Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Dark Shadows: Bloodlust Episode Three written by Alan Flanagan, Will Howells & Joe Lidster and directed by Ursula Burton & David Darlington

What's it about: Some describe it as the town at the edge of the world. When Melody and Michael Devereux come to Collinsport on their honeymoon, they don't know the secrets that are hidden behind closed doors. But those secrets will be unearthed when an innocent is viciously murdered. Collinsport will be a town divided. One woman's rise to power will lead to further death and destruction. Families will be ripped apart. Blood will be spilt. And the dark forces that wait in the shadows will wait no more. For in Collinsport, death is never the end...

Andrew Cunningham: What a piece of work this guy is turning out to be, controlling his family with an iron fist and expecting them to jump to his every whim. It was pointed out to me on the blog how apparent it is that the one actor who was always chided for his portrayal in the 80s (Waterhouse) is now giving a far more powerful and passionate performance than his cohorts at the time (check out Mistfall and you will hear Davison, Fielding, Sutton and Strickson sleepwalking their way through the tale). Like Bonnie Langford on audio, it just goes to show that the passage of time can sometimes be very kind on an actor. Andrew is not going to be reporting on any of the juicy stuff until he has familiarised himself with Collinsport. He's vicious when he cannot get his own way, insulting and violent and he wants something from Angelique Bouchard. And now his son knows precisely why they have come to Collinsport...and has initiated a relationship with the seductive witch.

Sparkling Dialogue: 'Maggie Evans is beginning to gather her troops...'
'I will string pieces of his soul across the universe!'
'The greatest tragedy is for a parent to outlive his child.'

Great Ideas: Amy and Mike went to college together, in the same class studying the same 'subject matter' at Salem University. Salem is historically famous for one thing...could we be seeing an element of witchcraft turning up in Collinsport? Ed Griffin has been heard talking to his dead wife in the shadows. The investigation into Melody's death is in full swing now, everybody is a suspect, nobody is exempt. Harry Cunningham has started doing work experience for Kate Ripperton. The manifestation of Angelique was terribly exciting for those of us who know her back story. She is a witch, confined to the cave and stripped of her place in the world all because of Maggie Evans. Clearly Andrew has not come to Collinsport on a whim. The cave at the base of Widow's Hill is screaming with the cries of lost women who threw themselves to their deaths. Michael is resolved to stay in Collinsport and find out whoever or whatever murdered Melody...a decision he will no doubt learn to regret.

Audio Landscape: Alarm clock, drill, mine workings, baby gurgling, rain pattering, crinkled newspaper.

Musical Cues: There was a time when I grew a little tired of David Darlington's scores. Never because he wasn't very good but after a long stint working on the main range it felt as if he was a little exhausted. He hopped across to Gallifrey where I he gave that series a very distinctive musical style and has now transferred across to Dark Shadows with similar ease, taking up directing duties. as well. That certainly seems to be where his talent lies, he has an aptitude for creating a sinister atmosphere that is almost second to none in Big Finish. And whilst Bloodlust has yet to dip its toes into the inky red waters that some of Dark Shadows audios do, it is brewing up a ominous spell all of its own.  His music for this story is inspired too, with snatches of what sounds like the apoplectic choir that brought us Children of the Stones but similarly inspired by Twin Peaks. Never underestimate the power of music in an audio drama, it can make or break it.

Result: 'There's nothing wrong with being different...' Now things are really moving. Despite the large cast, this piece of the puzzle belongs to Andrew Cunningham and his motive for coming to Collinsport in the first place. An arrogant foolish opportunist, he's a really nasty piece of work and as such it is an absolute delight to listen to him dig a hole and get in over his head. I think bad things are coming for the character and I cannot wait. The murder mystery angle begins to take dominance too and it is starting to feel that anybody could be responsible. With the supernatural pumping through the residents of Collinsport like blood, who knows who can be trusted? Hints of Maggie Evans being an important player are very intriguing too and something that would be very welcome because Kathryn Leigh-Scott is such a delight to listen to. Like a locomotive that has already chugged away from it's starting point, we are really gathering steam now: 8/10

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