Angelique and Barnabas

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp could have chosen numerous ways to approach their remake of Dark Shadows.  The original show was absolutely loved by all who followed it, and it’s still a cultural document that characterizes the pivotal period between 1966 and 1971.  Yearly conventions have been held since the show went off the air.  Books are still being written about it.

Dark Passages by Kathryn Leigh Scott

Instead of translating that love into what holds people together during dire circumstances and fears and supernatural questions and frights–maybe the path that The Sixth Sense took, or even the Twilight Series, or anything with a serious framework, Burton and Depp chose the absolutely most innane approach possible–to make silly fools of the characters and of the whole 1970s culture that followed the demise of the show.

Why they would choose to poke fun at what was a revolutionary concept at the time–a soap opera about vampires, witches, werewolves?  This was almost 50 years before Twilight and Underworld, and it was scheduled on TV for exactly the time when kids got out of school.  That’s right, I said kids.  Here was a show with fangs and blood and murder and stakes driven in hearts, and kids were running home from school to watch it on public TV (there was no cable at the time), and most parents not only let us but watched it with us.  There were no videotapes or DVR’ing then; it was a time of the day we lived for–not for a laugh-fest, but to communally immerse ourselves into it.

School’s out!  Rush home to the TV little kiddies.

There was nothing campy about it to us.  At the age of 11 – 16, I and others saw it as an alternative universe to the one we lived in–the one in which Malcolm X was shot to death in a church a year earlier in 1965 by the Nation of Islam with both a sawed-off shotgun and two handguns for preaching unity between blacks and whites; the one in which the terrorist SDS (Students For A Democratic Society) were crafting improvised explosive devices  (IED’s) and razor blade studded potatoes to ethnically cleanse the “blue meanies” of society that they hated, in the name of peace, love and happiness.

Dark Shadows at least made sense in that Barnabas was evil because of a curse placed on him by Angelique.  Why was the Nation of Islam evil?  They weren’t cursed by Angelique.  Why were the SDS supposedly fighting for peace, love and happiness, and yet they were killing and maiming innocent people.  They weren’t cursed by Angelique, were they?  Maybe I missed something back then.  The world of Dark Shadows made sense in a way that our own screwed-up world didn’t.

You would think that Burton and Depp would have had the vision to put two-and-two together to make an important statement instead of a silly juvenile laugh-fest.

On February 21, 1965, in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom, Malcolm X began to speak to a meeting of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, when a disturbance broke out in the crowd of 400.  As Malcolm X and his bodyguards moved to quiet the disturbance, a man rushed forward and shot Malcolm in the chest with a sawed-off shotgun.  Two other men charged the stage and fired handguns, hitting him 16 times.  Shabazz was in the audience near the stage with her daughters.  When she heard the gunfire, she grabbed the children and pushed them to the floor beneath the bench, where she shielded them with her body.  When the shooting stopped, Shabazz ran toward her husband and tried to perform CPR.  Police officers, and Malcolm X’s associates, carried him to a stretcher, and brought him to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.  Angry onlookers caught and beat one of the assassins, who was arrested on the scene.  Eyewitnesses identified two more suspects.  All three men, who were members of the Nation of Islam, were convicted, and sentenced to life in prison.

[see my blog: Malcolm X’s “The Ballot or the Bullet” for more.]

The Nation of Islam supposedly stood for God and yet they were shotgunning those who veered from the party line–those like Malcolm X who saw a nation inclusive of blacks and whites.  The SDS supposedly stood against war and for peace and yet they were bombing and maiming their opposers.  “Helter Skelter” and “Gimme Shelter” indeed!  Sorting it out then was almost impossible.  Who were the good, the bad and the ugly?  In Dark Shadows, you knew the answers.

Tribune Archive Photo – October 9, 1969: Chicago Police Sgt. James Clark shows one of the weapons used by [SDS] demonstrators [during their “Bring Home the War” Days of Rage], a potato studded with razor blades.

Sorting it out now leads one into the territory of political incorrectness, because it’s the remnants of the SDS who largely advise our government now [ see ] and who still desire to ethnically cleanse the “blue meanies” of opposers to their political agendas in the name of peace, love and happiness.  Members of the 1960s SDS/Weather Underground, Bernardine Dohrn, Mark Rudd, Bill Ayers and Jeff Jones have all served in giving advice within the President Obama administration.  Frances Fox Piven, involved with the 1960s SDS, now advises the direction of the Occupy Movement.

[see my blog: Spring 2012: Lucifer Rising and Other Sound Tracks? for more.]

Ron Paul says:  “Truth is Treason in the Empire of Lies.”  That has never been more true as now.  He also quotes Psalms 120: 6-7, “Too long have I had my dwelling among those who hate peace.  I AM FOR PEACE but when I speak, THEY ARE FOR WAR.

Barnabas was cursed by Angelique, making him a good guy who was cursed to do evil things.  Angelique was evil, but so dang tempting and seductive, and those eyes of hers–mama mia!  Anyway, in Dark Shadows, people acted contrary to their inner goodness, and people without goodness may have succeeded for awhile, but they ultimately got their just desserts.

Angelique (Mama mia!)

Burton and Depp were major fools to choose to make clowns of these characters instead of relating their fictional otherworldly existence to the reality of the otherwordly existence of the late 1960s and then to take it a step further to our current otherworldly existence in this most bizarre (and deja vu) election year of 2012.  (Perhaps they’re cowards to appear “politically incorrect”–or worse…)

Just like Barnabas and Angelique, fated lovers, here we are again in a battle of lies, deceits and struggles for worldly power, eternal power–or eternal death.

But, there will be no eternal rest for Barnabas:

131 disc (1225 episodes) Complete Series (1966-1971) in nickel-hinged coffin case. Spines of DVD cases when lined up in box show image of Barnabas lying in the casket: Includes Jonathan Frid’s autograph: $431.99.