Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Dark Shadows Daybook: DECEMBER 31


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 663

Barnabas taunts Forbes with his disembodied voice, avoiding the crossbow bolt completely. He then enslaves him as his vampire master, and forces him to recant his accusations toward Victoria. Meanwhile, Barnabas rediscovers the thirst of his vampirism and, despite his knowledge that it is wrong, attacks a sex worker by the docks. She drowns herself before becoming his victim, and her dead body reappears to Barnabas, much to his shock.

If this were the only episode in the 1796 flashback, it might still be worth it. Within a self-contained story, it is almost a self-contained story, itself. Here, Barnabas truly rewrites history, unloading vampire powers on Forbes and chilling him and audiences with the revelation that there are fates worse than death. It’s near the end of Joel Crothers tenure on DARK SHADOWS -- too soon, of course -- and we are really beginning a hell of a send off with him. Barnabas again struggles with the rediscovered torments of his vampiric nature, and it’s an ambiguity that’s handled alternately with size and subtlety by Jonathan Frid. Laudibly, Dan Curtis is really mastering pulling off grisly or supernatural moments off-camera. So far, he had Barnabas vanish by pushing in on Crothers’ astounded expression and then pulling back out to find Barnabas gone, and now he does the same trick, but with the drowning of Crystal, the dockside sex worker who kills herself rather than become a victim of the vampire. The return of her makes a great button and cliffhanger.

On this day in 1968, a squad of Viet Cong guerrillas attacked the US embassy in Saigon as part of the Tet Offensive.

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