Tuesday, October 27, 2009

VampBash: Dark Shadows, Past and Future, more hunting to be done

  Andy Boylan has a blog dedicated to vampires, Taliesin Meets The Vampires.  Here's his take on Dark Shadows.  (And thanks, Andy, for a reason to post a pic of Johnny.)

Dark Shadows was a gothic Soap Opera that ran from 1966 to 1971 and spanned black and white and colour in its original run. It also spawned two films, that took themes from the series as their basis, a remake series in 1991 called ‘the revival’ that followed the primary “Barnabas Collins storylines” and recently two new DVDs were released – The Vampire Curse and the Haunting of Collinwood – that edited feature length stories out of the original series.

Now, the confession, I have not seen the original series. It spans some 32 US release only box sets. However I have seen the revival, the two contemporary movies and the two new DVD feature length edits. This gives me, I feel, a good grounding in the background of this show – if not perfect – and the purpose of the article is to look at these – and their impact – and look forward to the new Dark Shadows that looms on the cinematic horizon.

Dark Shadows was a soap opera, daily shown and recorded live-to-tape with a need to take first take, it had one difference with most soap operas – it was a gothic soap opera with a paranormal basis. Indeed it was a Dan Curtis’ production, who would later bring us Kolchak: The Night Stalker, amongst other gems. Of course – if we are going to be candid – the live-to-tape and soap opera nature of the show made this perhaps a little too melodramatic and, in what I have seen of the original, fraught with fluffed lines, crew shadows, visible boom mikes and limited sets. Be that as it may, the soap continued on for some time but its popularity was waning. Then Curtis had an idea.

He introduced (in episode 210) a vampire character – Barnabas Collins played by Jonathon Frid. The ratings soared and the show continued and became the phenomena it is known as today. If it wasn’t for the vampire, and the acting and presence of Jonathon Frid, this show would have crashed into obscurity.

Now the revival, in 1991, followed two distinct storylines. Firstly it showed Barnabas (in ‘the revival’ played by Ben Cross) rising from the grave in the modern day and falling in love with the Collins’ family nanny Victoria (played by Joanna Going in 1991 and Alexandra Isles in the original). Actually this storyline is followed in the film House of Dark Shadows except the love interest is Maggie (played by Kathryn Leigh Scott). The reason he falls for the girl is she is the reincarnation of his lost love, Josette.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this sounds familiar. There has been a trend of having Mina Harker being the reincarnated love of Dracula in productions of that film. This was stolen from Dark Shadows, as a device, and put into Dracula productions – it was never a feature of Bram Stoker’s original novel. The first version of Dracula to use this device being the 1973 production, starring Jack Palance, that was directed by Dan Curtis himself.

The second storyline ‘the revival’ followed was Victoria being pulled backwards through time and observing the truth of how Barnabas came to be a vampire. This is also the basis of the DVD “The Vampire Curse”.

The limited exposure I have had to the original not only revealed fluffed lines but overly melodramatic dialogue and acting. This was pulled together and honed in the movies and, to be fair, whilst melodramatic, ‘the revival’ worked awfully well. Don’t get me wrong, the impact the original series has had on the genre cannot be underestimated but this is the real danger of mixing the Gothic with the Soap Opera as Soap Operas are, by their very nature, pitched at a sickly level of melodrama and yet a truly Gothic production also needs a level of melodrama to work.

That said I am really looking forward to the next incarnation of Dark Shadows. Currently destined for the big screen, directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp. Now there are many reasons why I am looking forward to this. Depp is more than a fine actor and Burton hardly puts a step out of place (if we ignore the awful Planet of the Apes). Indeed Burton is one of my favourite modern directors and when he and Depp work together it is movie magic.

Indeed one of the most Gothic productions Burton directed, and one that mixed Gothic sensibilities with suburbia, was Edward Scissorhands – which, of course, starred Depp in the title role. When it comes to Gothic horror the two have worked perfectly together – be it the almost Hammerish horror of Sleepy Hollow or the pure Gothic melodrama and horror of Sweeny Todd.

My understanding – though it could have just been internet gossip – is that Depp was a driving force behind this project as he really wanted to play a vampire and the proposed combination of Depp as Barnabas Collins directed once more by Burton is… well thrilling to say the least. The new incarnation of Dark Shadows promises to not only bring Barnabas Collins to a whole new generation but also promises to be the finest incarnation of the show. 

Less mad, bad and dangerous to know and more slightly cuckoo and mildly naughty, Andrew M. Boylan runs the blog Taliesin Meets the Vampires and likes to write fiction every once in a while. He also has a loving wife, a son with teenage sensibilities and two large pooches — one of whom looks suspiciously wolf like.

