Episode 1088: The Summer of Our Discontent

“Don’t you feel the evil in this room?”

If it seems like the Collinwood halls are filled with more ghosts and fewer people than usual, that’s because three of the stars — Jonathan Frid, Kathryn Leigh Scott and Nancy Barrett — are out this week on separate press tours for House of Dark Shadows, the feature film which keeps on finding ways to make the show worse.

In the film, Jonathan Frid plays a vampire, Kathryn Leigh Scott plays a girl, and Nancy Barrett plays a girl vampire, so she wins. You see a lot of Carolyn-the-vampire images in the promotional materials, because that’s the traditional early-70s horror movie draw — a pretty girl in a flimsy nightgown, with blood all over her face. This was the period after they invented red paint and before they invented slasher movies, so sometimes the girls had to go and get bloody some other way.

The trailer for House of Dark Shadows starts with a shot of Collinwood a la the opening of the show, except instead of saying “My name is Victoria Winters,” they have a guy who growls “VAMPIRE!” Then there’s an assortment of haunted Halloween type noises — creaky door, creepy giggle, grunting Frankenstein monster, crazy werewolf howl — which sounds exactly nothing like Dark Shadows. It’s like they borrowed a sound effects tape from the Crypt-Kicker Five.

We see the classic upshot of Willie opening the coffin, with a Boris Karloff voice murmuring, “Come and see how the vampires… DO IT!!”  with a heavy emphasis on the “DO IT” part. Then there’s a half-second shot of something that I cannot for the life of me recognize as anything in particular, and a half-second shot of Maggie screaming.

Then there’s a little montage of mayhem with vampire Carolyn, which starts with her getting staked by the police, and then shows Mrs. Johnson dropping a tray as she discovers that Carolyn is dead, which is backwards, not that it matters. “House of Dark Shadows,” Boris intones, “where death… (pause) … is a way of life (silent rimshot).”

Then Stokes, in Julia’s lab, saying, “Julia, do you believe in the existence of vampires?” and Julia chuckles, “You’re not really serious.”

Boris replies, “Oh, but he is, Julia!” because the fake Karloff is now free to interact with the characters. We see Julia backing up in horror as — old man face Barnabas reaches towards her! “CLARRRRRRRRK!” yells Barnabas, pointing a stake upwards toward the camera. “I command you to come to me!”

Oh, and then a shot that’s just there to piss off Jonathan Frid — Barnabas, opening his mouth and showing off his fangs for a full three seconds.

Then Maggie walks downstairs in a wedding dress, as Boris makes the deadpan announcement, “Barnabas Collins takes a bride, in a bizarre act of unnatural love.”

Maggie poses on the staircase, as Barnabas raises his arms to welcome her, and the picture goes red, and then “House of Dark Shadows” from Boris, and “Rated GP.”

So that’s not a bad encapsulation of the movie’s content, if you take out the dialogue and characterization, which, to be honest, are not huge priorities for the movie anyway. For example: that scream of Claaarrrrk is from the end of the movie, and Barnabas is screaming it because Maggie’s boyfriend’s last name is Clark, which is not a fact that you learn in the movie itself.

This is a tough movie for a trailer to summarize, because the show is a mix of soap operas, monster movies, selections from freshman lit and black-box performance art, and the film has a tough time figuring out what it wants to focus on. Some of it is romance, some of it is mad science gone wrong, and a big part of it is Hammer blood orgy.

None of it is salacious or sexy, though. There are zero love scenes, unless you count Carolyn getting penetrated by a crowd of police officers and male onlookers. There’s minimal nudity, besides a couple upskirt shots and the general salaciousness of Carolyn walking around in a see-through shroud. As far as the love triangle is concerned, Barnabas and Maggie hold hands twice and hug maybe once. I don’t think Maggie and Jeff even go on a date; he just kisses her on the eye while she’s unconscious.

