It’s Christmas Eve in Collinsport and the Son of the Dark Lord, who resides in Cyrus Longworth’s head, plans on starting the apocalypse that will create a Hell on earth. In order to accomplish this he needs a new body and Alfie Chapman, a psychopathic British tourist, has been chosen as the new vessel. However, Cyrus and Sabrina Jennings, who became a werewolf on her wedding night and killed her husband, have plans to stop the Son of the Dark Lord achieving his goal.
As with all Big Finish productions, Dark Shadows: Deliver Us from Evil is a lavish sonic affair chock full of immersive sound effects and an original score. Writer Aaron Lamont has created a suitably chilling drama, and we can’t help but wonder if the character of Alfie Chapman is a homage to Mark Lewis from Michael Powell’s classic horror film Peeping Tom. Peeping Tom’s protagonist enjoyed filming his victims’ terror before killing them. Similarly, Alfie likes to capture his victims’ demise with a Polaroid camera as he slides a knife into them.
Simon Kent, who sounds astonishingly like Paul McGann, offers a creepy portrayal of a serial killer who takes pride in what he does as he hopes to be remembered with the likes of Jack the Ripper and Charles Manson. Accompanying Alfie is his girlfriend Emma, who is possessed by the spirit of the mad French murderess Danielle Rogert. And if that sounds crazy, well there’s a whole lot more craziness that ensues as this tale unfolds. There’s spirits and entities jumping bodies, the aforementioned serial killing, and just about every character seems to double cross each other.
This is definitely something you have to concentrate on and not have on in the background whilst ironing as it is so easy to lose who is possessing who.
The score cleverly uses snatches of familiar Christmas tunes but it’s the score that is also this production’s biggest problem as it is almost constant throughout the seventy-minute running time. It has a jarring effect of knocking you out of the narrative so that you focus on the music and not the dialogue, which is crucial in order to be able to follow proceedings.
One other stumbling block would be that casual followers or new comers to this series might feel utterly lost, so some knowledge of previous stories would be greatly advantageous.
That being said, this is a dark tale perfect for the Yuletide season, with some delicious scene-chewing performances worthy of its small screen daytime soap opera forebear.
DARK SHADOWS – DELIVER US FROM EVIL / AUTHOR: AARON LAMONT / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / STARRING: CHRISTOPHER PENNOCK, LISA RICHARDS, SIMON KENT, BRIGID LOHREY, JAMES UNSWORTH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW