Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Old House at Collinwood

This fanciful 7x10 view minimizes brush strokes because the emphasis is on mood. The grass has more color than we'd  normally see at night, but it stands apart from the background, which is blued for distance. It's a mystery who's making the light in this long-abandoned manor, and what lurks in the woods under a watery moon. This is where the ghost of Josette Collins is known to walk down from her portrait, as discovered by young David Collins when his frantic hands couldn't get the door knob to turn--until he realized he was turning it the wrong direction.

The 1960s soap Dark Shadows had Kathryn Leigh Scott, who normally played the waitress Maggie Evans, as Josette. One nighttime scene had Josette running toward the mansion, ghostly robes flowing. The effect was a little spoiled when she ran across the portico and cast a shadow. Today Kathryn hosts Dark Shadows reunions and publishes photo memoirs of the show. You can google the haunting opening theme.

Any kids who brave the front door on Halloween will probably encounter something scarier than their costumes. Haunted manors featured prominently in Hollywood: Addams Family, Munsters, Three Stooges, and the Hammer horror films (think Thirteen Ghosts). Not to mention anything with Vincent Price, Chris Lee, Bela and Boris. Got a favorite haunted manse?

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