Dark Shadows: Goodbye Vicky

In my recent viewing of Dark Shadows, I can see a major shift of plots coming up. The Eve story is winding up. The tale of Nicholas Blair as evil mastermind is also drawing to a close. New characters are being introduced. And worst of all, one of the episodes on the last disk I watched began with a voiceover announcement: “The part of Victoria Winters will be played by [someone else].”

Noooo! I knew that Alexandra Moltke wasn’t going to be around much longer and have half-decided that I’d stop watching and reviewing this old show when she left …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


Dark Shadows: The End of Eve

Former witch/current vampire Angelique has disappeared from Nicholas Blair’s house and is in hiding to avoid being staked by him for going behind his back to get at Barnabas Collins just one too many times. The evening after abandoning her old coffin, she emerges from her new hiding place to form an alliance with another woman whom Nicholas has tried to keep under his control, with about the same amount of success: Adam’s basement-built and unwilling bride, Eve.

Angelique tries to get Eve on her side by offering her what Nicholas had refused to do–send her back in time to …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


DVD Review: Classic Ghost Stories

The Mezzotint in its final phase.

This was an extra DVD in the M.R. James Ghost Stories set. I’d mentioned that a couple of the other disks had an extra short feature in which Christopher Lee took the role of M.R. James, presenting one of his stories to a group of enthralled students. These are similar short features, done in 1986. Each is about 10 minutes long.

The actor telling the stories is Robert Powell, wearing spectacles and a pinstriped suit with a high Edwardian shirt collar and the black robe of a Cambridge don. The setting for the room he is in likewise suggests that …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


Dark Shadows: Vampire Follies

And other plots to catch up on.

The last time we saw Elizabeth Collins Stoddart, she’d been declared dead after collapsing in the cemetery, but it turned out she wasn’t dead after all. At least, this cataleptic episode has convinced Dr. Hoffman and Vicky that Elizabeth’s fears of being buried alive aren’t entirely unfounded. We don’t get her brother Roger’s reaction. Vicky and the doctor discuss what will happen if Elizabeth has another attack of catalepsy. How can they be sure she isn’t really dead? It seems to me the wisest thing to do is keep her around in some cool …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 32

Front pages: maps, illustrations, family trees, etc.



All was a haze of red. Red enshrouded her. Red filled her. She swam in it.

Was this death?

There was no pain. Silence pressed against her. She was calm. Comfortable. She ought to worry for her friends. She ought to wonder who had won the battle. But these questions didn’t interest her. She ought to care. She did not. Once she’d passed through the veil, the red mists of blood, all earthly matters were forgotten.

Holy Marye, Mother of God, pray for this sinner, now, at the hour of my death.

A light shone through …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


BluRay Review: The Quatermass Xperiment

The QI Rocket

a.k.a. The Creeping Unknown.

It Creeps. It Crawls. It Kills!

Soon after the BBC version of The Quatermass Experiment had finished airing in the summer of 1953, Hammer film studios obtained rights to make a movie version and started planning. Prior to this point in Hammer’s history, the studio had primarily made comedies and crime dramas; to market their films in the United States, they often used American actors in starring roles.

Hence Brian Donlevy’s being cast to play a very un-British Bernard Quatermass in this particular film. Quatermass’s creator Nigel Kneale did not like this at all.

In compressing the 3-hour …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


DVD Review: The Quatermass Experiment

This is the very first of the Quatermass stories. It aired on the BBC in July and August of 1953 and introduces us to Professor Quatermass and the adventures of his Experimental Rocket Group.

Unfortunately, only the first two episodes of the original series survive. The DVD features a copy of the script so you can see how this version of Nigel Kneale’s story turned out, but I’ve also watched the Hammer film version that was made a couple of years later.

First, the two television episodes.

Episode 1: Contact Has Been Established

The episode begins with a voice-over announcer informing the viewers …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


DVD Review: Five Million Years to Earth

Since I’ve already covered the plot of this story in detail in the 6 episodes of the BBC television version from the 1950s, I won’t go over it again except where there are significant or interesting differences.

This Hammer film version of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass and the Pit was filmed in 1968. It was revised by Kneale himself to cut it down to less than half its original length, but I don’t think he has anything to do with the new, alternative title that was used in the U.S. However, as nonsensical as Five Million Years to Earth is …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


Excerpt from “Cousin Wilfrid”

From The Abrupt Disappearance of Cousin Wilfrid:

On Monday morning while he breakfasted at a little table in the bow window of his room, there was knock at the door. Freddie looked up from his plate of bacon and eggs, wondering who it could be. Billy, who was packing Freddie’s suitcase, left off this task to answer it.

The local constable, Robert Cochrane, stood in the hallway. He looked relieved to see Billy, for the two had been friends from childhood.

“G’morning, Bill. I’d like to speak to your Mr. Freddie, please, if you don’t mind.”

“What’s this about, Rob?” Billy asked.

“It’s that …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


DVD Review: Quatermass & the Pit, Pt. 5

Episode 5: The Wild Hunt

The story picks up shortly after the end of Part 4, inside the church where the drillman (whose name, by the way is Sladden) collapsed after his mad, possessed, bunny-hop dash from the construction pit. The vicar who found him in the churchyard is looking after him, giving him a huge mug containing just a little cocoa and heaping spoonfuls of sugar.

