Friday, 11 May 2012

Dark Shadows

My name is Victoria Winters... my journey is just beginning..."
On 27 June 1966, Americans joins the young governess to the remote coastal town of Collinsport, Maine, which for the next five years would be the home of the assorted supernatural forces inhabiting the world of ABC-TV's Dark Shadows, the first gothic soap opera.
Between 1966 to 1971, an entire generation of kids ran home from school to watch Dark Shadows. My younger sister and I were amoung them.
Halted as "Satan's favourite TV show," by religious groups, several parent groups complained that the show gave their children nightmares (I was one of those kids), but I still watched anyway. Today, looking back, I realise how cheesy the efforts was, how bad the acting, and now being Torah observant, wouldn't watch the show at all.
For me, the biggest draw was the Vampire Barnabas Collins, portrayed by the late Jonathan Frid, who passed away last month at age 87.

With his dark good looks and long cloak with the eloquent European flair that still causes me to go weak in the knees, Jonathan Frid was Barnabas Collins. 
 There was an forbidden, nasty about enjoying Dark Shadows, like Mr. Collins himself. The show, like Barnbas's dark eyes drew you in and held you. You wanted to look away, but couldn't.  An erotic pleasure I was quickly cured of after being attacked and bitten by a fruit bat years ago.
Or was it Barnabas Collin fulfilling a teenager girl's naughty wish?
Thankfully, I didn't need the shots, though my neck was swollen and painful for weeks.
And then there is the matter of the Torah commanding us not to have any intercourse (fellowship) with the dead. Funny how these commandments keep popping up.
Dark Shadows will open soon. I'd seen the trailers....
Ah, yeah...
With respect to Johnny Depp, I wouldn't go going to see the movie.
It is more than to go and attend this movie goes against my morals. Though that is a very good reason.

Although Jonathan Frid gave Johnny Depp his blessing by sending him a handwritten letter and an autographed photo, for me there is only one man who embodies that duke of darkness, and that is Jonathan Frid. Yes, looking back, I remember the fogotten lines, tombstones that would fall over or a ghost waving off a fly. It was camp fun. But for me, it was so real. It was the imperfections that made the show perfect. Mr. Frid was the lonely, haunted Vampire, hating the fate forced upon him by a spiteful woman, yet coming to terms and learning to live with his state. Collins had his secrets, like we all. Thus the title, Dark Shadows. Dark Shadows for me is a spicey slice of my childhood I wish not to mess with.
 As we say when a play comes to the end of its run: "I loved you darling, but the show's closed."
R.I.P Mr. Frid.
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