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 - OB
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
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

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
  

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Thanks, Jeff. I'm leaning toward picking up a couple and at least giving them a try.

Another thing, they are pretty quick reads. I consider myself to be a reader of average speed. Each book has 12 chapters, and each chapter takes me about 30 minutes to read, I'd say. Each chapter is like watching an episode of the series.

THE MYSTERY OF COLLINWOOD - #4 in a series

“Roger and Elizabeth's brother Mark arrives at Collinwood under the alias Professor Mark Veno. [Mark is another character who was never mentioned on the TV show.] Mark, a hypnotist, wants his daughter Linda to marry Ernest and sees Victoria as a threat. Soon the legendary Phantom Mariner is seen haunting Collinwood and Victoria finds herself once again threatened with death.”

COMMENTARY: The story opens in late September in the midst of a hurricane. Carolyn and David are once again out of the picture; Carolyn is taking her senior year in ellsworth and David is away at boarding school. Ernest is still away on tour but is expected to return soon. His cottage has been rented by Margaret Lucas, a terminally ill woman dying of an unspecified disease. She has a servant named Carlos Marelli, a hunchback who is fiercely loyal to her but taciturn to everyone else, especially Victoria.

The Dark Shadows television show would often re-cast its players into different roles in other time periods. I do that, too, in later books in the series which are set in the past. Professor Veno is an exception, however. Although his description in the book doesn’t match, I always think of Boris Karloff in the role. His daughter Linda bears a strong resemblance to Victoria, and Vistoria gets it into her head that she, too, is the daughter of Mark Veno because… well, that what she does.

Professor Veno and Linda tour the world with a mentalist/spiritualist act. They hooked up with Ernest in Spain for a time and Linda fell in love with him. Victoria and Linda were well on the way to becoming good friends until Ernest returned and Linda found out he and Victoria were in love with each other. At that point, Linda put all her efforts into winning Ernest away from Victoria. Meanwhile, Victoria has been relying on Margaret Lucas and Burke Devlin for guidance and advice. (It is Burke who spills the beans about the Professor’s true identity.) Linda also forms a close relationship with Margaret, visiting her every day to read to her.

At dinner one night, Professor Veno tells the tale of the Phantom Mariner, whose appearance presages certain death (traditionally for a sailor’s wife top Widows’ Hill). No sooner does Victoria learn of the Phantom Mariner than she begins to see such a phantom… or someone masquerading as a phantom… over and over in ad around the estate. Meanwhile, every encounter she has with Carlos is more uncomfortable than the last. He seems to know more than he’s saying. Could he be the Mariner? Or is it Mark Veno?

At one point, Victoria encounters the Phantom within the Collinwood itself. He strikes her with a cane, and she falls down the stairs. Luckily, she suffers no more than bumps and bruises, but at the top of the stairs the cane is found. Veno identifies it as his, plus that it is rigged to deliver an electric shock. But if he attacked her, why would he leave the cane behind? Was it a frame up? Or did he leave it himself to divert suspicion. Or was it Carlos?

In the midst of all this, Elizabeth uncharacteristically decides to host a costume party, ostensibly for Linda, but really for Victoria. All the guests are to come in 19 century dress. Carolyn returns for the party. The three girls search the trunks in the attic for dresses to wear. Carolyn and Linda find theirs first and rush to show Elizabeth. Vicki becomes locked in the room with no lights, but is found before anything worse happens.

On the night of the party, Linda dominates Ernest’s time. Burke Devlin has had Mark Veno investigated and is convinced he is not Victoria’s father. They agree to meet in the garden and he will reveal further details. She arrives first and sees the Phantom Mariner. She screams and faints, but Devlin arrives on the scene before the Phantom can attack. He gives her a handgun. Later that night, Victoria hears a knock on her door. Because the party just broke up and everyone is still awake, she opens it… and is attacked by the Phantom Mariner! He slips a cord around her neck and drags her out into the hallway. Pulling out the gun Burke gave her, she shoots the Phantom, whoever it is.

