By PATRICK McCRAY
On Black Friday, I’m gonna party like it’s 1991.
Okay, I apologize for that. I don’t even like Prince. Starting with such a line is part of the ritual, and now that it’s out of the way, I want to talk about why I’m watching all of the 1991 Dark Shadows in a day.
(Oh, and to get something else out of the way, “blame the Gulf War, blah, blah, blah.…”)
Anyway, this surprised me.
Was it just me, or did they cast the 1991 show and start filming nearly a year before? I feel like I saw the first picture of Ben Cross as Barnabas in 1990, as I was graduating high school. If so, that was a significant picture, because I felt like I was seeing “my Barnabas.” Coming from the paradigm (finally) set by Star Trek: The Next Generation (as well as, more importantly, Love Boat: The Next Wave), I now looked at the major franchises a bit like comic books or James Bond. They’d always be around. They’d be freshened by necessity. The only question was if they’d maintain continuity or be remakes.
I’d always hoped for a “new” Dark Shadows. Given that Mr. Frid didn’t seem very interested, a remake was the most I could hope for. When it was announced as a big budget, nighttime production by the Wouk-powered Dan Curtis on ratings titan NBC, it seemed that I’d finally be able to show people Dark Shadows and have them “get it.” This was the age of Twin Peaks, which might have made it possible. Between that and STTNG, I suspect that NBC was more than willing. They saw what I still see: Dark Shadows is the untapped Star Trek of horror. It’s a potentially expansive universe starting with a core cast of characters and central location. This was the best way to see that happen, I thought.
I’ve watched it a few times over the years. Usually, to bring new girlfriends into the Collinsport fold. But this is the first time since I pretty much chucked all fandoms over to have no other franchise before Dark Shadows. I just hope they solved the day-for-night issues. Even if they didn’t, I’ll shut up and deal. We’re Dark Shadows fans. It’s what we do.
It’s worth it.
(Editor's Note: You can find a schedule for the day's events HERE.)
The Collins Foundation.