DVD Review: Whistle, and I’ll Come To You

From the 1960s, the BBC presented a television series on Christmas Eve titled A Ghost Story for Christmas. Just recently, I picked up a set of episodes from this series on DVD, most of them based more-or-less faithfully on the short stories of Montague Rhodes James.

M.R. James, who was a Cambridge professor, biblical scholar, antiquarian, and historian, had his own tradition of reading his latest story aloud to friends or students on Christmas Eve. Many of his best ghost stories involve scholarly men like himself who accidentally stumble across some inexplicable horror–some, like the museum curator in The Mezzotint …read more

Source:: TheNorthlands

      

Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 15

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

Once Duke, Mara would answer only to her liege lord Kharles and to God. Dafythe found no comfort here. Mara believed now that God meant her to kill Spaniards. She only awaited the call to perform that holy service. And Kharles? A better Emperor would encourage all that was noble and generous in Mara’s nature, but Dafythe had no illusions about his nephew. It was young Kharles who had inherited the Redlyon’s supreme selfishness. Kharles was the sensualist. He placed his own pleasures before his duty to his subjects—a dangerous thing for …read more

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Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 14

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

Dafythe was often credited with shaping the pax normania of this century, but in truth most of it had been Kharles’s work. He had merely served as his brother’s assistant. At Kharles’s suggestion, he wrote their father letters that were a combination of flattery and his own long-concealed opinions. He urged Eduarde to heed Kharles’s advice. A peaceful accord with their old enemy had economic and political advantages over perpetual war. The Norman Empire was the mightiest nation on Earth and Eduarde the greatest earthly ruler; was it not seemly that he …read more

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Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 13

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

Mara was like Eduarde Redlyon—that was the trouble. Dafythe had known it from his daughter’s squalling infancy. “How like her grandfather she is!” He’d heard the words too often. “His very image! See how she holds her tin sword! See how she sits her pony. She has his skill! His courage! Brave child, she does not cry out even when she falls and scrapes her knees! What a warrior she will be!” Eloquence was predicted in every childish lisp, bravery in each toddling step.

Like her grandfather, Mara was short-tempered. She could get …read more

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Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 12

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

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“Why not?” the Prince demanded the next morning.

Dafythe met his daughter’s indignant gaze with his own more mild but indomitable one. “The time isn’t right,” he answered. “Wait ’til Kat has gone to London and brought back Kharles’s response. If the Emperor calls to increase our troops at the border, I shall grant you command of the garrisons then. Not before. I won’t be the one to provoke this war.”

“Juan’s started it! He’s been straining toward this break for so long as I can recall. He invites war. He begs for it.”

The …read more

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Dark Shadows: Monster Mash, Part 3

The last time we saw Barnabas Collins, he was facing a ghostly trial at the instigation of the Reverend Trask, whom he had bricked up in a basement wall in the old house, with his first 18th-century victims as jurors. That was the last that anybody saw Barnabas. Apparently, the reverend had his revenge in kind.

People have noticed Barnabas’s absence and wonder where he’s gone. Willie Loomis hears thumping sounds from the cellar, but he assumes it’s mice.

Adam, learning to paint with blind Sam Evans, suddenly sensed that Barnabas was in danger and rushed out into …read more

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Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 11

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

The Duke’s court customarily celebrated Holy Week with somber ceremonies. This year, however, the possibility of war occupied everyone’s thoughts and the nightly rituals recalling the sufferings of Christ were not the usual sorrowful enactments of ancient tradition. A restless energy, barely suppressed, enervated the court. The sobs, the torn shirts, the breast-beatings had a strange intensity. Prayers were especially passionate. Even on Holy Saturday, after the candles had been put out on Good Friday and the hours of silence began, urgent whispers could be heard in the dim corridors.

On Sunday, this …read more

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Dark Shadows: Monster Mash, Part 2

When Adam went over the cliff at Widow’s Peak, I wondered if that would be the end of him. The late Dr. Lang’s recorded message about Barnabas becoming a vampire again with Adam’s death is heard once again at the end of that episode. Would Barnabas begin to feel the effects with the next sunrise?

Apparently not. The next episode begins with Barnabas and Willie searching the rocky beach at the foot of the cliffs for signs of Adam. Barnabas says that he somehow feels certain that Adam isn’t dead. Considering the connection between the two, he’s probably right about that.

Before …read more

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Dark Shadows: Monster Mash

The Calico Monster

Working in the lab late one night, Barnabas Collins’s two mad-scientist/doctor friends were attempting to transfer his personality into a new body to free him from his witchy ex-wife Angelique’s vampiric curse. It didn’t work the first time out, and Dr. Lang suffered an Angelique-induced heart attack in the middle of the experiment and died. Dr. Hoffman and Barnabas, however, are determined to try again before the body on the slab begins to lose its freshness.

