Movie Fan Man: Cinema Connoisseur

Traditional, Artsy, Genre-Within-Genre: A Little Something for Everyone

He Was Sure He Was Out… But He Had to Go Back

by Tony Nash

(A Part of Yakuza & Crime)

(Mild to Spoiler Free)

(All Opinions are of the author alone)

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Kenju Zankoku Monogatari (Cruel Gun Story) (1964) PG-13 ****

Jo Shishido: Togawa (as Joe Shishido)

Chieko Matsubara: Rie

Tamio Kawaji: Takizawa (as Tamio Kawachi)

Yuji Kodaka: Shirai

Minako Katsuki: Keiko

Hiroshi Nihon’yanagi: Matsumoto

Hiroshi Kondo: Kondo

Shobun Inoue: Okada

Saburo Hiromatsu: Saeki

Junichi Yamanobe: Yanagida

Written by: Hisatoshi Kai & Haruhiko Oyabu

Directed by: Takumi Furukawa

Synopsis: After his release from prison for the murder of the truck driver responsible for his sister’s paralysis, ex-hoodlum Togawa intends on spending the rest of his days clean. When he learns from the nuns at the hospital his sister goes to that an operation would guarantee the use of her legs again, Togawa has no choice but to accept a mob boss’s offer to head an armored car heist worth millions.

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Nikkatsu in the mid sixties decided to take their Yakuza sub-genre in a new direction with a new kind of hero/protagonist. Instead of having the dedicated cop or the gangster with an unwavering moral code that can’t be compromised, the hero this time is a morally conflicted ex-con who wants to help those he loves, and at the same time can’t resist the lure of the easy money being a criminal can offer. The tragic loner figure was very prominent in the Hollywood Noir of the 1940’s and early 1950’s, and while most American character types were hard to transfer to European and Asian audiences, this character was universal enough that no matter what setting or country he ended up in, he was easy to connect to and sympathize with. These types of characters weren’t unusual to Japanese audiences at all, but never before had one been portrayed as a hoodlum trying to keep on the straight and narrow, but fate always having other ideas. The classic story of a hoodlum’s last job to set him and his loved ones financially well secured for life gets a nice contemporary setting, and really speaks highly of the financial strides and struggles going on in the swinging 60’s.

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Family values also play a big part within the story as a big part of the protagonist’s reasons for his actions involve relatives. Feeling highly responsible for his sister’s waist down paralysis, and ashamed that he allowed his emotions to send him into a harsh enough rage to murder the hit and run driver who caused the accident, he vows to make sure she’s well cared for the rest of her life. Having both a criminal record and a record of homicide under him makes gaining honest employment practically impossible, Togawa feels both the need to make sure his sister gets the best treatment and medical care possible and the pull of accepting the offer of a charismatic Yakuza boss that would ensure he can afford to provide all necessary care. Torn between two worlds is a primary and common theme in Noir and is used to great effect in this film, along with the strife of family obligations.

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Joe Shishido, who’s mark as a matinee idol was fully cemented by this time, gives a fine performance as Togawa. One of Shishido’s first times playing a loner, he really excels as the isolated man struggling to survive in a world that, while justifiably alienates the criminal element to avoid corruption, unfairly ostracizes those who’ve gotten out and are trying to make honest livings. All Togawa wants to do is live quietly and take care of his sister as their parents are long deceased, but his sister’s medical bills, the result of a careless hit and run truck driver, make trying to steer clear of trouble to make ends meet very difficult. Deciding he’ll avoid fatalities and convincing himself he’s doing this solely so his sister can get well, Togawa succumbs to temptation and agrees to the armored truck job offered him. Shishido adds a nice bit of conflicted moral coding as he feels he’s betrayed himself and the promise he made his parents, and at the same time feels the organization he once knew needs to be cleansed of the riff-raff who’ve contaminated it and giving it a bad name. Shishido then has Togawa decide he’ll honor both his parents and his old companions. Realizing not long after that this new breed of gangster doesn’t hold the same values he and many of his dead compatriots did, Togawa decides to pull the ultimate con to ensure his sister is provided for, and should the inevitable happen, he’ll leave the world with a clear conscience.

