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    Meet Sharon Smyth: Dark Shadows’ Little Sarah is All Grown Up!

    sharonsmythShe came out of nowhere. No one in the town of Collinsport was sure who she was. The little girl herself didn’t seem to fully understand where she came from or why she was there.

    “I think I must be a ghost,” she said at one point. “I’m sure I am.”

    For 37 episodes in late 1967 and early 1968, 10 year old Sharon Smyth portrayed Sarah Collins on the legendary, horror themed soap opera DARK SHAADOWS. The lonely, lost little girl served as the conscience for Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid), her older brother. More than 150 years after their family had passed on, Barnabas still walked the earth as a vampire.

    When the DS writers sent governess Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke) back to the 18th century to witness the events which caused Barnabas to turn, viewers met the living Sarah in the final months of her short life. On January 26, 1968, DS viewers wept as they watched  a fever-wracked Sarah die in her brother’s arms. Smyth played the scene for all it was worth.

    DARK SHADOWS proved to be the highlight of Sharon Smyth’s acting career. A few years later, after appearing in numerous commercials and print ads, she chose to leave show business.

    “I just wanted to go to school and hang out with my friends,” she said of her decision.

    Sharon Smyth today is a happily married mother living in Pennsylvania. She’s a fan favorite at DARK SHADOWS Festivals, and now counts many of her fans as among her closest friends. She and fans often chat about their lives on Facebook, but she’s also been known to see a few lucky fans who live  in her area socially. Smyth and her fans have celebrated each other’s joys and supported each other in times of sorrow. It’s a unique yet lovely phenomenon in the annals of fandom.

    “Many fans of the show have become dear friends to me,” she told FANGORIA. “Their enthusiasm and sincerity is inspiring. I am awed by their loyalties to DARK SHADOWS and its cast and crew.”

    Smyth looks back upon her DARK SHADOWS tenure fondly. As a youngster, she delighted in the magical Gothic trappings she found herself in. “As a ten year old child on DARK SHADOWS, I couldn’t have asked for a more fun experience. It was a playground of make-believe!”

    collinwood

    sharonjonathanjpgGoing through the photographs on Smyth’s Facebook page, it’s hard not to notice a delightful picture of Smyth, literally swept off her feet by Jonathan Frid. “The photo of Jonathan holding me in his arms is from a luncheon I was invited to in New York City in 1986,” she recalled. “Upon being informed that his little sister Sarah was there, he proceeded to scoop me up, and, with that booming voice of his, said ‘Sarah! You’ve come back to me!’ It was perfect!”

    Jonathan Frid has since passed on, as have other DARK SHADOWS cast members. “Working with such seasoned performers as Jonathan, Joan Bennett and Grayson Hall, I consider myself one lucky little girl,” Smyth said. “Although no longer with us, they have left indelible marks on our lives with their iconic portrayals of such iconic characters as Barnabas Collins, Elizabeth Stoddard and Dr. Julia Hoffman. I remember them as kind and genuine to me.”

    One of Smyth’s closest friends from DARK SHADOWS fandom is Barry Dodd, creator of RAGGED ISLE, a spooky web serial inspired in part by DARK SHADOWS. “Both myself and my wife Karen are second generation fans of DARK SHADOWS,” Dodd told FANGORIA. “Our mothers are part of the hordes of teens who used to run home from school to watch it.”

    Dodd shared the story of how he and Smyth came into each other’s lives. “We had heard about the DARK SHADOWS Festivals and decided to attend one in 2011 in Brooklyn NY. It was to be Jonathan Frid’s final convention before he passed. RAGGED ISLE was in full swing so we decided to give the actors our cards and tell them a bit about our show and its DS inspiration. Well, Sharon actually went home and watched our show! We started communicating on Facebook shortly after. She shared our show with her followers and online friends and she’s become a true fan of our work. It’s such a thrill to have Sharon, someone who we watched and were inspired by become a fan and supporter of our series. It’s the ultimate honor. She even mentioned it ON STAGE at last year’s DS festival dinner. Karen and I sat at our table and cried we were so overwhelmed by the gesture!”

    RAGGED ISLE has since gone on to win several prizes at the Indie Soap Awards. “I took a chance and asked Sharon if she’d like to attend with us,” said Dodd. “To my surprise she said yes! We spent the day with her upon her arrival, and the night ended with Sharon, myself, and one of our amazing actors Rick Dalton sharing the stage to present an award. It was a dream come true and we feel incredibly lucky to have Sharon in our lives. It’s been a real blessing.”

    Photo By Gustavo Monroy1

    Ragged Isle star Rick Dalton, presenting an award with Sharon & Barry Dodd at the Indie Soap Awards

     

    Dodd has just completed work on RAGGED ISLE’s third and final season. He said he hoped to cast Smyth in a future project.

    Sharon Smyth has a personal favor to ask of her fans and friends. “There is currently an effort to have  Jonathan Frid, our beloved Barnabas, nominated for a place on the Canadian Walk of Fame. What a wonderful tribute that would be! Jonathan was born in Canada, and served in the Royal Canadian Navy. He also performed in theater and television there. Jonathan certainly left his mark in our hearts and minds, and I believe it is fitting to honor him and his memory in a very concrete way. Please take this opportunity to show some love. Through the month of April 2013, just go to www.canadaswalkoffame.com and vote.”

    We at Fango would like to encourage you to show Sharon Smyth some love as well. She’s recently launched a website: www.sharonsmyth.net, where you can peruse photos, get information on her extensive career in television commercials and modeling, send her a personal message, and purchase some really neat Sarah Collins merchandise.