What the two don’t know is that Dr. Lang left a taped message telling them exactly what will happen: both Barnabas and the new body …read more

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Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 9

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

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“Magician, can you see for us?”

Mara had sought out her father’s court magician, Peter Scholar. Ambris went with her. They had both been invited to witness Andemyon’s adoption ceremony that evening in the Duke’s apartments, but Mara thought that this was more important.

Peter was startled when the Duke’s children entered the little library on the top floor of the Hall of Record, where generations of court magicians had formed their own collection. This was his favorite private place in all the palace, but he immediately set down his pipe and the …read more

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Storylandia 15: Collected Stories, by Julie Travis

Where to buy: 10% discount code: HDCYF4CR at this online store; eligible for Free Shipping at Amazon; and Kindle.

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Where to buy: 10% discount code: HDCYF4CR at this online store; eligible for Free Shipping at Amazon; and Kindle.

Storylandia 15 features five tales of dark fantasy and horror by British writer Julie Travis. “From the Bones,” two ancient corpses are discovered on the wild moors of Devon and Cornwall. For one amateur archaeologist they reveal more about the past—and the landscape—than she’d ever imagined. …read more

Source:: Storylandia

      

Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 8

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

“She’s had no more to do with her own family or ours than necessity and courtesy require. Naufarre is hers, Spanish as she is herself but for no more political reason. Merciful Lord Alone knows what she’s taught her son to think of his relations in both nations. I think Juan has agreed to this marriage to make mischief and to play his Norman relations against his mother’s family. He may promise Naufarre to Spain, but that doesn’t mean he’ll give it. He is at heart a separatist. He would like to …read more

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Dark Shadows: How Barnabas Stopped Being a Vampire

After their car crashes on the way to the cemetery, Vicky and Barnabas are taken to the local hospital. Vicky’s got a few minor injuries, but the hospital staff are alarmed that the unconscious Barnabas apparently has no blood pressure or pulse. This man needs a transfusion right away! He is soon under the care of a Dr. Lang, who seems to pick up on what Barnabas is pretty quickly and isn’t afraid to say the word “Vampire” out loud.

Except that Barnabas isn’t a vampire anymore. That blood transfusion started his cure, and Dr. Lang gives him injections that …read more

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Dark Shadows: Back in 1968

After being hanged as a witch in 1795, Vicky finds herself back in 1968, lying on the floor of the Collinwood drawing-room with a group of concerned people gathered all around her. The whole time-travel sequence might have been a dream, except that she’s wearing the same old-fashioned dress she was wearing in 1795 and she has a bandaged bullet wound on her arm. (She was winged while escaping from the jail.) Plus, everybody else in the room saw that other woman who said she was the Collinses’ governess.

In her first moments of disorientation. Vicky speaks to the people …read more

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Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 6

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

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“Won’t you please speak for me, Ambris?” Mara asked her brother as they walked together from the Manor to Hartshall the next morning.

“Last night, you were eager to present your ideas about Terrojos to the Council yourself.”

“So I was, but I’ve thought the matter over since then.” Mara stopped at the entrance to the hall and caught Ambris by the sleeve of his robe. “I’ve decided that you are better suited to bring the matter to their attention. They call you a voice of reason. If you tell Father that we …read more

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Winding up Dark Shadows 1795

The newly vampired Barnabas falls quickly into the routine of his undead life. He and his henchman Ben Stokes move the coffin to the basement of the otherwise unoccupied old house and Barnabas rises each night to wander the streets of Collinsport in quest of blood. He attacks women who have the misfortune to encounter him. Colonial Collinsport, by the way, has a surprising number of floozies and trollops; it must be because of all the sailors at the port.

He also sinks his teeth into Josette. Not that he intends to at first–he only wanted to warn her …read more

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Sonnedragon Serialization, Part 5

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

Norman law permitted the acknowledgment of illegitimate children, but not to the disadvantage of the legitimate. History often recorded the monstrous results of such acts of generosity. Ambris wouldn’t consider such treachery. Dafythe knew it. His brother Kharles, who had always had the power to name Ambris legitimate, knew it. The young Emperor knew it. Nevertheless, Ambris remained a bastard, a Prince in all but name.

The Emperor Redlyon had played his children as bargaining pieces, promising alliance through marriage to gain an advantage over the neighboring smaller countries and upstarts in his …read more

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