Okay so some time ago, a guy on a blog who was trying to write a blog post for every episode of the old TV show DARK SHADOWS… well, he also did a post for each of the two DARK SHADOWS movies. Well, he asked people for help commenting on the film NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS. Well, Barb and I riffed the WHOLE MOVIE (in an email. Not out loud. It was only out loud at our house). But the guy who ran the blog, he only used like a third of our riffs, so…
Oh, DARK SHADOWS? It was a TV soap opera from 1966 to 1971. It was always supposed to be slightly gothic, like Jane Eyre, but when the ratings slipped, in desperation they started putting in more and more ghosts and stuff. When the put in a vampire, the ratings went insanely through the roof, and it was a big, big deal, until the ratings fell again (the quality slipped because the spread the cast and the writers too thin).
Uh, riffing? That’s where we say amusing things while watching the movie (except this time we wrote them down), like the show Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or, sort of, The Rocky Horror Picture Show).
So anyway, if (1) you are familiar with the movie, and/or (2) remember it well, then you’re really gonna love the following, in which PARK AND BARB RIFF THE FILM NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS. (If neither 1 nor 2 is true, you… might wanna go watch it real quick.)
Barb: How a theme can be cheesy, classy, and spooky at the same time is beyond me. I suppose the same thing could be said for the movie in general. A lot of modern art house horror films are praised for a pervasive feeling of dread, but I think Curtis does a better job of conveying dread in this film. Park: I love the NODS theme and I always have but I realized just now it’s basically Night and Day. “Night and DAAAAAY, Under the hide of me, There’s an oh such a hungry Yearnin’ burnin’ inside of me…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGGirB4XOmI https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnDAMZMCBsM Barb, when his name comes up in the credits: Karlen, yaaaay! Barb: It’s always a bit of a mind-screw to see David Selby in modern clothes… Barb: Funnily enough, this movie opening is pretty much the opening for Dan Curtis’s version of Burnt Offerings later on. Unsuspecting family moves into new house; terror ensues as characters are taken over. Quentin: “You wouldn’t have liked me then… I was mean and surly.” Park: So in a way it’s a story about a guy who gets married but his wife discovers he can’t stay on newlywed behavior, but keeps backsliding… or am I overthinking this Barb: No, you’re not overthinking this… I just wrote “WAS mean and surly…?” Later: Barb: Look, it’s the Ghost-Cam view from the tower window, yaay… Park: It could just be meant to be Hoffmann, but I don’t believe it. It’s the Ghost-Cam. (Seconds later) Ah-ha, and here’s Hoffmann in the doorway. Nope, that was the Ghost Cam. Carlotta: Mr. and Mrs. Collins, welcome to Collinwood. I’m Carlotta Drake.” Quentin: “Thank you. Ms. Drake.” Me: Yes, thank you, Grayson, for being Ms. Drake. We love you. Barb: Grayson Hall is getting to play a Mrs. Danvers role again. Grayson Hall, at her scariest when she smiles, slithering her way into the frame… I’m shocked they didn’t both jump when she spoke… Soon: Both of us: So what DID kill Mrs. Collins? I guess when she came back home after the end of HODS and found almost everyone she knew was dead… Barb: And where’s David? Why didn’t he inherit? He’s now living under the name Grant Douglas, I guess…. Park: Sadly, David’s plane crashed somewhere in the Amazon jungle. Barb: Where’s Mrs. Johnson, did she quit? Park: Okay, that’s it, I’m putting a stop to this line of thought right now. This is clearly a slightly different time band where people have made different choices. Like the choice to not play Barnabas again. Barb: I do want the new Mrs. Collins’ wardrobe, though. That coat is excellent. Ooh and I wouldn’t mind a black t-shirt with the NODS logo in red… Quentin: “That’s one tradition we won’t keep.” Tracy: “Oh, no, we don’t wanna let the house down…” Barb: “Yeah, because the house is alive, and you don’t want it to feel resentful already, you just got here. Also, once again, shades of Burnt Offerings.” Soon: Barb: Joshua Collins reference yay! Barb, when they’re on the stairs… “Ghost-Cam view!” Carlotta, about what’s up those stairs: “Oh, nothing you’d be interested in– now…” Park: “Later, when you’re frustrated and horny, sure, but it’s too soon yet, so not now.” Barb: Look at all those stairs! I’m so used to the stairs at the Old House that only go up for six steps! (At this point I found