Sunday, 18 January 2015

Dark Shadows: Bloodlust - Episode One

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...

Newcomers to Town: Melody Devereux, once a lost and lonely child. She never knew her parents, they died in a car accident when she was very young and was brought up by the head of an Orphanage, Mrs Rosenthal.

Sparkling Dialogue: 'I just relaxed and let the forces guide my hand...' - Melody on how they happened to choose Collinsport. Those forces probably brought them here for a sinister reason...
'It hit her hard when I died...'

Great Ideas: You know there is trouble ahead for Melody when she steps off the train at Collinsport and declares the town the perfect place to relax - not only because the story is called Bloodlust and it is a Dark Shadows story but because that follows the convention of all horror stories where the innocent visitors wax lyrical about an apparently idyllic scene. Like Snowflake, the first episode of Bloodlust features two newcomers coming to Collinsport. It gives newcomers a chance to enter this world with them and meet all the regulars, a smart move on the part of the creators who might wish to attract a new audience. What's lovely is that the audience overhears little snippets of sinister subplots going on, spoken in gossip at the local tavern, along with Melody and Michael, ramping up the suspicion that all is not what it appears to be in the town. As soon as you hear 'don't go out after dark' you should know precisely what genre you have wandered in to. The newlyweds learn about the Collins', described as founding the town and pretty much owning it, scuttling about Collinwood like cockroaches. What a charming image. I have a feeling we are going to build up to a trip to Collinwood as the serial progresses, with the Collins' taking a central role in the story.

Musical Cues: David Darlington taps into the excellent children's TV serial Children of the Stones for his music, an eerie, unearthly choral soundtrack that is bound to set your teeth on edge. He probably hasn't seen it but it does have a similarly ghoulish atmosphere.

Result: 'Take my advice...honeymoon somewhere else!' Collinsport is a town with secret, that is my abiding impression of the first episode of Bloodlust. They are hiding in every shadow, whispering on the breeze, rolling in with the sea...everybody is keeping something and it is going to be our pleasure to watch them creep into the light over the next thirteen episodes. Wisely, Joe Lidster and his creative team choose to introduce new characters to the town and allows us to meet everybody afresh. It gives this serial a very fresh 'new beginning' feel and the soap opera nature of the show gives it the same kind of impetus and hook as classic Doctor Who, each episode closing on a cliffhanger designed to lure you back next week. I could see fans of Dark Shadows finding this a little bit of a time filler insofar as it is introducing elements that they recognise but once the introduction to the setting is out of the way the juicy stuff can get going...and that has already begun in the second half of this episode. The first murder has already occurred and any one of this sinister lot could have been involved. Roll on episode two: 7/10

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