Today's scavenger hunt takes you to 5 authors' sites.  You can win one of the following books:

ETERNAL DESIRE by Roxanne Rhoads (includes a Fang-Tastic Book bag pictured below)Paranormal researcher Liz Beth’s dreams are haunted by a sensual vampire, who may or may not be real. She arrives in New Orleans the week of Halloween in search of her elusive dream lover, Quillon. She doesn’t find him, but she does encounter a handsome stranger, Christien. They begin a passionate affair, but she is torn between her dream lover and her flesh and blood lover, both of whom are a mystery to her. She fights to regain her reason, trying desperately to find the truth about Quillon while Christien holds her under his own spell.

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A VAMPIRE by Kerrelyn SparksThis Christmas isn’t so merry for Toni. Her best friend’s been locked up in a mental hospital ever since she told the police she was attacked by vampires, and the only way for Toni to get her out is to prove that bloodsuckers really do exist. So she’s taken a job as a bodyguard for the Undead, but she gets more than she's bargained for, especially when she meets Ian MacPhie, a Scottish rascal looking for Ms. Right.

Although Ian’s nearly five centuries old, he looks and acts like a twenty-seven-year-old hunk. How can a dead man be so damn sexy?  Could Mr. Wrong be Mr. Right?  One forbidden kiss could lead to an eternity of passion—and all it takes is one moment under the mistletoe . . .

IMMORTAL BAD BOYS by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom - Christopher, the vampire hero of Linda Thomas-Sundstrom's "Midnight Court," finds himself consumed by passion for the new consort of Lord Rothchilde. He schemes with and confides in Rothchilde's sister Elizabeth, who might be able to get him close to his obsession. There is, however, something she wants in return.

THE VAMPIRE FAMILY by Kristin BattestellaSadistic? Check. Domination? Check. Happiness? Not for all. Antonio Welshire accepts the mysterious Mestiphles' offer for vampiric power, but fails to consider that not all in his family desires evil. Daughter Victoria revels in the debauchery, but eldest daughter Samantha loathes the darkness. Enemies are in no short supply when the family turns to darkness. Charismatic rebel Gaston turns up to rival for Antonio's power; the vampire lover Jean can destroy them once and for all, and henchwoman Lilith seeks to supplant Antonio as Mestiphles' favorite. Who will be declared the victor? And in the end, though they've survived coven wars and persecutions since the 12th century, can The Vampire Family survive each other? 

RETRIBUTION by M. FlaggDreams often reflect hidden desires . . . even if they are terrifying. Michael Malone, a unique creature of the night, has taken down three evil sorcerers. He’s not entirely successful. Faced with eternal suffering, a compassionate soul helps this Champion create an intricate fantasy until he can be rescued by the Georgian Circle. His tale of passion and suspense is tinged with many truths. Eternal devotion to a Guardian of Souls and a troubled teenager forces this mystically enhanced vampire to dream of survival. He yearns to be in Alana’s arms. He vows to protect Lukas, his mortal son. As he confronts his guilty, undead life his imagination runs wild. But Michael begins to lose hope, believing that there is no such thing as redemption. Why did the commanding Champion jeopardize his own immortality? Michael Malone has two very good reasons. One is revenge and the other is love. 


1) Can you name one of the story titles in Roxanne Rhoad's Whiskey Creek Press ebook, Torrid Teasers Volume 59, which is a double shot of paranormal sexiness?  Visit Roxanne's website to find the answer!

2) What is Christopher's last name in Linda Thomas-Sundstrom's IMMORTAL BAD BOYS?  Please visit Linda's website!

3) In Kerrelyn Sparks' ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS A VAMPIRE what is the third thing on the heroine's Christmas wish list?  Please visit Kerrelyn's website!

4) What is the name of the publisher that published Kristin Battestella's THE VAMPIRE FAMILY? Please visit Kristin's blog!

5)  What is the title of M. Flagg's vampire series?  Please visit Flagg's website!

Please send answers to all 5 questions to vampchixmail@gmail.com and put VAMPBASH DAY 3 in the subject header  (do not put answers in comments).  All contests at the VampBash run through 11:00 pm central on Friday the 30th.  Winners for all contests and scavenger hunts will be announced on Saturday!

We have a few assorted prizes you can be eligible to win by leaving a comment on today's post (an entry for the scavenger hunt does not count as entry for these prizes; you must also leave comment to be included in this drawing).  The prizes are:

HAUNT OF JACKALS by Eric Wilson (review copy; may have highlighting)
FANTASY anthology (includes Emma Holly's "Luisa's Desire"
DARK SHADOWS - THE BEGINNING DVD (35 complete episodes plus bonus features on 4 discs)
DARK SHADOWS - DVD COLLECTION 1 (Contains 40 complete episodes plus bonus interviews on 4 discs)

Here's a pic of the Fang-Tastic book bag included with Roxanne Rhoad's book, Eternal Desire in the scavenger hunt.