So what I’m saying is, the “unnatural love” angle is misleading at best. You definitely see how the vampires do it, but “it” is pretty much limited to biting someone on the neck and wearing a nightgown.

But this is how you market vampire movies in 1970, a year where the other vampire film is called The Vampire Lovers, and features actual girl-on-girl vampire bedroom action. The poster screams, “Taste the deadly passion of the BLOOD-NYMPHS!” So House of Dark Shadows got off pretty easy.

There’s a radio spot, too, which takes a different angle on things. That starts with thirty seconds of Barnabas and Maggie romance dialogue from the scene where they’re holding hands and hiding behind trees, backed with groovy Cowsills-ish music.

“Some people live in boxes all their lives,” says the narrator, which is actually witty, compared to everything else. And then Barnabas tells Maggie, “You know, I feel I’m beginning a whole new life, and you’re responsible for that life. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be with you!”

The music swells for some up-tempo harmonics, and then there’s Boris again, talking about Barnabas Collins and the bizarre act of unnatural love. This is followed by a burst of screams, and then “House of Dark Shadows. Come see how the vampires…” and you know the rest. The last few seconds are just Willie gurgling. Please buy a ticket and see our movie.

Meanwhile, MGM sent promotional material to the theaters that could have been used for basically any vampire movie from around 1954 to 1979 — plastic fangs, glow-in-the-dark stickers, and “fainting pills” which were actually red-hot candy. They suggested that theater owners put an old wooden casket in the lobby, and invite people to peek inside, and apparently some of them actually did.

The brainiacs at MGM also had an idea labeled BATTY FUN: “The extra showmanship of this stunt could win you newspaper and media coverage. See if a live bat can be borrowed from a local zoo or pet shop for opening day. Advertise that you have on display, for one day only, a live “vampire” in your lobby.” That does sound like fun, although I have one question: could you actually buy a bat in a pet shop in the 70s? What would a person do, with a store-bought bat?

Naturally, Jonathan Frid wasn’t pleased with all of this nonsense; he would rather be playing Orlando or Caliban, and did he mention that he once acted with Katharine Hepburn? So all of this seemed juvenile and distressing to Frid, and he didn’t do a great job of hiding his displeasure.

Here’s an excerpt from his interview with Women’s Wear Daily:

One thing that gets 45-year-old Frid down about his TV role is the teenage fans. “I always feel like an ass being a teenage idol in a teenybopper magazine,” he says. “I’ve had my phone number changed, but there’s a couple of brats that have it. It’s not so much an affection for you as a game. They’re little detectives.”

Frid is also upset about his movie. “I object very strongly about the vulgarity of the picture. It dissipates the effect of horror. It’s not horrible enough because there’s too much indulgence in blood. I don’t mind doing the scenes, but I’m afraid the public will object. Our producer knows the lowest common denominator. I also find the ads very offensive. And I will never do another horror picture without having script approval and other guarantees.”

So: WOW! Great job on the press tour, guys. I would say at this point that Jonathan Frid is entirely fed up with being on Dark Shadows. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an actor talk smack about his movie like that, except for Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, doing promotion for Fifty Shades when they obviously couldn’t stand being in the same room for more than fifty seconds.

And then there’s the Miss American Vampire beauty pageant, the last great Dark Shadows promotion stunt. Here’s the writeup:

Miss American Vampire will receive a week’s role in the series, along with an all-expense-paid week for two in New York. Nancy Barrett, who portrays the young vampire in the film, will coach the winner for her television debut. Prior to the national finals to be held this fall, regional contests will take place in nine major cities throughout the country.

The judging will be based on originality in interpreting the “vampire look,” as well as charm, poise, stage presence, and videogenic qualities.

Girls 18-25 are encouraged to let their imaginations run wild in achieving their particular “vampire look”. Anything in the way of costumes and makeup is permissible. Suggestions for costumes include the white, diaphanous shroud, for the newly initiated vampire, or a slinky black for the more sophisticated ghoul. A touch of red here or there would not be amiss, and accessories such as necklaces of teeth would certainly be in order.

