Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Barbara Crampton is a Dark Shadows fan, y'all




Confession: I typed the name "Barnabas Crampton" about 100 times while stitching this post together. It's pretty ingrained at this point. If I was in a coma you could put a pencil in my hand and it would still reflexively write "Barnabas." Some habits will die hard.

Which brings me to my point: Actress, horror ambassador and Fangoria columnist Barbara Crampton is a guest on the podcast Post Mortem with Mick Garris. She hits many of the expected bullet points (Re-Animator, From Beyond and Channel Zero are difficult subjects to avoid) but offers surprising sources of inspirations for her career choice. Among them: Dark Shadows.

OK, maybe it's not a huge surprise in this context (you're reading about this on a Dark Shadows blog, and there's that headline at the top of the page) but this feels like a win for our side. It also makes her recognition as Soap Opera Digest's "Villainess of the Year" in 1990 feel more poignant. I'm not going to steal Mick's thunder and post a transcript of the podcast, but here's a sample of what Barbara had to say:
"I really loved that particular show. I loved all the ladies in the show, but I really identified more with Barnabas Collins. I loved his character ... I wanted to be a vampir ejust watching him."
You can listen to the entire episode below. Thanks to Charlie Lonewolf for the tip!

And make sure to follow Barbara on Twitter @barbaracrampton

The Dark Shadows Daybook: JANUARY 16



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 411

As Barnabas returns from death, he learns that his resurrection comes at a price he can never repay. Barnabas: Jonathan Frid. (Repeat; 30 min.)

Barnabas awakens to find Angelique hovering over him with a stake. When he discovers that her curse rendered him neither alive nor dead, he kills her. As Barnabas discovers what he has become, Ben Stokes volunteers to help him, and while hiding Angelique’s body, must bluff Barnabas’ curious father. Barnabas returns, having found that his new life demands that he live off the blood of others.

This is it. I mean, IT.

There are those episodes that wind up in top ten lists. Huge turning points. But because of the strange structure of soap operas, the episodes of action sometimes differ from the more interesting moments of actual consequence. So, which do you pick? When looking at the whole reason we go to 1795, which is a front row seat for Barnabas Begins, when is “the moment”? It’s usually pegged as 405, the episode in which Barnabas shoots Angelique, she lays the curse, and he answers the door when the bat knocks. Yes, vital, crucial. All of that is true. However, it comes at the end of the episode, ripping the plate from us just as we’re reaching for the spork. Then we have five whole episodes as he tries to escape his curse and finally dies, distancing itch and scratch to a point that the dramatic impact is muffled. Are they necessary? Yes, for the development of Angelique’s rather Byzantine conscience. Arguably, the time gap heightens tension and creates more and more incentive to keep watching. Any more and they might have lost me, but 411 is so deeply satisfying to arrive at because the non-stop action and development make quintessential viewing. This episode, for me, is 1795 at its very best and one of the reasons that the flashback is so fondly remembered. Fewer things are better than good Dark Shadows, but this is so tight and intense that it ventures into the same realm as “City on the Edge of Forever,” coloring outside the lines of its own show’s standards to become not just an example of the program at its best, but of the medium at its best, as well.



Not to say that an episode has to be something beyond Dark Shadows to do that; it just has to be Dark Shadows at its best -- a core sample of why we care. This is it. And we care because we care about Barnabas, and we care about Barnabas because we care about what Jonathan Frid brings to the writing, and how that alchemizes with the work of Lara Parker. Maggie and Josette create frustration for Barnabas, and we feel for them both. Angelique brings threat, conflict, and desire on metaphysical, moral, mortal, and immortal levels. Maggie and Josette test greatness, but it is the transformation brought on by Angelique that makes him great. In 411, he realizes what he has become. Frid musters his full Shakespearean experience here, finding truth in the moment’s size. Barnabas surges with the panic and awe and woe that come with standing outside of life and outside of death. It’s so appropriate that they avoid the word “vampire” at this point, because the moment of his realization feels bigger than just becoming a folk tale-turned-penny dreadful baddie. By not using the v-word, we and he are focused on the more cosmic status of Barnabas and his alienation from both of the sides of existence. Not alive, not dead, but indifferent to both. Imbued with a passionate indifference to everything sacred in the natural order, he even overcomes -- if only for a moment -- all of Angelique’s powers. She’s not only a witch, she’s Dr. Frankenstein, desperately trying to undo her own creation and the only thing that can undo her. Angelique’s powers stem from nature… even the nature of the dark afterlife. By creating someone who stands outside of both life and what dark destiny lies beyond its gateway, she has an Oppenheimer moment. Barnabas demands to know why she was trying to destroy him before he rose. Yes, good question, and the answers are so myriad that the most powerful dramatic choice resides in not addressing them all. Because how can she?



