Friday, March 29, 2019

THe Dark Shadows Daybook turns 3!

(With acknowledgement to the work of Tobe Hooper)


Collinwood, night.

The dawn will soon come to Collinwood, and bring with it the unresolved troubles of another day. A man, a man with an unusual compulsion, sits hunched over an antique typewriter. Besides the oiled, rhythmic noise made by machine’s carriage, there are no other sounds in the room. Yet somehow fear and suspicion still persist. It is a false calm, with terror echoing in the sounds between the letters hammering paper. The setting disguises the presence of an even greater violence, and the sinister stillness that obscures an unmentionable evil.

The camera has begun to pan down until settles on the keys as they spell out the words “Dark Shadows Daybook.” A light from somewhere offscreen flashes erratically, like a broken strobe light. Our writer is Patrick McCray. He is obsessed.

This is a formica table. Green is its color.

That’s of no use to me. You’re not even from the right series.

Sometimes we speak of other things. Things that cast no shadow. 

That’s the other guy you’re thinking of ... Wallace. He distracts easily. There’s a Dark Shadows Daybook due today and you won’t get in my way. 

The rhythm of the typewriter keys continue at the same pace throughout this conversation. The screen flickers, awasj with static. We hear McCray’s voice as the picture fractures into the opening scene of episode 211 of DARK SHADOWS. Jonathan Frid is standing in the foyer of Collinwood, a wry smile on his face. The actor is unaware how his life -- and an entire genre -- is about to change forever.

No other character on television is quite as iconic... in the same way... as Barnabas Collins. Human in his frailty. Mythic in the fate he will chart. At the very least, he was a figure designed to save a network television show and potentially the careers of everyone involved. April 14, 1967 was the most important day in a lot of lives, most specifically the life of Dan Curtis. He had already introduced the reality of the character prior, with the image of the hand from the chained coffin. When I first saw that shot, it felt like it had always been in my memory, even though I’d never seen it before. It’s simple, fierce, savage, and sudden.

Back to the television ...

Oh, madam, if you would, you may tell her that it’s Barnabas Collins...

This scene is an oft-visted spot in McCray’s dreams. The register at the Collinsport Historical Society shows almost 10,000 visitors to this episode, alone. McCray has been consumed by his obsession, dubbed by the shadowy cabal that runs the historical society, “The Dark Shadows Daybook.” The daybook’s existence can be traced back to three years ago this week.

We cut back to the darkened room and the typewriter. McCray stops typing. The sounds of the keys echo for a moment in the darkness.

Numbers. Dates. Today is Tuesday in 2019. The episode is a Friday in 1969, but will air on a Wednesday two weeks later. It’s been four years ...

“Moby Dick” is a whale made of 206,052 words.

Herman Melville was an amateur. The Dark Shadows Daybook is already at 282,825 words and growing.

The video flickers again, cutting out more abruptly this time to episode 694 of DARK SHADOWS.

TV shows, but especially soaps, are vicarious homes. They are often for the lonely. The characters become family. The limited stage sets become extensions of the living room, especially now in the age of the 65” norm. And yes, we expect to see these new, beloved family members punished on a regular basis. But Roger and David have something more profoundly disturbing happen to them. They both receive Quentin’s (mostly) off-camera wrath. 

We cut back to the darkened room.

Did I write that? I don’t remember writing that ...

It was just last year.


No, 2018.

The video flickers. We see flashes from other TV shows from the 1960s. We see the Monkeemobile, Spock delivering the Vulcan neck pinch, a clip of Jay and the Americans playing some song we’ve all heard a million times but still can’t remember the name of. 

All of the potential energy for Angelique to be a force for good is released by just the chance that Barnabas might believe in her. But there are transformations and resolutions all over the episode. Judah Zachary no longer has to wear the mask of Gerard, and James Storm manages the new character with an elegantly brutal menace. He takes her powers as easily as she took Barnabas’ curse. The ease of both actions mocks the years of struggles endured to cure one and mitigate another. Yep. It really was just that simple. For someone in power, anyway.

He’s speaking about episode 1196 of DARK SHADOWS, but at this point the themes have blurred together to the point of becoming one episode. 

Sometimes the faces change. Sometimes the names change. The everybody’s reality stays the same. My favorite episodes of DARK SHADOWS are payoff episodes. Rarely has a slow burn paid off in such a spectacular manner. Probably because this has been slowly burning for three years and finally wraps up, pretty much, the series. The key question: is it satisfying? Immensely, and as the first of three episodes, it’s only beginning.

Who are you talking to?

I sometimes don’t know. The feedback is ... inconsistent. Sometimes I write these things and people respond. Other times if feels like I’m writing to entertain the void. But that’s OK because even the void needs a friend.

Static. This time we cut directly to episode 706 of DARK SHADOWS. Barnabas Collins has a gun to his head. We know it’s not a real gun, because it’s just a TV show. The character holding the gun, Carl Collins, also knows it’s not a real gun, even though he is just a fictional character. 

Here we have Barnabas on a mission to save a life. As noble as it gets. And yet? From day one in 1897, he leads (as the title of my autobiography will read) “a life under siege.” Rarely has he had a worse day than this one, and it gives him the chance to display his greatest power ever, which the restraint he shows by not choking the living shisha out of Carl, Edward, and Magda. Yes, Angelique, Nicholas, and Adam tried his mettle and soul to the ectoplasmic marrow. These are major, existential crises. Compared to this unbroken chain of stubbed situational toes in 706? Childsplay.

I’ve seen this one!

Wait ... what?

I used to run home from school to watch D-

I think we’re done here.

The channel flips over to episode 650. Victoria Winters is preparing her exit from DARK SHADOWS.

Betsy Durkin, in her final appearance on the show, again ably carries the episode, with a Victoria pushed beyond arguable madness and into an understanding of time and destiny known by very few. Her farewells to Liz and Barnabas are as credible as if she’d been essaying the part since 1966. Roger Davis puts in a performance both heartfelt and heightened, without ever straying into the hamfisted. The unsung hero of the episode is Jonathan Frid. In saying goodbye to Victoria, we see the character’s pain, his restraint, his compassion, and his wise dignity. Of course, for Barnabas, his knowledge of her is fresh. He’s known her maybe a year? That includes how they met in 1795. His feelings for her are fresher than we, the viewers, realize.

That Betsy Durkin opinion isn’t a popular one, is it?

It’s my daybook and my rules.

Another flicker. An old woman stands at the doorway to Collinwood. 

At its core? People desperate to solve a problem rooted in paranormal unknowns. The solution, intoned by candlelight, is equally mysterious. The strange working used to summon Baphia Mapes has all of the logic of a dream… meaning none, yet it must be and is trusted implicitly. Like a dream, it is mundane, yet dramatic. It works, with dreamlike lighting to match. Rarely is the show this dark, yet steady and purposeful. 449 is rich with an atmosphere that arises from the situation and characters rather than being a desired, imposed “feel” in search of a story. 

The screen begins to flicker again as the sound of a typewriter rises in the background. It’s as if sound is pushing out vision. We cut quickly back to the darkened room. PATRICK McCRAY is back to work. His body is here in the present; his mind has travelled backward in time to 1970. And 1840. And 2012. And 1795. The MAN FROM ANOTHER PLACE has gone back to ... well, another place. Probably Lodi, New Jersey.

282,826 words ... 282,827 words ... 282,828 ... 282,829


Julie Newmar joins Dark Shadows cast as ... Julia Hoffman

Julie fucking Newmar, guys.

I've had a solid week to plan this announcement and I still don't know where to begin. The idea that Julie Newmar is involved in any capacity with Dark Shadows is exciting enough ... but the fact that she's filling Grayson Hall's sizeable shoes in the upcoming Big Finish serial Bloodline has made me blow a fuse. There's always been something transcendent about Newmar, a performer whose ruthless appeal shows no regard for age, race, gender or sexual identity ... if you're reading this and have a pulse, it's likely your heart rate  just quickened.

I could devote an entire website to Newmar's career, so to summarize it for a blog post seems foolhardy. So I'm going to keep this nerdcore: Dark Shadows is just the latest cult television show in Newmar's already well-feathered cap. Among her other genre credits are Batman, Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, The Monkees, Bewitched and Get Smart. With those kinds of credits it  seems inevitable that she'd arrive at some point in Collinsport. But I don't think anybody would have predicted she'd show up as Julia Hoffman, a character that attracts interesting actresses like a magnet. Newmar follows Grayson Hall, Barbara SteeleKelly Hu and Helena Bonham Carter ... Big Finish has been famously reticent about replacing the original cast members of Dark Shadows in their audio line and their patience here had paid off.

If you follow the Dark Shadows audio line's Twitter feed, you've already heard a preview of Newmar's performance. Sneaky bastards that they are, a clip of Newmar was anonymously included in a teaser back on March 20.

Dark Shadows: Bloodline written by Alan Flanagan, Will Howells, Aaron Lamont and Rob Morris, features the return of the cursed Collins family – those that survived the events of Bloodlust. As family and friends gather at the Collinwood estate for the wedding of David Collins and Amy Jennings, a new mystery starts to unfold. Bloodline will be serialized bi-weekly beginning in April and is available for pre-order at Big Finish.

Now that I've caught my breath, here's the official statement from Big Finish:

Barnabas Collins (Andrew Collins) is returning to Collinsport - but this time he is not alone, as Big Finish are thrilled to announce that Julie Newmar – the original Catwoman in Batman – is taking on the role of Doctor Julia Hoffman in the forthcoming Dark Shadows series, Bloodline.

Julie Newmar recording her lines for Dark Shadows: Bloodline.
“Saying that the character of Julia Hoffman is an icon is the biggest understatement you could make,” says co-producer Joseph Lidster. “She was brought into the television series as a Van Helsing-type character who was destined to be killed by the vampire, Barnabas Collins, after thirteen weeks. Grayson Hall, who played Julia, had other ideas. She went into that TV show and took it over. Julia’s relationship with Barnabas – changing from mortal enemy to best friend – was what really made Dark Shadows soar. Grayson’s performance was astonishing, and the character is fascinating. She deliberately puts herself in danger because she wants to ‘cure’ Barnabas. Why? Because she’s a scientist and she’s fascinated by him. As their relationship develops there is a hint that she might have stronger feelings for him, and they become best friends travelling through time and parallel universes to save the Collins family. Sadly, Grayson Hall passed away in 1985, so the audio series has only had hints of what Julia has been up to since we last met her. We knew that one day we would want to bring her back, but who could possibly play such an iconic character? Enter iconic actress Julie Newmar…”

“We’d been talking about bringing back Julia for years,” says co-producer David Darlington, “and had come up with dozens of what felt like brilliant ideas as to who could play her – only to go off every one of those ideas, usually the next morning. But having written the scripts for Bloodline, we were kind of committed to casting *somebody*! The license holder Jim Pierson came to us with a few suggestions, and top of his list was Julie Newmar. To be honest, I don’t think we quite believed him at first…”

“Julie agreed to read the scripts,” Lidster continues, “and we think she fell in love with the character. Trying to sum up Julie Newmar is pretty much impossible. She’s an actress/singer/dancer/writer/lingerie inventor/real estate mogul/gay rights campaigner and so much more, so we’re thrilled that she agreed to take on the role.”

Julia Hoffman will return for the wedding of David Collins and Amy Cunningham, but where has she been these last few years? Followers of the Big Finish Dark Shadows Twitter account (@darkshadowsbfp) have been reminded of how - and why - Barnabas left Collinsport to find her…

So, Barnabas Collins and Julia Hoffman… welcome back to Collinsport.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Dark Shadows Daybook: March 27


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 462

The man of Vicki’s dreams returns from the grave to warn her that Collinwood’s most eligible bachelor is the wrong kind of ladykiller! Barnabas Collins: Jonathan Frid. (Repeat; 30 min.)

Post-hypnosis session, Vicki and Julia discuss the verisimilitude of her trip to the past. In a dream, the ghost of Jeremiah warns Vicki that Barnabas will kill her. Later, Julia and Barnabas reach a seeming detente toward dealing with Vicki, with Barnabas pushing for collaboration. He then reveals that Vicki took the place of a governess who died in his time, and that her story rings true. After Julia investigates Peter Bradford and Noah Gifford, Barnabas speaks of his connection to the past with Victoria. After she confesses that she can’t see him harming her as Jeremiah warned, he summons her to him, anyway.

Today is the fourth anniversary of the Daybook, and there are a lot of things I can say about the experience. But what’s useful? The most important thing I look for and ask is, “How does the show change here?” 

I have a basic pattern to writing these. The last thing I write is the synopsis. Before that, the TV Guide. That’s the part I like most, but I don’t want to say everything in the recap and then not have an adline. So, I do the recap after. 

Usually, at this point, I have only a vague idea of what I’m going to say. Sometimes, I take notes, but I usually ignore them because I get more interested in other things. But I’ll start with some general feeling about the episode, like this:

Cleaning up the biggest narrative risk taken by television since Elvis was glimpsed from the waist down takes more than one episode, and it will get one episode. Maybe more. Maybe, years of them. They have to keep the show absolutely the same, and transform it radically to accommodate heroes who become villains and upcoming villains far more dastardly than ones in the past… even if they are from there. The show may have more dramatic moments. More climactic moments. But it has few that are as openly transformative; we see the time lapse of the flower opening, yet it’s no time lapse.

That’s left me with options. I have imagery that’s got something vaguely poetic, because, you know, flowers. So, I could go profound. Because, you know, flowers. And I used the word, “transformative.” Or I could go glib. I dragged in Elvis, which automatically heralds a potential joke. Maybe about Quentin’s sideburns. But mentioning Elvis on TV also means that I can go with the theme of television history or follow the weirdness-of-60’s-teen-idols, both of which tie in to Dark Shadows. If I go with the concept of transformation, which leaves most of those options open, I’d better do it well, because it’s a frequent theme of the column, and I don’t want to repeat myself. I’ll probably go with where this fits into the show, unifying the ideas of the show transforming with and through a character transforming. 

And I know I need to work in something about the constant references to Julia’s new hairstyle. But if you’re a fan, you know she gets a new hairstyle. 

What’s great is that they spend an inordinate amount of time talking about it. Almost as if Grayson Hall’s husband wrote the episode. Sam clearly lost a bet here, just as Grayson seems to have lost a bet at the time of episode 1177, where he forces her to do a multi-act monologue about the show’s most impossibly complex storyline, 1840. That home could have been a micro-WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, except the son was real and they never killed him.

And now, I’m a little surprised, because there may be more to the Julia Hair Narrative, or “Hairrative,” that I thought. It’s all in the timing because this is a genuine turning point for the character, intentionally so. Barnabas is changing due to the lost love of Maggie/Josette, the possibilities of Miss Winters, the relief that Carolyn kinda gets stuff done, and the fact that Vicki knows his secret. Sort-of-but-not. Most importantly, Barnabas is changing because the audience loves him, so they’ll introduce REAL villains for him to fight. To do that and be constantly undermined by Julia? If he didn’t just kill her to save time, we wouldn’t take him seriously as someone who can stand up to Nicholas and Angelique. And he needs someone intelligent and capable of action as a confidant. Soaps are almost all dialogue, he requires a receptacle who can ask bright questions and trigger worthy challenges. Willie is not the man for that job. Both he and Julia will tell Barnabas that he can’t possibly do whatever it is that he’s planning, but Willie will just say it because it’s his job to tell Barnabas he’s wrong. Especially once he gets the necktie. Julia not only takes great pride in telling Barnabas that he’s wrong, but WHY he’s wrong. The haircut helps. I’m sure they didn’t intend it as such, but artistic intentions are ultimately meaningless compared to interpretive consequence. And the consequence is that as her hair changes, she changes.

Okay, so what? UNCLE called and said that Mark Slate wants his hair back and dyed blond again.  But what else? And I’m serious here. It’s talked about a lot -- by people who like the show and those who don’t. It’s two things. It’s modern and it’s masculine. The latter makes Julia (visually) even less of a romantic prospect, but she’s going for being less of one, too. It emphasizes her visual strengths -- the sharp eyes and sharper cheekbones. It’s modernity is ideally timed. After 1795, the females who visually harken back to that era will always echo it. Similarly, those who don’t will always be in stark contrast. Julia is a fine counter for Collinwood because it’s about the past and she’s about the present and future, iconoclastically so. The same goes for how she stands out against Barnabas, with past versus present. But he’s moving into the present more and more. We can compare “Present Barnabas” with “1795 Barnabas.” Julia, so different than Barnabas, now has a hairstyle that’s far more similar than it was before. She’s not a reflection, but she is an echo, usually carrying a message that he doesn’t want to acknowledge, but is the direct feedback he needs. A present voice for a man we now see as far more of the present than he once was.

Barnabas mellows, too. The behavioral changes are not immediate, but their conversation in the garden here is ripe with series-influencing implications. Both want answers from Vicki. Both have the means to get them. Rather than force them out, they both agree that they must work together for the good of someone toward whom neither means harm. Maybe out of fear. Maybe out of compassion. Maybe enough people have been hurt. Up to now, Julia (bringing Woodard along) and Barnabas are the sources of harm and peril within Collinwood. Enough of that. Vicki was dragged through time… for a reason? She could implicate Barnabas, and Barnabas could implicate Julia, and yet being tattled on is just the surface threat. The unspoken peril is that some force unknown to either now has the power over time and space. Indeed, it continues to meddle with affairs, sending horrific dreams of cautionary prophecy and eventual ambassadors from the past. Barnabas survives solely because he can deny and obscure the past. But the seeming-enemy who swapped Wick and Winters has another agenda and no identity to challenge, isolate, nor defeat. It’s an existential threat that intrigues Julia and quietly terrifies Barnabas. It’s the idea of everyone he’s hornswaggled potentially being toured through a past so unthinkable that he can only survive because he slept it off for nearly two-hundred years. Not only that, but, like Phyllis Wick, every aggrieved or talkative figure from the past can come this way, too. And they’re coming.

Victoria’s obsession with the past is no help, and as a storytelling move, it’s a masterstroke. If we compare Dark Shadows with the nighttime soaps of the golden era of Dallas, it’s a study in change. So many series hit reset buttons with abandon, but when Dark Shadows decides that a formative experience is formative, they mean it. She’ll never be as fun again, but we have the comfort that, on the fun scale, she was never exactly Carolyn, anyway. If I’d been ripped around time, almost hanged as a witch, and had Roger Davis macking on me, I wouldn’t understand, either.