Necklaces of teeth! There’s nothing like a dental decolletage to help Jonathan Frid feel like he’s made good choices in his professional life. I would have assumed that this would be the moment he decided he really didn’t want to play Barnabas anymore, but I have to admit, he seems pretty perky in all the pictures I’ve seen. And check out the amazing jacket that he wore!

The contest was a complicated scenario; I’ll try to walk you through it. There were nine regional contests — in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Miami, Cleveland, St. Louis, Dallas and Boston — and then a national winner was selected on Regis Philbin’s daytime show, Tempo.

The New York regional was hosted at Palisades Amusement Park in Palisades, NJ, with Nancy Barrett and Jonathan Frid appearing as the judges. In The Dark Shadows Companion, Barrett recalled:

It was fun, for the first five minutes. After that, it got terribly depressing. Some of the girls came in bikinis. Some came dressed as witches or vampires or dead bodies.

One girl stood in front of me and just stared at me. ‘Am I supposed to smile at you?’ she asked. I gave a nervous laugh and said, ‘No, that’s all right. You can go on to the next judge.’ Another girl told us she was a witch. We all decided to make her a semi-finalist for fear she might ‘get us’ afterward.

Christine Domaniecki from Philadelphia was crowned the winner at the Palisades regional, and she went to Los Angeles for the national finals. Nancy Barrett was one of the national judges, too, but Frid skipped it; I guess he suddenly remembered an important engagement that he needed to attend.

A lot of the books say that Domaniecki was the national winner, probably because she’s the one who actually appeared on Dark Shadows. But the winner crowned on Tempo was actually Sacheen Littlefeather, who reached national fame a few years later in a totally different way.

Littlefeather was a Native American rights activist, and in 1970 she was living on Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay, as part of an 18-month occupation by American Indians. The island was no longer used once the Alcatraz penitentiary was closed in 1964, so a group of 89 Native Americans moved there, claiming it as Indian property. I don’t know for sure, but my guess is that Littlefeather entered the Miss American Vampire contest as a way to draw attention to the protest; news accounts referred to Alcatraz as her hometown.

Then in 1973, Marlon Brando decided to boycott the Academy Awards to show his support for Native American rights, and he asked leaders of a prominent advocacy group to choose someone who would accept the award if he won Best Actor for The Godfather, which he did. And guess who they chose? Miss American Vampire winner Sacheen Littlefeather. It was a whole thing, at the time, kind of a Kanye/Taylor Swift moment but slower and it was about Indians.

Anyway, Littlefeather didn’t accept the one-day part on Dark Shadows, and instead the role went to Domaniecki, the runner-up. She showed up in October as a non-speaking barmaid in episode 1126. I don’t know if that got anybody to see House of Dark Shadows who wasn’t already planning to see House of Dark Shadows, but it couldn’t have hurt.

Tomorrow: Standing on Graves.

Dark Shadows bloopers to watch out for:

When Quentin tells Julia about unexplained noises in the house, somebody in the studio coughs, right on cue.

Quentin fumbles a line: “Julia, are — tell me, this Gerard, is he supposed to be in love with this other ghost?”

When Liz is told not to go to Daphne’s room, she heads straight to it. But how does she know where it is? All she knows is that Quentin and Julia said that they were there.

Behind the Scenes:

A few facts that didn’t make it into the post: Frid, Scott and Barrett were out on tour the week of August 16th to the 21st, which overlaps with the taping of episodes 1084, 1087, 1088 and 1089. The film debuted in the southeast for some reason on August 26th, and then had a nationwise release on September 3rd.

The film was rated GP, which is what they called PG from 1970 to 1972.

The list of finalists for Miss American Vampire included Barbara Marciel (Miami), Diane Kirby (Cleveland), Nina Johns (St. Louis), Signe Vernon and Beverly Rose.

The judges at the national finals were host Regis Philbin, Tressa Drury, beauty columnist Lydia Lane, MGM casting director Joe D’Agosta and Nancy Barrett. I don’t know who Tressa Drury was, and I suppose I never will.

Tomorrow: Standing on Graves.

Dark Shadows episode guide

— Danny Horn

71 thoughts on “Episode 1088: The Summer of Our Discontent

  1. I’ll get staked for this, but I like the Burton film so much more than HODS.

    I even like NODS better. Not that it is.

    I don’t want Carolyn as a Vampire.

    Angelique’s was the best vamp female, and no other could equal.

    1. I’ve been given so much dire warning that (like the big spooky house on the edge of town) I have not gotten to TBDS yet. I’m waiting for Danny’s entry on it.
      But I agree, there was something missing from HoDS; it didn’t seem to have any characters in it. I mean we had people named Julia and Carolyn and Roger, Elizabeth, David, Maggie, even Barnabas – and they were even being played by the actors from TV – but that seemed to be all! No personality. And the plot was a condensed version of one that we’d already seen, except for the bloodbath (er, paintbath) ending.

      And I didn’t really mind Vampire Carolyn, I only disliked that they killed her off so quickly, before she had a chance to make Don Briscoe undead. Then he and Barnabas could have battled it out.

      Not going into the ‘Jeff Clark, Hero’ thing, except to say it’s very near the top of the list of ‘Things I Didn’t Like About HoDS’.
      And not having Angelique in it.
      And…oh, never mind.

      1. Roger Davis should have been a vampire – he was scary as hell as a vampire on the show. Let Down Briscoe be the good guy who survives.

          1. “I’m not Chris………I’m Tom.”

            Now THAT is a fantastic moment.

            You want chills? That equaled or beat anything.

            Put him and Angelique as vamps together, and Pow.

            You have a movie.

            Those two vs. Barney the Bachelor in the end.

            They….turn into butterflies and go to live together in the House By the Sea.

            With a handyman.


            Who cooks, cleans, and serves them Bloody Marys for breakfast.


            1. To add ons scenes are some of my favorites in HODS.

              At Carolyn’s funeral, everyone is huddled together under umbrellas, crying and holding each other. Todd is standing by himself, still as a statue, the rain pouring down on his bare head, his face a stone mask of inexpressible pain.

              And then the scene where he surrenders himself to Carolyn in the attic – it’s her scene, really, but together they make it so hot I’m feeling a bit tingly just remembering it.

  2. Great post, as always!

    “Then there’s a half-second shot of something that I cannot for the life of me recognize as anything in particular,”

    I think it’s a hand (Barnabas?) opening something (a coffin from the inside?) – very odd editing “choice” those two flash frames – almost feels like a mistake…nah, couldn’t be that… 😉

    1. It’s Barnabas’ hand (lace cuff is the giveaway) trying the doorknob to the room in the Old House that David has locked Maggie in – just before Our Hero Jeff arrives and finds her. (Of course, Barnabas could have just hypno’ed Jeff and feasted on Maggie right then, but the movie would be much shorter.)

    1. Hey Prisoner, that was pretty cool! Lots of sets and good camera moves for a live show.

      Dark Shadows needed an annoying nun character who would pop in asking for money at the worst possible moment. And since she’d be wearing a crucifix, the supernatural creatures couldn’t touch her!

      1. Bwaaha! I LOVE that idea!
        And she’s completely unaware of the supernatural goings-on, too! The old dearie wears big thick glasses. A perfect role for Anita Bolster (provided she didn’t have to have too many lines).

        1. The closest things we got to that were the addled old cemetery keeper, Buzz and the one-day appearance by Portia Fitzsimmons.

