I’d like to start this continuation of the Dark Shadows discussion from the old board with a look at some of the new and upcoming Dark Shadows audio stories from Big Finish Productions. There aren’t nearly as many Dark Shadows audio adventures as there are Doctor Who ones, but the Doctor Who series has been around longer. The Dark Shadows audios are a mixed bag. The first release was a full-cast sequel titled “Return to Collinwood”. Later they began to release a series of interconnected sequential stories grouped in short “seasons”. More recently they’ve been going back to the timeline of the original television show and telling interstitial one-shots. As the Dark Shadows series seems to be catching on, Big Finish seems to be ramping up their production schedule. “Curse of the Pharaoh” was released in September, and the next four are set for monthly release beginning in January at a special subscription rate.

CURSE OF THE PHARAOH:

“Curse of the Pharaoh” stars Nancy Barrett (reprising her role as Carolyn Stoddard) and Marie Wallace (perhaps best known as “Eve” on the TV show) in a new role, famed Egyptologist Dr. Gretchen Warwick. The story doesn’t specify, but I assume it takes place shortly after the end of the series original TV series, circa 1970 or so. Both actresses are kind of rusty and sound as old as they are, not as young as they (Caroline, anyway) are supposed to be. Barrett was always a better actress than Wallace, and that remains true. Wallace’s shortcomings are spotlighted in this “dramatic reading” in which she plays other bit parts, most of the male (Bob the bartender at The Blue Whale, Eliot Stokes on the telephone, Carolyn’s father in flashback), which she performs in a gruff kind of storybook voice as if reading aloud to a child. The story itself is a sequel to the unpopular “Leviathan” television storyline. If you’ve never heard a Dark Shadows audio and thinking of trying one out, there are better ones to start with than this.

KEY: OB = Old Board; UR = Un-Reviewed

Return to Collinwood - 169

SEASON ONE:
S1.1 The House of Despair - 1
S1.2 The Book of Temptation - OB
S1.3 The Christmas Presence - 264
S1.4 The Rage Beneath - 7

SEASON TWO: Kingdom of the Dead - 7

DRAMATIC READINGS:

1. Angelique’s Descent-Pt. 1 - OB
2. Angelique’s Descent-Pt. 2 - OB
3. Clothes of Sand - OB
4. The Ghost Walker - OB
5. The Skin Walkers - OB
6. The Path of Fate - OB
7. The Wicked & the Dead - OB
8. Echoes of Insanity - OB
9. Curse of the Pharaoh - 1
10. Final Judgment - 1
11. Blood Dance - 1
12. The Night Whispers - 1
13. London’s Burning - 2
14. The Doll House - 30
15. The Blind Painter - 87
16. The Death Mask - 88
17. The Creeping Fog - 89
18. The Carrion Queen - 89
19. The Poisoned Soul - 96
20. The Lost Girl - 96
21. The Crimson Pearl - 114
22. The Voodoo Amulet - 129
23. The House by the Sea - 170
24. Dress Me in Dark Dreams - 154
25. The Eternal Actress - 162
26. The Fall of House Trask - 163
27. Operation: Victor - 166
28. Speak No Evil - 166
29. The Last Stop - 166
30. Dreaming of the Water - 167
31. The Haunted Refrain - 167
32. A Collinwood Christmas - 167, 264
33. The Phantom Bride - 167
34. Beneath the Veil - 167
35. The Enemy Within - 167
36. The Lucifer Gambit - 167
37. The Flip Side - 167
38. Beyond the Grave - 168
39. Curtain Call - 168
40. The Harvest of Souls - 170
41. The Happier Dead - 168
42. The Carriage Damned - 168
43. The Devil Cat - 168
44. The Darkest Shadow - 173

SEASON THREE: Bloodlust - 170-172, 181, 269

45. Panic - 173
46. The Curse of Shurafa - 173
47. In the Twinkling of an Eye - 173
48. Deliver Us from Evil - 173
49. Tainted Love - 173
50. ...And Red All Over - 175

Echoes of the Past - 176

Blood & Fire - 176

Haunting Memories - 177

Phantom Melodies - 178

Dreams of Long Ago - 178

THE TONY & CASSANDRA MYSTERIES:
The Mystery at Crucifix Heights - 179
The Mystery of La Danse Macabre - 179
The Mystery of Flight 493 - 180
The Mystery of Karmina Sonata - 180

