Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood includes hundreds of rare photographs and behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Kathryn Leigh Scott (Josette DePrés), Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins), Lara Parker (Angelique Bouchard) and David Selby (Quentin Collins), who appear in cameo roles with Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Michelle Pfeiffer in the new Gothic epic feature film Dark Shadows to be released May 2012. With the ongoing fascination for all things vampiric, this book about the making of the new film and the history of the original series is an enticing volume for new and old fans alike.
Adapting many classic literary tales, the suspenseful and romantic stories of “Dark Shadows” center on the wealthy but tormented inhabitants of the mysterious Collinwood estate in the small fishing village of Collinsport, Maine. The powerful Collins family has been haunted for generations by vengeful curses and other supernatural secrets that span the centuries.
In its heyday, the original Dark Shadows daytime series (ABC-TV, 1966-1971) attracted 20 million viewers. The spooky, literate, romance and horror-driven show had universal appeal — and came to be known as the program “kids ran home from school to watch.” Reruns and DVD releases of all 1,225 episodes have spawned new generations of Dark Shadows fans, who attend annual Dark Shadows Festivals where cast members reunite to celebrate the show’s unending popularity.
Dark Shadows has been the catalyst for so much of my writing over the years — not surprising since the series “borrowed” stories from the best of literary fiction, including Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Rebecca, Turn of the Screw and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Joe Caldwell, one of the writers on the show, recently remarked, “We were thieves, not writers!” And what an extraordinary opportunity it was for me, a young actress fresh from drama school, to time-travel three centuries and originate the roles of Maggie Evans, Rachel Drummond, Lady Kitty Hampshire and, best of all, Josette DuPrés, the doomed bride of the vampire Barnabas Collins.
I first wrote about the show “every kid ran home from school to watch” in My Scrapbook Memories of Dark Shadows in 1985. In the decades since then, I’ve written about many aspects of the series, including the making of the feature film, House of Dark Shadows (1970). The behind-the-scenes anecdotes and tales about our “bloopers” rival anything one could make up, but I wanted to try my hand writing fiction using Dark Shadows as a backdrop. Although my novel Dark Passages may read like memoir, none of the events in the story actually happened in my own life. However, I wanted to capture the great sense of adventure I experienced in the early 1960s as a farm girl from the Midwest arriving in the Big City, working as a Playboy Bunny and eventually being cast in the daytime soap, Dark Shadows — and then to really have some fun, it occurred to me “what if Meg Harrison was a real vampire?”
If Dark Passages is written with a wink and a nod to Dark Shadows, I’m now back writing about the real thing. Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood is a picture-packed presentation of five decades of Dark Shadows in all its many incarnations, including the 1,225 original episodes, the feature films and various spin-off series. But most exciting, of course, is writing a very personal account of traveling to England to film a cameo in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp playing the iconic role of Barnabas Collins. Four of us, who starred in the series and the two MGM feature films, Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby and I, spent three days on the set of the new film working with Helene Bonham Carter, Michelle Pfieffer, Eva Green and Johnny Depp. The adventure has been made all the more poignant by the recent passing of Jonathan Frid, who wrote the Foreword to Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood. The book is such a fitting tribute to our beloved Jonathan — or, as Tim Burton and Johnny Depp both said to him — “We wouldn’t be here without you!”
Meet Kathryn Leigh Scott!
Kathryn Leigh Scott is best known for creating four characters, including Josette du Pres, vampire bride to Barnabas Collins, on the cult soap opera “Dark Shadows.” Kathryn’s first work of fiction, “Dark Passages” is an affectionate nod to her years on that ’60s series and encapsulates the romance and innocence of JFK’s Camelot era. Kathryn is also the author of “The Bunny Years,” a memoir covering her years as a Bunny in the New York City club, which includes interviews with other former Bunnies. It has been optioned for potential use for the NBC series “Playboy Club” and Simon & Shuster is releasing the paperback version fall 2011. Kathryn has also authored a number of “Dark Shadows” memorabilia books. As a publisher, Kathryn founded Pomegranate Press which offers non-fiction and entertainment titles.
Want to purchase Kathryn Leigh’s novels?
Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood at Amazon | Book Depository
Dark Passages at Amazon
My Scrapbook: Memories of Dark Shadows at Amazon
The Dark Shadows Companion: 25th Anniversary Collection at Amazon
35th Anniversary Dark Shadows Memories at Amazon
The Dark Shadows Almanac: Millennium Edition at Amazon