          It would have been nice to have a few regular oddball minor characters show up every so often who weren’t there to be killed and who are mostly unmolested by the dark forces. Some possibilities for a bigger budget DS:

          — A drunken regular at the Blue Whale (erstwhile friend of Sam Evans) who witnesses this or that supernatural event, but no one believes him because he’s always so drunk.

          — A sassy, no-nonsense waitress to fill the void of Original Maggie. She thinks all the talk of spooks is nonsense. The drunk is her brother. Aggressively throws herself at Roger time to time.

          — A periodic appearance by Portia Fitzsimmons to confer on this or that painting. Also, she sometimes is accompanied by an assistant — a very quiet, dignified, well-dressed man by the name of “Sterling.” We learn nothing about him, but he hints he knows something is afoot with these weird portraits in Collinwood. Mrs. Johnson doesn’t like him.

          — An uptight, gossipy spinster librarian who is annoyed when Julia comes by for more research. She fancies herself the town historian, making her that much more hostile to Julia.

          — A blue-collar, grouchy foreman at the cannery who pops in once in a while to Collinwood to deliver an update to Elizabeth or Roger. Very much a typical Maine guy.

          — An even more eccentric professor friend of Eliot Stokes in the mold of the old cemetery keeper.

          — A vain, good-looking but oblivious town stud, who used to play football with Joe Haskell. Think Willie Loomis pre-Barnabas, but better looking and not malicious. Just the town horndog. He does get bit once by a vampire.

          1. Great incidental characters, William. And I really like that they’re all in the “present” time, which could have used a little comic relief.

            1. Thanks. I’ve been fascinated with minor characters ever since I did a paper in college on the minor characters in “Emma.”

          2. Your incidental cast could have been covered wonderfully by the regulars on The Carol Burnett Show – Carol, Vicki, Harvey, Tim, Dick (Van Dyke), and Lyle would have done the roles to perfection. Just add Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme as Sterling and Portia…

      2. I clicked on that clip of “Dark Shadows: Miss American Vampire” that Danny posted, and there were a number of other clips/options that popped up after the clip ended, and that “Dark Shadows” episode was one of them. I’d never seen it before.

        The anthology series Suspense ran from 1949 to 1954, so yeah I’d agree that it’s a very solid piece of surviving live TV from that period — it almost plays like a full-scale motion picture production. I would guess that it’s closer to 1949, that is, not too far off from WWII, by the way the story is treating a Japanese character as a villain.

        I looked up the show’s history, and only 90 of 260 episodes survive. That’s too bad, because the list of guest stars who appeared in episodes looks impressive, among them even Bela Lugosi — I mean, Bela Lugosi doing live television? He did some real schlock in the final decade of his career, so it would have been nice to have had remaining such a document of genuine quality among his later work.

        1. I’m pretty sure that one of the Suspense DVD sets I have includes the episode with Bela Lugosi. I may even get around to watching it someday! I was recently shown his appearance on The Red Skelton Hour from a few years later and he was actually pretty good in it.

          1. I found it on Youtube — The Cask of Amontillado, from 1949. Thanks for the heads-up! 🙂

            Interestingly, one of Lugosi’s earlier movies is centered around live television — Murder by Television, from 1935.

          2. Just want to say, seeing Bela Lugosi in this live TV production is a real treat. It’s unfortunate that in his time he got typecast as “Dracula” because he was such a magnificent and versatile actor, as this teleplay of A Cask of Amontillado proves. He plays it so edgy and tragic, and with such feeling — even those screams at the end. You’ll note that the actor playing opposite him messes up a few lines, but not Bela — he is note perfect throughout, never missing a beat, such a powerful and charismatic presence. One of the greatest actors of his day! A real treat to have this live teleplay in existence. And to think he ended up with Ed Wood.

            1. He was wonderful even in garbage like Voodoo Man by William “One Take” Bodine. He played a husband who uses a local gas station attendant/voodoo priest and two harebrained yokels to kidnap and hypnotize young women in order to reawaken his dead wife, who actually walks around and stuff so she’s not really dead so much as very very very low energy.

              It’s all ridiculous, by by God Bela sells that heartbroken husband. Each time it almost works, she snaps out of it for a second, than collapses…and he’s shattered all over again.

          3. And when Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein Bela agreed to participate as a joke. I dont think he even got paid. Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein was so funny and kind of scary but more funny.

  3. Having recently discovered this site, it can be said this is a blog written with knowledgeable insight, and read with great interest. Danny, thank you for your service.

    There was one Christine Domaniecki who was a regular dancer on John Zacherley’s “Disc-O-Teen” program (a sort of “Transylvania Bandstand”, if you will). Zacherley’s various television and radio projects were in the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia area at that time. Judging from the screen cap, the resemblance is remarkable. Any knowledgeable viewers out there know for certain?

    Dark Shadows. Once seen. Long remembered.

  4. I can think of at least one equally big case of an actor “talking smack” about his movie just as it’s coming out. Robert Blake had just done a comedy called, I think, “Coast To Coast,” and when he appeared on the Tonight Show and Johnny Carson asked him about it, he said “It sucks!!”
    And it was just a grabber to make the audience keep listening, because he really did hate the finished movie, and kept going on about that.

  5. It’s kind of nice to hear about that coffin in the theater lobby idea. It shows that that kind of promotion didn’t end completely when William Castle stopped doing it.

  6. You see a lot of Carolyn-the-vampire images in the promotional materials…

    Apropos of that, I meant to ask this last time HoDS was discussed – yes, Carolyn is NOT wearing a foundation garment when she rises from the tomb; do her boobs look uneven to anyone else?
    Just askin’.

    1. I haven’t checked it out in detail; but everyone’s boobs are uneven, so it would not be surprising. They didn’t do as much body modification in those days.

  7. I was enjoying the movie until Barnabas made Carolyn a vampire. Dumb move. It was downhill from there. Sorry, it’s hard for me to divorce myself from the soap.

    1. Carolyn was one of my favorite characters, so it didn’t help the movie to get rid of her so perfunctorily.

      1. And it does seem strange that Carolyn, a modern girl with present-day knowledge about (for one thing) police, would be so quickly dispatched, while the Collinsport PD never do manage to track down Barnabas, who’s been trapped in a coffin for 170-odd years and hasn’t really kept up with trends. (Of course, Carolyn is “just a girl”.)
        Would have made more sense to have had Barnabas keep Carolyn a slave (like on TV) – but then what would they have done with all the extra red paint?

          1. Fantastic! Leo McKern and Eleanor Bron could ride in on a Mr. Whippy float and kidnap him as a sacrifice to Kaili. (I can say no more.)

        1. I’ve commented before that Carolyn as a vampire kind of complicates how we’re supposed to view Barnabas. From what we see of Carolyn before Barnabas first attacks her, she seems a perfectly nice person whose only real negative trait is a tendency to openly flirt with her older relatives (the weird scene at the Old House). Anyone who knows this Carolyn — basically the whole town — should confirm that the openly homicidal vampire Carolyn is not the same person. If Julia could have “cured” Carolyn, would anyone have objected?

          Yet Stokes scoffs at the very idea of Julia curing Barnabas, who he dismisses as a “monster.” Maybe his feelings are biased because he loves Julia (that ain’t in the film or the TV series but wouldn’t it have been cool if it were — almost like a real soap opera!) but from what we see it makes no sense.

          Granted, somewhat cured (or at least day-walking) Barnabas still enjoys abusing Willie, so maybe he is a monster… but then why should we care when he “loses” Maggie with Julia’s betrayal?

          1. Also near the top of my “don’t like” list; Barnabas is a much less sympathetic character – granted he’s not Prince Charming in the series either, but he does have some pitiable moments. Movie Barnabas is just “the vampire”, even after Julia’s treatments when he gets his afternoon stroll in the woods. He’s only romancing Maggie to make her his undead bride – TV Barnabas at least had some hopes for a return to his normal human life. (AFTER failing to make Maggie his undead bride…)

            1. HODS should have ended the same way Joan Bennett’s film, “The Woman in the Window” ended. Willie wakes up on the floor of the stable, having fallen asleep. He reads the riddle that led to him letting Barnabas out of his coffin in the dream and then burns the note. Yes, it’s a cliche, but it would add a humorous end to the movie, and undo all the damage Barnabas had done.

            2. When you make a movie from TV characters, you’re supposed to elevate it.

              Enhance it. Surpass the original.

              This did neither.

              Wow, more blood. More vampires. No personality.

              Just the facts, M’am.

              Fergawdsake, no extra untold unexpected twist.

              No great reveal that made you go “OHHHHH!!!!”

    2. Instead, Angelique shows up as a distant rich relative…a Collins widow.

      Barnabas makes HER the vampire.

      And she’s pissed.

      Ending with a fight to his end, a turnaround from the Burton movie.

      “So…. This is how it ends, Barnabas.”

      She kills Elizabeth, and takes over as Mistress of Collinwood.

      Because Carolyn has gone mad.

      What Angie doesn’t know is….she didn’t finish the job.

    3. The problem with Carolyn here is, taking a multidimensional character, who can take you in any direction(comedy, too), and an actress with range, and just throwing it all away.

      We saw soooo much character development over the years with Carolyn and ALL Barrett roles…….

      Imagine that, instead of vamp, she turned magically into Pansy, and just confused the Hell out of Barnabas and all the household for the rest of the movie, like some kind of superhuman who can’t be killed, and SHE is the last untouched human standing at the end.

      And Pansy ends Barnabas, like she did to the doppelgänger.

      And magically turns back into Carolyn, and, having saved her family from becoming vampires….her job is done.

      Because the Collins family will do what it always has…..Endure.

  8. This post has well and truly clarified why my father told me he “wouldn’t pay $1.50 to see some damn’ stupid movie.” (Tickets were .75 at that time…go figure.) The movies reflected one of the problem with the problems with the soap: there wasn’t even a smattering of original writing.

  9. You know, I’ve never had any interest in these two movies. I think I watched part of “Night of DS” and found it so confusing I quit about 15 minutes in.

    DS is best as a serial, and I’d like to see them give it another shot. But the last thing they need to do is revisit the original Barnabas story.

    If I were to do a new DS series, I’d be prone to set it in the 1890s, say around the time Quentin meets Jenny. Lots of fodder there.

    Another great time period would be the 1930s in a Depression era Collinwood with a young Elizabeth and Roger. It would be easy enough to flesh out the family with half-siblings and uncles and aunts.

    Those are my two favorite settings for a new HBO style serial. The other two:

    Set it in current times, focusing on the children of Carolyn and David.

    Or my last idea: Set it in 1972 or so and just kind of pick up where we left off. In this case, you would still have Barnabas and Julia, etc. Just retcon it however you like and take off. It would be kind of interesting to recreate the 1970s sets, just grander. I think there were still plenty of stories to tell with them:

    — Julia gets committed to Wyndcliff by a jealous and insane doctor she knew in medical school. There, she discovers disturbing experiments he’s being conducted on Joe and Maggie. Throw in the ghost of Dave Woodard at some point! Is it a real ghost or has Julia gone mad?

    — Barnabas is now permanently free of vampirism, but he must protect the Collins family from a new villain — a shapeshifter who has eyes for a now college-age David. We have the special FX to pull something like that off now. Amy Jennings is his girlfriend and in danger from the shapeshifter.