As Barnabas sinks into the sad and terrified realization that his unwanted and Nietzschean state will require the loss of lives, he experiences the unique sadness of wanting the impossible end to an existence beyond what we can imagine. Fear drove Barnabas in life and fear drives him after. His dance with fear is as intense as his pursuit of love, and leads him into the paradox that drives him and the series. Just as love pushes him to do the hateful, fear will push him to be brave. We see this in his reflector, Ben Stokes, who recognizes his humanity as Barnabas loses his… and who quietly and hopelessly finds an impossible hope. As his master drifts from what it means to be human, Ben instinctively musters newfound will and compassion to help him, and by helping him create essential humanity for both of them. He stands at the opposite pole of Angelique, and somehow also shares a love for him that makes no sense, yet never rings as false. If Barnabas has to have his humanity ripped from him to eventually find it, Ben Stokes is his unwitting guide for that journey as he, himself, goes from murderer to conservator of life. As a final paradox, Ben can only take on the role of guardian of life by allowing the master in his charge to subsist by taking the life of others.
Does Ben do this because of social forces that define proletariat and working class? Put your pants on, Spartacus. He does it because of the Faustian spawn we call friendship. Impossible friendship.

But what friendship worth its grit isn’t?

Lives will be lost. There is no accounting for that. Literally. But the ultimate story of the show is how Barnabas pays a debt he can never afford. That’s a kind of pursuit with which everyone can identify, but might never admit. What is life, why do we love, and how to we justify being here? Through the best and worst of exploring both life and death, Barnabas searches alongside us.

This episode was broadcast Feb. 22, 1968.

Dark Shadows, The 1973 Tapes: The Happier Dead



By JUSTIN PARTRIDGE

The SPOILERS AHEAD are coming for you, Barbara! 

“These patients aren’t alive, Amy, they’re just...NOT DEAD!”

Hello and welcome back to The 1973 Tapes! How are you? Are you eating enough? Drinking enough water? You know, we worry about you. This is our penultimate entry into this column and today we are discussing 2014’s The Happier Dead! This might be the penultimate entry into the 1973 arc, but it is the SECOND part of the “Amy Jennings, Supernatural Avenger” canon that I totally in no way just made up. One of the great joys of listening to these audios has been the way that Amy Jennings has flourished as a character for me and I think The Happier Dead might just be the purest example of why she works in this universe and how much Stephanie Ellyne brings to the role behind the mic. Though I have to say this one wasn’t nearly as scary as y’all said it was, The Happier Dead was still a fine showcase of Ellyne’s talents and of Amy Jennings’ tragically powerful past.

One of the neater things about coming to these audios fairly blinds were the backstories that were hinted at throughout Bloodlust. And nobody seemed to have a richer backstory than Amy Jennings, who apparently had, as the kids say, been through it. A supernatural college career, a doomed romance, and more importantly, an actual life outside of Collinsport. We all know how all that turned out (and if not, take a gander at the Bloodlust Diaries, right here at The Collinsport Historical Society! Fuck yeah, integrated branding!), but thankfully, The 1973 Tapes have allowed me to finally experience a lot of that backstory and it has just made me love Amy all the more.

But while the first part of my “Supernatural Avenger” duology, The Lucifer Gambit, was basically just an episode of Supernatural with a higher production value, The Happier Dead felt much more substantial from the jump. In the middle of studying with her college beau, one Simon Turner, more on him in a bit, Amy is struck with stabbing pains in her side, the pain being so great it renders her unconcious. When she awakes, she finds that Simon has driven her back to Collinsport from Salem, a whopping three hour drive, in order to check her into the Collinsport Hospital. Amy, naturally, is horrified, but things take a sharp turn into weird when the pair discovery that nobody is dying there anymore. Instead, they are LIVING, some even rising from the dead, somehow “surviving” massive injuries in a short of limbo between living and dying.

