follow us in feedly
‘Seizure’: Oliver Stone’s disowned directing debut

Although it seems as if he’d like to do everything he can to disown it and pretend that it doesn’t exist, Oliver Stone’s 1974 directing debut, the low-budget horror film Seizure, is nothing to be ashamed of. It may not be the best film he’s ever made, but it’s certainly not the worst either (U-Turn anyone?).

In terms of cult movie catnip, Seizure boasts stars like Jonathan Frid (“Barnabas Collins” from TV’s Dark Shadows), B-movie queen Mary Woronov, Bond girl Martine Beswick and HervĂ© Villechaize, the dwarf actor who played “Tattoo” on Fantasy Island (Villechaize, a well-known actor in NYC experimental theater circles, was Stone’s roommate at the time). Frid plays a horror writer who is terrorized by his own fictional creations. The surreal plot that is loosely based on Ingmar Bergman’s Hour of the Wolf.

Here’s what the VHS cover looked like:

Mary Woronov claims that one of the film’s producers was gangster Michael Thevis, who anonymously bankrolled the film to launder money while he was under investigation by the FBI, something also mentioned on IMDB.

Seizure has never come out on DVD, but in the early 80s, it was easy to find on VHS for $2.99. According to Mary Woronov, Stone bought the rights to the film and it would appear that he intends to keep sitting on it. It’s easy enough to find, of course, if you know where to look. Ahem.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Barnabas Collins: Forget Johnny Depp here’s Jonathan Frid

Johnny Depp doesn’t float my boat. There is something too mannered, too knowing, dare I say, too cartoonish, about him. His performances seem plastic and make me think of Ken’s Barbie, or G.I. Joe, or Palitoy’s Action Man. The worrying thought that should any fan ever get Depp’s knickers down, would they be confronted by a Ken’s lack of genitals?  Of course, Depp is probably hung like a horse with balls down to his knees, but his performances often seem to lack any. It’s perhaps why so many young girls like him.

His recent portrayal of Barnabas Collins may have been well meant but it left me cold, and he looked more like an updated Dr. Orlando Watt, than any cursed vampire. Indeed, the whole film was, as Kim Newman wittily noted, almost a Whitespoiltation version of Blacula.

When Jonathan Frid played Barnabas Collins he brought a depth of emotion and experience Depp is either afraid, or unable, to emote. Listening to Frid on these recordings, taken from the first Dark Shadows soundtrack album, only confirms the quality of Frid’s Barnabas.

More from Barnabas Collins, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Jonathan Frid, who played Barnabas Collins in ‘Dark Shadows’ R.I.P.
03:40 am

One-hit wonders

Jonathan Frid

Jonathan Frid died of natural causes in Ontario, Canada, the home of his birth, on Friday the 13th. The news of his death was reported yesterday evening. He was 87.

Frid played Barnabas Collins on the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows that ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971. The show has a fervent cult following to this day. So much so that a Tim Burton-directed big screen adaption starring Johnny Depp is scheduled to be released next month.

Dark Shadows, along with Hammer movies, were obsessions for proto-goth kids in training. For many of us who felt like outsiders, the vampire was the perfect fantasy figure for our anti-social yearnings. Vampires didn’t take shit from anybody and they liked to stay out late and sleep-in. I could relate.

The clip that follows features Frid seductively intoning “I Barnabas” from the album The Original Music from Dark Shadows which was released in 1969.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment