Monday, October 23, 2006
Speaking of Reunions
Saturday evening, I watched the Turner Classic Movie (TCM) channel, where it aired "House of Dark Shadows" at 12 midnight. I was extremely excited because I hadn't seen Dark Shadows in several years. Being that Halloween is this month, I felt this scary, 70's Gothic soap opera based movie was quite appropriate. This 1970 movie by Dan Curtis, is based on the popular ABC television series.
Vampire Barnabas Collins, played by Jonathan Frid, is on a quest for a cure so he can marry the lovely woman, who resembles his long-lost Josette, played by Kathryn Leigh Scott.
The movie begins with troublesome, family handyman, Willie Loomis, seeking a legendary fortune in jewels, while opening a hidden coffin in the Collins family crypt, which releases vampire Barnabas Collins from his 150-year confinement. Barnabas makes Willie his slave, then presents himself to the modern day Collins family (Roger, Elizabeth, Carolyn, and David) as a "cousin from England." Barnabas moves into the "Old House" on the Collins estate, where the "first" Barnabas had lived. To thank his gracious hosts, Barnabas throws an elaborate costume ball.
Barnabas becomes attracted to the family governess Maggie Evans, who looks just like his long-lost love, Josette. When Carolyn, who has become one of the vampire's victims, threatens to reveal his secret out of jealousy, Barnabas kills her. Carolyn rises from the grave as one of the undead, and is eventually trapped and staked by Professor Stokes, aided by the Collinsport police.
Meanwhile, Julia Hoffman, a doctor who has studied blood samples from the victims, begins to conclude that vampires are real and there may be a cure for this disease. She makes a pact with Barnabas and develops a serum to cure him.
The cure works for a while, and Barnabas' courtship of Maggie proceeds. He gets her boyfriend, artist Jeff Clark, played by Roger Davis, out of the way by arranging a showing of the young man's paintings in nearby Boston. However, Julia, who has fallen in love with Barnabas, discovers his dalliance with Maggie. Sick with jealously, Julia gives Barnabas an overdose of the serum, where its results cause him to show his true age of 175 years. Barnabas angrily kills Julia, and restores his youth and vampiric nature by biting Maggie. He flees with the young woman, while Professor Stokes, Jeff Clark, and the police are hot on his trail.
Jeff tracks the vampire to an abandoned monastery, where Barnabas plans to make Maggie his bride. Jeff attempts to shoot Barnabas with a crossbow, but Willie, who is also infatuated with Maggie, gets in the way and is shot in the back instead. Barnabas takes Jeff under his hypnotic control and is about to turn Maggie into a vampire, when Willie comes to and plunges the wooden shaft into Barnabas' back. Coming to his senses, Jeff finishes Barnabas with the stake, and leaves with the revived Maggie. At the end, the "dead" Barnabas turns into a bat and flies away.
Even though this movie is old, it was full of suspense, and good, raw acting, with a great plot. And, I can understand why women fell in love with the refined, charming, and galant vampire, Barnabas Collins, played by Jonathan Frid. This movie is indeed a classic and worth your viewing pleasure.