The man is no longer possessed by the time Quatermass comes to see him, but asking any questions about what happened to him only agitates him again. “They was coming!” he cries out, …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


DVD Review: Quatermass & the Pit, Pt. 4

Dr. Roney and Barbara Judd gather up the specimens and rush to get them preserved and sent to the institute for study. Now that the sealed forward section of the spaceship has been breached and filthy modern Earth-air has reached them, they are decaying rapidly. The fishy stink causes more nausea.

Quatermass, examining the forward compartment after the previous occupants have been removed, says that the membranes that make up a network inside resemble magnified nerve endings. These too are rapidly decaying. Apart from the membranes and some remnants of colored liquids, there’s no sign of instrumentation or …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


Dark Shadows: More Evil Eve

After Adam and the newly created but dressed up for an evening out Eve disappear from the old Collins house, Professor Stokes goes over to the abandoned west wing of Collinwood in hopes of finding them in Adam’s room there. He doesn’t. What he does find is young David Collins; it turns out that the boy had befriended Adam weeks ago although the viewer’s never seen it. David tells the professor that the last time he talked to Adam–presumably before the experiment to give Eve life was underway–that Adam said he was leaving Collinwood and never coming back.

Professor Stokes goes …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


DVD Review: Quatermass & the Pit, Pt. 3

Episode 3: Imps and Demons

The young soldier who was hysterical at the end of Part 2 is conveyed into the shack that Dr. Roney uses as an office. He’s still in shock over the thing he saw inside the aft compartment of the mysterious object they’re digging up. Dr. Roney gives him some brandy from a flask he keeps “for emergencies” and Quatermass questions him about what it was he saw.

“Little,” the soldier reports. “Like a dwarf. Crooked.”

Roney’s assistant Barbara Judd reads aloud a very similar description of the Hobbs Lane ghost from a 1927 newspaper article. Has …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


DVD Review: Quatermass & the Pit, Pt. 2

Episode 2: The Ghosts

The story picks up just where it left off at the end of Part 1.

Is the object discovered in the pit of the Hobbs End construction site by Dr. Roney’s archaeological team more than 5 million years old? Preposterous, says Col. Breen. It can’t be very old–the non-metallic surface isn’t even corroded.

Professor Quatermass tries to scratch the surface with the diamond in his ring and finds it’s harder than diamond. While he’s kneeling down, he observes that there are odd projections on the sides of the hull that he guesses were used to hold …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


DVD Review: Quatermass & the Pit, Pt. 1

I’ve been meaning to review the 1967 Hammer film version of this story, aka Five Million Miles to Earth, since last October; that was the one I grew up with on late-night television and affectionately refer to as Giant Fascist Grasshoppers from Mars. But I’ve just ordered and received the original versions of Nigel Kneale’s Quatermass teleplays, which aired on the BBC in the 1950s. I’d never seen more than fragments of them before the package arrived from the UK last week.

Quatermass & the Pit is actually the third in the set; it aired in six episodes from December …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 28

Front pages: maps, illustrations, family trees, etc.

After the last of her party had gone, Mara kicked out her bedroll by the dying fire. She didn’t expect to sleep. How could she with the dawn only a few hours away and Kat still absent?

Oh, she knew where Kat had gone. It wasn’t difficult to see; even the Shieldmaids had guessed. They might laugh, but Mara was troubled. Kat had been out with Frederik before, but never so late.

These past six weeks, the relationship between Kat and Frederik had grown alarmingly intimate. Though they must work together in coordinating the …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


DVD Review: Mr. Humphreys and His Inheritance

This short feature is an extra on the DVD for Casting the Runes, also made by ITV Yorkshire Television in the 1970s. It is very short, only about 15 minutes, and appears to be part of an educational video for musicians on how to score a television show; it begins with an interview by the composer who wrote the music for it.

After the composer’s introduction, we go to the film and meet Mr. Humphreys as he arrives at the Wilsthorpe rail station. A helpful narrator, reading text from James’s story, informs the viewer that “[Mr.] Humphreys had inherited — …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 27

Front pages: maps, illustrations, family trees, etc.


Six weeks later, the armies of the Northlands began to cross the Shieldwall. They had mobilized with astonishing swiftness; Mara had deployed cohorts of one hundred each at intervals along the border with Arnauld commanding a legion at Delta fortress on the coast and Brachis in command of another in the western mountains, but the main Northlands’ force crossed at the vulnerable point where the Shieldwall was narrowest. Spainfort lay directly south. The invasion of Terrojos would commence at dawn.

So enormous an undertaking was impossible to overlook. Spanish troops had taken up …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands


Congratulations to Megan Feldman on her new book!

Congrats to Megan Feldman Bettencourt on the publication of Triumph of the Heart: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World. Read the Publisher’s Weekly review and order your copy here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-59463-263-1 and also check out her site http://meganfeldman.com/books/. Or just buy it at Amazon.

You all remember Megan’s wonderful story, “Ashes,” in Storylandia, Issue 4. Always nice to see our authors hit the big time.

…read more

Source:: Storylandia


Dark Shadows: Evil Eve

Since she had apparently died after participating in the create-a-girlfriend-for-Adam project, Barnabas is astonished to find Carolyn Stoddard alive and well at Collinwood after all. Carolyn says that she fainted after the experiment and woke up in her own bed; she doesn’t remember anything after being in the basement lab and assumes that Barnabas or Julia Hoffman brought her home.

Barnabas, showing great belief in Julia’s diagnostic skills, is sure that there’s more behind Carolyn’s supposed death and resurrection than that, but doesn’t seem to realize that it’s Nicholas working behind the scenes again. Nicholas does tell Adam this once …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands