Friday, November 19, 2010

Vampires Don't Sparkle...they cast Dark Shadows

Fairys sparkle.  That's why they are the Ancient and Shining Ones, the Good Folk of the Mound and so on and so forth.  Vampires are creatures of darkness and soul-chilling sorrow who drain the very life from a person's marrow before they even start to sink their teeth into a victim's neck.  Or at least they used to, back before they got trivialized by illiterates and ... oh forget it.  There's no point to doing any sort of a rant like that.  Besides, there's no need.  Stephanie Myers didn't drive a stake into anyone's heart, least of all romantically troubled vampires wrestling with their consciences while they dilly-dally around with their food like lonely shepherds on dark, dark nights down in the holler up in the hills.  She didn't even do it half as well as Dan Curtis did back in 1968 with Dark Shadows--the world's first Gothic Soap Opera.  And no, that's not gothic as in rubber pants, overdone black eyeliner and striking a suitably Byronic pose with a glass of absinthe whilst discussing the merits of suicide as practised amongst obscure French occultists.  That's Gothic as in the sort of tragic and moody romances with eery atmosphere and weirdly subversive supernatural elements that Lovecraft grew up reading like the Castle of Otranto, Melmoth the Wanderer, The Monk, and the rest of those classic tales that you can mostly find over at Project Gutenberg's Gothic Fiction Bookshelf. For free. And spare me the angsty melodrama of the hip newTrue Blood stuff--that sly old devil of a Yankee gentleman with a penchant for exsanguination, Barnabas Collins, was dating a waitress and having ethical qualms that tormented his black, black soul back before the Seventies even got started.  And he did it very, very well, thank you.  And on a day-time Soap of all things.

And now Barnabas is having the last laugh.  Johnny Depp has been cast to reprise Jonathan Frid's iconic role in a new production of a big screen adaptation of Dark Shadows helmed by Tim Burton.  Barnabas might get a little weirder, but he certainly won't get frikkin' sparkly, either.

What's not to like about a dyed in the wool Gothic Soap Opera that made use of plots, tropes and ideas from Edgar Allen Poe, Shirley Jackson, Guy Endore, Nathanial Hawthorne, Oscar Wilde, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Henry James, M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft and other unnameable authors of supernatural/gothic/occult horror fiction?  Maybe, if the movie adaptation (Third Big Screen remake) does significantly well, there will be another attempt made at a new and hippified Dark Shadows TV series (version 3.5!). 

Episode One of the Original Dark Shadows Series

Watch Dark Shadows: Episode 1. in Entertainment  

  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com

Some Dark Shadows Links
Vrooooooom Vroooooooom --gak--
Now if only there was a Dark Shadows RPG...though I did find an attempt at developing an online acting-exercise type RPG for Dark Shadows that appears to be all over the social media sites and quite active.  This online Dark Shadows RPG looks like a cross between White Wolf LARPers and gothic/Victoriana enthusiasts, so if that's your particular cup of tea, then by all means check them out.

I was hoping to find a Dark Shadows supplement for the Call of Cthulhu RPG, or something more along those lines, but so far, no such luck.

I'm heading over to YouTube/Vimeo/Hulu now, I'm looking for this particular episode, as quoted from Wikipedia: "The Leviathans: episode 885 (November 14, 1969) to 980 (March 27, 1970) An ancient Lovecraftian race of beings coerce Barnabas into joining their ranks. Together they attempt to enslave the Collins family and bring the town under the thrall of their mysterious leader, Jeb Hawkes."  Wish me luck.

* A Quick Lovecraftian-esque Excerpt from the Big Finish site:
"Dark Shadows--Collinsport, an isolated fishing village on the Maine coast. At its centre, lies the ominous Collinwood mansion, home of the wealthy Collins family. Those who dare to live at Collinwood find themselves the victims of ghosts, witchcraft and the supernatural, as they fight the spectre of vampirism that curses the Collins family name across the centuries."
All new, full-cast audio dramas and talking-books on CD, based on the classic gothic drama serial. Starring original Dark Shadows cast members, David Selby, Lara Parker, John Karlen and Kathryn Leigh Scott.

1 comment:

  1. I was, for some long time, devoted to Dark Shadows. Of course, it was frequently painful as hell watching them stretch out the storyline, but that just meant that one got even more enjoyment when something woudl actually happen; I mean something cool, not something like Jonathon Frid walking across the set with his lunch in hand while the credits were rolling. Although, that was kind of cool too.


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