On the other side of the aisle, a new Barnabas must work with a new Julia. The farmer and the cowman should be friends. We may need to bite Vicki, anyway, but that’s insurance. It’s also good TV, which Barnabas knows. As he progresses, it also keeps things moving at a steady rate. No change, and he runs out of Collinses to bite, and I don’t think Mrs. Johnson is his type. All change, and he’s no longer Barnabas. If viewers keep returning to Dark Shadows, it’s because, yes, there is growth, and it’s just about as gradual as in real life. Sometimes, though, you glimpse it. In this case, it’s between Barnabas and Julia in the garden. And that’s a welcome respite for all of us.

At this point, I’m clearly done. I might have been done several sentences ago, but there we are. This will forever be the “Julia’s Hair Episode” Essay, and notice that I avoided calling it “Julia’s Hair Piece”? You’re welcome. At this point, I still have to do the synopsis and the TV Guide. Go back up to the top. And thanks for reading!

This episode was broadcast April 2, 1968. 

Monday, March 25, 2019

The Dark Shadows Daybook: March 25


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 460

1795 concludes as a dead man becomes a reluctant time traveler, and a reluctant time traveler confronts what may be her final moments. Victoria Winters: Alexandra Moltke. (Repeat; 30 min.)

After surviving Forbes’ crossbow bolt, Barnabas kills the sailor, then implores Joshua to destroy him, free Miss Winters, and liberate Ben Stokes. Joshua only succeeds in the latter. Instead, he has Barnabas sealed in his coffin under a silver cross and chains. Victoria’s case is too far gone. She hangs as a witch, but Peter’s vow to find her in time echoes in her ears. 

As we turn our eye to the past with 1795, the camera cannot focus any more tightly than on its last moments. Instead of pulling back out to give us a widescreen view of the world of Dark Shadows, it pushes in on four sets of faces. Four relationships. Four models of our best choices. The order of them flows with an organic necessity in an almost Maslowian ascension.  Barnabas and Forbes; Joshua and Barnabas; Ben and Joshua, and; Peter and Victoria. 

Justice. Compassion. Respect. Optimism.

They are relationships which end on defining choices. Forbes chooses murder and Barnabas chooses to protect himself and others. Then, Barnabas chooses to end his own life while liberating the deserving, and Joshua chooses the cowardly unknown rather than a bravely bleak certainty. Ben chooses fealty to social order and Joshua disrupts that order by meddling with the class structure he so thoroughly represents. Finally, instead of ending on regret, which is hard not to do when the last image is a dropped noose, the episode concludes with a sense of optimistic mission. After the future is protected from bullies like Forbes, we see that it is finally safe for family, friendship, and love. Those choices may have dark trappings, but underneath the darkness is a fierce optimism and resistance to corruption. 

That resistance to decay will drive Collinwood, creating the yin-yang that drives the series. If Gothic literature is “about” the inevitability of decomposition, Dark Shadows is wrongly pidgeonholed in that genre. It is, rather, anti-Gothic. Liz should have committed suicide. Joshua should have staked Barnabas and shot himself. Quentin should be the one dead in the sealed room, consigned by a silver bullet. The Widows should be at rest, for an empty Collinwood is devoid of those to taunt or haunt. None of this is the case. Even if Liz remains a prisoner to punish herself. If she’s punishing herself, it must mean that she matters. It’s one thing to be unworthy of existence. Forbes is unworthy of existence. Liz, however, is worthy of both punishment and recovery. Barnabas is worthy of a similar chance. The love he inspires elicits the salvation of cowardice from Joshua, perhaps the most decisive Collins that the program will present. In a world of justice and consequence, some people simply screw up. Or are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or are victims of passion. But they are not volitionally evil. They are haunted because a haunting is a message, and messages are meant to inspire change among the living. Perhaps that change is to move them into a house free of specters. What is a ghost but a restless memory that baffles with sorrow rather than comforting with joy? 

If any force moves the characters on Dark Shadows, it is the past. The show ends in a haunted room, but what room at Collinwood isn’t? If the past is a puzzle to be solved, it requires embracing the present. Quentin may have been a father so negligent that his children were kept secret from him, but he can guard Jamison, Nora, and even Edward once he discovers this. Just as Barnabas can change, he can credit Angelique with the same capacity, loving who she is rather than hating who she was. Joshua may be too sentimental to end Barnabas’ life, but his refusal comes with the hope and confidence in a future replete with knowledge lacked by his present. Their last moments are a simple gaze that says more than all of the dialogue on the show. Brutus may be tormented by James and Amanda, but he can be freed by the example of those with a love stronger than he, himself, experienced. It is a strange optimism. The show begins and ends with forms of hauntings, and the final and arguably most explored one exists to be solved, and by a solution to heal… not just the tortured soul who cast it, but the descendants who share his vices of envy, greed, and wrath. They, however, have the one thing he lacks -- the capacity to overcome them. His curse exists not to torture the worst, but to reveal the best; that is the definition of confidence. 

For an installment where the heroine is hanged until dead by a corrupt and superstitious society, and where the hero, longing for death, is sentenced to an unlivable life with a torturous curse, under the symbol of a god whose image is excruciating, sealed in the smallest space possible, under chains, within a hidden room, behind a door no one knows is a door, protected by a lock that no one knows is a lock… well, on Dark Shadows, those are good things. 

In Collinsport, those aren’t perils. They’re possibilities.

This episode was broadcast March 29, 1968. 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Dark Shadows Daybook: March 24


Taped on this date in 1971: Episode 1245

As Brutus’ Ghost resigns in defeat, an escaping Bramwell and Catherine encounter a turgid Morgan, who shoots in excitement. Bramwell is grazed by the unfriendly fire. Morgan then kidnaps Catherine, but Kendrick and Bramwell find him upright on the roof. The three men tussle, and Morgan miscalculates his footing and plunges off the edge. Kendrick finds Melanie cured, and so they plan to celebrate the spent collapse of the manhandled Morgan by going away from Collinwood, as do the united Bramwell and Catherine. The past remains a specter, as Flora struggles and succeeds to forgive Kendrick and Bramwell. Likewise, Catherine works to overcome her misgivings over what has happened, but agrees to learn from her experiences at Collinwood rather than be ruled by them. All is well until Melanie is brought in with bite marks. A vampire is suspected, but we learn that this time, there is no vampire at Collinwood.

