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24. Dress Me in Dark Dreams

Dress Me in Dark Dreams

Released April 2012

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Behind the Scenes

CHRONOLOGICAL PLACEMENT:

This story takes place prior to the 1897 storyline.

You’ve Seen the Film, Now Try the Audios…

Enjoyed Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins? James Goss and Joseph Lidster explain how to get even more out of the curious town of Collinsport…

If you're still reeling from the Dark Shadows film and want to know more about the crazy town of Collinsport with its corpses and canning factories, then look no further. As with most things in life, Big Finish has done an entire range of CDs filling in the back-story to life at Collinsport. These act as the perfect bridge between the film and the original TV series (which you should also go and watch – seriously, imagine if someone made Doctor Who’s Ghost Light as a daily soap opera). Here are some of the key characters you'll meet.

Barnabas Collins
Played by the legendary Jonathan Frid – who sadly passed away last month – in the original series, Barnabas is often credited as being the first tortured vampire (but don't blame him for Twilight!). He didn't ask to be made into a monster. All right, so he cheated on his fiancée and he spurned his lover, but he's not a bad man really. Or is he? Stuart Manning's The Night Whispers is a dark psychological tale that really explores the intricacies to his character. Yes, he was a victim of the witch Angelique's curse, but what about his victims? What about Willie Loomis? And it's not as if he was exactly whiter-than-white before he became the feared vampire we know and love. Also starring screen horror legend, Barbara Steele, The Night Whispers won the 2011 Rondo Award for Best Horror Soundtrack.

Angelique
Played by Lara Parker, Angelique is not a woman to be messed with. But again, she's no out-and-out villain. Lara Parker herself explores the character's origins in Angelique's Descent, a dark tale of how an innocent young girl starts a journey that will see her become the scourge of the Collins family.  If you're interested in a more relaxed, comical and even human side to her character, why not try The Death Mask and The Voodoo Amulet? Both see her using her married name (from when she married Roger Collins!) of Cassandra. The stories see her joining forces with Tony Peterson, PI, to investigate mysterious goings-on in Maine and New Orleans – and they show Angelique at her flirty, bitchy best.


The Collins Family
The original actors who played Roger and Elizabeth have sadly died, but the family still has a strong presence in the audios. The full cast audio series that starts with The House of Despair and continues through until Kingdom of the Dead is set a few years after the end of the television series. The adventures focus on Quentin Collins (we'll come to him later!) returning to the town and discovering that the Collins family have long since fled. Over the series, we slowly see how he, local hotel owner Maggie Evans, Willie Loomis and even Angelique manage to establish a new family of sorts. They bring Barnabas back from the dead (although he's changed quite a bit…) and we even see the return of David and Carolyn. Although their return isn't all that it seems…
Elizabeth does appear in the audios, alongside Dr Julia Hoffman, in The House by the Sea. But forget your Michelle Pfeiffers and your Helena Bonham Carters, we've got Colin Baker.

The House by the Sea
This year's The House by the Sea was written to be a perfect introduction to the world of Dark Shadows. A self-contained story, it sees lawyer Gerald Conway – played by Colin Baker – taking a short seaside break in the town of Collinsport which, obviously, isn't going to end well! Recording his experiences on tape, he tells us about his meetings with Elizabeth, Julia, Carolyn and Barnabas. And he tells us about the banging pipes and the ghost that visits him at night… And the teeth… the little white teeth that seem to appear overnight… so many little white teeth…
And then, dreamy sigh, there's...

Quentin Collins
Tall, dark, brooding sexy immortal and part-time werewolf, Quentin Collins first appears in the TV series as an evil ghost. To stop him becoming an evil ghost, Barnabas and Julia travel back in time to 1897 to prevent his death. They fail. But then he comes back from the dead. Only then, because he kills his mad wife (trying to stop her killing his lover), his sister-in-law, bonkers gypsy Magda, curses him. And he becomes a werewolf whenever there's a full moon. And, like thunderstorms, there are a lot of full moons in Collinsport. Luckily, the villainous Count Petofi then commissions a painting of Quentin that a) takes the curse from him and b) grants him with immortality. This, of course, means he doesn't die, which means he doesn't become the evil ghost, so Barnabas and Julia are able to return to the 20th century, their mission complete. Confused yet?
But what of the now immortal Quentin? Well, he falls in love and arranges to leave Collinsport with Amanda Harris. But they miss each other at the station, and so he spends the next few years wandering the Earth, looking for his lost love. But, being Quentin, he just can't help getting into trouble. The Skin Walkers, Blood Dance, London's Burning, The Creeping Fog and Operation Victor are all set during this time. New York, Chicago, London, Germany… Wherever he goes, you can guarantee he'll find himself a glass or two of brandy, a pretty lady and an adventure that'll chill you to the bones.

And what about the other inhabitants of Collinsport? Well, there's Charles Delaware Tate. He paints Quentin's magical portrait after signing a Faustian pact with the sinister Count Petofi. His story is told in The Blind Painter. Quentin's long-lost Amanda Harris has her own story to tell in the darkly comic The Eternal Actress. Both dramas are very much in the vein of Tales of the Unexpected. Standalone spooky stories with a twist in the tale…

And we haven't even got started on the evil Reverend Trask! Possibly one of Dark Shadows' most terrifying creations, his story begins, after being walled-up alive, in The Wicked and the Dead but it doesn't end there…
There are some great offers running for the range if you visit the Dark Shadows section of the Big Finish website – and, if you're in the mood for some spooky fun, you've no excuse not to…

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