Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Creep Factor: Day Four

 Welcome to The Creep Factor, a new feature that will scientifically determine which episodes of Dark Shadows are the scariest. The results of this evaluation were arrived at through a process involving the I Ching, no fewer than three seances and several experimental blood transfusions. They are presented in no particular order. Also .... SPOILER ALERT! 

DAY FOUR: The Death of Dr. Woodard (Episode 341)
While relatively bloodless, the murder of Dr. Woodard is the first genuinely cruel scene in Dark Shadows. It lacks the gore and violence seen in later episodes, but the static nature of the camerawork adds a certain snuff film panache to the events.

After learning that Dr. Woodard has discovered he is a vampire, Barnabas begins planning to do away with his new enemy. Rather than get blood on his own hands, though, Barnabas gives Julia Hoffman two alternatives: she can murder her friend and ensure Woodard's death is relatively painless, or Barnabas can deal with the problem and make sure things resolve themselves in an especially painful manner.

Hoffman arrives as Woodard's office with a hypodermic needle and a narcotic that will make it appear the doctor died of a heart attack. When it becomes obvious that she will not be able to follow through with the plan Barnabas arrives and begins negotiating with the pair for Woodard's life.

The good doctor (and Julia Hoffman) try to reason with Barnabas but Woodard is unable to promise that he will stand aside and let the vampire continue to use the women of Collinsport like so much energy drink. He bolts for the door but Barnabas stabs him with the needle before he can escape.

It's not the best written scene in the series, nor is it the most overtly scary. But it's cavalier attitude toward life and death makes it one of the more unsettling scenes in Dark Shadows and stands in stark contrast to the sympathetic, often heroic take on Barnabas Collins in later years.

The Creep Factor: The 10 Scariest Moments of Dark Shadows:
Day Ten: Joe Haskell Goes Crazy
Day Nine: Barnabas Attacks Carolyn
Day Eight: That's Just Gross
Day Seven: Reach Out and Touch Someone
Day Six: Adam's Ghosts
Day Five:The Head of Judah Zachary
Day Four: The Death of Dr. Woodard
Day Three: Funhouse of Madness
Day Two: Apocalypse at Collinwood
Day One: Adam Attacks

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