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Probably the most American Noir influenced Yakuza film of the period, Monogarari mixes two quintessential themes well: the thrilling and suspense laden heist film and the character driven human drama. That the hero isn’t threatened of forced into the job is an interesting point as it shows him as a willing, but very weary participant who keeps one eye one the job, and the other on the men he feels he can’t trust. Having him not being completely devoid of humanity wasn’t completely rare in the Yakuza genre, but the level that which the character is taken to is very unusual and different. The performances, the story, and the cinematography all make for a unique mixture of suspense, action, and compelling drama.

(Again I highly recommend this one as it takes the Yakuza genre in a nice different direction that keeps it fresh. Jo Shishido’s very humane character is a nice change up from the other Anti-Heroes who indeed had good in them, but still weren’t above using illegal methods to get to the answers. That Shishido’s character had tried to make a real effort to go legit makes him all the more relatable and tragic. Like with the many other titles in the Nikkatsu Noir Criterion Eclipse set, the picture and audio quality are very good and still maintain that local theater feel.)

All images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

For more information

IMDB/Cruel Gun Story

Wikipedia/Cruel Gun Story

Criterion Collection/Cruel Gun Story

Please see my review of A Colt is My Passport for the Amazon link to purchase Nikkatsu Noir if you’re interested.

Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, TV: Special Topics

Archenemies: How They Made Stories Better

by Tony Nash

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Spoilers may be present)

What often made great literature, great films, and great TV shows was when two characters became adversaries for each other. Whether their first encounter on screen or page led to a rivalry, or the two had been at odds in backstory, their shared intellect and willingness to do what it takes to foil the other made for great stories and conflict. Sometimes the rivalry was personal, chance encounters leading to ongoing vendettas that never seem to stop, or the rivalry was professional, conflict only rising because the two worked for different businesses or governments. Once in a while archenemies would mix both the personal and the professional, the chase and game becoming a battle of wills and wiles to see who would come out on top.

Now there are many popular examples, but here some of the forgotten and lesser known, but equally good arch rivals will be discussed.

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Jim West and Dr. Miguelito Loveless (The Wild, Wild West [1965-69]) (portrayed by Robert Conrad and Michael Dunn):

Possibly one of the most unique and original rivalries to ever spawn from 60’s Television was the constant battle of the minds between US Secret Service Agent Jim West and the maniacal genius Dr. Miguelito Loveless. When West foiled Loveless’ plot to detonate bombs throughout Washington DC when the government refused to return land in California promised his father by the King of Spain, the two forever became entangled in a continuing cat and mouse game to see who was smarter. What started out as Loveless merely wanting to get back what he believed was his spiraled into outlandish and ingenious methods of taking over the world and Jim West ever present to preserve freedom and democracy. As the series progressed the two developed a love-hate kind of relationship, a form of respect slowly building up between them. West would often comment after their encounters how he truly believed Loveless wanted to correct the mistakes of others, but would always be doomed to failure when he stopped caring about innocent people. Loveless in turn admitted he admired West’s spirit and determination in his belief in the governing process of the US and how the people strive for better. The majority of their encounters was Loveless’ harebrained schemes and West’s creative ways with Artemus Gordon in how to stop him, always making for fun and exciting scenes. After a while, Loveless set his sights purely on doing away with West, plans of world domination taking a backseat, but never-the-less exciting material.

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Steve McGarrett and Wo Fat (Hawaii Five-O [1968- 80]) (portrayed by Jack Lord and Khigh Dhiegh):

In the first TV series ever shot entirely on location in the beautiful state of Hawaii was the everlasting feud between police detective Steve McGarrett and international criminal/Communist agent Wo Fat. The two had encountered each other prior to the start of the series, and there was plenty of bad blood between them already. McGarrett would often have to foil Wo Fat’s plans in Cold War era espionage and the villain’s own personal schemes. Unlike other archenemies who eventually come to a begrudging respect, this wasn’t the case with McGarrett and Wo Fat. Fat’s willingness to kill anyone, including those working with him, to complete a mission made him a fugitive everywhere, including his own country, thus making him someone very dangerous and untrustworthy. The cat and mouse game gets more intense with each encounter as personal pride and ambition becoming the reasons these two encounter each other.

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Barnabas Collins and Angelique Bouchard (aka Miranda Duval) (Dark Shadows [1966-71]) (Portrayed by Jonathan Frid and Lara Parker):

Of the rare occasions men and women were enemies, Barnabas and Angelique were probably the best example. One time lovers whom Barnabas admitting he couldn’t string Angelique along and he loved another woman sent her over the edge into acts against the innocent just to harm him. In spite of the occasional team up of the two to save the Collins family, Angelique’s motives were really because she wanted the honor of destroying Barnabas herself and not wanting anyone else to rob her of that. Like most adversaries, the intelligence and with they both displayed made their encounters very interesting and made many an audience wonder what the outcome would be. Surprisingly, even with the extreme hatred between them, the two did develop a type of admiration for each other, their perseverance and determination inspired the other to think a little differently at times, though past wounds still ran very deep for both of them.

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Colonel Robert E. Hogan and Marya the White Russian (Hogan’s Heroes [1965-71]) (portrayed by Bob Crane and Nita Talbot):

As incredible as it sounds, these two were very much enemies, even though their governments had an alliance agreement. Marya was constantly entrapping Hogan in her own schemes, always putting his own activities for the Underground at risk. While she was indeed acting as a double agent for the Allies, her double-dealing Black Widow like personality had audiences forever wondering if she wouldn’t have sold out the Heroes to save herself or complete missions. The fact that her ideas always worked out in spite of her own role in the schemes was all that kept Hogan from reporting her very questionable methods to Army Intelligence. Marya’s infatuation with Hogan in the romantic sense brought ever more questions to her MO as why would she constantly try to help get him killed if she respected him. Surprisingly, this constant state of not being able to trust each other that eventually made them trust each other.

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Dr. Mabuse and Kommissar von Wenk (Dr. Mabuse: Der Spieler [Dr. Mabuse: The Gambler] [[published 1922]) (portrayed by Rudolf Klein-Rogge and Bernhard Goetzke):

These two men weren’t just enemies in law and order, but enemies of social function as well. Mabuse represented the chaos and anarchy that wanted to erupt from post WWI Germany and von Wenk represented the organized order that wanted to prevail amidst the uncertainty and chaos of the times. That Mabuse wanted to exploit the people’s shattered sense of self in the wake of everything they knew practically being destroyed showed a predatory personality that didn’t care about how he obtained anything just so long as he got it. Some might say he himself is a victim of the post-war era in that he must resort to criminal activity to survive, but because he seeks to corrupt the lower class to steal from the high class changes this. Kommissar von Wenk might be a part of the upper echelon that does little to help those who have less, but he does believe in the concept of real justice, and while his superiors and friends might use the crime spree to deter the lower class from making stands, he acts to prevent true anarchy that would victimize everyone.

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Rudolf Rassendyll and Rupert of Hentzau (The Prisoner of Zenda [published 1894 – filmed 1937 and 1952] & Rupert of Hentzau [published 1895/1898]) (portrayed by Ronald Coleman & Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Stewart Granger & James Mason respectively):

One of the classic Adventure Romances of all time produced one of the best arch-rivalries of all time. Rassendyll is the common everyman with class who soon finds himself in the middle of a plot to take over a country. Rupert of Hentzau is a smiling slime ball looking to both profit and gain control from the coupe of his king’s greedy and jealous half-brother. While having a commonality in breeding and manners, their difference in what is the right thing to do is what compounds in making them enemies. The parry of words and swords between the two makes for very nice entertainment and suspense that keeps the viewer interested in what would eventually happen between the two. When Hentzau escaped and returned to try to take over again, the feud between himself and Rassendyll became a little more intense, though the wit and parry remained the same.

Whether enemies by circumstance or enemies by choice, these duos and the multitude of others out there made the films, TV, and books they appeared in seem all the more better.

all images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images and their respective owners

for more information

IMDB/Wikipedia – The Wild Wild West TV Series

IMDB/Wikipedia – Hawaii Five-O 1968 Series

IMDB/Wikipedia – Dark Shadows 1966 Series

IMDB/Wikipedia – Hogan’s Heroes TV Series

IMDB/Wikipedia – Dr. Mabuse The Gambler

IMDB/Wikipedia – The Prisoner of Zenda 1937 and 1952

https://www.amazon.com/Wild-West-Complete/dp/B00TZF2KEU/ref=sr_1_3?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1541967137&sr=1-3&keywords=wild+wild+west+dvd+complete+series&dpID=51e8IphzRHL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B06WD4D8FC/ref=tmm_dvd_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1541967431&sr=1-3

https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B017Q8QNJK/ref=tmm_dvd_new_olp_sr?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1541967494&sr=1-3

https://www.amazon.de/Ein-K%C3%A4fig-voller-Helden-Amazon/dp/B07B4Q557Q/ref=sr_1_2?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1541967619&sr=1-2&keywords=Hogan%27s+Heroes

https://www.amazon.com/Dr-Mabuse-Gambler-Rudolf-Klein-Rogge/dp/B01DGN4W9W/ref=sr_1_4?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1541967669&sr=1-4&keywords=Dr.+Mabuse&dpID=51AT2PZ%252BrmL&preST=_SY300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/offer-listing/B00EYZQMN6/ref=tmm_blu_new_olp_0?ie=UTF8&condition=new&qid=1541967723&sr=1-1

 

 

 

Filed under: Film: Special Topics, TV: Special Topics

Barnabas Collins is Much Better Than Edward Cullen!!!

by Tony Nash

(The Month of Hammer Horror Special)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Spoilers may be present)

(This one I dedicate to my Mother, who gave me my love of the series, whom I binge watch this with from time to time, and is one of her own childhood favorites)

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Dark Shadows (1966-71) ***** TV-PG

Jonathan Frid: Barnabas Collins, Bramwell Collins (Parallel Time)

Joan Bennett: Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, Naomi Collins, Judith Collins, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Parallel Time), Flora Collins, Flora Collins (Parallel Time)

Alexandra Isles: Victoria “Vicki” Winters #1 (as Alexandra Moltke)

David Selby: Quentin Collins II, Grant Douglas, Quentin Collins II (Parallel Time), Quentin Collins I, Quentin Collins I (Parallel Time)

Grayson Hall: Dr. Julia Hoffman, Countess Natalie Du Pres, Magda Rakosi, Julia Hoffman (Parallel Time), Dr. Julia (Hoffman) Collins, Julia Collins (Parallel Time), Constance Collins (Parallel Time)

Nancy Barrett: Carolyn Stoddard, Millicent Collins, Charity Trask, Pansy Faye, Carolyn Stoddard Loomis (Parallel Time), Letecia Faye, Melanie Collins (Parallel Time), Amanda Collins (Parallel Time)

Louis Edmonds: Roger Collins, Joshua Collins, Edward Collins, Roger Collins (Parallel Time), Joshua Collins (Parallel Time), Daniel Collins, Amadeus Collins, Brutus Collins (Parallel Time)

Kathryn Leigh Scott: Maggie Evans, Josette Du Pres Collins, Rachel Drummond, Lady Kitty Soames Hampshire, Maggie Evans Collins (Parallel Time)

Lara Parker: Miranda Duval/ Angelique Duval Brochard Collins Rumson/Cassandra Collins/Valerie Collins, Angelique Stokes Collins (Parallel Time) Alexis Stokes (Parallel Time), Catherine Harridge Collins (Parallel Time)

Thayer David: Matthew Morgan #2, Ben Stokes, Professor T. Eliot Stokes, Sandor Rakosi, Count Andreas Petofi, Timothy Eliot Stokes (Parallel Time), Mordecai Grimes, Ben Stokes (Parallel Time)

Jerry Lacy: Tony Peterson, The Reverend Trask, Reverend Gregory Trask, Mr. Trask (Parallel Time), Lamar Trask

John Karlen: Willie Loomis #2, Carl Collins, William H. Loomis (Parallel Time), Desmond Collins, Kendrick Young (Parallel Time)

Diana Millay: Laura Murdoch Radcliffe Stockbridge Collins

Dennis Patrick: Jason McGuire, Paul Stoddard

David Ford: Sam Evans #2, Andre Du Pres

Roger Davis: Peter Bradford, Jeff Clark, Ned Stuart, Dirk Wilkins, Charles Delaware Tate

Joel Crothers: Joe Haskell, Lt. Nathan Forbes

Don Briscoe: Thomas “Tom” Jennings, Christopher “Chris” Jennings,  Timothy “Tim” Shaw, Chris Collins (Parallel Time)

Humbert Allen Astredo: Nicholas Black, Evan Hanley, Charles Dawson, Great-Grandfather Dawson

Lisa Richards: Sabrina Stuart, Sabrina Stuart (Parallel Time)

Mitch Ryan: Burke Devlin #1 (as Mitchell Ryan)

Anthony George: Burke Devlin #2, Jeremiah Collins

Robert Rodan: Adam

Clarice Blackburn: Mrs. Sarah Johnson, Abigail Collins, Minerva Trask

Dana Elcar: Sheriff George Patterson #1

Christopher Pennock: Jebez “Jeb” Hawkes, Dr. Cyrus Longworth (Parallel Time), John Yaeger (Parallel Time), Sebastian Shaw, Gabriel Collins, Gabriel Collins (Parallel Time)

Michael Stroka, Aristede, Bruno, Bruno Hess (Parallel Time), Laszlo Ferrari

Marie Wallace: Eve (Danielle Roget), Jenny Collins, Megan Todd

Addison Powell: Judge Matigan, The Voice of Jeremiah Collins, Dr. Eric Lang, Judge Wiley

Robert Gerringer: Dr. David “Dave” Woodard #2

Jim Storm: Gerard Stiles (Ivan Miller), Judah Zachary (while possessed), Gerard Stiles (Parallel Time) (as James Storm)

Kate Jackson: Daphne Harridge, Daphne Harridge Collins (Parallel Time)

Terry Crawford: Beth Chavez, Edith Collins

David Hennesy: David Collins, Daniel Collins, Jamison Collins, Count Andreas Petofi (while possessed), Daniel Collins (Parallel Time), Tad Collins

Denise Nickerson: Amy Jennings, Nora Collins, Amy Collins (Parallel Time)

Virginia Vestoff: Samantha Drew, Samantha Drew (Parallel Time)

Keith Prentice: Morgan Collins (Parallel Time), James Forthsye (Parallel Time)

Frank Schofield: Bill Malloy

Written by: Dan Curtis, Art Wallace, Ron Sproat, Malcolm Mamorstein, Sam Hall, Gordon Russell, & Francis Swann

Directed by: Dan Curtis, Lela Swift, Henry Kaplan, John Sedwick, & Sean Dhu Sullivan

Synopsis: Vampires, Witches, Warlocks, Werewolves, Ghosts, Occultists, and Satanists all ascend on the great estate of Collinwood, where the Collins family suffers a series of curses for past misdeeds. Only distant relation Barnabas Collins, afflicted with the Vampire Curse, is able to save his family from those who would destroy them.

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Long before Stephanie Myers conceived highly romanticized and enticing vampires and werewolves in her Twilight saga, there was the highly popular and well loved ABC Soap Opera Dark Shadows. Created by Dan Curtis as a homage to Gothic Literature, Gothic Films, Folklore, and Classic Movie Monsters, Dark Shadows was the only Soap Opera of the 1960’s to have an audience made up of teenagers and young adults due to its relevance of the re-emerging popularity of Horror films. Oddly enough the series started out as standard Soap Opera Melodrama with hints of the Gothic and Supernatural, but with encouragement from family and friends, Curtis slowly directed his writers into pure Horror based story-lines and characters. While the heroes and heroines remained the same, the villains were now vampires, witches, warlocks, werewolves, and ghosts, all still in the tradition of Simon Legree, Frankenstein’s Creature, and Larry Talbot.

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Originally the main focus of the series was Victoria Winters and her search for her true identity. Curtis always maintained his initial concept was a dream of a young woman entering a castle on a foggy night, with smatterings of Jane Eyre thrown in for good measure. As time progressed and more emphasis was put on homages to Universal Horror films, Victoria Winters primarily acted as the damsel in distress characters had to save from the machinations of evil characters. When actress Alexandra Moltke left the series to get married and have her son, the character was written out as deciding to live in the past with love interest Peter Bradford, seemingly stuck in suspended animation. Years after the series itself ended actress Joan Bennett told an interviewer that Victoria was to be revealed as her character’s daughter, whom she gave up for adoption. When the surviving cast gathered together for a special radio style drama reading to celebrate one of the show’s anniversaries,  in Elizabeth Collins Stoddard’s will, she confesses Victoria is in fact her oldest daughter and implores her other daughter Carolyn to find her and return her to Collinwood.

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What ended up making the show a hit, in spite of it’s initial star deciding to leave the series, was the casting of Canadian stage actor Jonathan Frid as the remorse-filled Vampire Barnabas Collins. Frid’s portrayal of Barnabas as a genuinely good man who made a brief series of poor decisions that led to his eventual predicament made him not only a romantic figure for a generation of young women, but a cultural icon for generations to come. While many may hold Frid responsible for vampires losing their fear appeal and turning them into Romantic personas, Frid never-the-less started a new trend of vampires who didn’t lose their humanity and retained a sense of sympathy from the audience. Ironically Frid had originally signed on only for a 13 Week stint as Barnabas and at the end was to be killed off, but the audience reaction to him was so positive that he was changed from a Soap Opera version of Dracula to a lovable and heroic selfless man who spent everyday atoning for his sins and mistakes.  After Frid’s introduction, a wave of other monsters graced the halls of Collinwood including witches, two Frankenstein like creatures, warlocks, Satanists, werewolves, etc. and made the show what it is today.

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Many venerable film and TV actors, previously well known and later well known, graced the series with their presence including Hollywood great Joan Bennett, Mitch Ryan, Dennis Patrick, Thayer David, John Karlen, Dana Elcar, Abe Vigoda, and Anthony George. Most of the cast however was made up of Theater performers like Nancy Barrett, David Selby, Jerry Lacy, Grayson Hall, Joel Crothers, David Ford, Lara Parker, etc, looking to branch into Television, some making it into other roles, others known only for the series itself. Kathryn Leigh Scott and Alexandra Molkte were recent graduates of the New York Academy of Dramatic Arts and Dark Shadows was literally their first acting roles ever. While some continued to later successes and others fizzled not long after the series ended, they are all still admired by fans past and present, and make appearances at the many conventions held yearly in honor of the series.