SHADOWS OF THE NIGHT:
Trio - 180
Honeymoon from Hell - 180
Retreat -180
1:53 AM - 180

MAGGIE & QUENTIN - THE LOVERS' REFRAIN:
The Girl Beneath the Water - 180
The Sand That Speaks HIs Name - 180
The Hollow Winds That Beckon
The Paper to the Flame


GOTHIC PAPERBACK LIBRARY

1. Dark Shadows - p183
2. Victoria Winters - p183
3. Strangers at Collins House - p183
4. The Mystery of Collinwood - p184
5. The Curse of Collinwood - p184
6. Barnabas Collins - p185
7. The Secret of BC - p185
8. The Demon of BC - p185
9. The Foe of BC - p185
10. The Phantom of BC - p185
11. BC vs. the Warlock - p186
12. The Peril of BC - p186
13. BC and the Mysterious Ghost - p187
14. BC and Quentin's Demon - p188
15. BC and the Gypsy Witch - p188
16. B, Q and the Mummy's Curse - p188
17. B, Q and the Avenging Ghost - p242
18. B, Q and the Nightmare Assassin - p244
19. B, Q and the Crystal Coffin
20. B, Q and the Witch's Curse
21. B, Q and the Haunted Cave
22. B, Q and the Frightened Bride
23. B, Q and the Scorpio Curse
24. B, Q and the Serpent
25. B, Q and the Magic Potion
26. B, Q and the Body Snatchers
27. B, Q and Dr. Jekyll's Son
28. B, Q and the Grave Robbers
29. B, Q and the Sea Ghost
30. B, Q and the Mad Magician
31. B, Q and the Hidden Tomb
32. B, Q and the Vampire Beauty
33. House of Dark Shadows - p241

ROB STAEGER: p189

NEWSPAPER STRIPS: p241

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I've returned from my break, and backed up a bit to get back into the swing of things. I watched episode 640 last night, where Amy finds Katherine in the woods just before she's attacked by the werewolf, and then she comes to stay at Collinswood for the night (and eventually for a while). It's funny -- the dialogue between Amy and David is engineered to slide them right into discovering Quentin's ghost on the phone, but watching it again last night, I was struck by how much Amy seemed to be leading that conversation. It's as if she knows there's a ghost in the abandoned wing of Collinwood, and she's just trying to get David to take her there and think it's his idea. 

David and Amy kind of "take turns" being in charge, largely, I think, for the expediency of cluing the audience who may have missed an episode in to what's going on. We're on 659.

My return to Dark Shadows has been going slower than expected, so I'm not nearly caught up with you. Since I backtracked a bit, I'm not even caught up with me! My most recent episode was 642, I think, when Stokes leads another séance and Caroline starts channeling Magda, who warns everybody about Quentin.

I can hardly wait until you get to the week of January 6, 1969 (661-665), in which Barnabas returns to 1796 for an entire week in an effort to change the past. (I reveal that in an effort to motivate you.) We'll likely pause when we get to 700 if you haven't caught up by the time we get to that point.  

Well, now I know why I had such a hard time with this stretch. It's episode 644. I fell asleep twice watching it, once the first time and then again on my re-watch. The only way I survived it (and its honest-to-god DOING THE SAME SCENE TWICE) was by splitting it up into 10-minute chunks so I didn't stare too long into the abyss. 

But now I'm past it, and have ventured on... for the first time into episode 648, new territory! David and Amy are possessed (intermittently) by Quentin and Beth, and have buried Quentin's corpse and tried to kill Roger! The ghost of Magda (still unseen) is giving out useless clues, like writing JAMISON on a mirror (in an admittedly cool special effect). Roger and Elizabeth have found a portentous Tarot card, and have called in Professor Stokes, who in turn calls in Janet Findley, Neighborhood Psychic! Findley goes into the west wing alone through a secret passage, where she might be in for a grisly fate! And speaking of grisly fates, Joe Haskell has been spotted with the sign of the pentagram on him, which means he's likely going to be attacked by his cousin the werewolf! 

After a few interminable episodes of tots and props, we're back to pure craziness!


I like to think Janet Findley was a professional associate (perhaps rival) of Peter Guthrie. There's a whole untold story there. If Big Finish can get a whole series of "Tony and Casandra Mysteries" I'd like to see them tackle "Guthrie & Findley: Spookchasers."