SPOILER: Although I’ve read this book before, I had no memory of who the Phantom Mariner was. That’s odd, because it’s the last person one would expect. (Maybe that’s why I didn’t remember.) The Mariner is revealed as (wait for it)… Margaret Lucas, who turns out to be Mark Veno’s estranged wife and Linda’s mother. It was she who was maneuvering Linda and Ernest together. Carlos knew what she was doing and tried to warn Vicki, but he didn’t come right out and say it because of his loyalty to his employer and his warning came across more as threats. Margaret Lucas died of her wounds, Linda left her father to start a new life for herself in New York, and Ernest went back on tour.

COLLINS FAMILY TREE: Mark Collins is Roger and Elizabeth’s older brother. The black sheep of the family, he has been disowned by his father, but his share of the estate will one day pass to his daughter.

There do seem to be loads of previously unheard-of Collinses crawling out of the woodwork  I eagerly await Sybok Collins and Thurston Collins IV.

...or the android Lore Collins.

Cousin Oliver Collins?

THE CURSE OF COLLINWOOD - #5 in a series

“After she receives the shocking news that Ernest has been killed in a plane crash, Victoria fears that she is losing her mind as she begins to see zombies wandering the grounds of Collinwood. She turns her romantic attentions to Burke Devlin, a Collinsport resident with a mysterious past.”

COMMENTARY: The status quo has changed quite a bit since the last installment. It is now late Spring (1968). Carolyn and David are both back at Collinwood. Carolyn has had a slight nervous breakdown (which is referred to repeatedly throughout as her “illness”). The “boarding school” David had been sent to is revealed to have been a military academy, but it didn’t work out. Surprisingly, Elizabeth is no longer a recluse, and is taking an active interest in the family business. (No explanation is provided, other than that her missing husband was found alive, working as a sailor, and she no longer felt guilty.) I don’t recall it having been mentioned before, but Roger is referred to as a widower, so no Laura/ Phoenix sub-plot in the books. Perhaps that biggest change (at least as far as Victoria is concerned) is that Ernest was reported killed in a plane crash in South America (Burke Devlin’s fate from the tv show). Consequently, Victoria has been spending more time with Burke Devlin. (No false drunk driving conviction on his record in this version.) Presumably, these changes were made to bring the paperbacks more in line, at least superficially, with the familiar televised version.

Elizabeth is in negotiation with Simon Blair for some land adjacent to the cannery so that she might expand. The Blairs and the Collins have been feuding for over 100 years. Roger warns her that Blair will refuse to deal with her, and he is right.

Carolyn comes to believe the house is haunted, but this belief is largely attributed to her “illness.” To get to the bottom of it, Burke Deviln convinces Vicki to visit Amos Martin, known as “Mad Martin” to the residents of Collinsport, whose mother was a witch and who is reportedly able to commune with the spirit world. He is an old man in his 90s and lives in a two-story frame house on the beach near the Collins estate. Burke doesn’t really believe in his act, but Victoria comes to believe it. From Amos, Victoria learns the story of Derek Collins and his wife Ester. [See below.]

Victoria and Burke go to the Collins private cemetery in an effort to determine how much of Amos’s story is true. (There is no “Eagle Hill Cemetery” in the books.) Rumors suggest that perhaps the bodies were not returned to Collinsport at all, but perhaps coffins filled with gold. Victoria and Burke enter the vault (similar to tv’s mausoleum) and find the coffins, but Burke doesn’t have the proper tools to open them for a look inside. They resolve to return the next day, but when they leave, the door becomes stuck and Burke cannot get it closed all the way. And there will be a full moon that night.

That very night, a mysterious giant and a disheveled looking woman are seen in and around Collinsport. Even Elizabeth is accosted in her car but she refuses to stop. On this same night, Big Tim Mooney, the “Lumberjack Troubadour,” has escaped from jail in Ellsworth and is said to be roaming the country with his girlrfriend, Nora Sonier. For the first time LSD and hippie culture invade the world of Dark Shadows, because the pair are said to be dressed in a military style coat (that hippie’s favor) and an old time lace dress. The book proceeds with multiple sightings of this mystery couple, some of which may be the criminals, some the zombies. This installment skirts the actual supernatural more so than any previous book in the series.