Here we are. If you’re like me, last episodes hold a special and bittersweet place in your hearts. I only learn to appreciate the process of a journey once I’ve seen that the destination has far less splendor and scenery than I thought. It’s at journey’s end that I really appreciate the trip and enjoy what it was for its own sake. This has a special truth with Dark Shadows because the end is so abstract. Because none of the “characters” have their “real names,” it’s easy to write off the show as ending on an unsuccessful storyline. Yes, I guess that kind of happened if you want to be painfully literal, traditional, and mired in ratings history.

And, 45 years later, that means jack.

Those are factors that existed at the time, but they don’t dictate the meaning of the text to viewers now, viewers unversed in the production history, or viewers who assume that this was created wholecloth. That meaning is what we find in it, and we discover that meaning from the elements that exist within the story and dialogue. Think of Hamlet, a lesser-but-significant piece of drama compared with Dark Shadows . I have no doubt that “the Sam Hall of 1600,” William Shakespeare, made all sorts of staging compromises when writing it. If he sat in on a class, I venture that he would pause readings all the time with, “Can you forget that scene? I had to please Lord Undergirth’s nephew by writing it. These things don’t fund themselves, don’t you know. What I really intended to happen was….”

So, the production history’s impact on the show is trivia compared with the show, itself, and I think we do it a disservice by primarily focusing on the show as a byproduct of that trivia. Given that, imagine 1841PT as existing for a reason. Imagine that it was just as much of Dan Curtis’ dream as was the girl from the train tearing through the blackened halls of a mansion by the sea.

If the characters speak their most important truths as the final, defining moments of the Dark Shadows  story, we might find them here. Forgiveness -- of the self and for others -- is what the characters speak of. Is Collinwood a haunted place to be abandoned? No. Its lessons are painful, but that pain means nothing if we forget them. The pain from the lessons is the pain we bring to them, and only by confronting and owning those scars can we justify what we’ve learned. What if Liz had had this attitude? Or Roger? Or Angelique? It’s what we see them learn. If DARK SHADOWS has a message for me, it’s this; happiness now and in the future directly relates to our ability to forgive the past.

In production terms, this is packed with the most familiar cast members they could wedge in. David Selby was ill and Chris Pennock’s character was dead, but that’s it. Even the show’s senior writer, Gordon Russell, appeared.

Meanwhile, the future was bright for NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS.

This episode was broadcast April 2, 1971. 

Jonathan Frid in MURDER IN THE CATHEDRAL, 1971

In 1971, Jonathan Frid appeared in a stage production of T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral. Performed at Central Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, the play tells the story of assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. I stumbled over photos from the performance a few years ago, but really knew nothing about the show. Unlike television and cinema, stage productions are created to be enjoyed in the moment. Outside of the occasional newspaper notice, plays rarely leave any sign that they ever existed.

So, in my ignorance, I posted these photos (which you can see above) on the CHS Facebook page and got some wonderful responses from people who actually saw the play. Elena Nacanther, for example, said Frid was unable to attend the Dark Shadows wrap party on March 24, 1971 because of his commitments to Murder in the Cathedral.

I asked Elena to tell me more about her experiences with the play, and she kindly shared the following story and photos.

On Thursday January 28, 1971, Jonathan told Valerie and me about a play he was going to be in called, Murder in the Cathedral that was to be preformed at the Central Presbyterian Church on East 64th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan, and he wanted to know if we would like to work on publicity, ticket sales, ushering, etc. Of course we said we would love to, and so the adventure began.

A lot of talking went on until the big meeting on Thursday March 4, 1971 when we met Clyde Spooner, one of the ministers at the Church. That day, Nancy Brown, Jonathan's secretary as well as her boyfriend, Larry, were on hand to work with Clyde on how to proceed with how to publicize the play. After the discussion, it was decided that we would wait till we met with the producer, Bob Teuscher, the next day to finalize a plan of action.  From March 9th through March 15th, we worked feverishly on selling tickets, posting flyers, running lines, doing everything and anything to make the play a success. Jonathan also had strict rules about what we could wear when we were ushering. Dresses or skirts and blouses only - no pants!

Dress rehearsal was on Tuesday March 16, 1971, and we watched intently and were asked to critique. Wednesday March 17, 1971 was Opening Night and it was Sold Out!!!  Nerves ran high, but everything went beautifully, and Jonathan was very pleased with how we represented him.

Our parents came to the play on Saturday March 20, 1971, and we introduced them to Jonathan. My father in his wonderful fashion, said to Jonathan when he met him, "My daughter listens to you more than she does to me." Jonathan looked at me and rolled his eye because I had already warned him about my Dad - lol!

Wednesday March 24, 1971 was the last day of taping for Dark Shadows, and there was going to be a wrap party, but Jonathan had rehearsal for the play, so it was off to the Church instead! Valerie and I watched rehearsal, and afterward grabbed a bite to finalize what the agenda was for the last few days of the show.

Closing Night Saturday March 27, 1971 was wonderful. Standing Ovations all around! All that was left was a champagne toast in his dressing to cap off a successful run.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Bodice Tipplers boldly go ...

What does this have to do with Dark Shadows? Nothing! At least, directly. We could argue on Facebook all day long about how Star Trek and Dark Shadows fandoms overlap in hugely significant ways. Or about how the two shows have shared talent (Art Wallace, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Mitchell Ryan, etc.) over the years like they were Napster files. Or how this particular podcast I'm sharing here is part of a series that will lead in coming weeks to episodes about V.C. Andrews' Flowers in the Attic and ... Barnabas Collins by Marilyn Ross. It helps to know where a thread goes before you begin pulling at it.

Anyhoo, Bodice Tipplers have finally gotten around to starting their March Madness series, which takes them away from their traditional beat of trashy romance novels to genre fare involving time travel, aliens, vampires and whatever fucking genre Flowers in the Attic qualifies for. They've got a lot more to say about Star Trek over at their website HERE, or you can just dive right into the podcast below. You can follow Bodice Tipplers on Twitter at @BTipplers.

Friday, March 22, 2019

The Dark Shadows Daybook: March 22


Taped on this date in 1971: Episode 1243

Morgan traps Bramwell in the haunted room, but can the family stop him from touching a corpse? Julia: Grayson Hall. (Repeat; 30 min.)

The family realizes that Bramwell is trapped in the room in Kendrick’s stead, but can do nothing. Morgan manipulates Catherine into being trapped within, also, and she and Bramwell receive instructions to refrain from touching the corpses of James and Amanda unless they, too, want to be possessed. Which they don’t.

