Tag Archives: the dead

Episode 1009: The Great Train Robbery

“I implore you to remember the dead!”

Dark Shadows is currently engaged in a murder mystery storyline with no detectives, suspects, corpses or clues. Every few days, the characters forget that they’re doing a mystery story, and the only person who brings it up is the deceased.

Angelique was killed six months ago, during a seance in the Collinwood drawing room. At the time of death, her husband Quentin had his hands around her throat. A ghost said that she was cheating on him, which he already knew, and he decided to choke her to death, only to discover at the next-to-last moment that she’d already been killed by someone — or something! — else.

The doctor said it was a stroke. Angelique, who isn’t dead, insists it was an invisible hat pin, poked into her brain while her husband was innocently strangling her. It’s likely that the real murderer, if there is one, was one of the people at the seance, except I can’t remember which ones they were, or if any of them had a motive for killing Angelique, other than her husband, who has an airtight alibi. He couldn’t have killed her, you see, because he was standing right there at the time that she died, murdering her.

So I don’t know, maybe we ought to bring in another investigator, like Sherlock Hemlock or Inspector Gadget or somebody. We need a fresh pair of eyes, or at least a fresh pair of eyeglasses. But all we’ve got is another seance.

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Episode 1003: The Way We Live Now

“You can believe that rooms can change, but you can ignore a simple fact.”

This is what it feels like to be dead, by which I mean it doesn’t feel like anything except that you’re this fucking cold all the time. This is what keeps vampires and zombies going. They’re not hungry, obviously, they say they’re hungry but what they really mean is that it’s cold why is it so cold, I am lost and so far away, I need to eat something or I’ll stop moving, and when you stand still it gets so much colder, it’s like you’re already as cold as it could possibly be except it gets even colder than that if you stop moving, so you keep going keep eating keep spreading out you can’t hear speech anymore you can’t feel anything, but if you can’t feel anything then why the fuck is it so fucking cold

So you’ve got that rattling in your brain all the time, until you can’t think anymore, and the only thing that exists is whatever kind of warmth you can possibly get at, and people stop being people in your head. I’m not saying that like it’s an excuse, because it’s not, it’s just that being dead is really hard and people need to understand that.

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Episode 992: Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t

“Remember, the dead can return in many ways!”

Here’s Aunt Hannah, who we’ve never heard of before, and that’s a shame, because she’s crazy. She uses a sharp pencil to draw a rectangle on an astrology chart, and then she taps her overly bejeweled fingers, tap tap tap tap, like she’s waiting for the celestial bodies to bring her a corned beef sandwich. She’s sitting in a dark room, wearing dark makeup, and pretending that she knows what she’s talking about.

Bruno asks what she sees, and Aunt Hannah replies, “Stars in opposition, the heavens in turmoil… signs in disarray.” She shakes a finger at him. “You must beware,” she says. “Some alien force is at work against you.” She doesn’t sound super worked up about it. It’s not really a warning, more a general observation, like, if you were wondering what was at work against you? It’s an alien force. So keep that in mind.

Bruno leans forward. “Can this alien force be of the spiritual world?” he asks.

She leans back. “I can only conjecture,” she allows, “but my answer is: yes.” That’s a pretty cut and dried conjecture.

He presses her, and she says, “You want to know if it’s the spirit of my niece, Angelique, don’t you?” He does. She smiles. “You know as well as I do that the charts contain nothing of that meaning.”

In other words, the heavens have gone out of their way to put themselves in turmoil, just to make Bruno mildly suspicious, which he already was. That’s the thing that I don’t understand about astrology; it seems to be a lot of work on the celestial bodies’ part, for very thin results.

I mean, you’d think if astrology and tarot cards really worked, then the people who believed in them would be running the entire world by now, and yet they don’t. Weird, right?

Continue reading Episode 992: Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t

Episode 862: Z-Jay

“Why did you come out here at this hour, and why are you wearing that gown?”

As you know, I hate to speak ill of the dead, especially when they’ve gone to a lot of trouble and they’re only trying to help, but I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a ghost successfully deliver a coherent warning to anybody. Either they moan a person’s name and nothing else, or they issue a bunch of unheralded pronouns and don’t explain the context. They put all this spectral energy into piercing the veil between the living and the not, but when they get through, it turns out they haven’t really figured out their messaging.

