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"You went to her and tried to warn her about me! You betrayed me, Willie!"
Barnabas Collins

Willie Loomis
Willie Loomis - MGM.jpg
Willie Loomis
Continuity: Dark Shadows
Notability: Supporting character
Type: Murder victim
Gender: Male
Location: The Old House, Collinwood Estate
Collinsport, Maine
Born: 1933 [1]
Died: 1970
1st appearance: House of Dark Shadows (1970)
Actor: John Karlen

Willis Loomis is a fictional handyman and a supporting character featured in the 1970 film House of Dark Shadows. He was played by actor John Karlen and was based on the character of the same name who was featured on the 1960s Gothic daytime soap opera Dark Shadows.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Bitter opportunist[edit | edit source]

Willie Loomis was an unscrupulous, young fortune-seeker who worked for, Roger Collins, as a handyman at the family estate known as Collinwood in Collinsport, Maine.

In June of 1970, Willie discovered an aged doggerel alluding to the location of the infamous missing jewels of an 18th century family member named Naomi Collins. One evening, in the midst of a drunken stupor, Willie confronted Collinwood governess, Maggie Evans, in the shadows of the Collins family stables. After scaring her with his presence, he showed Maggie the riddle and promised to cut her in on the deal. Maggie's response was interrupted when Willie's boss, Roger entered the stables. Roger's son, David had turned up missing and he wanted Willie to get his flashlight and look for him. Willie despised Roger and told him, "He's your kid. Find him yourself." Angered by Willie's comment, Roger promptly fired him.

That evening, Willie went down to the cemetery and entered the Collins family mausoleum. He deciphered the riddle and discovered a secret antechamber housed underground, beneath the main recesses of the tomb. Inside was an old, dusty coffin, bound by heavy, iron chains. Willie pried the chains loose expecting the coffin to be filled with the missing jewels. Instead, what he found was the vampire, Barnabas Collins. Barnabas attacked Willie and used his vampiric influence to turn him into his unwilling slave.

Remorseful servant[edit | edit source]

After introducing himself to his descendants at Collinwood, Barnabas bargained for possession of the original family estate, commonly referred to as the Old House. He hired Willie on as his handyman and burdened him with the daunting task of restoring the home to its original condition.

The following evening, Willie met Carolyn Stoddard at the lounge of the Collinsport Inn. Carolyn told him that he forgot to pick up his last paycheck, but Willie didn't seem incredibly interested. He told Carolyn that he gained another job from a man that he had met last evening at the Blue Whale. It was days before Carolyn discovered that the man he had been referring to was her own distant relative.

A few nights later, Barnabas had spoken to Willie about a woman he recently met – Maggie Evans. He further compared Maggie to his own lost-love, Josette DuPres. Willie tried to talk Barnabas out of courting Maggie, explaining that Maggie was not the reincarnation of Josette, but Barnabas would hear none of it. As luck would have it, Carolyn overheard their conversation and threatened to expose Barnabas. Barnabas attacked her and drained her body completely of blood. Willie tried to pry Barnabas free of her, but it was no use – the girl was nearly dead. Barnabas instructed Willie to get rid of the body. Willie dragged Carolyn back to Collinwood and left her propped up against the front door. She managed to take two steps inside the door to the foyer where she collapsed, dead. Three nights later, Carolyn rose as a vampire.

Barnabas felt responsible for Carolyn's condition and so, he had Willie fashion a coffin for her in the cellar of the Old House. He told Willie to watch over her, and to make sure that she didn’t leave. Willie, being only human, was incapable of complying with such a request. The following evening, Carolyn rose from her coffin and bit Willie upon the throat. She tossed him inside of her coffin and stalked off into the night. Willie survived the attack however, and quickly recuperated.

Redemption[edit | edit source]

Willie, fearful for Maggie's life, approached her near the greenhouse at Collinwood. He tried to tell her that she was in danger, but could not bring himself to reveal Barnabas' name. He then went to Professor Stokes and told him that Barnabas was the vampire responsible for destroying Carolyn. News of this betrayal reached the ears of Barnabas and he viciously beat Willie to within an inch of his life by bludgeoning him with the silver handle-piece of his cane.

Barnabas kidnapped Maggie Evans and was holding her captive at an old chapel monastery within the ruins of a castle on St. Eustace Island. Barnabas dressed her in the wedding gown of the late Josette in preparation of turning her into his immortal vampire bride.

Maggie's boyfriend, Jeff Clark broke into the castle and accosted Willie. Willie fought back and temporarily knocked Jeff out with a blow to the back of the head. After doing so, he raced down to the chapel to assist his master. Willie stood next to Barnabas as he prepared to turn Maggie into a vampire, but failed to tell him of the pressing threat of Jeff Clark. Barnabas learned of Jeff soon enough though. Jeff sat crouched in the balcony of the chapel armed with a crossbow. He fired a bolt into the back of Willie Loomis. Barnabas wheeled around and used his powers of hypnosis to take control of Jeff's mind. Bleeding to death, Willie mustered up enough strength to rebel against Barnabas. He leaped upon the vampire's back and distracted him long enough for Jeff to break free of the mind control. Barnabas strangled Willie and dropped him to the floor. Moments later, Jeff finished the job that Willie had started. He picked up the crossbow bolt that he had fired into Willie and drove it into Barnabas' back, piercing his heart. Barnabas fell onto the floor next to Willie's body. Although Willie spent the last two months of his life an unwilling slave to a monster, he died a free man.

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The biography of Willie Loomis in the movie, House of Dark Shadows, closely resembles the life of his counterpart from the original Dark Shadows television series. In the TV show however, Willie eventually developed a deep friendship with Barnabas, and willingly assisted him without the reinforcement of Barnabas' vampiric mind-control.

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Date approximated based upon the age of actor John Karlen.

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