Can we get to at least one happy marriage?

Even up to the end, Dark Shadows understands the luxury of abundant pacing. Which is not to say it’s slow. The functions here are to show Catherine thrown in the room, survival within, healing the ghost of Brutus, the rescue attempt of others, and the final confrontation with Morgan. As any Gilligan’s Island scholar can tell you, all of that can live within the real estate of 24 minutes with room for a gorilla (Keith Prentice -- har har) to spare. These writers get three episodes out of it, and none of it feels padded.

Given the cyclical nature of the series, is this the end or the beginning? Yes, no, and neither, given that it’s a parallel universe. Dealing with the punishment of betraying spouses starts the series with the long-brewing aftermath of Liz and Paul, and it ends the series with Morgan and Catherine. If we go from the premise that Liz is Victoria’s mother, then questionable (at best) fidelity is a factor of both couples, as well. Wouldn’t that be tidy? Unfortunately, Vicki was born in 1946 and Paul was “murdered” in 1949. Which, and this is an admitted tangent, makes me wonder about the father and what Paul thought about this, or where he was in the first place.

Or is it a tangent? I can’t imagine that he missed the pregnancy, and it was after the war, so it stands to reason that he was around. But then, he never mentions it during the leviathan storyline. And when discussing his own murder, you’d think that the subject of his wife’s mysterious pregnancy might come up in casual conversation.  It commonly does, according to marriage counselors.

The connection is that both storylines deal with unhappy marriages, thwarted desires to escape them, children of questionable parentage, and murder as a preferable choice over divorce. Of course, that was unthinkable in Morgan’s time and nearly as unthinkable in Liz’s. Perhaps one of the reasons the show has yet  to be successfully revived is because one of the course ends lying under the mantle is no longer a sin. An inconvenience, perhaps. Painful one. But not a sin.

Both storylines also celebrate, if you can call it that, female autonomy in these situations. Okay, it’s autonomy loosely defined and drawing outside the lines — in Liz’s case, with Paul’s brains. But both women feel trapped. Both take extreme measures to escape. Both stories equal dark fantasies for the intended audience of housewives. Liz gives Paul what-for when he tries to leave. Catherine? More complicated. She marries the Rich One, who goes mad(der) over her having her Bramwell and eating it, too. Then, we get to pity her because her husband is a lout. It’s a subtle shift of statement and fantasy that still lets both women be agents of agency and yet victims of male maleosity, anyway. Both are locked (almost) alone in haunted (sets of) rooms as a punishment, like housewives trapped at home alone. And, most importantly, they look great, doing it. Of course, once Barnabas enters the picture, the show somewhat shifts to depicting male protagonists of female wrath. It doesn’t begin that way, nor does it end in that fashion, either. But even that has the fantasy of, “Well, I wouldn’t treat Barnabas that way.”

And central to this is Lara Parker, going from taking out her anger on Barnabas to suffering the price of loyalty to him. (If we see Catherine and Bramwell as warped analogues.) She can’t help loving that man of hers. She flexes the muscles of jealousy, which wasn’t always an option for women at the time (in the late 60’s, wooden soldiers and scarves were in short supply)... and then suffers the fate of being on the business end of jealousy at the end of the run.

I say, lock Morgan and Angelique in the room together and call it a series.

This episode was broadcast March 31, 1971.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Dark Shadows Daybook: March 21


Taped on this date in 1968: Episode 458

Naomi faces the ultimate choice when she discovers her son is one of the living dead. Naomi: Joan Bennett. (Repeat; 30 min.)

After seeing Millicent with Barnabas, an increasingly agitated Naomi discovers that Joshua may have found a relief to the curse in Boston. She nonetheless responds with pessimism. After writing a note, she visits Vicki, who remains concerned about Peter’s freedom. Vicki feels as if her visit with Naomi is the last she shall have, at which point Nathan arrives to take her in a gunpoint, unmoved by her admission that she, not Peter, killed Noah. Naomi drinks a draught of poison and then visits Barnabas, who confesses all. Despite his pleas to the contrary, she persists in her love for him. Joshua enters and cradles her as her body grows cold.

And then, it got really dark.

Naomi is one of Dark Shadows’ stronger, more willful characters. Every bit the equal to Joshua, which is saying something, she is admirably strong, honest, and loyal. These are all qualities that make her suicide either a show a defiant self-determination or a betrayal of her essence. Forgive the politics, and apologies to those whose loved ones have made that terminal choice (I rank among you), I see it as the former. Romantic literature might not… or might. These are Barnabas’ last moments before being sealed into semi-suspended animation, so this event and example -- this disposition toward death -- heavily influences the man we see rise in 1967. Death is both an option and simply one more choice. When he murders, perhaps he is consigning others to what he sees as an inevitability that exists without shame. These are very existential questions, and when you look at  in little bits, without considering the big picture, they are easy to ignore. Just as heroes in real life don’t go about spouting their ontologies like characters out of Chayefsky or Rand, nor do those on this show. Still, we can and -- as responsible fans of the show -- should discern what we can about the philosophies of the characters from their actions. With Barnabas, that’s a sticky wicket. Not only does he evolve, appearing in more episodes than anyone, but his perspective changes depending on whether or not he’s under the influence of what I refer to as the Beast. Critics of Barnabas are quite right. He can be the master of the double standard, easily rationalizing like a machine. In the balance, his life, abilities, options, threats, and nature of existence change violently and frequently. The choices he has to make and the range of shifting tools and consequences tied to those choices are rarely the same. The consequences demand categorical thinking. Seeing that his own mother held death as a choice galvanized Barnabas’ thinking, I believe. If it were not a shameful destination for her, it is not a shameful destination for anyone. Of course, she chose it and Barnabas’ victims do not, but if it becomes a questionable destination, then his actions to consign others there become equally questionable. Thus, Barnabas must maintain a casual attitude toward the undiscovered country.

Kids, don’t try this at home.

This episode was broadcast March 27, 1968.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Dark Shadows, The Road to Bloodline: Tainted Love


“I became a witch, I consumed a demon, but I still can’t make you love me!”