    And don’t forget to check out RAGGED ISLE, Sharon’s favorite web series: www.raggedisle.com

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    Fango Flashback: “DIAL M FOR MURDER” (1954)

    Hard to believe that two years after the initial 3D craze began in 1952 with exploitationer BWANA DEVIL and had peaked with 1953’s HOUSE OF WAX, that the next year’s DIAL M FOR MURDER, shot in the same showy process, would be relegated to the standard two dimensions upon release. Whereas today 3D has become a fact of moviegoing life and has also made it into the home courtesy of pricey TV sets and space-helmet-like goggles, audiences had grown tired of the gimmick by the time master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock adopted the format for this 1954 Warner Bros. film, a classic thriller starring Grace Kelly and Ray Milland. Back then, Hitchcock said of 3D, “It’s a nine-day wonder, and I came in on the ninth day.” Thanks to New York City’s Film Forum (209 West Houston; [212] 727-8110), you can now rediscover DIAL M FOR MURDER in a gorgeous 3D digital restoration, which opens today and runs through Thursday, April 4.

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    “INHUMAN RESOURCES”: Tom Savini sees “Redd,” Part Two

    It must be kismet. Horror/makeup FX king Tom Savini, a hero to FANGORIA readers since we first profiled him in the very first issue of the mag in 1979, appears in and supervised the FX for INHUMAN RESOURCES (formerly REDD INC), the first “volume” of FANGORIA Presents’ new VOD/DVD label; see here http://www.fangoria.com/new/fango-presents/ for details). INHUMAN RESOURCES follows a deranged corporate manager/convicted serial killer Thomas Reddmann (Nicholas Hope) who kidnaps six people and holds them hostage in a deserted office. Soon the tortures begin, but all is not what it seems… Fango caught up with Savini in Australia during production of his latest splatter flick, and you can see part one of this interview here .

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    “INHUMAN RESOURCES”: Tom Savini sees “Redd,” Part One

    Tom Savini is one name Fangorians and even average horror fans should instantly recognize. In person the makeup FX maven is incredibly enthusiastic for everything. He’s in possession of a childlike wonder that is constantly in use (he names the furry cover this writer uses on the microphone on his faithful recording device, “Basil”), and he exudes an energy that you can see has obviously got him through the worst days on set.

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    Fango Flashback: “WHO CAN KILL A CHILD?” (1976)

    Perhaps the strongest aspect of Narcisco Ibáñez Serrador’s WHO CAN KILL A CHILD? is its decision to trade backstory for context. There’s no explicit, supernatural reason for the juvenile murderous rampage on the island of Almanzora, but if you’re looking for an explanation why, the real world horrors of the opening titles are a good, if grim, place to start.

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    Q&A: “COME OUT AND PLAY” producer Diego Luna

    Diego Luna faced a couple of challenges as one of the producers of COME OUT AND PLAY: helping to reinvent the 1976 Spanish cult classic WHO COULD KILL A CHILD? for a modern audience, and dealing with the new movie’s, shall we say, unique writer/director, the film artist known only as Makinov. Luna discusses these issues and more in this exclusive interview.

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    Q&A: Stacy Keach talks “THE NINTH CONFIGURATION”

    Defying genre to provide a one-of-a-kind film experience, 1980’s THE NINTH CONFIGURATION is a twisted, trippy film experience from the creator of THE EXORCIST. To celebrate a special screening at New York City’s Lincoln Center this week, which will include a Skype chat with star Stacy Keach, Fango talked to Keach about his experiences on the Budapest-lensed production.

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    Q&A: Director Peter Grendle on Southwestern Neo-Nazi horror “BLOOD SOAKED”

    New Mexico-based low-budget indie filmmaker Peter Grendle has finished his latest feature, BLOOD SOAKED, a gritty tale set in the sun-bleached desert of the American Southwest about what occurs when coed lesbians encounter Neo-Nazis, and the subsequent chaos that unfolds. FANGO chatted with Grendle about his inspiration and the production process behind this freaky flick.

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    Q&A: Dallas Roberts on “SHADOW PEOPLE” and “WALKING DEAD”

    The actor currently seen each week experimenting on zombies in AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD gets freaked out by more nebulous beings in SHADOW PEOPLE, which hits DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow and a free FANGORIA screening in Manhattan tonight, courtesy of Anchor Bay. The actor, who will appear at that showing, took some time to discuss both projects with us, along with last year’s acclaimed chiller THE GREY.

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    Q&A: “MY AMITYVILLE HORROR” director Eric Walter

    The true story of what happened in the infamous Amityville house is scarier and more compelling than any of the movies based on it—at least as told by survivor Daniel Lutz in MY AMITYVILLE HORROR. As the acclaimed documentary hits select theaters and digital outlets today from IFC Films under the IFC Midnight banner, we have exclusive words with its director below.

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    FANGO FUNHOUSE: Paul Scheer on the horrifying, the hilarious and the horrible!

    As any true fright fan can tell you, horror and comedy go together like monsters and sequels, often bleeding into one another in such iconic genre offerings such as the EVIL DEAD sequels, SHAUN OF THE DEAD and GHOSTBUSTERS. Whether it’s an unexpected kill after an inspiration speech or the supernatural indulging in macabre mischief, few can argue that the subversive nature of both genres compliment each other with relative ease. Therefore, I welcome you, dear reader, to FANGO FUNHOUSE, a look into the co-dependent world of horror-comedy through those who know it best.

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    DAMIANO DAMIANI, 1922-2013

    A lot of artists are sometimes trapped by their race and/or their heritage; auteurs outside of America that make superlative and innovative films are often quoted as “French director” or “German expressionist” and sometimes these people would just for once like to hear “director” or “expressionist” as a sole description, leaving the nation of origin out. Race, for many of these artists, shouldn’t matter. And this was the case for Damiano Damiani, a versatile and groundbreaking filmmaker, who passed away March 7th at his home in Rome age 90.

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