The current example is even more baffling than usual. Kitty Hampshire — known Josette lookalike and alleged reincarnation — finds a note in her bechamber that says, “Know yourself. Be who you must be.” Then she hears the hypnotic chimes of a music box, which direct her to a vintage gown hidden in the cedar chest. Putting it on, the damsel in this dress drifts down the stairs, and out to the cliffs atop Widow’s Hill, a popular nightspot for the young and doomed. This is all standard practice for gothic heroines who are gradually becoming aware that they’re somebody else.

Arriving at the rendezvous point, Kitty finds the specter of Jeremiah Collins, who was shot in the face a hundred years ago. “YOU MUST LEAVE THIS PLACE!” he bellows. “LEAVE COLLINWOOD, AND NEVER RETURN! IF YOU STAY — HE WILL KILL YOU!”

So Kitty just stands there, and screams her head off. And Jeremiah, honestly, what did you think was going to happen? You’re an undead creature with an untreated head wound. You are scary. That is a thing that you are now; you need to recognize that, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

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Episode 766: You Have to Admit She’s Got a Point

“Do you think it’s right, to pray for a cursed thing like this?”

So it all turns out okay, obviously, it’s Quentin, of course it’s going to be okay. It takes more than a silver bullet to the chest to stop a phenomenon like Quentin. At this point, the only thing that could destroy the audience’s interest in Quentin Collins is a 95-minute MGM motion picture where he tries to drown Kate Jackson in a swimming pool. And what are the odds of that?

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Episode 396: Dialogue of the Dead

“I do not need you now! Can’t you understand? Go back to your grave!”

Last week, Angelique needed yet another stick to hit her rival Josette with, so she called poor dead Jeremiah from his grave, and sent him off to haunt his widow. Now, he’s showing up at the house when Angelique doesn’t want him, like a stray cat that somebody fed once, and now it comes by every day to beg for scraps.

The witch tries to send Jeremiah away, saying that she doesn’t need him now. But he just laughs, and stumbles toward her.

Which brings us to today’s topic: How does “the dead” work?

Continue reading Episode 396: Dialogue of the Dead

Episode 395: Cleaning House

“What are you doing here? Why have you suddenly materialized now, in front of me?”

It’s been six weeks since we started our uncertain and frightening journey into the past, and I think it’s safe to say that the audience of 1967 must have been wondering if they were ever going to get back to the present. The promotional bumper that ABC ran in the week leading up to this storyline promised that we would learn the secret of the chained coffin, but we’re a month and a half in, and we haven’t even been near a coffin, chained or otherwise.

And here’s the really unbelievable thing — there’s 13 more weeks of 1795 episodes coming. This is going to go on for another three months.

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Episode 393: Tell Them We Are Rising

“What do you suggest? Shall I open my own bottle of sherry, and see how much I have to drink before I begin to see hands appearing?”

Well, now they’ve done it. They’ve pierced the veil between the living and the dead; they’ve tampered in God’s domain; they’ve invented a whole new kind of monster, and they don’t even have a name for it yet.

Folks, this is Jeremiah Collins. He was shot in the face two weeks ago, and he died on Friday. But yesterday, Angelique decided that Barnabas and Josette were getting too cozy, so she’s brought Jeremiah back for an encore.

Wave hello to the folks, Jeremiah. That’s a good boy.

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Episode 364: Boom Goes the Dynamite

“I know there’s good, and there’s evil, because I learned it from you.”

It’s been five months since the ghost of Sarah Collins first appeared to Maggie, back when Barnabas was running a compulsory youth hostel in his basement for pretty girls who remind him of his dead girlfriend.

Since then, Sarah’s been spotted by pretty much everyone, and we’ve learned that she’s the spirit of Barnabas’ beloved little sister.

Barnabas’ memory of loving Sarah is the one completely unselfish human quality that he’s displayed during his lengthy reign of terror. Over the last five months, Sarah has provided aid and comfort to his victims, but she’s never appeared to him directly.

And now — just as he’s about to strangle Julia, just as this storyline appears to be stretched to its breaking point — here she comes.

The question for today: Is this incident big enough to spark the seismic change that this storyline needs, in order to stay relevant and interesting? The answer to that question: Hell, yes.

Continue reading Episode 364: Boom Goes the Dynamite