As I was told that this one was super duper scary, I steeled myself for shocks, but to be quite honest, they never came. Sure the noises the victims made were truly haunting and the physical implications of the spell, which Amy voices throughout thanks to Adam Usden’s pointed scripting, are quite unpleasant to think about. But it didn’t really ever reach Beyond the Grave level spookiness for me and I have to admit it was kind of a let down. That isn’t to say that this one is bad or skippable by any stretch it is just...a special kind of frustrating to be told that a story is ultra scary only to find out that it isn’t.

What this story doesn’t have in terms of horror, it more than makes up for with tragedy, which is something I did expect after hearing the name “Simon Turner”. Yes, this story finally gave me the straight dope on his and Amy’s relationship and as I suspected, it weren’t great. At first though I have to say, I wasn’t really impressed with Simon. John Chancer certainly plays him with aplomb and he and Ellyne have a natural chemistry that the script makes good use of, but the character himself is kind of a lunk and seems like a real drag on Amy as she tries to suss out the mystery of the hospital even with fresh stitches.

However as this thing went on and the resolution barreled toward me, I was absolutely floored at the outcome and the heavy emotions the ending deployed. Of course the whole thing is centered around some madman trying to achieve immortality, but the way Usden brings it home is such a brilliant gut punch. One that haunts Amy still to this day and one that will probably stick with me for a long time coming. There was something so shockingly human about Simon’s sacrifice and the way he died for love; a recurring theme in Dark Shadows but one that hasn’t lost one ounce of power. Amy Jennings returned to Collinsport a different person and now after listening to The Happier Dead, I now know the full cost of that change and it has only made her a richer, fuller character to me as a result.

Horror and tragedy often goes hand in hand in the Dark Shadows universe and The Happier Dead brings that sensibility to the Big Finishverse in a big damn way. Amy might have been an early favorite of mine as a listener, but now, after this story, I finally feel like I have the full breadth of her character and of Ellyne’s full scope of performance. It may not have been super scary, but The Happier Dead was still a very important, and very satisfying entry.

NEXT TIME! The Finale! Carriage of the Damned! Sabrina Jennings vs…*checks notes* a bus? I think? This is going to be fun. Interesting stuff is in the hopper for y’all in 2019 after this wraps up. I hope you are ready. Until then, be seeing you.

The tapes so far ...





Justin Partridge has always loved monsters and he thinks that explains a lot about him. When he isn’t over analyzing comics at Newsarama or ranting about Tom Clancy over at Rogues Portal, he is building Call of Cthulhu games, spreading the good word of Anti-Life, or rewatching Garth Marenghi's Darkplace for the dozenth time. He can be reached at the gasping Lovecraftian void that is Twitter @j_partridgeIII or via e-mail at justin@betweenthepanels.com Odds are he will want to talk about Hellblazer.

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Dark Shadows Daybook: JANUARY 15



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1970: Episode 941

Jeb’s romantic evening with Carolyn is interrupted by the surprise appearance of Quentin’s fist. But will Maggie pay the price? Quentin: David Selby. (Repeat; 30 min.)

Quentin rescues Carolyn from Jeb with successful fisticuffs. Before Barnabas can whisk Carolyn away to seclusion and safety, Jeb kidnaps Maggie, suspecting that she is Barnabas’ weakness. As Barnabas threatens to summon Oberon, Jeb laughs, knowing that Maggie is laid out in a mausoleum.

There are a lot of audiences for the program, and between satisfying all of them, the show also has to be true to its own, unique mythology. Dark Shadows is both all continuity and flees from continuity whenever it can at this point. I don’t think there’s any greater corner into which they painted themselves than the one with muttonchops and a cool, grey coat called Quentin. It’s not just David who remembers him as a ghost; Liz does, too. I like how they acknowledge that in this episode, and I also understand why they dropped it pretty quickly -- or why the Collinses are a pretty forgiving, gullible family. The writers have to because it’s a conversation that goes nowhere. The characters have to because they’d have no relatives otherwise. Mrs. Johnson has leftovers, and if another “cousin from England” doesn’t show up pronto, that ambrosia salad will get to a point where even Willie wouldn’t eat it after a bender at the ‘Whale.