It’s a Year in the Life in Collinsport in the supremely satisfying Tainted Love, the fifth installment in my Road to Bloodline nonsense. My obsession with branding aside, this audio truly is a thing of beauty. Centered around a hellish love triangle that develops between David Collins (a returning Alec Newman), Amy Jennings (Stephanie Ellyne), and Hallie Stokes (Kathleen Cody), who has newly returned to Collinsport, this Daniel Collard written tale delivers old school Dark Shadows operatics, emotion, and mysticism. Honestly, this one has arguably been the most “pure” Dark Shadows experience of this whole section of audios, leaning into the more soapy elements of the property with aplomb which provides a kneer edge to the trademark weirdness the show always made great use of. But enough of my yakkin’, let’s get into it.

Right off the bat, Collard’s script along with David Darlington’s masterful sound design lets on early that this is going to be an episodic experience. Picking up mere days after the event’s of Bloodlust (another fantastic narrative choice that I will get into a bit later), Collard, Darlington, and the episode’s director Joseph Lidster open on David and Amy sharing a rare quiet moment in the great house of Collinwood. But, this being Dark Shadows, their calm is interrupted by a screaming man outside on the grounds, raving about his lost wife and trying to cross into the house. Enter the returning Hallie Stokes, who quickly diagnosis the man as “possessed” and then promptly...distingegrates him, saying it was the only way to expel the demon she was chasing.

From there we are treated to a tightly constructed relationship drama, set against the backdrop of the major holidays. Each one broken into well produced little vignettes, with their own opening Victoria Winters-esque narration from each of our three leads, supported by the theme tune in the background. I really love this choice for two reasons. One, it really allows the journey these characters take throughout Tainted Love to shine and breathe as the action isn’t confined to a few days. Had it been, I feel I wouldn’t have been nearly as invested in David and Amy’s growing relationship, even with Newman and Ellyne’s wonderful chemistry. The same goes for Hallie’s descent into madness, which is also played beautifully by Cody. Both plots are pretty well entwined with one another, but stretching it out over a whole calendar year allowed it to feel more natural, thus making it that much more engaging. 

The second reason I love this choice so much is that we finally get, or at least I FINALLY get, as this has been something I’ve been harping on for a while now, some actual, real time fallout and growth for the characters post-Bloodlust. We start mere days after the events, and instead of having more flashbacks to other stories or another side story, we get an actual movement and progression for two major players, moving us through a tremendous set up for the incoming Bloodline. I know that you are probably tired of reading about my feverish love affair with serialization but I really appreciated the forward momentum Tainted Love provided for David and Amy, supported by some choice cameos from some of my other faves from Bloodlust that I don’t really want to spoil here, but trust me, they are a lot of fun.

And I think even if you aren’t a big continuity hound like I am, you’ll get a lot out of Tainted Love. It has the novelty of starring some returning favorites, along with a fun central story, and plenty of amorous, touchy-feely entanglements to satisfy the more relationship minded Dark Shadows fans. I definitely think this is essential listening for anyone curious about the genesis of David and Amy’s relationship so that’s just one selling point on top of a whole pile of other unrelated selling points. Plus, ya know, Alec Newman.

NEXT TIME! The penultimate Road to Bloodline, ...And Red All OverMitchell Ryan, you guys! Until then, be seeing you.

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 Odds are he will want to talk about Hellblazer.

The Dark Shadows Daybook: March 18


Taped on this date in 1969: Episode 717

Can Rachel Drummond recruit Barnabas to confront the danger of the tower room before it consumes her? Barnabas: Jonathan Frid. (Repeat; 30 min.)

Judith discovers that a madwoman named Jenny lives in the tower room. Rachel Drummond, sensing danger, goes to Barnabas for help. As their mutual attraction grows, he vows to investigate the strange happenings at Collinwood.

Da plane, da plane, and welcome to the briar patch.

Traditionally, this is the one where I am supposed to talk about Crazy Jenny and Marie Wallace’s Bold, Uninhibited Performance, because this episode really establishes the character... beautifully. Not only do we see her at her nearly-most-histrionic, but we see range in both Jenny and Wallace. Neither character nor actress is one-note, and for such an extreme character, kicking off with that means to establish the potential for suspense any time she is on screen. Indeed, Jenny is an authentic wild card, and we’re never allowed to get ahead of her. Not only that, she’s a poetic one. Her intelligence tells us scads about Quentin and his tastes, once we learn that she is his wife, and it makes her both a worthy opponent and a victim who’s fallen from the highest of mental towers. Oh, and she has a musical number, which reveals a predictably rich voice for Wallace, a stage vet who never did featured singing in musicals. It’s exactly the character debut you’d want, both quintessentially “Jenny” and teasingly unpredictable.

But I don’t want to talk about that, so you’ll find no mention of it here.

The secret rockstar of this episode is Barnabas and the side of him we see emerging. He even has swagger to his melancholy. For all of the high stakes and tension of Mission: 1897, he’s having the time of his life. How much of this seems real to him? We are still in the pilot stages for a Dark Shadows that is essentially its own spinoff. In 1897, the show distills and refines itself, and then reinvents the recipe with that clarified formula. It’s not just Dark Shadows, it’s Dark Shadows that knows it’s Dark Shadows… what that means, what that allows, and does so without a lazy sense of privilege. The star, Barnabas, is getting the same rebooted treatment. Barnabas is like a successful nighclub act that’s finally getting two shows nightly at Caesars, and isn’t wasting a moment. He has almost a giddy sense of confidence that redefines the character without erasing his essence.

1897 is the perfect place to bring out his best, and he has to be wondering why the hell he had to wake up in the day-glo cereal box of post-Camelot 1967 instead of here. 1897… the Future! Just enough advances from his native time to crackle with new wiring, which probably shocked Dirk Wilkins across the drawing room more than once when he installed it. And just enough proximity to his own era to still know how to dress for dinner and pen a decent thank-you letter. Everyone is kind of a variation on what he already knows, but with a bit more transparency, and wait, here comes Maggie, I mean Josette, I mean Rachel, and by Rachel, I mean eventually Kitty, and by that, I mean Josette. Ah to hell with it. It’s Kathryn Leigh Scott and we’re darned glad to see her, too. And this character seems to be open to dating. He’s got gypsies instead of Willie, and they’re twice as wise and on a familiar level of untrustworthy. Plus, they’re superstitious, requiring him to waste less time making threats. They know the score. I was going to say that the downside is no Julia, but after a week or so without her nagging, spying, moralizing, and guilting, I’ll just say, plus, there’s no Julia. She may be a friend, but, as I said, he’s on vacation. And instead of pretending he’s on a secret mission, he really is on a secret mission. The worst that happens is that he gets stuck there. Oh, don’t throw me in the briar patch. And maybe the timeline gets changed a little bit. So what? Big deal. He was a tourist there, too. He’s got the Old House. He’s got Maggie more than he ever had her before. He’s got lackeys. And everyone enjoys a good, poetic turn of  phrase rather than just staring at him like they’re going to beat him up in back of the Blue Whale and take his lunch money. But on what is basically his big date with Rachel, he is smoother than caramel cognac. And the old dog knows it. It’s like a Hammer production of James Bond. His scenes with Rachel have dialogue that’s practically musical.

