The Curse of Collinwood

DO ZOMBIES WALK AT COLLINWOOD?

 Upset over the death of Ernest Collins, Victoria begins to believe that phantoms are haunting her. Are they figments of her imagination? As the threats to her life become very real, she is forced to accept the horrifying truth.

The strange figures are not phantoms but the bodies of Derek and Ester Collins, murdered more than a century ago. They were unwittingly released from their coffins by a shaft of moonlight – and doomed to roam the earth as the “living dead.”

Copyright Dan Curtis Productions. First edition printed May 1968. This seventh printing – April 1969.

Dysfunctional families – that great invention of the 1990’s Oprah generation. Of course in the good old days, before all this new-agey psycho babble became all the rage, f***ed-up families weren’t ‘special needs’ at all – of course not, they were cursed. So much more glamourous.

In my last post I had the audacity to suggest that the Collins’ of Dark Shadows fame stood as a shining example to us all of a family so riddled with dark deeds and unnatural lusts even Jeremy Kyle would shudder at the prospect of taking them on. And here’s the proof!  Plundering my collection of Dark Shadows paperbacks, I’ve found not one, not two, but THREE Marilyn Ross novels chronicling the various curses afflicting the Collinwood clan – though truth be told I think the word is being used a little loosely here.

Barnabas, Quentin and the Witch’s Curse

Copyright Dan Curtis Productions. First printing August 1970.

CAN BARNABAS STOP QUENTIN FROM BRINGING HIS COVEN TO COLLINWOOD?

Quentin Collins’ coven of witches, centred in the Castle Asariana in Venice, was the scandal of the city. Reports of the bizarre practices of the Devil worshippers, all of whom were beautiful girls, circulated widely, and invitations to the parties that Quentin sometimes held to attract new members to his cult, were greedily coveted.

Then two Americans died while spending an evening at the castle but before the authorities could investigate, Quentin and his entire group vanished. Soon after, Quentin shows up at Collinwood, with the intent of establishing his cult there.

Barnabas knew it was up to him to stop Quentin before Collinwood was turned into a centre of Black Magic and Satan worship. But who wielded the stronger power – Barnabas or the Devil himself?

Barnabas, Quentin and the Scorpio Curse.

Copyright Dan Curtis Productions. First printing November 1970.

IS THE SIGN OF SCORPIO THE MARK OF DEATH?

Terror reigns at Collinwood when several patients at a nearby psychiatric clinic at which Barnabas Collins is a patient are stabbed to death. Each victim’s forehead is marked with a scorpion, the zodiacal symbol of death,

Then Diana Collins, another relative of the Collins family who is undergoing psychiatric treatment at the hospital, finds a bloody knife in her room. Diana, whose astrological sign is Scorpio, is afraid that she may have committed the murders during one of her blackouts. The fear that she is losing her mind is compounded when no one will believe she has seen a strange, wolf-like creature prowling the grounds.

The only person who will listen to her story is Barnabas. But how can he help her when he too has become a suspect?

As far as I can tell, there is at least one more Dark Shadows ‘curse’ book – Barnabas, Quentin and the Mummy’s Curse, which – considering how much mothers get blamed for everything – must surely be the most cursed curse book of them all…

The Dark Shadows Book of Vampires and Werewolves

If this were an ordinary book, and we were ordinary mortal editors, we would take our leave of you now, dear readers, and commend you to the text without further comment beyond our injunction to enjoy yourselves. But since neither of these things is true we are compelled to beg your leave to continue a while longer, in order that we may impart to you a smattering of knowledge of the curse that is our lot to carry in our withered hearts….

– From the introduction by Barnabus and Quentin Collins.

Paperback Library Gothic, first printing August 1970.

Contents

Introduction

The Vampire by John Polidori

Mrs Amworth by E.F Benson

Wolves Don’t Cry by Bruce Elliott

The Vampire of Croglin Grange by Augustus Hare

Men-Wolves (From the Polish)

For The Blood is The Life by F. Marion Crawford

Count Magnus by M.R James

The Vampire Legend by Lewis Spence

The Vampire Nemesis by “Dolly”

I wanted to end this month’s posts with a gothic about werewolves but couldn’t find one, so I’ve decided to make do with a couple of quickie stories from my trusty supply of Dark Shadows paperbacks instead.

Following on from the fabulously flowery introduction, Barnabas has the lion’s share of this anthology with seven of the nine stories featuring vampires. Of the two werewolf tales, Men-Wolves (From the Polish) is a mere four pages long and isn’t really a story as such, reading more like an extract from a textbook on werewolf folklore.

That leaves Wolves Don’t Cry by Bruce Elliott. This is an interesting twist on the werewolf legend. An enjoyable read, funny and touching at times, it follows the adventures of a wolf  in a zoo that wakes up to find itself transformed into a man and desperate to become wolf again.

A quick google reveals this story has also appeared in Rod Serling’s Triple W: Witches, Warlocks and Werewolves – an anthology edited by Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling and published by Bantam Books in 1963. Love that spooky cover, not sure what’s going on between the two gentlemen though…