Dark Shadows . . .

Happy Thursday, everyone.  Suze here.

So have you heard?  A movie is being made based on the old horror soap opera, Dark Shadows, which ran in the late 1960s.  I’ve only ever seen clips of the show, but it looks like it was a lot of fun.  (Click here to see part of an episode.  Enjoy the closeups!)  One of my favorite actors, Johnny Depp, is slated to play the main character, Barnabas Collins, in the remake.  Look at this cast photo (see Johnny in the middle with the walking stick?) — how can you not love it?  I would watch it simply to see the 1972 clothes and hair.  Check out that leisure suit and turtleneck, baby!

This news, and the fact that it’s October, got me thinking about monster movies.  I’m not talking about the blood and guts and gore-galore flicks of the last few decades.  I’m talking about the classics — the campy kind we in the northeast could see on WPIX, Channel 11, out of New York City every Saturday (if you know what I’m talking about, you can hear the “Popcorn” song in your head right now, can’t you?).

Bela Lugosi as Dracula.  Lon Chaney Jr. as The Wolfman.  My favorite? Boris Karloff as The Mummy (spectacularly spoofed by Hank Azaria in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian).  The goddess Isis saves the day in that one.

And, if you want to see a monster-combo, may I suggest another personal favorite?  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.  Don’t forget King Kong, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Thing.

And what about the television shows?  I grew up on a steady diet of The Addams Family and The Munsters.  I always wished Gomez would toss a bag of money at me through the television screen, maybe smooch my arm and call me Querida.  Every time we saw a different room in the Munsters’ home at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, I wished I was there so I could poke around in all those cobwebby corners.   I still feel kind of bad for Marilyn.

The thing about these monsters is . . . they’re not really scary.  Oh, maybe Bela and Lon and Boris frightened moviegoers back in the day, but by today’s standards they’re so tame I don’t think they could frighten anybody but the youngest kids, who shouldn’t be watching that stuff anyway.

So tell us.  Who’s your favorite movie monster and why?  Why do you think we love monsters?  Paranormal romance lovers — explain yourselves!

And here’s a sneak preview of coming attractions:  The Scribes have a full roster of fabulous interviews lined up during Spooky Week at the end of this month.  Don’t miss it!


23 thoughts on “Dark Shadows . . .”

  1. Johnny Depp is one of the most underrated actors and he is great in everything he does. I think my favorite monster is Dracula. Maybe not a real monster but he is the stuff of nightmares. My favorite monster movie is Alien but before Alien came out it was Creature from the Black Lagoon.

    Looking forward to Dark Shadows.

  2. Welcome to the Scribes, Tom. Agree with you about Johnny Depp — a very good actor who has chosen some wonderful, offbeat roles over the years. I like Dracula too. For a while (I’m dating myself, here), I spent a lot of babysitting money seeing the Frank Langella version over and over at the local movie theater. I also spent years after that sleeping with a thick wad of blankets covering my neck (true story)!

  3. Welcome, Jerrie! Can’t wait for this movie to come out. And I’m with you on Dracula being excellent writing fodder, werewolves too. Frankenstein’s monster and the Creature From the Black Lagoon turned into romance heroes would be much tougher sells!

  4. I have never been able to watch scary things – I have a VERY active imagination and it doesn’t need any help! Before I knew better, I saw a few horror (slash and gore type) at sleep-overs with fellow 13 year old girls. There was something about a bunch of kids spending a night in a haunted mansion and they slowly disappear, one by one…and then I saw Nightmare on Elm Street 2 (some say the tamest of the bunch) which terrified me for decades! I would have night terrors where Freddy was chasing me, I’d wake up, then fall back into the same spot in the dream, over and over.

    But I did like the TV show Harper’s Island. It had some plotting problems toward the end, but it was a very fun TV show with cool episode names like “thwack” and “splat”. And I liked Mystery in Small Town X too, a horror “Reality” show back in the summer of 2001. The winner was a NY Fire Fighter who got his winning check a couple days before he died on 9-11 in the World Trade Center.

