The Dream Curse/ Adam and Eve Continues....
Shane Sissle | Lexington, KY USA | 01/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I found Set 8 to be entertaining in many ways. If you enjoy the storyline that is started towards the middle of Set 7, you should definetly get this Set. Watching each character have the Dream Curse was truly great. I do admit there are some boring parts, such as Adam learning how to talk to interact, but if you are a true Dark Shadows fan, you should purchase this Set. Victoria Winter's only has three more Sets until she leaves."
The best Dark Shadows
Frederick Norwood | Mountain Home, TN USA | 01/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While I would recommend a newcommer to start with Volume Four, where the complex story line really begins to gain momentum, I would rate this volume as the very best Dark Shadows of all time."
Barnabas, Cassandra, Adam, and the dream curse make for a bu
Joseph P. Menta, Jr. | Philadelphia, PA USA | 04/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Eights sets in, and these "Dark Shadows" episodes a still a lot of fun. In addition, they're now fun for all the right reasons, as 85% of the flubbed lines and messed-up camera shots are now gone. There's still the occasional chuckle-inducing missed line or crazy camera shot, but these mostly polished shows (I guess practice makes perfect) now allow you to get truly immersed in the tragic tale of Barnabas and the witch Cassandra, and all the various supporting characters. And we haven't even gotten to Quentin Collins, the "evil hand" storyline, and all the other great stuff I remember seeing as a kid. So, yes, I'm still onboard for the rest of these sets.
I only hope that when all these sets are out, they'll finally release the first 200 or so Barnabas-less episodes of the series. They can package them all in one set and call it "Dark Shadows Collection Zero". That way it'll fit nicely just to the left of Collection One on my shelf."
Adam's story continues, and so does the dream curse. Trask
David H. Downing | Psoli, PA | 02/25/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This cult classic soap opera is best known for vampire Barnabas Collins. But by this point, he's not the only creature in the story. In fact, he's lost his vampire status because he's been transformed, through medical science, into a normal human. Alas, this transformation may be temporary, and the witch Angelique, who cursed him in 1795, has shown up in the present day, in disguise and under the name Cassandra, to reinstate the curse. To escape this dual threat, Barnabas has submitted to an experiment that was supposed to transfer his consciousness into another body. Instead, the experiment has left Barnabas in his own body and brought to life Adam, a modern-day Frankenstein's monster with the mind of a child. There's a link between Barnabas and Adam that nobody knows about yet; Barnabas will stay human only if Adam stays alive. If Adam dies, Barnabas will revert to his vampire state.
The childlike Adam, struggling to deal with the world around him, is a genuinely tragic figure, effectively played by Robert Rodan. At one point, Adam is involved in a modern-day version of the scene with the blind man in BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Professor Stokes befriends Adam and begins teaching him. Adam turns out to be a fast learner.
Speaking of classic horror movies, Willie has traded one role for another. When Barnabas was DS's villain, Willie was a modern-day Renfield. Now, as he taunts Adam, Willie has become a modern-day Fritz. Note also that Willie is slipping back into his pre-Barnabas ways as he steals a pair of earrings and tries to get Adam to confess to the theft.
Having failed to escape Cassandra, Barnabas tries his own brand of black magic. Cassandra is somehow dependent upon a portrait of Angelique that showed up at Collinwood shortly before she did. Barnabas hires painter Sam Evans to age the portrait, causing Cassandra to age. It's a wonderfully horrific sequence, including an effective moment when Adam recoils from the portrait, but it doesn't work for me because of implausibility. Writer Mort Castle has said (1) that since speculative fiction is inherently unbelievable, the real-world details have to be completely believable -- meaning characters must behave believably. I can't believe that, even for $500, Sam would accept such a bizarre job with no questions asked, especially given Barnabas's weird instructions and Sam's having to interrupt another important job. I also can't believe Barnabas had no idea he was putting Sam in danger. It also seems needlessly sadistic, even for Cassandra, to blind Sam. She could've reclaimed the portrait by simply rendering him unconscious or hypnotizing him. And we don't see what she does to restore the portrait and herself to normal.
All this time, Cassandra's dream curse is running its course, this being Cassandra's chosen method of turning Barnabas back into a vampire. This curse has the interesting effect of forcing innocent people into complicity, as each has the dream and must tell it to someone else or go insane. Professor Stokes attempts to break the chain, but fails, most because Cassandra outmaneuvers him, but partly, IMHO, because he's too full of himself to leave well enough alone. Granted, Cassandra forces the initial encounter between him and Sam, the next intended dreamer, but Stokes HAS to pay a follow-up visit to Sam to say "Call me if you have any disturbing dreams."
No doubt by design, the person who must tell the dream to Barnabas is Victoria Winters, the last person who wants to hurt Barnabas and the last person Barnabas wants to suffer.
When Stokes realizes he hasn't defeated Cassandra, he summons the ghost of Reverend Trask, the fanatic witch hunter from 1795. Unfortunately, Trask proceeds to take revenge on Barnabas for murdering him. Here is another example of the Reverend failing as a true Christian. His revenge is "an eye for an eye," and Jesus explicitly rejected this philosophy (2). Trask finally accepts Cassandra as the real witch, and I find this very satisfying, since he was so determined, back in 1795, to blame Victoria Winters, not Angelique. I only wish Trask's ghost had apologized to Vicki for his mistake.
Trask's exorcism of Cassandra leads to the introduction of another significant character, Nicholas Blair, a warlock -- bearing a striking resemblance to Satan himself -- to whom Cassandra is somehow accountable. One aspect of the storyline I find frustrating is that the relationship between Nicholas and Cassandra/Angelique is never fully explained. Blair refers to "our bargain," but the terms of that bargain are never specified. I would like to know more about how Cassandra came under Blair's power. Anyway, this redefines Cassandra's role, showing that she isn't all-powerful. But maybe Nicholas isn't either. He appears to have a weakness for Maggie Evans.
Leonard Goldberg, former daytime programming director at ABC, suggests that Barnabas may have not only save DS from cancellation, but may also have saved ABC's daytime programming from extinction.
Producer Jim Pierson discusses DS's appeal, certain aspects of DS's production, and the range of Dan Curtis's output.
John Karlen admits he didn't want to do a soap opera, but ended up enjoying it because it gave him a chance to do exactly what he wanted and indulge in acting that was "way out there," and included "a feast of emotions."
Dan Curtis discusses the beginnings of DS, including the search for Victoria Winters.
Both Pierson and Karlen compare DS to serious, live theater. Both Pierson and Curtis discuss the "live on tape" format.
In the next installment. Adam's story takes a Biblical turn, the link between Barnabas and Adam comes into play, and we meet a few more vampires.
(1) Mort Castle, Reality and the Waking Nightmare: Setting and Chaaracter in Horror Fiction," HOW TO WRITE TALES OF HORROR< FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, Writers Digest Books, 1987, pp. 28-34.
(2) Matthew 5:38-39."