Now to review:  Show Andy some love by commenting on his post with your reactions to the Dark Shadows series.  Have you seen the original?  Do you look forward to the movie with Johnny Depp?
Scavenge the above 5 authors' website and send your answers to vampchixmail@gmail.com with VAMPBASH DAY 3 in the subject line.  If you want to qualify to win any of the additional prizes listed, please leave a comment.  You can comment and send emails all week for today's prizes, through 11:00 C Friday.  Winner's will be announced on Saturday 31st!

See you all back here tomorrow!


Derek Tatum said...

Me and Andy are in the same boat on "Dark Shadows," as I have never seen the original series, either (and I don't have the time in the DVDs). I've seen the revival series and read one of the tie-in novels. I've heard that the two theatrical films were good gothic horror films, unfortunately they are not available on DVD.

Virginia C said...

Thank you so much for this wonderful post! My family and I love Dark Shadows. I raced home from school every day so that I could watch the original Dark Shadows with my grandmother! I even have a replica of Josette's music box, which was featured prominently throughout the show. My favorite "Dark Shadows thing" of all was the ring worn by Jonathan Frid. All they had to show was his hand with that black onyx ring, and you felt the presence of Barnabas Collins! The theme music was wonderful as were all those marvelous characters and story lines. The wickedly beautiful Angelique...those crystal blue eyes...those blonde ringlets! The tall,dark and brooding Quentin Collins was a werewolf! Those sideburns were a dead giveaway! Glory Days!!!

I also dearly love Darren McGavin, a wonderful actor who played Carl Kolchak in The Night Stalker movie and TV series.

I watched the subsequent incarnations of Dark Shadows, but the original is still the best.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

makeart said...

I have seen the original Dark Shadows series! I use to watch them as reruns when I was a young teen. Anything with Vampires caught my attention from about the age of 10 onwards. I enjoyed the revival series more though because it was less like a daytime soap, in my opinion. Johnny Depp + Tim Burton + Dark Shadows = Magic!! I can't wait!


Kris said...

Well I wasn't born @ the time of the first dark shadow....and to young for the revival but hey Johnny Depp as a vampire is right up there with Brad Pitt as a vampire! So yeah I'll be waiting to see that movie!

Crystal Adkins said...

I also remember the original Dark Shadows. My brother used to watch it all the time when I was a kid, and I think Johnny Depp would make a great Barnabas! I am sooo going to be watching that!

elaing8 said...

I haven't seen the original.But I did watch the remake in the 90's.I thought it was really good, and was disappointed when it got canceled.I can't wait to see Johnny Depp as Barnabas.

Sweet Vernal Zephyr said...

I was not familiar with this series until this blog post. Thank you Andrew for your recap... It has intrigued me! I def will look forward to the Depp/Burton movie and agree that is a combination to count on!

mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

Tori Lennox said...

I love the 1991 version and the original but for very different reasons. The revival had beautiful production values. But I almost love the original more because despite it being a gothic soap opera, it was possibly one of the campiest things I've ever seen. And being taped live with one take was always loaded with possible bloopers. Like the time the camera dolly ran into a door as it zoomed in for a close-up of someone. :) Or the shag carpeting used as grass in the cemetery. I loved it. But Ben Cross was a lot sexier than Jonathan Frid. :)

Zahir Blue said...

I too am looking forward to the new Dark Shadows for a variety of reasons. When a child I watched and loved the show (ah, Angelique--my first vampiress, but I digress...), despite the camp and melodrama. At its best is was far more.

Case in point: In the original, the governess was not the reincarnation of anyone. Josette was a ghost, rarely seen and never by Barnabas. He bit and tried to transform Maggie Evans into a Josette substitute (presumably based on her resemblance) but she was certainly not a reincarnation. Yet Barnabas was genuinely interested in Victoria for herself (rather bewilderingly, given the nature of the character, at least IMHO). So what we saw was a vampire struggling with an illusion of the past versus a possible reality in a confusing present. Much more interesting than the simplistic "Victoria-as-Josette-reborn" of the 1991 version (although Joanna Going was marvelous).

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Cheers to all who have responded to the post thus far and thanks to you Michele for giving me the oportunity to prattle on to your good readers. :)

Witchy Woman said...

Hi Andy,
Let's see, you own a wolfish pooch, and we're discussing an upcoming vampire movie. (LOL) Are we discussing "Dark Shadows" or "New Moon?" Joking aside, I'm in total agreement with you in regards to Burton/Depp. When Depp stars in a Burton movie, it's pure movie "magic."