“There’s nothing childish about attempted murder.”

“Here at Collinwood, old hates don’t die. They lie in wait for the innocent and the unsuspecting.”

“I’ve lived through danger before.”

“No one is quite what they seem… except me, of course.”

“Such a lovely hand. Why would anyone want to harm you?”

Cornier than Kansas on the 4th of July. And they work. Every syllable, sincere. That’s the secret. Rather than a nightmare of endless terror, it’s Barnabas’ ultimate dream, complete with kisses from The Josette Character for his evil-smashing bravado. It’s a beautiful moment, and it underlines what 1897 is, measuring his fall with the Leviathans and long struggle to rebuild. Which he does.

The only thing missing? Mr. Rorke and Tattoo greeting Barnabas as he departs from a seaplane next to Scatman Crothers, Steve Lawrence, and Marion Ross, and explaining for the audience the fantasy he and the island staff are about to fulfill.

Come to think of it, it may be my fantasy, too.

This episode was broadcast March 25, 1969.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Dark Shadows clearance sale!

(UPDATE: The prices listed in this original draft of this story were incorrect and have been revised.)


Remember the other day how I said I don't ever get to cover news? Well, it seems the Dark Lord heard my blasphemous prayer, because, boy, do I have a story for y'all today.

Big Finish announced that starting today and going until MARCH 21st, fans can pick up the first FIFTY Dark Shadows "audiobooks" for just $5.30.

But that's not all! Along with the stories, Dark Shadows: The Legend Reborn would be available at just $2.64 WEB SPECIAL PRICE!and both volumes of music from the audio dramas will be available at a paltry $1.31.

All you have to do is head to this link and enter the code BLUEWHALE to see everything they have to offer.

The only catch is, you can only buy them on CD, which honestly, isn't even that big of a catch. Plan on buying some stuff? Let us know in the comments below!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Barnabas Collins by Shawn Gaston

I heard you people like Barnabas Collins. Well, you're in luck! Artist Shawn Gaston has a snazzy new print of Collinwood's favorite son available for pre-order. This art is 12"x18" and printed on "sexy thick stock." He's advising that there might not be a second run of these prints. The original art done almost entirely in Pentel brush pen, with additional shading and minor clean up done in Photoshop. The prints are $20 plus $5 shipping, which you can send to Don't forget to include a shipping address with your message.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Dark Shadows, The Road to Bloodline: Deliver Us From Evil


“Don’t live in the dark too long. 
You don’t know what’s waiting in 
there for you.”

It’s Sabrina Jennings vs. the Son of Satan in the blisteringly entertaining Deliver Us from Evil! The latest stop on the Road to Bloodline! Rounding out a quadrilogy of narrative threads that started in Beneath the Veil, then weaved on through The Enemy Within, then most recently tieing through Carriage of the Damned, Deliver Us From Evil brings Sabrina Jennings’ and Cyrus Longworth’s story to a beautiful and terrifying close for now; proving once again this range could support longer serialized narratives, while also just delivering a damn fine single story. Sharply written by Aaron Lamont and given a wide array of impressive effects and transitions by sound designer David Darlington, Deliver Us From Evil is a must own for fans of the Jennings clan, Christopher Pennock people, and discerning audiophiles alike.

Once again, we open with a post-Bloodlust framing device. After having left Collinsport after the revelation that her own sister killed her husband in a lycanthropic rage, Amy Cunningham (the always luminous Stephanie Ellyne) is looking to forget her troubles in Bangor. But the fates have other plans for her as she has a chance meeting with her sister Sabrina (a powerful performance from Lisa Richards) and the two are forced to confront the growing rift between them, leading to Sabrina to tell Amy about the sad, strange fates of Cyrus Longworth and Alfie Chapman (a returning and positively unhinged Simon Kent).

I have gone long on record about these framing devices, but this time, I didn’t feel like it was very obtrusive to my enjoyment or the overall story. Once the sisters are basically trapped together, in a situation straight out of sitcom, it is pretty much all flashback as Darlington deftly transitions us from the “present” to the “past" allowing Lamont’s script to really take off. And don’t let the apparent density of this being a “payoff” episode throw you! Though this whole thing is steeped in Big Finishverse lore, the script takes the steps to get the audience up to speed on what is actually being paid off that way no one is lost.

But long-time listeners or beginners (like me) I think will get an extra little thrill out of seeing all these threads pay off along with all the returning characters. I mean, this single story is cool for people coming in cold, but y’all know how much I love serialization. Sabrina is one again the star of the show and Richards more than rises to the occasion. Pennock also really impresses here, playing up the wounded terror of Cyrus as well as leaning heavily into moustache twirling villainy once the Son of the Dark Lord fully takes over his corporal form. The triple threat of baddies here James Unsworth’s John, Simon Kent’s Alfie, and Brigid Lohrey’s Danielle Roget also add plenty of dark delights for this story as the representatives of the “dark side”. This thing is even graced with an extra bit of star power from our own WALLACE MCBRIDE! Playing all the hits as his returning DJ character, Edgar McBride, which will always delight me to no end.

But I really loved this one, guys! It had a lot of great things for long time listeners on top of just a goddamn entertaining story starring some Dark Shadows mainstays! Kind of a win-win for all us nerds, right? Though I will say, I think listening to the whole cycle would give you that much more enjoyment out of this one, BUUUT there is still a lot to love about Deliver Us From Evil even without all the backstory.

NEXT TIME! Tainted Love! The return of the Kwisatz Haderach of my Heart, Alec Newman as David Collins! And another co-starring role for the mysterious Hallie Stokes! Until then, be seeing you.

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 Odds are he will want to talk about Hellblazer.
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