Sunday, June 24, 2012

Collinwood Cliffhanger

My name is Victoria Winters . . . [cue music] Oooo-ooo-OOOO-oo-oo-oooo-ooo-oooo. [Cue waves crashing on rocks]

Last month, I spent a couple of weeks with the fine denizens of Collinwood in Collinsport, Maine. It had been a long, long time since I'd whiled away the afternoons with my Dark Shadows buddies Elizabeth and Roger, Carolyn, Maggie, and Victoria, Barnabas, Julia, and David. But there they were, in glowing black and white, which added to the creep-value, I can testify. I wanted to watch the series in preparation for seeing the Tim Burton movie, just to refresh my memory about who's who and what's what.

I found I'm still jealous of Carolyn Stoddard's perfect flip (that's a hairstyle, young'uns) and the super-cute wardrobes of Carolyn, Maggie, and Victoria. Classic. However, there's still some really iffy acting, especially from the film pros like Joan Bennett, and it's easy to tell they're reading from the prompters. Boom microphones and cameras are often seen in the shots, or at least their shadows, so much so that the show was often referred to as "Mic Shadows."

But you know what? The show still managed to scare me. Maybe it was the music, or the weird camera angles (with or without boom shadows), or that everything seemed to happen at night. Anyway. The storyline is still FABulous. Seances, ghosts, steep drops down to the waves crashing on the rocks, mausoleums and cemeteries, the Blue Whale, those damn music boxes. The Old House. The New House. Take the key and lock her up . .  {shiver}

Alas, I got so hooked on Dark Shadows that I was devastated when the Netflix series came to a screeching halt. Dang. I'll give them one thumbs up (for making part of the series available) and a whole handful of thumbs down for its weird selection of episodes. It starts with Episode 210 (the first time Barnabas appears) and ends with Episode 370 (when Victoria has traveled back in time and just as we're about to find out how Barnabas got to be a vampire). Aaarrgh! So irritating! I want all 1225 episodes, not a measly 160!

I'd love to see the first episodes that provide the background of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, her daughter Carolyn, governess Victoria Winters, and Maggie Evans. And, I would love to see the rest of the series with Quentin and lots more Angelique. Sheesh. I feel so cheated. Much like viewers did when the show was abruptly yanked from the afternoon line-up in 1971.

What would be the fate of Barnabas, Elizabeth, Carolyn, Quentin, Maggie, and poor Willie Loomis? One of the show's writers brought a little closure in a TV Guide article at the end of the series. Not much consolation, granted, but it is a glimpse into what might have been, though my skin kinda crawls knowing that Barnabas and Julia would marry. {another shiver}

So until Netflix pulls everything out of the Dark Shadows vault (get it? vault?), I'll have to find a way to live with my unfulfilled addiction to the good people of Collinsport.

By the way, I never did see the Tim Burton movie version. After watching the original series, I can't imagine anyone topping it, not even Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. And I'm sure no one could out-"do" the original Carolyn Stoddard's hair.

[cue music] Oooo-ooo-OOOO-oo-oo-oo-oo-ooo-oooo.

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