    — Roger and Elizabeth have two younger half-siblings who’ve been living in Boston: Carl and Judith. Turns out Jameson kept another family on the side. Carl is driven, hot-headed Burke Devlin type who just wants a fair shot. His wife, Jennifer Murdoch Collins, is a money-hungry shrew and has a strange affinity with fire (but she’s an anti-phoenix — she can’t be burned at all but can summon fires). Half-sister Judith is kind, emotionally fragile and has vague dreams that foretell the future. We get a good, old-fashioned control-of-the-company storyline between Elizabeth/Roger vs. Carl/Jennifer.

    — Carolyn studies the occult with Professor Stokes. On a trip to London, they find Adam, well-adjusted, successful and happy. Carolyn and Adam marry but his body starts breaking down. They have to take extreme measures to save him.

    — And finally, we get a little romance story with Mrs. Johnson and Bill Malloy’s brother.

    OK — I’m starting to really like 1972 now! LOL.

    1. Like that.

      Some improvements. Barnabas is haunted by Carl Collins who pranks him 24/7. Each time he sits down there will be a tack on his chair. He gets shortsheeted. Gets crank calls. And he will be impossible to exorcize… “Don’t you want to have peace?” “Nope, I want to have fun,”

      Unethical doctor in charge of Wyndcliff… well, Julia was that, wasn’t she? Seriously, I would have made Eric Lang the head of Wyndcliff, so that he can make a lot more experiments. Which would pop up regularly when the storyline flags. Julia comes in initially being blackmailed into helping him, and then stays with Barnabas….

      Tony Peterson comes back, and is possessed by a Trask ancestor. He tries, again to brick Barnabas up… Then he gets sidetracked by a strange woman who is another phoenix…

    2. I think it’s been mentioned before, but someone in the D.S. Usenet/Netnews group created new stories that picked up from where we left off in 1972, including a jaunt to the early 20th century. I lost the URL but I think the author was “Charles Delaware Troll”?

  10. NODS confused me on first watching, as well, until I realized that was a PT story.

    Based loosely on characters from 1970PT, the writing went the different direction.

    The writers had the opportunity to go deep, but didn’t.

    I can’t imagine that depth was in the half hour which was cut from the final, though.

    Curtis had 24 hours to cut it down, for a PG rating, and you don’t cut story for that,

    you cut violence and sex, which doesn’t change the story.

    Which says to me…..there wasn’t enough of a story there.

    But what the film does have….is Mood.

    Watch it on a dark, cold, rainy day, and it will take you away,
    which is due(in a big way) to Cobert’s “Joanna”, which plays
    throughout the movie in various incarnations.

    I even like the harmonica version, which doesn’t fit DS.

    You know how, when you’re in a theater, and the movie is over,
    and you walk outside into the everyday world?

    And you realize…..wow, I was just in another world for 2 hours.

    Or 94 minutes.

    And hey, it’s raining out here.


  11. William,

    “When Quentin Met Jenny” is exactly where they should have gone for the movie.


    A Quentin POV piece which includes the Trasks, the Rakosis, Angelique, Barnabas, Pansy, Petofi, Jamison, even Dorcas and Aristede(although he always bothered me).

    So much story to choose from, I suppose they couldn’t condense it to 94 minutes, though.

    1. Richard they should have made the fate of the characters the last part of the series. It would have been much more interesting. People would have wanted to see those settle into their lives. I guess people were just tired of the whole thing.

  12. I like HODS. So shoot me.

    Is that Jack Warden as the cop in the first few minutes of the Suspense episode?

  13. It was very noticeable that Barnabas was suddenly missing, Maggie and Carolyn too. I thought maybe vacation? Very interesting to hear it was a press tour for the feature film. And who knew the connection with the Native American activist who spoke for Brando at the Oscars. Thanks for all that insight. What a shame Frid didn’t use his own platform with WWD to put a positive spin on things.

  14. Roxanne is wearing Parallel-Time Carolyn’s triangular earrings today. Somehow they crossed the space/time continuum, along with Barnabas and Julia.

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