Quentin’s reluctance to re-engage Liz is a character moment that you might miss if you blink, but it’s enough to perform its function on the show. If it weren’t the Leviathan arc, they might be able to devote more screen time to Quentin’s Return by making it the sole story. But that might require bringing back a villain from 1897, like Petofi, and who wants to see that? (Except everyone.) However, that’s running in place, and to the show’s credit, they moved forward to book a third hottie on to the program. It not only kept the show fresh, it also -- and I’m just theorizing this -- kept Dan Curtis from being a victim to anyone’s success. There has to be a line for a producer between working for ratings and working for the source of your ratings. Just as no one suspected that Barnabas would be such a hit, no one suspected that Quentin would, either, and arguably to a greater merchandising degree. As much fun as 1969 was, 1970 would be about topping it, and retreading 1897 so soon was be a path they wisely avoided -- and at a cost. Barnabas and Quentin are kept around, because to not do so would have been suicide, but now often at the service of Chris Pennock and James Storm. The most strangely sexless arc is the one in between Jeb and Gerard -- 1970PT -- in which there was no hottie. Yes, Quentin is dashing in a Ron Burgundy sense, but he’s also a loudmouthed, clueless, overreacting bully. Cyrus may be sympathetic, but he’s hardly an alpha, and Yaeger? The mustache and wig don’t have the Goulet magic they might have hoped.

Before any of that, 941 presents a moment of 1897-style action that is always a cherry in the show’s fruit cocktail for me. The fight scene between Jeb and Quentin is a last hurrah that might as well have taken place on Cestus III so that the Metrons would release Collinwood from their grasp. Quentin introduces Jeb to his biscuithooks in his best and most Quentinesque modern costume, and the whole thing feels like a sly reassurance from Dan Curtis. The man can and will release the kraken when need be, so tune in. With enough patience, Dark Shadows is any show you need it to be. Soap opera? Of course. Character farce? When you least expect it. Musical? Oh, they go there. Horror? You bet. Science fiction? The time travel and dimensional leaps qualify. And prime-time action? That, too. It may even have a dash of Brady Bunch. 941 has a strangely and endearingly adolescent ending, as if they sensed what their prominent adolescent audience might do. Barnabas threatens to call Principal Oberon on Jeb and Jeb responds by making fun of Barnabas for having a crush on Maggie.

It’s a strangely sweet and innocent ending for an episode that begins with -- and let’s take the shmata off it -- Quentin preventing a rape. I don’t know if that is supposed to be mentioned or not, but Jeb slips Carolyn a mickey, and it’s not for a good night’s sleep. Now, Dan’s biggest problem is over how he redeems the guy. I’m not sure he worries too much about it or if he lets the story take care of it. That, and the culture of 1970. I’m not rushing to get out my hankie, but watching it in 2019, I wonder if they’d introduce that character choice at all or, if they did, if Jeb would be seen as eventually redeemable in any way. It also helps to humanize Joan Bennett after turn as a good, stoic, dedicated hostess to Leviathan functions. It would have been easy to turn her into Mrs. Johnny Iselin and fork her daughter over to the cult, but you don’t come back from that choice. The characters might get their memories erased, but the audience doesn’t. Wise to have her go along with Barnabas’ plan to take her to an island -- any island. There are a lot of audiences for Dark Shadows, but they all can agree on basic right and wrong.

This episode was broadcast Feb. 2, 1970.

The Bodice Tipplers Podcast needs you



West of Bangor the hills rise wild, and there are valleys with deep woods that no axe has ever cut. There are horrors beyond life's edge that we do not suspect, and once in a while man's evil prying calls them just within our range.

Danielle Steel has arrived at The Collinsport Historical Society — just as the prophecies foretold.

Steel's 1991 novel Palomino is the focus of the latest Bodice Tipplers podcast. Since launching their own website I've had less reason in recent weeks to plug new episodes here, but the latest episode is accompanied by something special. Sara and Courtney are trying to raise $500 for RAINN — the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. If that's enough to motivate you to donate, click HERE to vget started. If you need a little more encouragement, please visit their website for additional information. Spoiler: If they meet their $500 goal, the two will release their 1990s Glamour Shots.

The latest Bodice Tipplers episode is streaming below and features the song "Carolina Peach Blossom" by The Dawn Key Shotguns. Give it a listen!

LINKS:

https://fundraise.rainn.org/fundraiser/1832498

http://www.bodicetipplers.com/2019/01/faaaabulous-prizes.html

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Dark Shadows Daybook: JANUARY 11



By PATRICK McCRAY

Taped on this date in 1971: Episode 1192

Samantha learns the terrifying secret of Joanna, but will it be enough to save her from becoming the next ghost of Widow’s Hill? Joanna Mills: Lee Beery. (Repeat. 30 min.)

After a startling imprisonment in Parallel Time, Quentin and Daphne escape to encounter Joanna Mills. After Samantha’s bullets pass through her, Joanna lures her onto Widow’s Hill, where she reveals herself to be a grotesque ghost, bent on revenge.

