Tag Archives: third base

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.

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Episode 961: Protagonizing

“I want you to get good and mad — mad enough to rip a man to shreds!”

“My, my, Mr. Jennings,” Bruno says, splitting his face with a lunatic’s grin. “How you’ve changed!” He’s sneering at the snarling werewolf that’s currently chained to the wall of this desolate crypt, and he’s staying just outside the creature’s reach, like Foghorn Leghorn standing at the dog’s leash limit.

“Does the tone of my voice anger you?” Bruno jeers. “Good! I want you to get good and mad — mad enough to rip a man to shreds!”

This is not typically a problem for werewolf handlers, because the entire point of werewolves is to be a metaphor for unchecked fury and explosive violence. You don’t need to rile up a werewolf. They come pre-riled.

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Episode 721: Dead Again

“If he stays dead now, then the course of history will be changed.”

Well, that didn’t last long, did it? They just let Quentin show up alive five weeks ago, and now he’s flat on his back, dead all over again. It looks like we’ve solved the big mystery of how Quentin died. It was the wife with a knife in the cottage.

We didn’t actually witness the stabbing, but Jenny came straight home and told Beth all about it, case closed. So this isn’t a whodunnit as much as a what are we gonna do about it.

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Episode 644: Phoning It In

“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.

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Episode 579: Sproatinger’s Cat

“I promise you, Julia, we’ve only seen the beginning of this.”

“Julia, I’m puzzled,” Barnabas says. “Terribly puzzled. I’ve just come from Collinsport.”

Julia asks, “What happened?”

“Nothing has happened, that’s what’s wrong.”

Julia says, “I don’t understand,” and then Barnabas says “Third base!” because it’s just that kind of day.

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Episode 516: The Unimmured

“I didn’t brick up any wall!”

So, I don’t know, what else is going on? Oh, right, Barnabas. He was chained up behind a wall a few days ago by a vengeful ghost, and left there to slowly starve to death. We should probably get back to that.

Dark Shadows might be the only television program that would lock up the main character behind a brick wall and then just forget about him for a while. There’s a lot happening right now.

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Episode 215: Where’s Willie?

“I haven’t seen him around, but I don’t know that he’s gone.”

We’re back at the Blue Whale today, and we’ll be here for the whole episode, so I hope you have a designated driver. The story plays out in real time, so it’s like 24 but without the action or suspense. But there is a mystery, and the question on everyone’s lips is: “Where’s Willie?”

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