a transcript of the audio online so I just cut and pasted it into my document, and removed and added from there…) CARLOTTA: The master bedroom is this way. lt has an excellent view of the front grounds. Park: Like the tree where Angelique died. Don’t wanna miss that. QUENTlN: ls she one of the family? CARLOTTA: Yes, she is. Her name is Angelique Collins. Barb: Woo-hoo! There she is! Lara Parker is going to spend the entire movie in a diaphanous nightie. How can people not like this movie? That sight is worth the price of admission by itself. (Quentin starts playing his hit song on the piano) Barb: Uh-oh… Barb: After Turn of the Screw Quentin and 189whatever Quentin, it’s like no one knew what to do with Selby. He didn’t make the transition from villain to anti-hero to reluctant hero with quite the same grace as Frid did. It’s not Selby’s fault. It’s the writers’. This movie is a better use of Selby than, say, 1840, in my opinion, though. Or maybe I just like looking at David Selby. TRACY: lt’s almost like living in a museum, isn’t it? Quentin? QUENTIN SEES HANGED WOMAN OUTSIDE Barb: Ooh! Ooh! Hanged woman! QUENTlN: Are you gonna be happy here? TRACY: Well, l think l am, if you are. Barb: Boooo, how dare Quentin go to bed fully clothed. Also, they got that headboard from Coffin Outfitters, geez… QUENTlN: That’s something. l don’t know why… …l almost feel like l’ve come home again. Barb: Paging Mr. Torrance… Mr. Jack Torrance… Barb: Also, ugly orange ’70s bedsheets ughhhh. It’s like sleeping in a pumpkin spice eggnog… Barb: Someone turn off the echo on Thayer David, a man’s trying to sleep over here… You killed Angelique, Strack. Up, Doubloon. [YELLlNG] You killed her! Barb: Don’t make Thayer David run! You monsters! Barb: On the other hand, Quentin in period costume, now that’s what I’m talkin’ about. MAN 2: Charles, you’ve been with her again. What’s wrong with you, brother? Don’t you remember? Your wife’s dead… …though she still comes to you. Barb: Got enough Vaseline on the lens, there…? You will have her for eternity, brother. For eternity! Barb: Don’t roll over in bed, Quentin, your shirt was open…. James Storm: Do you know what happened last night? Do you? Carlotta: Everything has changed. You must accept that. James Storm: l was good enough until he came around. And then– Park: Like the rest of us, Angelique prefers Quentin, Mr. Storm. – l saw your wife today. – Yes? She rides, doesn’t she? – What did you say? – l said, she rides, doesn’t she? Yes, she does. Come on. But not today. Barb: Hangin’ Tree Ghost-Cam! …But since when does modern Collinwood have a stable with horses? [BELL TOLLlNG] MAN: Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes. Barb: Yaaaaay, the funeral! …But I can’t believe they didn’t all get pneumonia. Barb: Love Quentin’s wife’s laughter in this sequence, but I miss having Reverend Trask here. You can’t have a Dark Shadows witch hunt without the good Reverend. And so we commend her spirit to a just and loving God. Barb: (Dan Curtis.) QUENTlN: l see you’ve still got that crazy eye of mine. KARLEN: That’s it, buddy. Wherever we go, that goes. Barb: Karlen, yaay! Barb: I’m prejudiced but I like this odd, poorly edited little film. If there was actual sex in it instead of broad hints concerning Angelique’s ghostly sexual encounters, it could have been an American answer to Daughters of Darkness (1971) or those other Euro-Trash vampire films of the era. – Have you seen Miss Drake smile yet? – Once. She had no reason to smile at you, Alex. The first time he meets her, he asks if the place is haunted. ls it? Not according to her. Park: And suddenly, for the first time ever, Nancy’s from Dallas. Barb: And Karlen’s amazing free-range accent. ALEX: One of these nights, we’re gonna go to the Blue Whale. l’ll introduce you to a Captain Russell, who’ll tell a different story. Seems there’s a young, beautiful servant girl who roams the halls of Collinwood. lf she cleans well, we’ll hire her. Barb: Sure, Carlotta says it’s not haunted. She would say that, wouldn’t she? Hey, pal, what’s wrong? Hey. Bloodshot eyes, unsuitable pallor. Barb: You’re a vampire! – Oh, Carlotta. – Yes? l found some old paintings of Charles Collins up in the tower room. Oh? Do you know anything about his history? Yes, l do. He was a marvelous man, a brilliant artist. Oh, you almost sound like you know him, Carlotta. …Will you be having brandy in the gallery? Barb: Carlotta, you’re supposed to be keeping this whole reincarnation thing on the down-low… and you suck at it. TRACY: Alex. – Are you all right? – Stay out of here. Alex, what happened? What happened? l was exploring, l guess l shouldn’t have been. Then the