Rosie said...

I have been a Dark Shadows fan since I was 5 years old and my babysitters tried tearing me away from the TV. I would have to sneak the TV on, turn it real low and watch. LOL. The new version with Depp will definitely have me buying a ticket as soon as they go on sale. I still love to rent the DVD sets from the library but am not a fan of the Ben Cross revival.

Thanks for the great read this morning!!

susan said...

I was lucky enough to see the orginal Dark Shadows as a day time soap opera and read all the books that came from it. I love the whole thing and everyone was in loved with Barabus Collins. He was just soooo wonderful. I dropped everything when the soap came on and no one could bother me until it was over. ha ha I guess you could say I was a wee bit hooked on the show. ha ha Susan L.

Linda Henderson said...

I'm looking forward to seeing Johnny Depp playing Barnabas. I used to watch the original

Kristin Snouffer said...

Dark Shadows Forever! I wish Depp and Burton would hurry up in their feature already. Great vampire fun and prizes today!

Kimberly B. said...

Great giveaway! I'm another of those who has watched the '91 remake series, but never the original Dark Shadows. It always sounded like something I'd like, not only because of the vampires but also the Gothic atmosphere in general, but even in reruns I always seemed to miss it. Plus I never knew how to start watching a soap opera type show---if you jump right in after it starts, you seem to miss so much! But these DVDs would allow me to catch up!

jeanette8042 said...

Awesome giveaways! Hope you enjoy your day!

Meljprincess said...

I remember watching DARK SHADOWS as a child. It and BEWITCHED were my favorite shows. I had such a crush on Barnabas Collins.
I didn't know there's a remake with the Deppster. I can't wait to see it!
Don't leave out the music with their movie magic. Danny Elfman usually does music for Tim Burton and it's always fantastic. Remember when Danny was the lead singer of 'Oingo Boingo'?

"It's a dead man's party
Who could ask for more
Everybody's comin', leave your body at the door
Leave your body and soul at the door . . ."
~ Oingo Boingo

joder said...

I loved the original DS! Mostly because of the fluffed lines and boom mike visitation. It made it so endearing to me.

The remake was also well-done which is why I have high hopes for the movie. Depp seems to have a real love for the show so he'll do right by it.

joderjo402 AT gmail DOT com

jennifer said...

nope never seen the orignal but anything with depp in it and i'm in

Judy said...

I didn't know they were making a movie of Dark Shadows!! I never missed a show when it was on ( the original) . Who better to star as Barnabas but Johnny Depp. I know he will do a great job playing this part!!

Moonsanity said...

I remember the original and then saw repeats too. I didn't see the remakes though. I'm having trouble picturing Johnny Dep as Barnabas because in the original he was older. I'm not sure who I picture!

throuthehaze said...

ooooh! I LOVE Dark Shadows! I had no idea they were making a movie of it. Johnny Depp is a good choice.

throuthehaze at gmail dot com

rm2h said...

The original Dark Shadows show was awesome. I saw it as reruns but I am sure that I missed some of the espiodes. Barnabas Collins was great and the actor who played him was really talented. I thought the remake was bad. They tried to do it without the gothic undertones and it just did not work.

Jeanette J said...

I have not seen the original Dark Shadows although I've seen clips from the show over the years. I would like to buy it sometime if the price isn't too high.

donnas said...

Great post. I haven't seen many episodes either of the original but I did watch the revival, which I thought was rather well done. However I really cant wait to see what Burton and Depp can do with the work. I cant imagine it could go badly.

carrie said...

I love the original Dark Shadows, My sister and I used to watch them all the time. Can't wait for the new movie to come out..

Martha Lawson said...

I loved the original Dark Shadows - I never missed an episode.. Barnabas was to die for!!!!

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

Anna ♥ said...

I cannot wait to see the next incarnation of Dark Shadows. I have yet to see the original but I am definitely going to check it out. It sounds really interesting. I cannot wait to see the new incarnation of Dark Shadows. I love Tim Burton and Johnny Depp!

CrystalGB said...

I watched some episodes of the original Dark Shadows when I was in grade school. It was on every afternoon after school. I am curious about the movie with Johnny Depp.

heidi87 said...

I loved the orginal Dark shadows and the remake in the early 90's. i wish they would of continued witthe show but not many people watch. I'm sure if they tried it now they could more people to watch.
thanks Heidi

Anonymous said...

Heya Guys

Are there any Blu-Ray/dvd

combo players?
I understand you can get dvd/vcr players. Are there any players which will play either dvds as well as blu-rays that I can buy rather than shopping for couple of individual players?

Many thanks !