I Just Finished – Dark Shadows: The Heiress of Collinwood by Lara Parker

“Our revels now are ended…”

That quote, from The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1, is familiar to most, if not all, fans of Dark Shadows. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, when there were no VCRs or DVRs and you could only watch a show once, and that when the TV station decided to play it, many fans of the Gothic soap opera listened ad nauseum to the show’s soundtrack LP. It featured music from the show, with narrations over a lot of it by Jonathan Frid and David Selby, the two most prominent stars. The last track on the album is Jonathan Frid reading Prospero’s soliloquy from The Tempest about actors and dreams. It’s a moody piece, and a fitting capstone to, well, pretty much anything.

Lara Parker ends her novel with the last sentence: “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”

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I Just Finished – Dark Shadows: Bloodlust

I’m late getting to this audio drama from Big Finish. I hadn’t realized it had been released. Big Finish has released over 50 hours of new Dark Shadows audio adventures, but their full cast dramas are the best. This is the third collection of episodes structured like the old TV episodes were, in 30-minute segments, although these adventures are more compressed, since we don’t get 240 new episodes a year, indeed, it’s taken more like ten years to release three sets of 12-13 episodes a piece.

The first collection focused on bringing back the supernatural heavy hitters of the Collins family–the vampire, the witch and the werewolf. The second expanded the family and pitted them against big bad David Warner in a chilling story of madness and possession. This time out, the story focuses less on the family in the big house and more on the people of the remote town of Collinsport; but the family is still there, supernatural heavy hitters and all. A lot of former stars of the TV series are still along for the ride. This is some of the best work Big Finish has done, and probably the closest they’ve come to the feel of the original Dark Shadows TV series.


Review – Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising by Lara Parker

Wolf-Moon-RisingLara Parker is the (still) lovely lady who played the witch Angelique (and a few other roles) on the 1960s horror soap opera, Dark Shadows. She appears very briefly in Tim Burton’s recent film adaptation of the series, and she’s done a boatload of Dark Shadows audio productions for Big Finish, also usually playing Angelique.

Wolf Moon Rising is her third novel set in the Dark Shadows universe. (Or, more correctly, the Dark Shadows multiverse, which she’s expanded with this volume.) In her first venture, Angelique’s Descent, she gave us a biography of her character. That is, she chronicled one of Angelique’s numerous lives, albeit a short one. Angelique Bouchard was born in the 1770s and lived on the island of Martinique, where she was a servant to Josette DuPres, daughter of a wealthy French merchant. As a very young woman, Angelique fell in love with an American, Barnabas Collins, a young man on his first business trip abroad, representing his family’s company. Sadly, Barnabas had his fun with Angelique, then met her mistress Josette and forgot all about the poor servant girl. Josette, as heir to another fortune, was more fit to be the wife of a rich New Englander.

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REVIEW – Dynamite Entertainment’s Dark Shadows

I mentioned recently that I’ve been reading comic books since 1974.  I mostly preferred super-hero comics, and I’m not entirely sure why, although it’s clear that most readers do.  I think, for me it’s because they allow an escape from reality, they generally allow for exciting, colorful imagery, and they have that sense of romantic heroism that is lacking in, say, sword and sorcery stories.  I’ll probably explore what I mean by “romantic heroism” in a totally separate article.  Suffice to say here that I use it to mean that the characters in the story have a sense of right and wrong, are working toward a just goal, and portray an ideal of people as they should be, not merely as they are.  Superman is a person as we’d like to believe people could be.  Conan the Barbarian, on the other hand, has little to advertise him as a hero.  He can get away with running around in a loin cloth and he wields a mean sword.  That’s true of lots of real people, so Conan did nothing for me.  (Red Sonja, on the other hand…  Pretty girls need no excuse.  I’m sexist that way.  Sue me.)