Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dark Shadows

In the early 1970s, I watched a soap opera called Dark Shadows. It featured Barnabas Collins as a vampire who watched over his manor. He was in love with the governess, Victoria Winters.

The show also had werewolves, witches, and other supernatural creatures. It ran for five years on ABC, which was the only station we could receive at the time. It originally aired from 1966 to 1971, but I recall watching it when I was older. Maybe it had a reruns.

The show was campy and it didn't hesitate to cross cultures, history, and anything else. Some of the story lines borrowed heavily from classic books, such as Jane Eyre.

The show has a cult following even today. In 2012, Tim Burton made a movie based on the show.

We watched the movie the other night on TV. It starred Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins.

The movie received mixed reviews. The dark comedy, which was set in 1972, showed the characters I remembered best and stuck to the "why is Barnabas a vampire" storyline for the most part, summing up 5 years worth of soap opera in two hours.

The movie featured some nice lines, one big explosion, some blood, a few ghosts, and a werewolf. There were a few flashbacks but they were nicely done.

I did not care for the actress who played Victoria Winters. She played the part very much like a mannequin, and that was not the portrayal I expected since the entire show revolved around that character and Barnabas.

Victoria Winters was played by several different actresses on the TV show, and I am not sure which one I remember.

Dark Shadows falls into the genre of Gothic Romance. I have always liked that type of show and/or book. These stories have a little horror and a little romance; True Blood could be considered a Gothic of sorts, I suppose, based on those elements. Generally Gothics feature an orphaned young woman who is a governess or housekeeper or something in a mysterious old mansion. Someone - or something - is out to get her.

I used to love the Gothic Romances by Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Barbara Michaels. At one time I thought I might like to write these types of books. The genre has fallen out of favor, though. It would be an interesting exercise to see what I might do with it now that I am older (and hopefully a wiser and better writer).

It is interesting that the genre has long held an appeal for me, and I wonder if it all started with Dark Shadows. Did I watch it when I was three years old, when the show first came on? I don't know. Maybe I did, and it stuck.


  1. I watched the movie a while back and thought it was funny, but I hardly ever watched Dark Shadows back in the day so didn't have a lot to compare it to.

  2. the hubby said the old shows were funny - he enjoyed them.
    i saw the Johnny Depp version & love it. he is such a great actor. not bad on the eyes either. ( :

  3. I haven't seen the movie, but they definitely re-ran the TV series in the later 70s. I remember seeing a few episodes when I was a kid. I've long enjoyed gothic romances but, as you've said, they don't publish many any more. It's always a treat stumbling upon one.


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