Dark Shadows: How Barnabas Became a Vampire Again

Or maybe not.

The dream curse that’s been going around among the main characters has finally reached Vicky. Since Barnabas is the next person–and the last person–who will have it and it will destroy him, she refuses to tell him about her dream. She will continue to have the same dream every night until she does; the other people who tried not to pass the dream on only managed to hold out for about three nights, but Vicky is stubborn and intends to remain firm as long as she can.

Barnabas, on the other hand, can’t stand to see Vicky suffer and goes over to Collinwood to insist she tell him.

During their conversation, there’s an interesting little exchange where Vicky asks why Angelique hates Barnabas so much, and he explains that it must be because he looks so much like his ancestor. Vicky remembers that that Barnabas died in 1795 soon after his marriage to Angelique and didn’t go to England as the family history has it, but she doesn’t take the next step and wonder how modern-day Barnabas could therefore be descended from him. She does eventually agree to tell Barnabas her dream.

After he’s heard it, he goes home, takes a sleeping pill, and sits down in his armchair in the drawing room. Now it’s his turn to dream. He’s certain that he won’t die afterwards, but that the old curse will return and he’ll become a vampire again. Before he falls asleep, he asks Julia Hoffman to please drive a stake through his heart to prevent him from becoming that monster.

In Barnabas’s dream, it’s Cassandra who knocks at the door, not Angelique. Barnabas notes this as well. She leads him to the hallway full of drapery and closed doors and leaves him alone to hear the music and poem. Like Vicky in her dream, Barnabas finds a bright light behind the last door he opens and walks through the door to follow it to his own house. The camera briefly focuses attention on a bloodstain on the drawing-room carpet, where Barnabas shot Angelique a long time ago.

Then Barnabas wakes up in the same room and turns to Julia in amazed relief. He’s not dead. He hasn’t been transformed into a vampire. Did the curse not work?

Barnabas attacked by cartoon bat He’s happy for a moment, and then there’s a knock on the front door. I thought at first that the dream was starting all over again–which would be a pretty nasty trick for Angelique to play–but when Barnabas answers the door, he’s attacked by a cartoon bat exactly like the one that first turned him into a vampire in 1795.

As it flutters at his throat, we hear Angelique’s laughter…

Dr. Hoffman, who has heard Barnabas cry out and fall, finds him lying in the open doorway. With Willie’s help, she brings him back into the house and tries to do what she can to save him.

We’ll leave them there for awhile to catch up with another subplot. Since his fight with Joe Haskell, Adam’s been hiding in a tumble-down shed on the Collinwood property. Carolyn finds him there; it’s the same place he brought her to when he carried her off that one time. You’d think that after that, she’d want nothing to do with him, but she wants to help. She says that she’s grateful he saved her life at the edge of the cliff. Carolyn is also impressed by how Adam’s ability to speak has improved since she last saw him. He still sounds little slow sometimes, but he’s capable of holding conversations with her. She provides that last, essential touch to his education by getting him to use the word “I” instead of referring to himself in the third person.

When Barnabas is bitten by the bat, Adam also experiences a sharp pain in his neck. He cries out “Barnabas!” and collapses. Carolyn runs to fetch Professor Stokes, the one person Adam will trust to help him. By the time she return with Stokes, however, Adam is in a very bad condition.

In spite of Dr. Hoffman’s efforts, Barnabas dies. Adam also dies.

The late mad scientist Dr. Lang’s last words on his tape recorder told us that if Adam died, then Barnabas would become a vampire again. Is the converse is also true?

Stokes refuses to believe that Adam is really dead, and wants Dr. Hoffman to see Adam and do something for him if she can.

Dr. Hoffman, meanwhile, has ignored Barnabas’s request that she drive a stake through his heart. Instead, she and Willie have buried Barnabas secretly in the woods near the old house and held a touching funeral service over his grave.

Barnabas's funeral

Willie is really broken up and bursts into tears–which surprised me. Barnabas has come a long way since his days as a bloodsucking, Maggie-kidnapping villain and has grown into a sympathetic figure, but he’s never been especially kind to Willie. As a vampire, he enslaved Willie and even after that bond was broken, kept him in line with threats to send him back to the mental institution. Willie should be glad to be free of this servitude. Unless he’s just into that kind of thing.

Once Barnabas is buried, Dr. Hoffman and Willie make plans. They agree not to tell anyone that he’s dead; they’ll say that he’s gone away, they don’t know where, and both will quietly leave Collinsport too. But the first thing Willie does is go to say goodbye to Maggie and lets slip about Barnabas being dead, since he’s still obviously upset about it and she wants to know what’s wrong. Dr. Hoffman heads over to Collinwood to fling the news at Cassandra.

While she’s there, Professor Stokes comes looking for her for help with a very special patient; he can’t say more with Cassandra present, but conveys to Dr. Hoffman that it’s Adam he’s talking about. He takes her to the abandoned shed where Adam is lying on a table. (Carolyn is not present.)

After a cursory examination, the doctor declares Adam dead. She says there’s nothing she can do, but a moment later Adam’s eyelids start fluttering and he gasps for air. He puts his hands up as if he’s trying to push against an invisible barrier on top of him, like a coffin lid.

Adam pushes against an invisible coffin lid

Dr. Hoffman takes awhile to understand what’s happening here, but to be fair she still doesn’t know about the connection between Barnabas and Adam. This is her opportunity to figure it out.

“We buried Barnabas alive!” she tells the professor once she puts it all together.

They talk about it for a frustratingly stretched-out minute or two, then he accompanies her to the spot where she and Willie held their private funeral and starts digging.

Barnabas isn’t dead–but he’s not undead either. You’d think the fact that he nearly suffocated in his coffin would convince him that he hasn’t turned back into a vampire, but Julia has to show him his reflection in her compact mirror before he truly believes it. Besides, the sun is coming up. It’s been a hell of a night for everybody.

The first thing Barnabas does that morning is go over to Collinwood, where he finds Cassandra alone in the garden and taunts her that her bat-bite didn’t take. He’s not a vampire. Nyah-nyah. So there.

I love that Mad Science is more powerful than Black Magic.

Adam begins to breath normally once Barnabas has been dug up. Professor Stokes advises Carolyn that it isn’t safe to hide Adam on the grounds of Collinwood since the police are still searching for him in the woods, so she takes him home and gives him a room in the abandoned west wing. Since Julia Hoffman refused to tell him why she buried Barnabas or what she knows about the connection between Barnabas and Adam, Stokes decides that he won’t tell her or Barnabas where Adam is. Carolyn will also keep this secret to protect Adam and says she knows nothing when Barnabas comes by later in the day to ask.

The news of Barnabas’s death was just getting around Collinwood when he turned up alive and well after all. Cassandra/Angelique and Nicholas are especially bewildered by Barnabas’s invulnerability to the vampire curse. Something must be blocking it.

Angelique with skeleton hand Nicholas gives Angelique until midnight to find out what the problem is, then moves the deadline up to 9 pm when she doesn’t stop whining. He also turns one of her hands into mere bones as a sign of what he’ll do to the rest of her if she fails.

At five minutes to 9 that evening, she seems to be no closer to discovering the truth than she was that morning. Then David walks in.

David, who has had Dr. Lang’s tape recorder for weeks, finally discovered the doctor’s final message, which explains how Barnabas will be cured of his “affliction” as long as Adam lives. He doesn’t understand it, so he tells Cassandra what he’s found and asks her what it means.

Nice going, kid.


Author: Kathryn L Ramage

Kathryn L. Ramage has a B.A. and M.A. in English lit and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She lives in Maryland with three calico cats named after the Brontë sisters. In addition to being the author of numerous short stories, reviews, essays, and period mystery novellas, she is also the author of a series of fantasy novels set in a dukedom called the Northlands on an alternate Earth whose history has diverged from ours somewhere during the medieval period.