Saturday, November 3, 2007

Dark Shadows

Probably one of the greatest T.V. shows of all time. Definately worth a mention as it totally captures the cult fiends eye, due to it's completely unintentional humour. This daytime soap opera began in 1966 with the premise of a gothic romance but the ratings were terrible and it was facing cancellation after only 6 months. The writers assumed that cancellation was inevitable and decided to write the last few episodes with some flare by adding a vampire to the mix. Barnabus the vampire was on the scene and the show became a huge hit and has many many dedicated fans. The show ran for six years, and like most soap operas, the plot twists and turns in every direction untill nobody really knows what's going on. Also, Dark Shadows didn't just take place in the modern time, but in multiple time streams and dimensions. The story mostly centers around the Collins family, a wealthy family that pretty much owns the entire town of Collinsport. Of particular interest is Barnabus Collins, his curious reappearance and uncanny resemblance to his ancestors picture that is hanging in the foyer of Collinwood. We learn slowly that he is a vampire and is obsessed with the past, and in a strange way tries to recreate it with people from the future. Lots of people get bit, brainwashed, etc. After the first year, the story jumps back to the year 1795 and all the modern character actors change names and relationships to expain what was being experienced in the future. All the ghosts from the future get to be live characters for a change. In addition to vampires and ghosts, the Collins family is also riddled with witches, werewolves and whatever else they could think of with a ring of supernatural to it. It's truly campy though. The show was filmed live so there were lots and lots of bloopers. Props fall, flies land on the actors faces, they forget their lines and often called the character by the actors real name. The show began in black and white, therefore certain things had to be changed like using blue candles instead of white, because the white candles caused too bright a glare. Unfortunately, when the show went color, they forgot to ditch the blue candles. So for most of the show, there would be nothing but gothic everywhere you looked... except for the neon blue candles that were everywhere. With over 1,225 episodes, it's a large collection to want. But now that they've been released on DVD, Dark Shadows lives on for it's old fans from the past as well as creating a whole new fanbase for all those cult lovers out there.


Davelandweb said...

I remember rushing home from school as a little kid to watch this show. I must have worn out my 3D Viewmaster Reel set from the show, too. This probably contributed towards my twisted sense of humor.

Cultfiend said...

A twisted sense of humor is a terrible thing to waste!! Guard it with your life, Dave!! I also grew up watching and loving Dark Shadows, ironically from my Mother. When I was young and she was a stay at home Mom. We used to watch it together and make fun when they messed up their lines. She loved Quentin and I adored Angelique, marvelous times they were. I think growing up with Dark Shadows gives a person a sense of awe and wonderment mixed with unintentional humor at an early age. So, to all you parents out there, it's never too late to start installing the software early!