“The fire which will burn Collinwood cannot destroy a figure of four!”
So what, you may ask, of the young set? It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the middle schoolers, who used to be one of the driving forces of the show’s popularity.
They got on board with Dark Shadows in early ’68, as the show took a hard swerve toward Halloweentown, with a vampire, a witch and a Frankenstein monster all featured at the same time. The young set is here for the skeletons, the dream sequences, and the disturbed graves. A magic mirror that lets you peek into a basement full of mad science equipment. A werewolf, crashing through a plate glass window. A woman screaming, trapped inside a ring of fire. A devilish man, calling to the dark creatures of nature as he passes his hands over the body of an unconscious babysitter. These discerning viewers demand playground games, and if Dark Shadows doesn’t provide them, then there’s a risk that they’ll drift over to Scooby-Doo, and stay there.
And now, it seems like that’s a demographic that the show is no longer interested in serving. This 1841 PT storyline is just people talking all the time, and occasionally pulling knives on each other. Nobody’s casting any spells, or bringing anything to life. They just put people’s names into a vase, and then take them out again and throw them away. There’s nothing here to stir the soul of a ten year old, and give them ideas for interesting things they could do with a curtain tie.
Continue reading Episode 1206: The Eyes of Children
“Without even planning it, I’ve committed the perfect crime.”
And then, I suppose, Gabriel and Edith’s children come home from boarding school to find an empty house. Their parents are dead, their grandfather is dead, Aunt Samantha is dead, Uncle Quentin has run off to Boston with the governess, and Uncle Desmond has run off to New York with a music hall performer. Nobody’s buried Samantha or their mother, or this strange Valerie Collins who they’ve never even heard of, because the funeral director has mysteriously disappeared, and the police are busting open brick alcoves all over Collinsport, just in case he’s behind one of them.
Aunt Flora is the only one left on the estate, and she’s gone mad, apparently; she can hardly answer a single question about the last four months without babbling about ghosts and vampires and mysterious decapitations. Uncle Quentin was tried for witchcraft, she says, but he was spared at the last moment by a witch, who accused somebody else of witchcraft, and then Uncle Desmond shot somebody, and somehow nobody went to prison.
Now they have to arrange for Aunt Flora’s stay at Rushmore Sanitarium, and sell Rose Cottage to young Mr. McGruder, and clear out the empty coffin in the basement of the Old House that their mysterious cousins from Philadelphia apparently left behind, before they too vanished without a word of explanation.
And then they’re alone, this unknown handful of necessary descendants, to repopulate the mansion and try to survive. Is it any wonder, on that terrible night, that they called upon the dark creatures of nature to bring their dead mother back from the grave?
Continue reading Episode 1198: Goodbye to All That
“I am not dead, as you can plainly see.”
Aunt Em had just come out of the house to water the cabbages when she looked up and saw Dorothy running toward her.
“My darling child!” she cried, folding the little girl in her arms and covering her face with kisses. “Where in the world did you come from?”
“From the Land of Oz,” said Dorothy gravely. “And here is Toto, too. And oh, Aunt Em! I’m so glad to be at home again!”
Continue reading Episode 662: This Is the Night
“It can’t be! That woman is dead!”
The sun sets, the coffin opens, and guess what, there’s more bad news. It’s like every time Barnabas gets up, there’s some depressing new development. He’s got to be wondering why he ever bothered to rise from the dead in the first place.
This is probably the first truly original concept born from this unholy union of monster movie and daytime soap opera — the idea of a vampire waking up and saying, Man, this has been such a crappy week.
Continue reading Episode 435: Next Stop Kansas
“I can’t let you leave here. The evil in you may return in another form.”
You know the scene at the end of The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy wakes up, and she’s delighted to discover that the ruby slippers have carried her home, and she’s surrounded by her family and friends? And everybody is super thrilled that their beloved Dorothy is alive and safe at home? Well, this scene isn’t like that at all.
Today, Vicki wakes up and finds Mrs. Johnson, the friendly housekeeper, sitting by the bed. Except she’s not Mrs. Johnson, she’s not friendly, you’re still trapped in the nightmare, and she hates you.
Continue reading Episode 367: Making History
“I suppose I’m exaggerating. But then again… maybe I’m not.”
At the top of today’s episode, we’ve got Barnabas sneaking up on a sleeping Vicki as she spends a not particularly peaceful night in Josette’s room. He’s got his fangs in this time, so he’s ready for action.
But then, from the corner of his eye, he notices Josette’s portrait, staring at him. He’s basically making a move on his new girlfriend while his ex is calmly sitting there and watching. It’s an awkward moment for everyone — even for Vicki, and she’s sound asleep.
Embarrassed and sheepish, Barnabas backs away from Vicki and exits the room. It’s a nice character-building moment for Barnabas, but unfortunately it makes the story less interesting. If he’s not going to bite her, then we don’t have a plot anymore. So now what?
Continue reading Episode 287: Notes on Camp