One of my earliest memories is coming into my neighbor’s house with the girl next door and seeing a coffin with a candelabra full of burning candles on the television. The scene was in color – I remember vivid yellow – and the music was scary. The next thing I knew, the coffin opened and a man sat up inside.
I remember this scene from before my family moved to the farm, the summer before I started kindergarten. At the most, I could have been four. I wouldn’t have thought four was old enough for my mom to let me go next door without coming along, but maybe she watched my friend and I from the steps next door. I don’t remember her presence at all. I don’t remember anything more than this snippet on the television.
I was scared. Intrigued. And my friend hauled me away to her room as her mom shut off the television. I didn’t find out what was going to happen next.
I forgot about my first encounter with Barnabas Collins for years. I read the Dark Shadows novels when I was in junior high, whenever I could find them at the library, but didn’t connect them to my memories. Then the show went into syndication when I was in high school and I knew what I had seen, so I hurried home every afternoon to watch it again on TV.
The Dark Shadows soap opera was terrible, in a high camp, live TV kind of way. Walls wobbled when doors were slammed. Wigs slipped. Actors forgot lines and repeated themselves, flailing frantically until someone could rescue them. The costumes were cheaply made. The makeup was garish, more suited to black-and-white than its incarnation in Technicolor. I was ashamed to say I watched Dark Shadows, but I loved every embarrassing moment.
This is the reason I’m not going to see Tim Burton’s remake. I loved Dark Shadows, just as I loved Planet of the Apes (which was on TV while I was in elementary school), just as I loved Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. Tim Burton has raped enough of my childhood. I’m not going to allow him to do it to me again.
Causes Loren Rhoads Supports