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With a cast made up of a plethora of Theater actors, the show developed a kind of repertoire feel and a continuous feel as well to it.  As Dan Curtis only had so much in terms of money to work with, the cast often found themselves playing their own ancestors or other characters in general when they entered into the past or other dimensions, which lended  to the show’s success in a big way. By having the actor’s play multiple roles, it made the universe they were in feel very real and very authentic. This also led people who enjoyed Theater as well to feel like they were watching a continues play that came on 5 days a week on TV, again giving more nostalgia as the years progressed. No other series, Soap Opera or otherwise had done it before or since, with the occasional exception here and there , and again adds to the uniqueness that has made it the classic it is.

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Time Travel, Science Fiction, Horror, Gothic Romance, and even some Comedy permeated the series and were used to great effect. The story-lines taking characters to the 1790’s, 1890’s, 1840’s, and even the 1680’s and 1660’s allowed viewers to get as realistic an interpretation as possible how people of those eras and periods behaved, interacted with each other, and even to certain extant, spoke. Everything from the clothes to the lighting, even certain euphemisms were done with as much authenticity without having the actors be in any kind of discomfort and disadvantage. The use of other dimensions, mad science, raising the dead, and creating new species all bring to life the world of Sci-Fi/Horror hybrid.  Science going in directions that would to man’s enslavement or demise wasn’t tackled too much within Dark Shadows, but was done enough that it allowed something different from the standard Horror affair. The works of the Bronte sisters, Stoker, Poe, Lovecraft, Stevenson, James, and even Wells abound in plot elements of the series, and offer their own unique twist on the classics.

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The only thing really to complain about with the series was the consistent continuity errors in terms of the historical timeline of it and the reference to past events. Things were constantly changing in terms of the character’s past, and events & lives changed as a result of what Barnabas and company was able to prevent happening in the past that directly affected the current state of the Collins family. With so much being fooled around with and changed, viewers and even the cast themselves were uncertain as to the proper history of the characters and of the events that occurred within. These errors tended to have the series get made fun of a little, but for those truly entranced by the series, these issues and glitches fade away and the show’s fine essence is all that matters.

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Whether people love it or hate Dark Shadows has withstood the test of time and brought new meaning and new ideas to the world of Horror and Gothic Drama and Fantasy. Rich characters and stories kept viewers tuning in every week for five years. Even when its decline became apparent with poor rehashing’s of previously successful plots, viewers still wanted to see what would happen to the residents of Collinwood, and remained loyal to the end. Syndication and fans wanting to see episodes on home media brought the show back from obscurity and has garnished an entire new generations of viewers and devoted fans. Actresses Kathryn Leigh Scott and Nancy Barrett have stated in interviews that the fans they meet always amaze them, some even going as far as legally changing their names to that of a member of the Collins family and in one woman’s case getting permanent fang implants from her dental surgeon. The fan base might be a little crazy, but it’s a love they don’t go overboard with.

(This is one series I can watch for hours and hours and not be bored with. I highly, highly recommend it for anyone looking for something totally different and unique that’s also a love letter to Classic Horror and the Gothic. The entire series is on DVD in single editions, and a giant boxset. I normally list the items for purchase below, but given there are over 30 sets of 40 episodes apiece, it would take too much time to sort it all, but feel free to check out Amazon, where the sets are between $25-$30. I also recommend checking out the first 209 episodes which pre-date the arrival of Barnabas, and are just as good. I also highly advise avoiding Tim Burton’s 2012 film version, as while he’s an admirable fan, his version does little justice to the classic original, and changes the backstories far too much)

All images courtesy of Google.com/Google Images

For more information

IMDB/Dark Shadows 1966-71

Wikipedia/Dark Shadows 1966-71

The Dark Shadows Wikia

http://www.DarkShadowsOnline!.com

I also recommend checking out Kathryn Leigh Scott’s books about the series. She has chronicled her own life within the series, the series itself, and the popularity it has enjoyed throughout the years. The books are very good and Scott has some amazing stories to tell about her fellow cast members.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filed under: TV: Analysis/Overview, TV: Special Topics