Inside the Walls of My Own House: The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood), Book 2, by Tony Trigilio. Buffalo, New York: BlazeVOX books, October 2016. 152 pages. $16.00, paper.
Inside the Walls of My Own House
Every shadowy story should invoke the uncanny. Tony Trigilio keeps dreaming (and writing) of his uncanny space, at home with his mother in front of the television screen. Space and time billow and unfold as he remembers watching Dark Shadowsand being transported to gothic Maine:
an electronic portal opened unto
the spirit world, a supernatural
transmitter documenting the undead
life of the 208-year-old creature who
lived inside the walls of my own house;
I took for granted that our TV functioned
as a conduit for a “two-directional exchange
between occultism and technology,” as media
scholar Stefan Andriopoulos describes
the earliest precursors of the television:
19th-century optical devices designed
for remote viewing and clairvoyance,
leading many early 20th-century viewers to
believe that to watch TV was to experience
“the uncanny occurrence of the supernatural
or marvelous in one’s own living room”—
This is a hybrid, vampire text. A hallucination. A story told through the red haze of a fantastical curse. It grows more complex as time stretches, changes, and is infused with information about the show, the past, and the present-day state of the world.
Collinwood becomes an extension of Trigilio’s childhood home. The characters appear like family members with terrible secrets watched from afar. Every detail of the house and the characters is remembered, re-viewed, and obsessed over.
The book begins midway through the show’s run. Previous episodes are sometimes mentioned, but it is not necessary to have read the first book or seen the first episodes of Dark Shadows to immediately become hooked on the story of the Collins family, by way of Trigilio’s childhood fascination.