During her first stay at Windcliff Institute, Maggie Evans receives unorthodox treatment from Dr. Julia Hoffman to break through her catatonia. During these, Maggie’s memories of her childhood imaginary friend resurface; what does the Sandman want with her now…?
In some ways, Maggie Evans began as the Sookie Stackhouse of her day – a plucky waitress/irresistible magnet to vampires and other supernatural entities, who’s still strong enough to endure her many tribulations. It’s this inner resolve that ultimately shines through in Clothes of Sand and allows her to stand up to the being that played such an integral part of her childhood.
Kathryn Leigh Scott delivers a strong performance here, conveying Maggie’s initially fragile mental state, and doing her best to mimic the late Grayson Hall’s distinctive performance as Dr. Hoffman (but not always succeeding). At times, the script’s references to Julia’s “scratchy wool suits” and “raspy,” “wavering” voice evoke the character more than Scott’s lowered voice does.
Initially, Newman’s Sandman seems to be one of those monsters – like the faun from Pan’s Labyrinth – that helps little girls in times of need; he protects Maggie from nightmares as her mother’s illness worsens. But as she grows older, Maggie begins to question the Sandman’s motives and his dependence on her. What began as a slightly cheesy concept – an actor throatily reciting nursery rhymes – takes on a much more sinister bent as the lonely entity strives to attain corporeal form at the expense of the nearest thing he has to a friend. “You’ve fallen so far,” he rasps to Maggie. “What’s one more step?”
VERDICT: Despite initially seeming to have little connection to Dark Shadows’ mythos, Clothes of Sand emerges as a poignant character study for Maggie. 7/10
John S. Hall
Starring Kathryn Leigh Scott and Alec Newman
Written and directed by Stuart Manning
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