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‘Ashes of Doom’: This ‘Dark Shadows’-inspired 1970s anti-smoking PSA makes me want a cigarette
07:22 am


Dark Shadows

By the time this national Film Board of Canada anti-smoking PSA came out in 1970, Dark Shadows was already so popular it had begat a Canadian copycat, Strange Paradise. I’m not knocking it, by the way. Strange Paradise definitely retains some of the charm of its predecessor, and I’d recommend it wholeheartedly for fans of DS. I’m just saying it’s difficult to believe that “Ashes of Doom” wasn’t intentionally parodying the creepy/romantic style of those supernatural soap operas. (The short was created by Don Arioli and Grant Munro, by the way—Munro created “Toys,” the brutal stop-motion short made from GI Joes.)

While I applaud the Canadian government’s sense of humor (and their awareness of the latest trends!) there are a couple of reasons why I don’t think this film stopped anyone from smoking. First of all, the one minute and 55 second short starts with 53 seconds of credits—that’s definitely time enough light up, or at least resent the film enough to want to smoke out of spite. Second of all, while it’s a good bit of slapstick, the minute-long skit doesn’t really show any negative connotations of smoking. It ends with the protagonist’s smokey lungs mildly inconveniencing a vampire, which would actually be a really excellent incentive to smoke if you were a Gothic soap opera heroine. O Canada, what you lack in effective public health initiatives, you make up for in good-natured satirical farce.

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Have some shitfaced Halloween fun with the ‘Dark Shadows’ drinking game
02:20 pm


Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows board game
If you’re skipping the Halloween parties this year, preferring instead to stay home and drunkenly hand out candy to trick-or-treaters, might I suggest a classic board game to liven up your night? Get your spooky self over to eBay and purchase one the the two varieties of Dark Shadows board games! (By the way, don’t you think a kid’s board game based off of a horror soap opera would cause some pearl-clutching nowadays? How G-rated has childhood become?)

I say combine game-play with a show marathon. Dark Shadows is the best thing to watch in a social setting. It’s streaming on Netflix, so the soap opera format allows the audience to drift in and out or pick episodes at random. And of course all the episodes were shot live and low budget, so despite the high quality of the acting, there’s a ton of line-flubs and technical mistakes. In addition to the actual game, you can start making up your own rules along with the show. For example, every time you see a microphone in the shot, take a drink! Every time a piece of scenery collapses, take a drink!

Just remember folks, every game is a drinking game if you’re inventive!
Dark Shadows board game
board game


Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Barnabas Collins: Forget Johnny Depp here’s Jonathan Frid

Johnny Depp doesn’t float my boat. There is something too mannered, too knowing, dare I say, too cartoonish, about him. His performances seem plastic and make me think of Ken’s Barbie, or G.I. Joe, or Palitoy’s Action Man. The worrying thought that should any fan ever get Depp’s knickers down, would they be confronted by a Ken’s lack of genitals?  Of course, Depp is probably hung like a horse with balls down to his knees, but his performances often seem to lack any. It’s perhaps why so many young girls like him.

His recent portrayal of Barnabas Collins may have been well meant but it left me cold, and he looked more like an updated Dr. Orlando Watt, than any cursed vampire. Indeed, the whole film was, as Kim Newman wittily noted, almost a Whitespoiltation version of Blacula.

When Jonathan Frid played Barnabas Collins he brought a depth of emotion and experience Depp is either afraid, or unable, to emote. Listening to Frid on these recordings, taken from the first Dark Shadows soundtrack album, only confirms the quality of Frid’s Barnabas.

More from Barnabas Collins, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Dark Shadows comic book covers (1968-1976)
12:01 pm


comic books
Dark Shadows

The Monster Brains blog recently posted some delightful high-resolution scans of Dark Shadows comic book covers based on the 60s gothic soap opera.  I really like the top one from 1970.

Visit Monster Brains to view the rest of the collection.

One more choice selection after the jump…

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment