Fifteen-minute Movie: Dark Shadows

or, “Tonal Changes so Extreme You’ll Get Whiplash”
or, “This Was Supposed to be a Love Story, Right?”

Maine, 18th century:
Angelique – I love you, Barnabas Collins!  I’ve loved you since we were children in England, before your parents came to America to become obscenely richer.

Barnabas – Whoa, there.  Listen, I’m happy to get my freak on with an attractive servant.  It’s what men of my class do.  But I am never going to love you.

Angelique – I will make you suffer horribly until you love me!

Barnabas – Hey, I know I’m being an insensitive dick with the class thing, but that’s just creepy.

[[since Angelique is a witch, she has lots of ways to make Barnabas suffer; first she kills his parents]]

Barnabas – Oh, woe, the tragic death of my parents has driven me into the arms of my one true love…

Angelique – Yes!

Barnabas – Josette.

Angelique – Damn it!  Right, now it’s time to really show him a woman scorned.

Barnabas – Again, this is just creepy stalkerish behavior.  This won’t be wrongly portrayed as love until the “Twilight Saga.”

[[Angelique uses her evil powers to possess Josette and make her walk off a cliff to jump to her death; Barnabas is not quick enough to save her]]

Barnabas – Noooo!  If I cannot live with my one true love Josette, I shall die with my one true love Josette.  [[jumps to his death on the rocks below]] Okay, this didn’t work out like I expected.  What’s with all the maschera suddenly running down my face?

Angelique – I’ve turned you into a vampire!

Barnabas – You can do that?  I thought a vampire was created by another vampire.  Or a demon.

Angelique – That really isn’t important right now.  What is important is that you’re an evil vampire condemned to a terrible undead existence until you love me!

Barnabas – How in the hell is killing my parents and my girlfriend and making me into an undead monster supposed to do anything but destroy the last vestige of affection I may have had for you and replace that with loathing and hatred?

Angelique – It is possible I didn’t really think this through.  I might be a touch crazy.

Barnabas – Really?  You think so?  Well, since I’m an undead monster, I think I’ll choose you as my first victim!

Angelique – Or I’ll sic a torch-wielding mob on you and get you locked in a coffin for, I don’t know, nearly 200 years.

Barnabas – Argh!

Maine, Train, 1970s:
Blonde – My name is Mag…no.  My name is Victoria Winters.  This will be explained later, I’m sure.

Collinwood Manor:
Victoria – I’m here about the governess position.

Elizabeth – Great.  Meet the family.  This is my teenage daughter Carolyn.

Carolyn – I am going to do nothing but be insolent and insulting.

Elizabeth – This is my brother Roger, who is clearly a loser on pretty much every level except as a father, and he’s not a very good father.  But hey, at least he’s here.

Roger – Erm, yeah.

Elizabeth – This is David, Roger’s son and my nephew.  His mother drowned five years ago but he still claims he can see her ghost, so we have him under psychiatric care.

Dr. Hofman – That’s me!  Also, I’m drunk before lunch.

Elizabeth – Does any of this make you reconsider working here?

Victoria – Nope.  This seems like a great place to work.

Elizabeth/Roger/Carolyn/David/Dr. Hofman – Seriously?

Victoria – Seriously.

Collinwood Manor, Later:
Ghost of Josette – So the presence of a ghost that looks exactly like you and appears to be re-enacting her death also doesn’t cause you to reconsider your employment?

Victoria – Nope.  Despite all sorts of creepy things and dark foreshadowing and plenty of warning signs that I should get the hell away from here, I’m going to stay.

Ghost of Josette – Well, that’s one thing that’s exactly like the show.  Oh, and the plot is about to move forward.

Collinsport, Random Construction Site:
Worker 1 – Hey, a metal coffin that’s bound by chains.  We should open it!

Worker 2 – What?  Why the hell do we want to do that?  I think it’s moving!  And talking!

Worker 1 – Yeah, we should totally open that!

Worker 2 – But that’s a terrible idea!  There is absolutely no reason to ignore the giant warning signs that this thing is dangerous just to open it.  It’s a coffin!  Even if there is no monster in there, we should tell the police so they can handle this.

Worker 1 – Or I’ll just open it.  [[does so]]

Barnabas – I am so glad everyone here ignores any and all warning signs that a situation might be dangerous. [[kills every worker at the site]]  Well, time to head on home via a humerous culture-shock montage that in no way clashes with the horror the audience has just witnessed.

Collinwood Manor:
Barnabas – Wow, I have clearly been buried for a very, very long time.  I don’t even know what the hell I was looking at.  I need a guide in this strange new world.  You, disreputable looking groundskeeper, you shall be my thrall.

Willie Loomis – Sure.

Collinwood Manor, Again:
Elizabeth – So, Barnabas, you’re telling me that you’re a cousin from an English branch of the family that I never knew about who just got a fancy to visit his relatives in America and just happens to look almost exactly like our ancestor Barnabas?

Barnabas – No, I’m telling you I am that Barnabas and also I am a vampire.

Elizabeth – *blink blink*  You’re just telling me?  Just like that?

Barnabas – Would you prefer weeks and weeks of tortured melodrama before you find out anyway?

Elizabeth – That’s a fair point.  But I don’t want a vampire in my house.

Barnabas – Don’t worry, I won’t eat any family members.  Also, I know where the secret treasure vault is.  I want to reclaim the family’s fishing empire.

Elizabeth – Sure, why not, now that we’re suddenly fiscally solvent.  We just have to beat out the rival Angel Seafood Company.  Okay, don’t tell anyone you’re a vampire and you can meet the family, and our new governess, Victoria.

Barnabas – You’re beautiful!

Victoria – Thanks!  Despite the obvious age gap and your general air of weirdness, I’m kind of attracted to you too.

Barnabas – Great!  Then I will attempt to court you, awkwardly and weirdly.

Carolyn – Loser.

Victoria – No, no, I find it oddly endearing.

Carolyn – Losers.

[[Thus starts a montage of building back up the Collins fishing empire using the treasure vault and some vampiric powers of hypnosis.  Also, Barnabas is absolutely terrible at hiding his secret.  Also also, there’s maybe one scene in which Barnabas awkwardly attempts to woo Victoria]]

Collinwood Manor, Yet Again:
Barnabas – Everything seems to be going well.  And the CEO of the rival company wants to meet me.  This seems promising.

Angelique – Hello, lover-boy.

Barnabas – Gaaahhhh!!!  I mean, you’re looking very well for a woman who ought to have been dead for over a century.

Angelique – I’m a witch, duh.  Anyway, come to my place tonight if you don’t want me to tell everyone you’re an undead monster.

Dr. Hofman – I figured it out already.  He is really bad about hiding it, and he’s a long-fingered pale-skinned freak besides.  I’m totally “helping” him with his problem.

Barnabas – Hey, are those quotes around the word “helping” indicating you may not in fact being helping me at all?

Dr. Hofman – Um, no.

Angelique’s Place:
Angelique – The deal is the same as before.  Love me, or I destroy you.

Barnabas – We’ve been over this.  That attitude is creepy, controlling, and in no way loving.  It’s kind of the opposite of love, really.

Angelique – Maybe if we got our freak on, you’d change your mind.

Barnabas – That’s a bad idea, but it has been a really, really long time.  Right, then!  Let’s freak!  [[and it is actually pretty freaky and somewhat disturbing when the other arms come into it]]  Yeah, that was great, and we totally smashed up your place, but I still don’t love you.

Angelique – Fine.  I’ll give you a little more time to think about this, but if you don’t love me, I’m going to kill the family and get you locked back in a box.  Got it?

Collinwood Manor:
Barnabas – I don’t care what Angelique threatens.  I’m throwing a big party to celebrate regaining the family honor and she’s totally not invited.  I’m sure that won’t backfire.

Carolyn – Nice party.  Where’s the drunk doctor?

Barnabas – I found out what she meant by “helping” was “stealing my blood to achieve immortality” so I “took care of her.”  By “draining her blood” and “tossing her weighted body into the lake.”

Carolyn – Riiiiight.  And where’s Uncle Roger?

Barnabas – He was caught trying to steal from the family so he was given the option of growing up and owning his mistakes, or slinking out of here like a coward and abandoning his son.  He opted for coward.

Carolyn – Yeah, that sounds about right.  Later, loser.

Barnabas – Hey, there’s Victoria.  Victoria!  I’m glad to see you.  You really haven’t had much screen time for the person for my supposed love interest.

