Tag Archives: strangling

Episode 1191: The Great 1840 Wrap-Up

“You turned this hand cold, as my heart turned cold toward you!”

“Why didn’t you stay in that room? We could have done so much together!” laments the hopeless romantic Gabriel Collins, struggling with his girlfriend as she tries to pry herself loose from his grasp. “Do you think I want to do this?” he says, adjusting his grip on her larynx. “Do you think I want to?” I think she probably does.

Eternally beset governess Daphne Harridge has recently torn herself away from one of those dank hideouts that honeycomb the secret interior of the great house at Collinwood. Gabriel was keeping her in lockdown until she fell in love with him, or until he could get Gerard to cough up some money, or possibly some third option that never quite came together. These kidnapping courtships rarely work out to anyone’s satisfaction; that’s why you don’t see a lot of wedding photos where the bride is tied to a chair.

Daphne thought, as everyone did, that Gabriel was differently-abled, but it turned out he was even more different than that. He can walk after all; he’s just been sitting in the chair all this time to rack up frequent-flyer miles. That’s why nobody suspected him of killing his father, or his wife Edith, or that wet sap Randall Drew, until Daphne found a blood-spattered monogrammed cufflink that blew the case wide open. Now she’s outside on the lawn in a dry thunderstorm, with one hundred and ninety-five pounds of Gabriel’s fury compressing her windpipe.

Fortunately, a car pulls up just at that moment and out pops the deceased Daniel Collins, standing erect in a sea-green spotlight and informing his incel son of some upcoming changes to the arrangement. “I told you I would come back,” he thunders. “I’ve come back for you! You will kill no more!”

Now, if Daniel had stepped in a few days earlier, he could have stopped this reign of terror one murder ago, but I guess he just didn’t like Edith very much. I mean, I never cared for her myself, but if I was in Daniel’s place, I would have intervened to save her life, probably, two tries out of three.

Continue reading Episode 1191: The Great 1840 Wrap-Up

Episode 1186: Fuck, Marry, Kill

“But can anyone do anything anymore?”

“But we can’t just sit by and watch him die!” Daphne cries. She’s talking about convicted cow killer Quentin Collins, who she broke up with last week, although earlier today she told him that she loves him, so screw last week, I guess. I wasn’t crazy about last week’s episodes myself, so if Daphne wants to pretend that they never happened, I’m not going to fight with her about it.

“I have no intentions of doing that, Daphne,” says eccentric millionaire Barnabas Collins, reassuringly.

“What are you going to do?” she asks.

Barnabas takes a moment to think. He wasn’t prepared for that question; he usually skates by on vehemence alone. “I don’t know,” he admits. “At least we have a week to think about it.” This is bad news for the audience; we were kind of hoping for some plot development in this area. Quentin’s been in jail for six solid weeks so far; we thought maybe a verdict could pick up the pace a bit.

Anyway, Barnabas goes home, and Daphne drifts up the stairs. Pausing on the landing, she thinks, “Barnabas says he will do something. But can anyone do anything anymore?” That’s actually a pretty good description of the show, these days.

But that’s not really fair, because this is the week where things start moving again, and that means I have to start paying attention. While the trial’s been going on, I’ve been able to spread out and cover some of the other Dark Shadows stories that I need to get to before the show ends, like the HarperCollins novels. Last week, I celebrated my birthday on Wednesday, read another Paperback Library book on Thursday, and then whatever the hell that was on Friday. I’ve still got a lot to do — three more Lara Parker books, some more comics, another Big Finish audio, several more Paperback Library epics. So much to do, and only twelve weeks left to do it.

But this week, the writers have realized that they’re leaving 1840 pretty soon, so they pop the cork and events ensue. Suddenly, everyone is doing everything anymore, and here I am actually writing about the show again, what a nightmare.

Continue reading Episode 1186: Fuck, Marry, Kill

Episode 1170: This Place Is Not a Place of Honor

“Spirits don’t usually attack people.”

This place is a message…  and part of a system of messages…  pay attention to it!

Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

This place is not a place of honor. No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here… nothing valued is here.

What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us. This message is a warning about danger.

Continue reading Episode 1170: This Place Is Not a Place of Honor

Night of Dark Shadows: The Haunted Horse

“Kill Doubloon!”

Happy Turkey Day! It’s time for another pre-emption, as we reach Thanksgiving 1970 and ABC decides to spend the day looking at basketball. It’s traditional on pre-emption days to do a little time travel, and watch a future version of Dark Shadows. This time, we’re only jumping about eight months ahead; we’re going to watch the 1971 feature film Night of Dark Shadows, executive producer Dan Curtis’ next attempt to catch lightning in a bottle.

Last year, Dan signed with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to make a Dark Shadows movie, and he came up with House of Dark Shadows, a fearlessly unrestrained retelling of the original Barnabas storyline. The movie did well at the box office, considering how cheap it was to make, and MGM asked for a sequel. Unfortunately, almost every character in House of Dark Shadows met a grisly end in one way or another, so bang goes the Dark Shadows Cinematic Universe before it’s even started.

