Dark Shadows

Jonathan Frid, who played vampire Barnabas Collins on the cult classic TV show “Dark Shadows,” has died. He was 87.

Frid died  weeks before the release of the feature film adaptation of the show starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton.

Frid and Kathryn Leigh Scott, along with their castmates, traveled to England in July to shoot cameos for the film, which  is releasing today! During the filming, Frid met Depp, who is taking on the role of Barnabas.

The new film is an update of a show as beloved for its spooky tone and languid pacing as it was for its sometimes slipshod production values. Fans obsess over mistakes that somehow made it to air. The daytime serial ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971.

OK, enough promoting for the movie.  When I was a kid I loved, loved, loved Dark Shadows. Jonathon Frid scared the bejeebers out of me and I loved it.  Barnabas Collins lived in my closet at night, and I was terrified.  It was cheesy, it was campy but I had to watch.  Come on, it was either that or Gidget.  I was glued to that set faithfully, laying in the floor on my belly, propped on my elbows until Barnabas took the stage.  Then I scooted back and sat up, back arrow straight and practically held my breath.

Flying monkeys weren’t scary.  Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t scary.  But the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bela Lugosi, and Jonathon Frid terrified me.  I was a officionado of everything vamp before vamps were cool.  I knew all the septs, and variations of vamps.  Trust me, none of them sparkled, but considering the glitz and glam of the 80’s it’s not surprising that the current vamps sparkle.  Stranger things could happen.

I watched every B movie about vampires.  Every book about vamps was consumed.  When I entered college, you could almost say vamps were an obsession. ( And this new generation thinks they are  cutting edge –  vampire stories have been around for ages.)  I read vamp stories with a critical eye.  If the author deviates from historical ideology, I don’t mind as long as they have a good reason.

There’s only two things I’ve asked for this Mother’s Day. (They asked!)  A kindle, as my book library is approaching the size of The Library of Congress, and a movie date.  OK, technically the movie date consists of three things but it’s a package deal.  Dinner out, Dark Shadows, then  Ice Cream.  Hey I’ve been on a very restricted diet for a while lately, and I want a splurge day.  I’m willing to forego the theatre popcorn for a good pizza, and some ice cream.  Is it really a date if you’re taking the kids? Hmmmm, maybe I’ll have to modify that. Unconventional, but I never claimed to be amongst the average crowd.

Johnny Depp is a talented actor.  I think the only think I didn’t like him in was Cry Baby.  That whole movie was just wrong.  I am curious as to how he portrays Barnabas, and the trailers look intriguing.  I’m thinking that Johnny Depp’s version is going to be a little more similar to Michael Meyer’s Austin Powers than Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, but hey it works for me.

What does this have to do with writing? Not one bloody thing, unless you’re writing a vampire story.  There are a few in the future projects file, but when there’s  Eric Northman, so what’s the point in writing another?  I may pursue them, eventually.  Vampires are after all eternal.  They never truly go out of vogue.

The Zombie fad will fade, but Nosferatu are immortal.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!

Write On!



My kids love to watch Scooby Doo. What would they have done without Velma’s Brain?  Did they ever run out of Scooby snacks?  In Scooby Doo the ghost was always uncovered as a villain posing as a ghost.

Abbott and Costello dealt with their fair share of ghosts and goblins in between meeting Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman.  I still love watching these old black and white movies on occasion.  We used to have Sunday afternoon movie matinée when I was growing up.  Creature from the Black Lagoon scared me every time!  I would lay in the floor on my stomach, head propped up with my hands, and watch.  It didn’t help that my older brothers would sneak up and scare the daylights out of me.

During the 80’s Ghostbusters burst onto the scene.  Love that movie!  There are so many funny lines from that movie, such as “Listen, you smell that?”  As I’ll be stuck on the sofa all weekend, we may just have to watch this one!  Sounds like a plan to me.  While my friends are in the theater watching The Hunger Games, me and my leg brace will be reclining at home watching a movie marathon.

Have you ever watched Ghosthunters?  These guys are nuts!  They went to Edinburgh Castle, actually beneath the castle.  Mary King’s Close was buried under the Royal Exchange, which is part of the Royal Mile.  Overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions contributed to the large number of plague victims in this area.  The underground catacombs of this area is said to be one of the most haunted areas in the world.

Across the world, stories of ghosts are common. Some places like Edinburgh, give guided ghost walks to fascinated tourists.

As if a ghost is going to perform on command like a cabaret show!

Some people buy into the ghost thing wholeheartedly, and others are more skeptical.  Whichever side of the fence you fall on, ghosts have made for good storytelling over the years.  Whether it’s Scooby and Shaggy or Professor Venkman, ghosts are good business.

There’s been a recent influx of ghost stories in the paranormal romance  genre.   Here’s a problem: how does the hero and heroine interact when one of them is a ghost? I”m not currently writing a ghost story, but I won’t rule it out in the future.  The idea of solving the abundance of problems for a ghost/human relationship is intriguing.  Sounds like a challenge to me!

Well if you’re not going to write a story about ghosts why are you blogging about them?  I”m so glad you asked.  Opportunity  is knocking all the time.

My daughter had to do some research on ghosts for a term paper.  One of her books caught my interest and I started flipping through it.  I found some interesting “ghost busting” ideas, and jotted some things down in my handy-dandy notebook.  Yes, the old-fashioned spiral kind made from tree pulp that require an ink pen and actual writing.  For anyone that thinks they have writer’s block, you should try this.  I have three or four notebooks filled with seemingly useless information.  At least that’s what my husband thought when he flipped through one that was filled with all things medieval, Knights Templar, Hospitallers, and weaponry.  Interesting facts that won’t help me in my day-to-day life, but is rich fertile  soil for a writer’s idea garden.

In the back section of this 5 subject notebook, It’s all about things that go bump in the dark and the supernatural.  Ghosts, phantoms, apparitions, and famous ghosts around the world are noted.  Famous haunted places, and potentially haunted areas are jotted down with web addresses for further investigations if I so choose.  Ley lines, and places that ghosts are commonly seen are marked in order of interest.

I left room for some more notes on one section marked Magical Hours.  Charm hours, chakras, dreams, and psychometry are discussed.  My Irish Grandmother told me about chime hours and the knowing.  I will have to investigate these other things further as I really don’t understand them.

I’m not going off the deep end into some crazy ghost hunting paranormal adventure just yet though.  In fact it was a welcomed distraction from my current blitzkrieg of writing.  I mentioned that I’ve been experiencing the writer’s high –  when the writing flows in golden prose.  I haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but I had to take a time out.

A little diversion in one area allows the energy bar to replenish in my dragon arena.  You may have noticed before I mentioned the knee brace, I had to see the orthopedic surgeon this morning.  I injured my knee a few weeks ago.  A large tear in the meniscus and a torn ligament have kept me hobbling around here uncomfortably.  This morning the doctor drained 50 cc’s of fluid from my knee and decided I needed a brace on it to keep it immobilized, and crutches to take the weight off of my leg.  Hence the lounging on the sofa over the weekend while watching a movie marathon.

A little ghostly diversion today doesn’t really matter since I”ll be spending some quality time with my laptop over the weekend.  Rendezvous with a dragon, hmm possibly another title for the future.  I’ll just add that to my spiral notebook.

Has a ghost tale ever inspired you to write your own  story?  Do you believe, disbelieve in ghosts?  Leave me a comment and let me know!  Have a great weekend and write on!