1840 continues to be the best-kept secret on Dark Shadows. It’s largely known for the surprising denouement of the Barnabas/Angelique storyline, and while the other arcs don’t have that kind of canonical weight, they can be tight, smart, and intriguing. Watching the Joanna Mills mystery conclude, we’re reminded of that. Like the beginning of the Leviathan story, 1840 seems to present both a main arc and an anthology running concurrently. In 1198, it wraps up a section of that anthology. The segment might be a challenge to get into (because of the ensemble of unfamiliar short-timers) but it pays off when you do. It’s one of those brief dimensions of the show like “The Stopping Off Place” story that ran a year before -- easily forgotten despite deserving of a mental dog-ear. I’m bending the page corner now.

If the episode has any message, it’s “don’t tick off a ghost.” Up until Joanna Mills, ghosts on the show reveled in their supernatural powers, and while they were incredibly powerful, there’s always the sense that they are limited to abilities like telekinesis and mind control. Joanna, though, successfully pulls off a hoax on a level that redefines what a ghost on the program can be. If Josette had possessed these powers, Angelique would have been the next unsuccessful cliff diver on Widow’s Hill. She’s intensely corporeal, fooling scads of people into believing she’s real and saving her big reveal for maximum impact. Actress Lee Beery brings a sense of placid control to the part, making her the perfect foil for the tightly wound, humorless Samantha as delivered by Virginia Vestoff. Her postmortem reveal is genuinely horrifying in a luridly Basil Gogos way, and in my book, that’s Louvreable. It’s another moment for parents of the age to have every reason to keep kids from watching, and even more reason for kids to go as Jim Phelps as possible to outwit household Standards & Practices. This kind of entertainment merits Ace bandage slings tied to bedframes, probably-lethally suspending kids upside down from the second floor, hovering like Spider-Man outside the family room where the forbidden images would spill forth. 

1192 even gives a goose to Parallel Time when Quentin and Daphne are briefly trapped there, sucked back to Main Time only because two Kate Jacksons in one place created a Crisis of Infinite Daphnes. For a moment, the story has intrigue and suspense beyond the typical Parallel Time voyeurism. We even learn who discovered Parallel Time -- Ernest Weisman of the University of Vienna. It’s a great nugget of trivia from Quentin I, worthy of Eliot Stokes, and it ties the seemingly random events at Collinwood to a larger mythology that longs to be explored by future writers. It pays to keep watching -- back to the beginning of the show -- after wrapping up the “present” of 1841 PT. Taking the larger context of the Dark Shadows mythos with us, what we lose in mystery and wonder, we gain in intrigue and detail.

As an aside, Joanna Mills was of course, the reason that the song, “Joanna,” was written. It’s one of the lovelier, if “Airport loungey” pieces of music from the show, but because it appears so late in the series and in the less-popular of the MGM films, the piece remains obscure. Even more obscure are the lyrics, which I wrote last spring.

JOANNA
Music by Robert Cobert. Lyrics by Patrick McCray.

I’m wearing pants...
They’re made of Lycra.
And they cling tight to me in oh so many ways.
They’re just pants, you see,
But pants for me,
To wear for all my days.

When I think of all the leather lederhosen
That People wear in far off Germany…
When I think of how they chafe, I guess I am supposing,
They’re proud we see that they are firm of knee.

I’m wearing pants...
They’re made of Lycra
And they cling tight to me in oh so many ways.
They’re just pants, you see,
But pants for me,
To wear for all my days.
To wear for all my days. 

This episode was broadcast Jan. 19, 1971.

Dark Shadows, The 1973 Tapes: The Harvest of Souls



By JUSTIN PARTRIDGE

Caution, Sailor. Here Be SPOILERS AHEAD.

“My name is Maggie Evans, and this is the end of my story…”

1973 goes Full Lovecraftian in the wooly, but entertaining The Harvest of Souls. Given novelty by the return of not one, but TWO major Dark Shadows baddies, but given heart by the wonderful leads of the story, this story exploring the aftermath of Beyond the Grave and the toll it has taken on Collinsport is a raw, introspective tale that relies more on emotions than shocks. After the blood curdling scares of the previous audio, it couldn’t have come at a better time if i’m being totally honest. Though the plot is a touch dense and gets a bit widdly toward the end, The Harvest of Souls is a wonderful resetting story for the arc, for the shellshocked town of Collinsport, and her citizens.

Collinsport is basically in ruins after the events of Beyond the Grave. Houses lie abandoned. Shops are still smashed up from the rioting. And the papers and the BBC are chalking it up to a “gas leak”. Because of course they are. But nobody is taking the aftermath harder than Maggie Evans, who we open on in the blackest of moods, chasing her antidepressants with liquor. It is hard stuff to listen to for sure, but James Goss’ empathetic and heartfelt script never plays this stuff as exploitive. There is a real empathy running throughout this story that I much appreciated and that starts and end with James Goss.

Of course it also doesn’t hurt that he and directors David Darlington and Darren Gross are working with two of the finest actors in this range, Kathryn Leigh Scott and Colin Baker. Yes, Gerald Conway...excuse me, NICHOLAS BLAIR makes his grand return to the franchise in the dead, but possessed body of Gerald, saving Maggie from her suicidal depression by...chucking her in the sea. It is a harrowing scene to open up the story with, but like I said, it is staged, written, and played beautifully by all involved.

And it only gets better from there as Maggie is drawn into vast magic weaved by a diabolical team up between Blair and The Leviathans! Gladdening my Shoggoth loving heart! “I can’t even KILL myself without some MONSTER butting in!” Maggie grouses in one of the story’s best lines. And where is the lie? Because while Collinsport was burning, Nicholas was striking a deal with the Leviathans from Seaview, aiming to clear the town of it’s human infestation for the Leviathans to rise again while the human populace of the town live “forever” in a dream state in wyrewood box, carved from the wood of Collinwood’s staircase, which apparently was ITSELF carved from “the first tree” of the Leviathans from a universe where they had ruled for thousands of years?

Like I said, this thing gets a bit...dense at the end, and I had some trouble following the whole “plan” once Blair started to walk Maggie through it all. I am big enough to admit that. BUT, my being a rube aside, the performances and interplay between Baker and Scott is really just wonderful and elevates this story from “fun diversion” to “essential listening”, ESPECIALLY for Maggie fans. Baker and Scott lean into the character’s history with one another and use that to inform their performances and interactions throughout, giving this whole story, even at its most insane (and trust me it does get insane), a real air of realism, at least on the emotional level.

I am sure there are those out there that will bemoan Colin Baker’s exit from the range, but I am pleased enough with his time in Collinsport. To allow him to stay around as Blair’s new avatar would really spoil the last minute turn to grace the character has AND would have had an ultra powerful loose end plot wise running around the town in future stories. Plus the man has Doctor Who stuff to do! What’s he gonna do, NOT be the Sixth Doctor in fantastic stories like Order of the Daleks or ...Ish?!  C’mon man, we know better than that.

I also have to point out the fantastic decision to make Maggie’s relationship with the late great Sheriff Hardy (played with affability through the ages by Jonathon Marx) another emotional focal point of the episode, but NOT in an expressly romantic way! I know Maggie Evans is often kind of pigeonholed into the role of female romantic lead but thankfully The Harvest of Souls neatly side steps that, establishing how Jim had basically been a presence in Maggie’s life for as long as WE have known her and their connection ran much deeper than just mere romance. It was a really mature direction for the story to take and I’m glad they did it. It made this one feel a lot more real than most even with actual Shoggoth like creatures showing up.

All in all, I was very impressed with The Harvest of Souls. It was exactly what I needed after having my sanity shattered by the previous adventure. Graced with tremendous performances backed by a stellar script and production values, The Harvest of Souls is a downshift in scares for sure, but a real winner all the same thanks to the story’s heart and emotion. When I look back on this arc I have a feeling I will thinking of this one pretty fondly. When Collinsport was pushed to the brink, love won the day. That is the kind of stuff I will always respond to.

NEXT TIME! The Happier Dead! The penultimate column of the 1973 Tapes! Are you as excited as I am?! Probably not! But that’s okay. Until then, be seeing you.
The tapes so far ...





Justin Partridge has always loved monsters and he thinks that explains a lot about him. When he isn’t over analyzing comics at Newsarama or ranting about Tom Clancy over at Rogues Portal, he is building Call of Cthulhu games, spreading the good word of Anti-Life, or rewatching Garth Marenghi's Darkplace for the dozenth time. He can be reached at the gasping Lovecraftian void that is Twitter @j_partridgeIII or via e-mail at justin@betweenthepanels.com Odds are he will want to talk about Hellblazer.
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