Victoria and Burke go to Amos Martin’s for a séance and the mysterious couple attacks. Amos smashes an oil lamp, setting his house afire, and the couple perish within. The next morning, the news reports that Mooney and his girlfriend were involved in a high speed car chase up near Blind Lake. The car spun out of control and sunk to the bottom, all quicksand. It is unlikely the car will ever be recovered. It is possible that Monney and his girlfriend escaped from the burning house, stole a car, and died at Blind Lake. It’s left up to the reader, but the next book definitely veers into the supernatural with the introduction of the vampire, Barnabas Collins.

COLLINS FAMILY HISTORY: Derek Collins was an evil giant of a man deeply involved in the slave trade. He had his ship, the schooner Mary Dorn, converted to a slaver. In 1859, he met and fell in love with the daughter of the governor of Barbados. When she learned of his ties to “black gold,” she insisted that he quit, but he refused. In desperation, she shot him through the heart. Then she shot herself in the head. After that, her followers prepared both of the bodies to become zombies should a shaft of moonlight fall across their coffins so they could be together even after death, and the bodies were returned to Collinsport for burial.

NOTE: It is not explicitly stated how Derek Collins fits into the family tree.

I suspect that a giant shoehorn was involved..

Jeff of Earth-J said:

NOTE: It is not explicitly stated how Derek Collins fits into the family tree.

“I suspect that a giant shoehorn was involved.”

You only think you are joking.

I am trying to establish a consistent family tree for the Collins family, but I’m not certain how much consistency Dan Ross himself had in mind. I am not even going to try to rectify paperback continuity with television continuity. It can’t be done. I’m going to attempt to hue as closely to canon as possible, but here are a few of the inconsistencies I’ve encountered so far…

On TV, Collinwood was built in 1795; in print, 1830.

On TV, Roger and Elizabeth were sixth generation descendants of Joshua; in print, third generation descendants of Jeremiah.

On TV, Jeremiah and Joshua were brothers; in print they would appear to be separated by at least two generations. Whereas that discrepancy isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, Joshua has been established as Barnabas’ father and Jeremiah as his rival for Josette’s affections.

On TV, Roger and Elizabeth’s father is Jamison; in print he has not yet been named.

On TV, Jamison’s sister is Nora; in print their father’s sister is Greta.

Barnabas Collins (the book I am reading now) mentions that Greta Collins (a teenager in 1899) has an unnamed brother in Boston. Whereas that would, at first blush, seem to be a placeholder for Roger and Elizabeth’s as-yet-unnamed father, Strangers at Collins House establishes that Henry Collins is their father’s older brother. If Greta had only one brother in 1899, that would mean that Roger and Elizabeth’s father was not born yet.

Shoehorn, indeed!

CORRECTION: Derek and Esther Collins were turned to zombies in 1854.

OTHER ZOMBIE ("NVUMBI") LORE: Zombies cannot eat meat or salt. If a zombie should taste salt, it will immediately become aware of what it is and seek to return to its grave.

I'm not going to let the inconsistencies and contradictions in the timeline bug me too much. I have speculated before that all of the timetravel on the tv alone definitely created multiple timelines. When Victoria was transported to 1795, that created an alternate timeline; when Barnabas traveled to 1897, that created an alternate timeline; when he travelled to 1840, that created an alternate timeline; and let us not forget Quentin Collins' "stairway through time."

Think of the contradictions which have cropped up over the years in Doctor Who, from the genesis of the Daleks to the origins of the Cybermen.

While I am finishing up reading Barnabas Collins, I thought I’d take a moment to discuss the covers of the paperback series (especially since that post will likely be a lengthy one as it it). These first five of them had painted covers featuring Victoria Winters. Later printings of the first four substituted photographs from the TV show, but these were somewhat deceptive as they featured both Victoria Winters as well as Barnabas Collins, who was not a character in any of those books. The cover of the fifth, The Curse of Collinwood, was the only one published with a painted cover only (no corresponding photo cover on later editions), but it, too, was deceptive. The cover featured Barnabas (painted from an often seen publicity photo) combined with Victoria’s image from the first cover in the series.

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