    1. “Thwack” and “splat” !! Sounds like the old Batman TV series. OK, so no horror movie retrospective for you, J? (FYI, I happen to know that the True Blood vamps are OK for J!)

  5. I remember Dark Shadows. (of course I was VERY young at the time…) It was deliciously gothic and very popular in a cultish kind of way. I’d love to see a movie version. Thanks for the post, Suze.

    1. Stephanie, putting this post together makes me want to go out and find the series on DVD! The You Tube video I found has whetted my Gothic appetite. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Sign me up for anything with Johnny Depp! I don’t remember the original Dark Shadows (I was too young to watch it anyway!), but I am looking forward to the new version. And I used to watch all the old movies on our local tv too! The “4 O’clock Movie”. Thanks to that programming I saw a ton of classic movies I would have never seen otherwise. And I always loved movie monster week, especially Godzilla. He gets my vote as favorite monster.

    1. Godzilla! How could I have forgotten Godzilla? My fave was the one with Mothra and those weird singing Japanese twins. Very, very strange stuff!

  7. First of all, you had me at Johnny Depp. I love him. The roles he chooses to play are a great part of what makes him the actor he is. I do remember Dark Shadows. I rushed home from (grammar) school and watched it every day. I loved that show. I think Depp will make this part his own, as he does with each character he plays. I can hardly wait to see it (5/11/12 – yes I googled to see when it was coming out). My favorite “monster”character at the moment, as some of you may already know, is the bad boy vampire, Damon Salvatore. When did vampires go from being scarey, ugly creatures to being so darn HOT?!? OMG … I mean, I’m just sayin’.

    1. Johnny. Sigh. I even loved him playing Ed Wood in a tight sweater and fake boobs. Although I’m kind of glad that role is over and he’s moved on to other things!

      1. Do you all remember Johnny from the 21 Jump Street days? Yup, used to watch it when Fox was new, on a little black and white TV with a dial! Can you believe it? And I’m only 27…

  8. I loved Dark Shadows as a kid. J Drop is a perfect casting choice. I’m sure he will do the role proud.

    As for monster movies–the Blob really creeped me out. That and anything Hitchcock. The Birds! Eeek! I still hate it when sea gulls swarm me on the beach to scavenge for my lunch. Flocks of birds are creepy. My favorite monsters are vampires. Something sexy about the high collars and fangs.

    Oh, and Suz, I hear you about the Adams Family. I used to walk around speaking like Morticia saying, “I’ll scratch your back darling if you’ll scratch mine.” I was like six at the time. My mother had cause to worry.

  9. Factoids, Connecticut people! The show was shot in and around Essex, Connecticut, and some of the interiors were done at the Lockwood-Mathews mansion in South Norwalk. Gail Ingis, are you here today?

  10. As a native New Yorker I loved the shout out to WPIX. As for scary movies I can’t watch them. Fire in the Sky scared the &*%$ out of me when I was eight and since then I have been unable to sit through any scary movie. I was forced to watch SAW when I was in college and that night I slept with my light on and my closet door open. Oh! and I actually saw Johnny Depp when I was in Old San Juan. He was shooting a movie there. I think it was called The RUM Dairy. I’m not gaga over him but it was pretty cool.

  11. I can’t watch scary movies. After seeing Psycho as a kid, I was done with horror movies … and showers. I was thrilled with my first clear, see through shower curtain. First time I enjoyed a shower since that fateful night as a child. Sorry, I’m not much help.

    1. Psycho. Another of my all-time favorites. Just goes to show you that a movie does not have to be graphic or gory to be very, very scary. Thanks for stopping by the Scribes, Kathye!

  12. My ears perked up hearing the words “Dark Shadows.” They made the TV show eons ago at Lockwood Mathews Mansion where I am art curator. They should come back to do it again, like the Stepford Wives, both made here. And, my daughter has a signed script from the original show with Joan Collins. So the tie-in brings back lots and lots of memories.

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