For the sequel, Dan had the good manners to wait until the TV show was over before hauling half the cast to Tarrytown, New York and dousing them with a hose. The final taping day on Dark Shadows was March 24th, 1971, and shooting began for Night of Dark Shadows on March 29th. Dan had nine hundred thousand dollars, six weeks, and a cast and crew that was mostly from the TV show. He’d planned to resurrect Barnabas for the second movie, but Jonathan Frid was sick of playing vampires, and asked for a million dollars. So Dan took the show’s second male lead, David Selby, and set him up with two leading ladies — Lara Parker, Dark Shadows’ veteran vixen, and Kate Jackson, an ingenue who’d joined the show about ten months earlier and was obviously destined for stardom.

Night of Dark Shadows was vaguely based on the show’s Parallel Time storyline, which was vaguely based on Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca, plus some inspiration from The Haunted Palace, a 1963 Roger Corman film that was supposed to be based on an Edgar Allen Poe poem, but was actually based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward”, which when you get right down to it isn’t really very much like Night of Dark Shadows at all.

Continue reading Night of Dark Shadows: The Haunted Horse

Episode 1112: The Boy Friend

“She says, in the future, you can send your spirit back in time!”

It always starts with a box.

Let me try to explain. I woke you up, because you’re going to be a friend of mine someday. So I’ve opened your box, in the hope that the you of the future has projected back through time to replace the you of now. Does that make sense?

You see, what I need to do is get in touch with the you that’s going to wake up then, so we can do the stuff that you and I need to do, and when we’re done, you’ll put yourself back in the box, so that in the future, you can get out of the box again, and become the you that I know. Then maybe you can come back in time and help me explain this, because I can tell that this is not getting through.

Look, this really isn’t that difficult. Is there a supervisor around that I could talk to?

Continue reading Episode 1112: The Boy Friend

Episode 1111: The Healer

“If you scream, they will come! They will know how you haunt me!”

Daniel Collins coughs, one of those worrisome false coughs that indicates an unspecified theatrical natural-causes type condition. He’s dying of being old, apparently, at the precipitate age of 54, and he’s being tended to by Ben Stokes, an 84-year-old family retainer who’s known Daniel since he was twelve. It’s hard to say how this kind of malady works; it’s mostly metaphorical.

“Ohh, the pain! It’s coming!” Daniel cries, as Ben propels him bedward. Struggling for breath, he vows, “I must kill that woman, before I die!”

“Now, Mr. Daniel,” Ben chides, but Daniel interrupts.

“Don’t tell me you didn’t see her in that room. You did! That woman will ruin our world!”

Ben shakes his head. “Mr. Daniel, our world was ruined a long time ago.”

That’s a great line, so Stokes puts a point on the board, but Daniel is right. “That woman” is Dr. Julia Hoffman, and her appearance in the year 1840 is ushering in the ruin of this family, this story and soon enough, the whole television show.

Continue reading Episode 1111: The Healer

Episode 1041: Westworld

“A man doesn’t just suddenly choke to death for no reason at all!”

“I’d like to get it over with, all right,” says Quentin Collins to the detective, “with Bruno, and with my bare hands!” This is during an interrogation about the death of Quentin’s first wife, who he strangled with his bare hands. She didn’t die from being strangled — the murderer was actually a rogue hatpin, acting alone — but also Quentin was simultaneously strangling her at the time, which it’s been months since they’ve established that but I still can’t get over it.

So it’s probably not a great idea for him to start shouting about his bare hands in front of the gendarmes. Everybody has bare hands, anyway; it’s nothing to brag about. Sadly, this Trump-tweet level of self-incrimination is a common problem in soap opera towns, which are populated almost entirely by petulant narcissists with no impulse control.

Continue reading Episode 1041: Westworld

Episode 1035: Elegy for the Truly Two

“Cyrus must have been terrified at his own duality.”

“That weapon won’t do you any good,” Barnabas snarls, “so you might as well just put it away.”

And, dude, if John Yaeger had any capacity for that, he wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with. Putting things away is not his area of expertise.

Continue reading Episode 1035: Elegy for the Truly Two

Episode 997: Fifty Shaves

“He hasn’t kidnapped anybody, otherwise he wouldn’t be bothering me like he does!”

Carolyn and Maggie are away from home, filming House of Dark Shadows. Josette and Rachel and Kitty are dead, Millicent and Pansy are mad, and Vicki is long gone. Beth jumped off a cliff, Amanda never existed, Phyllis is trapped in the vortex with Schrodinger’s cat, and Sabrina is Sabrina.

Instead, we present the continuing adventures of Buffie Harrington, our temp soap opera heroine, who’s here on contract while we’re waiting for the more appealing, Ohrbach’s-approved heroines to come back from vacation.

She doesn’t get benefits, and she needs somebody to sign her timecard, but she’s here. If we need a girl to get groped on camera, then Buffie is the next available representative.

Continue reading Episode 997: Fifty Shaves