whole place fell down. Barb: Oh, I love the greenhouse. That place really looks dangerous. It’s no David-at-the-pool-from-HODS, but it’s still a pretty creepy/exciting scene. We’re rare people, you and l. Not only have we lived before, but we’re fortunate enough to remember. Angelique loves us. She always has and she always will. l’ll always remember that last day. lt was a dark and rainy afternoon. Barb: It was a dark and stormy night. The strange death of Reverend Herridge… …so soon after his sermon denouncing her. Barb: Denouncing her for what? Posing for paintings? Park: Exactly. How would they know if she was being adulterous? So she must have been up to some other witchcraft. I’m guessing that Reverend Herridge was probably not the first person to pay a price for badmouthing Angelique. CARLOTTA: She walked down the stairs so proudly. Barb: In her NIGHTGOWN…! Park: Little Sarah looks a bit like a very young Fairuza Balk. Sarah, dear, please don’t cry. lt’ll be just as if l’ve gone away for a little while. Here. You’ve always thought this so pretty. As long as you wear this… …you will remember me. Park: “Wear this, o my disciple, in memory of me…” Barb: I particularly like the flashback sequences that Carlotta relates, especially where Angelique is hanged (people are hanged; pictures are hung). That sequence wouldn’t have looked out of place in the film Witchfinder General with Vincent Price or Blood on Satan’s Claw. Quentin: Then her spirit is still alive in this house. For certain of us, yes. For me, for you. Barb: Forevermore. Park: For a dog named Boo. But l’m not Charles Collins. CARLOTTA: You will come to accept it… …after a time. And then you will realize something else. There is no longer any place in this house for Mrs. Collins. l love Tracy. l’ll always love Tracy, and nothing can change that. lf you truly believe that… …then l suggest you leave Collinwood immediately… …if you can. Barb: I feel sorry for Tracy, it’s not like she seems to be the reincarnation of Laura Collins or anything… QUENTIN: Do you know how much l need you? Barb: …It’s odd how much all this imagery looks like (the movie) LOVE STORY. – You sure you’re gonna be okay? – Go, Alex, go. Nothing bad will happen to us now. Park: MUAH-HAH-HAH… Quentin? l thought you said you weren’t gonna come here anymore. Quentin, what’s happened to you? What’s wrong? There’s someone else in that room, isn’t there? Park: Well, Tracy, do you know the movie THE TWO MRS. CARROLLS? CARLOTTA: Oh, Mrs. Collins… …l thought these might brighten the room. Aren’t they lovely? Barb: AHHHH! FLOWER-CAM! Why!?! Why would you stick the camera in there, Dan? Carlotta: ls something wrong, Mrs. Collins? Tracy: Yes, Carlotta, something is wrong. Carlotta: Anything l’ve done? Park: Must everything be about you, Carlotta? No. No, never mind. What is it, Mrs. Collins? You don’t seem very happy here, whereas Mr.– l don’t think that’s any of your business. Certainly, if that’s the way you feel. – What time will dinner be this evening? (Loudly) – l don’t know what… (More quietly) …time. Park: Darn it, Carlotta, I’m only 15! I found a fortune-telling machine and wished I was big and could marry David Selby but I’m in over my head! l still can’t get over the likeness. Charles Collins could be his twin. All that Quent needs is that scar on his cheek… …and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. CLAlRE: l still don’t see how showing him that is gonna make him leave here. ALEX: Honey, l gotta break through to him some way. lf l can get him to admit that it’s more than a coincidence… …we got a shot. Barb: OMG I hate Charles Collins’ art! Terrible! Well, it’ll have to wait until morning. Alex, come to bed. What time is it? Alex. Alex! [SCREAMS] [MUTED SOUND] Oh, my God. Barb: OOoh, the Angelique’s blue-energy-being-like-something-out-of-Star-Trek scene! I love this scene, but I do wish it had SLIGHTLY better special effects… Park: I’m impressed that Angelique already knew what they were up to. Her Oil-Painting-Sense must’ve been tingling. Barb: What Nancy is wearing is so unfortunate. Angelique is the only person with good bedwear in this whole film. Heaven forfend Nancy got to keep the thing she wore in HOD– well, that probably got blood all over it. Never mind. Barb: …Still… why does anyone stay in this film? Why doesn’t everyone leave town and go back where they came from at the first sign of trouble? Park: Do you want a movie or not? Barb: Tracy! Think of the divorce settlement waiting for you! Quentin? Are you here? Quentin. Quentin? QUENTlN: Did you come to spy on us, Laura? Park: Oh hey, she’s at the pool! If Tracy catches this next ball, Carolyn won’t be dead! TRACY: Where are you? Quentin? Where are you? QUENTlN: lsn’t it enough that you killed her? TRACY: What are you talking about? What’s wrong with you? Barb: What’s wrong with him? What’s wrong with you, Tracy?! Run away! QUENTlN: Won’t you ever leave us alone? Ever? Quentin, it’s me. No, Laura. l’m going to make sure that you never interfere. No, it’s me. Stop it. lt’s me. [TRACY SCREAMlNG] Barb: Wow, for the first time in the whole movie so far, some of Tracy’s hair is kinda outta place… CLAlRE: Suppose he won’t leave. ALEX: He’ll leave, if l have to… …drag him out of there. Alex, there he is. No, no, wait. CLAlRE: What was he doing here? ALEX: l don’t know. (Sees Tracy in pool) lt’s Tracy! Barb: Welp, Tracy’s dead, movie’s over. Get her, baby. Come on, honey. Tracy. CLAlRE: Oh, Tracy. Barb: Hugging and crying is not CPR, Claire… For chrissake, Quentin, listen to me. She’s at my place right now. Now, you’ve got to get out of this house. Quentin, all you have to do is come with me. Tracy understands. Barb: Tracy understands, but you don’t, Karlen! He’s possessed! Leaving the house isn’t gonna be enough! He was telling the truth, wasn’t he? You did it for her. For Angelique. l tried to kill my wife. Park: “I sent an innocent man to jail for five years…” (Burke Devlin reference) Barb: If only there was such a thing as police. Where’s Gerard? Where is he? Doing what you know has to be done. No. l am not Charles Collins. And l’m not going to allow them to be hurt. Barb: Wow, look– just what Dark Shadows has always needed– a car chase. l know someone’s out there. [CLAlRE SCREAMS] TRACY: lf he’s just wounded… …we’ve gotta be sure. But l know we hit him. CLAlRE: Quick. We better get back inside. Park: You shouldn’t be outside in the first place! What, do you have to find his body for your report? Are YOU two gals secretly the police?!? Tracy? Tracy! Tracy. Where are you? Barb: The bongos! The other thing Dark Shadows has always needed! A shiv fight with background bongos! Park: Like the beat, beat, beat of the bongos When the dark’ning shadows fall, Like the tick, tick, tock of the grandfather clock As it hides Hoffman’s Jour-naaalllll– Night and daaaaaay, You are the one, Only you ‘neath the moon Or under the sun… QUENTlN: Alex? You know there’s only one way we’re going to end all of this. We’ve got to go back in there… …and find Carlotta. Because she’s the one who’s keeping the spirit alive. Park: And also because they’re forcing Dan to make SERIOUS edits to the film, Alex… But the damn door’s stuck. Push on the inside. l’m pushing. Come on. Try harder. TRACY: l can’t. [MUTED SOUND] Tracy, for God’s sake, what is it? Answer me. Barb: You know Angelique’s the special guest villainess because she’s so crooked she gets filmed with Batman-Special-Guest-Villainess angles… TRACY: What are you doing? – l have to pick up my canvases. Barb: Oh, and I almost forgot to grab my copy of Johnathan Livingston Seagull. l’ll be happy to get out of this place. Won’t you? Don’t be long in there, all right? – Just take a minute. – Okay. [HORN HONKlNG] Quentin? Quentin, what’s taking you so long? Barb: Yes, you’ve had enough of this place, so you’re leaving. Your spouse just forgot something and is gonna run right back into the house for a second. And now you follow your spouse in. Darn you, Burnt Offerings…! Hey, what are you doing? Quentin, will you come on? l’ve been waiting for you. Now, why were you just sitting there, when you knew–? Quentin, what’s the matter? Quentin? Why are you limping? Barb: His leg’s messed-up, Tracy! You can outrun ‘im! RUN! What happened? Your face. What did you do to–? (Angelique and her breasts come downstairs) [TRACY GASPS] Oh, no. Oh, God, no! Park: No, not breasts! Don’t you understand, I’m only 15 really! I can’t compete with those! No, no, no! No, no! No, no, no…! Barb: The first time the UPI News Flash, the first time I ever saw it, it did creep me out… Park: And, as the official Dark Shadows Harmonica begins to play for the final time, and as Bill Bixby sadly walks down the road once more, we bid farewell to Night of Dark Shadows… Epilogue discussion:
–Are these people REALLY reincarnated? Or is Angelique just brainwashing people to think they are experiencing past-life memories, like Barnabas kept trying to make gals think they were Josette? Did James Storm think HE was once Charles Collins before Quentin, a painter who looked the part even more, came along? –(Also, what does the ghost of a maid or whatever have to do with… what’s that all about? Was Angelique a maid in this timeline before she managed to marry a Collins? Is it the spirit of Sarah, floating around until her time comes…? Or what…?)