I was already attracted to the horror genre as a young child in the mid ’80s, so you can imagine my joy when I discovered reruns of the classic television series “Dark Shadows.” The shows were timed perfectly so that I could watch them after school, and my parents were glad that I was finally showing an interest in something that wasn’t gory.
I fell into the story line about half way through the series, but I became obsessed with finding out everything that there was to know about the world of “Dark Shadows.” Because there was no such thing as the Internet back then, I had to rely on the occasional retrospective magazine article and old “Dark Shadows” novels that I found at flea markets and garage sales.
As I began to piece together the full story line, I developed a fascination with the character of Angelique Bouchard Collins. If not for her, the entire plot of the show would not have existed, and even as a child I quickly picked up on the importance of the character.
It did not matter that there were often long stretches during which Angelique would not appear. Her defining action of turning Barnabas into a vampire because he spurned her was always a major aspect of the show, regardless of whether or not her character was being discussed.
Thanks to the release of the series on VHS, I was finally able to sit down and watch every episode during the mid ’90s. At this point I had just reached the legal age of adulthood, and I found myself even more enthralled by the series now that I could more fully understand some of the nuances of each character.
After having been spurned myself by a love interest, I was able to appreciate where Angelique was coming from. She may not have gone after Barnabas in the purest of ways, but her love for him was very real to her, and she could not stand the thought of living without him. These themes resonated very strongly with the 18-year-old woman who I was at that time, and Angelique became one of my favorite characters.
As the episodes were again released, this time on DVD, I began to collect them and watched them at different stages in my life. Now that I have reached my mid ’30s, I relate to the moment of anguish that Angelique experienced when she realized what her anger had done to the love of her life.
She was doomed to carry that knowledge forever, whether she was appearing as a ghost or as Cassandra Blair, and this was the defining point of her character. She may not have always acted in a manner that made it obvious that she suffered from what she did, but her actions are clearly the result of balancing her feelings of shame with her natural instincts for self-preservation and the creation of chaos. For this reason alone, Angelique is a compelling character, and I enjoy every moment that she is on the screen.