that threatens skeletons.
Continue reading Episode 523: The Devil You Know
“And for your own reasons, you remained silent. You remained silent for reasons.”
Roger is pacing in the Collinwood foyer when Julia enters, bright as a button.
“Good morning, Roger,” she chirps. “Such a beautiful morning, I decided to go for a walk before breakfast.”
Yes, she’s currently engaged in a life-or-death struggle with an undead sorceress. But this is Dr. Julia Hoffman, and she does not give a shit.
Continue reading Episode 520: What Dead People Do