Victoria – Yeah, I know, right?

Barnabas – Shall we share a touching moment that really hasn’t had proper build-up in the movie so far and therefore will seem very forced?

Victoria – Sure!  And this will be a chance to relate my overly convoluted  backstory.  My name is actually Maggie Evans and I’ve been haunted by the ghost of Josette, whose name I never would have known if I hadn’t come here.  My parents thought I was crazy and committed me.  The ghost of Josette kept me company until I escaped.  She helped get me this job.  You don’t think that’s totally creepy, do you?

Barnabas – I think I love you.

Victoria – I love you too.

Angelique – Oh, hell no!  [[tricks Barnabas and traps him in a coffin while she sets out to destroy the Collins family and Victoria; luckily it doesn’t take too long for David to find Barnabas and free him again]]

Collinwood Manor, After the Party:
Angelique – Hey, torch-wielding mob, that guy killed a bunch of construction workers, Dr. Hofman, and some hippies.  He’s a vampire!

Barnabas – That’s…unfortunately true.  I am a vampire.  But you’re a 200 year old witch!

Angelique – That’s…yeah, that’s true.  I am 200 year old witch.

Sheriff – Okay, this is starting to go into some weird territory.  Everyone, you need to get the hell out of here before the really bad stuff starts to go down.

[[the really bad stuff starts to go down as Angelique sets the whole house on fire, proves her immunity to shotgun blasts, and starts to use the statues in the house to attack the residents]]

Carolyn – Okay, so it turns out I’m not sullen, I’m a werewolf, even though it doesn’t make any sense or have anything to do with the show.

Angelique – I totally caused a werewolf to bite you because I hate Collins’!

Carolyn – Yeah, and that still doesn’t really make any damn sense.  But whatever.  I guess I’ll fight the witch. [[it doesn’t work so well]]

Angelique – Here’s the deal, Barnabas.  Love me or I kill everyone.  Again.  Just like I’ve been killing Collins’ for two hundred years.  I even killed David’s mother!

Barnabas – That’s unsettling but seems like irrelevant information.

David – It would be irrelevant except I’ve been telling the truth about talking to the ghost of my dead mother.  She’s here and she’s really mad at the witch.

[[David’s ghost mother defeats Angelique, who is cracking like a ceramic doll, while the living Collins’ get the hell out of the burning house]]

Angelique – Love me!  I’m literally offering you my heart!

Barnabas – I’m sorry.  I just don’t love you.

Angelique – Fine.  I’ll just die. [[does so]]

Barnabas – Okay, is everyone out?  Yes?  Where’s Victoria?  Damn it!

Suicide Cliff:
Barnabas – Victoria!  I won’t be too late to save you. [[it turns out, he is not]]  I love you.

Victoria – We can never be together.  [[throws herself off the cliff anyway]]

Barnabas – Argh!  Damn it, I just saved you!  [[jumps and manages to catch Victoria and bite her before they smash into the rocks]]  Alas!  I am too late yet again!

Victoria – Note the extra pale face and super-heavy duty maschera.  I’m a vampire now.

Barnabas – So we can be together, my beloved Victoria!

Victoria – Josette.

Barnabas – Okay, wait, that actually raises a lot of questions.  If you are now Josette, does that mean Victoria was a bodily reincarnated Josette without a soul awaiting the right circumstances for Josette’s spirit to possess Victoria?  Or does it mean Victoria was tormented and manipulated by Josette her entire life until Josette could drive her to Collinwood and eventually kill Victoria and take over her body?

Victoria/Josette – Those are good questions, but the better is question is this – how come the character who featured prominently in the show for many many episodes, including the ones with Barnabas, didn’t get much more screen time than David’s dead mother?

Barnabas – That is a good question.  It doesn’t matter.  We’re together now and nothing will break us apart again, except maybe some ill-conceived sequel predicated on an entirely unnecessary subplot involving an entirely unnecessary character.

Underwater:
Dr. Hofman – Yeah, that would be me.

-fade-out-

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awritershailmarypass

S. J. Drew is an aspiring writer who finally entered the blogosphere to shamelessly promote that writing (as evidenced by the title of the blog). Whether or not this works remains to be seen, but S. J. hopes you are at least entertained. And if you're actually reading this, that's probably a good sign.

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