Thursday, March 24, 2016

Dark Shadows Audio Book 32 - A Collinwood Christmas

Although the last DS audio tale wasn't one of the best, it did spark my interest in the audio books again, so on a recent trip to Tampa, I took along a couple of CDs to enjoy on my way down there and back.

The first story was "A Collinwood Christmas."  Starring Jamison Selby as (who else) Jamison Collins and Lizzie Hopley as the gypsy, Ivanka, the story is set during a time when Elizabeth and Roger Collins are but children, having lost their mother, and with her, any hope and joy within the great house of Collinwood.  And before you ask, yes, Jamison Selby is David Selby's son, and it's amazing to hear his voice, for he sounds so much like his father (who DS fans will remember as Quentin Collins, the werewolf).

Well-written and well-read, this story has the real feel of a Dark Shadows tale.  Jamison is haunted by the death of his wife at Christmas, so while the town of Collinsport celebrates the holiday, Jamison and his two children remain in the brooding house, no lights, no decorations, no presents - no Christmas.  Until the butler quits, passing by the Old House to let the gypsy who lives there know he is leaving and asking her to help the children in the great house.  Ivanka begrudgingly heads up to the darkened house and forces her way in.  Jamison doesn't want her there, but gradually they form an uneasy alliance in an attempt to rid the house of its ghosts (including that of his late wife).  The only problem is, a villainous ghost is released and is intent on coming back to the world - a villain who previously appeared in the audio CD, "Dress Me in Dark Dreams."

And I loved it!

Selby and Hopley did an amazing job bringing the characters to life and actually making the listener care about them, despite their eccentricities.  When it is revealed what really happened to Jamison's wife, his actions suddenly begin to make sense.  And when the villain is revealed to be Redmond Van Buren, well, to be honest, I got rather excited!  The continuity among the audio CDs really gives them a continued feel of the original series, tying them together and bringing them to life all the more.  And what's even more fun is the fact that, as Ivanka and Jamison explore the house, listeners are treated to scenes from previous audio tales, only here, they are ghosts of times past in Collinwood's dark history.

This audio drama more than makes up for the less-than-stellar previous tale and revives my love of Dark Shadows even more.

RATING:  9 shattered mirrors out of 10 for utilizing the rich history of not just the television show, but the continuing story in the audio dramas as well.

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