OK, things have gotten BANANAS. I've just seen episode 654. So, since the last time I wrote:

  • Janet Findley was murdered by the ghosts.
  • Vicki gets pulled back in time to join her husband, Peterjeff Bradfordclark.
  • Elizabeth is shaken by this, and reverts back to her phobia about being buried alive.
  • Amy sees Joe with a pentagram on his face again. 
  • Maggie gets hired to be the new governess! I'd say wait until the grave was cold, but Vicki's probably been dead for 150 years at this point.
  • Chris freaks out about getting sedatives from Dr. Hoffman, who has somehow refrained from passing them out like little boxes of Whoppers on Halloween.
  • Chris attacks Joe back at Maggie's cottage, and Joe fights him off.
  • Joe is taken back to Collinwood for medical attention (i.e., sedatives), but leaves to confront Chris...who he knows is a werewolf.
  • Chris changes to a werewolf right in front of Joe, begging him to shoot him with a pistol he keeps in his hotel dresser. Joe shoots him, but the werewolf lunges at him!

That is A LOT.

"Elizabeth is shaken by this, and reverts back to her phobia about being buried alive."

Joan Bennet has a play she's performing in.

"That is A LOT."

Dark Shadows is moving into the period of its greatest popularity and highest ratings.

I saw up through episode 656 last night. Joe has snapped (he's freaking out because his cousins are a werewolf and a vampire), and tried to kidnap Amy. Liz has collapsed and appears dead to Julia and Barnabas, so they start her special arrangements for her interment. On the other hand, Quentin for some reason has the kids call the funeral director in Collinwood, so he makes a house call before he's sent away. And Vicki's clothes reappear in her closet after Mrs. Johnson cleared them out so Maggie could move in, which makes Mrs. J think Vicki will be returning. 


I've seen through episode 661 now. A clip show! And thank Grodd for it -- it feels like centuries since we've been in 1795. But before that, Joe Haskell's psyche cracks wide open, as he tries to kidnap Amy to keep her safe, and is eventually committed to Windcliff; Liz gets interred alive in the mausoleum; the kids pretend to want to go to Boston but are working with Quentin to make sure they don't (though their plan is murky at best); Vicki (or is it Magda?) send Barnabas and Maggie messages asking for help; Barnabas and Carolyn (in a hairstyle that seems intentionally American Gothic) pose for a photo in which the ghost of Vicki appears, hanged, behind them; and Barnabas consults with Professor Stokes (and nearly lets the cat out of the bag about his history), but eventually travels back in time JUST BY ASKING PETER TO TAKE HIM THERE. Which is crazy. Plus, when he gets to 1795, he's a vampire again! Hooray!

Two things worth focusing on: One --in that last time travel sequence, I expected Barnabas to fade out, and then cut to his arrival in 1795. Instead, they were much more clever, shooting from Barnabas's perspective, and fading out Julia and the gravestones with the chromakey. I was genuinely surprised!

Also, back in Joe's crazy dream sequence, there's a point when he thinks he's talking to Chris the Werewolf, when he's talking to his twin brother, Tom the Vampire. When Tom bares his fangs, Joe backs away, and runs into Chris -- and suddenly we see Chris and Tom in the same shot! And I've been trained by modern special effects to think of this as camera trickery, and I was amazed at how seamless it looked -- especially in 1968. And then I realized that Chris was in werewolf makeup, and was being played by the stuntman, not Don Briscoe. But for a moment, I was legitimately amazed and confused.  

"Vicki (or is it Magda?)..."

Who knows? I don't think even the writers know at this point. In retrospect, I'd say Magda.

I watched Dark Shadows for the first time on video tape, but I skipped all around using the Dark Shadows Almanac as a guide. As I became more familiar with the series and started re-watching favorite sequences, I would sometime play certain episodes back-to-back, such as 365 (Vicki goes to 1795) and 461 (Vicki returns from 1795). One thing I never did was to put 662-666 in place of the "original" (or at least original broadcast) timeline. That's a good one, but there's another even better one coming up in 1112. 

"...travels back in time JUST BY ASKING PETER TO TAKE HIM THERE."

Dark Shadows used at ;east four different methods of time travel during the course of its run, basically a different one for each major excursion, but this one to return to 1795 (or 1796) is by far the stupidest (not that any of them made a whole lot of plausible sense). 

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