“I can’t understand why I have the feeling that something frightening is going to happen.”
It always starts with a box.
You’ve finally figured out what you’re going to do with your life. You’ve got an unstable girlfriend hidden in your house, who’s provisionally agreed not to massacre herself until you get back. You’ve arranged with a friend to destroy the coffins that he was saving up for you. And now you’re going back home, so that you and your girlfriend can use a magical oil painting to travel one hundred years into the future, turn into different people, and live happily ever after. Everything is going according to plan.
And then somebody hands you a mystery box, and the world slips sideways.
Continue reading Episode 887: Whatever Comes Next
“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
“It doesn’t necessarily mean something.”
David and Amy, two young kids prowling the halls of the enormous haunted house where they live, are currently the subjects of an escalating struggle between two ghosts — Quentin, who wants to lure the children into a sinister scheme, and Magda, who’s trying to protect them. So far, we haven’t actually seen or heard either of these spirits, and there’s still a chance that this might all turn out to be one big misunderstanding.
The kids make their way through a secret passage to the west wing, where Quentin is silently urging them to go. Suddenly, a busted old grandfather clock tips over, and faceplants right in front of them with an unholy clatter.
This could be a symbol of today’s generation trying to avoid being trapped by the fears and prejudices of the past, but it’s probably not. Sometimes a child-endangering poltergeist clock attack is just a child-endangering poltergeist clock attack.
Continue reading Episode 644: Phoning It In
“For a variety of reasons. All of them, I think, quite valid.”
Barnabas Collins is standing around helplessly in the Old House drawing room, constitutionally unable to take a step that will advance the storyline in any meaningful way.
Then there’s a knock at the door, and who should walk in but Leona Eltridge and a Large Teen Idol.
Continue reading Episode 595: Electric Ladyland
“What gave you the idea that you had homicidal tendencies?”
Oh, great, a Dream Curse episode. Because we haven’t had enough of those lately.
If you’re joining us late, the Dream Curse is a magic spell that Angelique made up a couple weeks ago, and they’re trying to make it a thing. Maggie had a fairly tame nightmare that included Jeff; she told Jeff about it, and then he had the Dream. Jeff’s dream sequence included Dr. Lang; he told Lang the story, and then Lang had the Dream. It’s going to go on like this until it runs through the entire cast, which will take approximately forever.
You know, they say that there are no new ideas in Hollywood, but then somebody has one, and you kind of wish you’d never brought it up in the first place.
Continue reading Episode 487: Precious Moments
“This painting can’t be in the house. I was responsible for bringing it here, and I am going to dispose of it.”
It’s another dark and stormy night in the great house at Collinwood, and Victoria Winters, girl governess, is creeping around the house in her nightgown, eavesdropping on people. As she approaches the closed drawing room doors, she hears Roger speaking to someone. This is what you do when you live at Collinwood — you walk the perimeter, and check on the inmates. It’s a survival skill.
As usual, there’s something unearthly going on in the drawing room — Roger is being hypnotized by an oil painting, and when he flings open the doors to confront the interloper, he believes that he’s Joshua Collins, an ancestor from the 18th century. Lord knows what everyone else is getting up to. This could be contagious, you never know.
Continue reading Episode 470: Mad Men
“You promised — you swore that I would never be forced to rise again as the monster I’ve become!”
Let’s face facts: So far, this entire week of Dark Shadows has basically been one long suicide note. Newly-risen vampire Barnabas Collins asked his servant Ben to end his eternal torment, but the floating head of the apparently-deceased witch-vixen Angelique stopped Ben mid-staking. Now we’re back to square one.
So I’m going to put this right out on Front Street — absolutely nothing happens today that didn’t happen yesterday. This is the third episode in a row written by Ron Sproat, the writing team’s remedial student, who has a childlike faith in the power of recap scenes to grip the audience and hold us spellbound.
But I can’t just write the same post three days in a row, so I’m going with my new emergency backup plan, which is to talk about Varney the Vampire.
Continue reading Episode 418: A Dark and Stormy Night
“We’ve wasted enough time.”
Barnabas and Julia are bickering again. Dr. Woodard’s getting closer to discovering Barnabas’ secret — he’s met the ghost of Sarah Collins, and in yesterday’s episode, he eavesdropped on Barnabas and Julia talking about the notes that she’s been keeping on her experiments. Julia reports that she’s spoken to Woodard, and she didn’t get very far.
Barnabas sneers, “The next thing you’ll be telling me is that Woodard poses no threat.”
“No,” Julia says. “This time, I’m frightened, Barnabas. Dave behaves as if he’s on to something… and if he is, this could mean the end of everything, for both of us!”
Continue reading Episode 339: The End of Everything
“The only possible explanation for David’s disappearance is that he vanished.”
It’s now going on five days since David got locked in a box, and doesn’t it feel like forever? This is something that people miss if they don’t watch one episode every day, the way that the original audience did. And by “people”, obviously, I mean everybody in the world except me.
After all, you’re free to skip around and watch any episode you want. And here I am, committed to this one-episode-a-day format, trapped with David in a secret room of my own making.
Continue reading Episode 315: Between Sentiment and Survival
“I know what you were planning to do there. I know what you are.”
Today’s episode begins with Vicki standing at the drawing room windows, looking aimlessly at the sunset. There’s a distressingly large number of episodes that start with Vicki staring into space, in one direction or another. It’s like nobody’s ever told her that television exists.
Julia strolls in, and Vicki mentions that last night she dreamt that someone was in her room. When she woke up, her music box was playing. Obviously, Julia knows that means that a vampire was sneaking around Vicki’s room at the end of the last episode. I probably should have mentioned that in yesterday’s post, but I had other things on my mind.
Continue reading Episode 300: The Other Woman