Publication: 17 June 1978 – 30 September 1978
Artist: Christine Ellingham
Writer: Unknown (but see below)
Marionette has done such an excellent summation and analysis on this serial over at her Tammy blog that I feel I can scarcely improve upon it. The link can be found here.
Essentially, Della Benson envies the disco dancing ability of Rozelle and wishes she could dance like that. Rozelle tells Della that she will be able to – if she is willing to pay the price. Della assumes this means dancing lessons, but we know it means something even more sinister.
No, it isn’t Della’s soul. The price is that Della must carry the curse that Rozelle’s family has suffered since Medieval times. It is a curse that turns the victim into a creature of darkness. They can only live in the dark. There are advantages, such as being able to see in the dark and attracting night creatures. But they cannot stand light, which blinds them, and they cannot even function in the daytime without wearing dark glasses. For Della, there is an additional problem with the curse – whenever she hears disco music, she cannot stop dancing until it stops. This gets her into a lot of trouble, such as wrecking a record shop and getting suspended from school.
There is no cure for the curse (and no origin given either), but the curse can be passed on to another person – in exchange for something that person wants. But will Della be able to find such a person? More to the point, will she be able to bring herself to pass it on? Or will she be under the curse of darkness forever?
On a side note, I wonder if Jay Over wrote this story. Della not being able to stop dancing when she hears disco music has echoes in Slave of the Clock, a story that Over wrote for Tammy in 1982. Here, Allison Thorne cannot stop dancing (ballet dancing this time) whenever she hears the ticking of a clock after she meets a ballet mistress with hypnotic powers.
11 thoughts on “Dance into Darkness (1978)”
The title alone has such a strong Goth feel, doesn’t it? Not that Goth existed quite yet. I think it’s rather a neat title, very evocative – though nowadays it would evoke some sort of moral darkness (or yes, gothic dark clothes and feelings) rather than a physical darkening of the sort that Della experiences.