Friday, October 7, 2011

Dark Mansions

Yesterday, in my post of Halloween-themed pics, I posted a few "haunted houses". They got me thinking about an old TV movie.

Greystone Mansion, used as the estate in the film

Dark Mansions was a pilot for a proposed TV series, however it was never picked up and instead aired as a one-time ABC TV movie on August 23, 1986.

The show was an Aaron Spelling-Douglas S. Cramer production and was written by Anthony Lawrence, Nancy Lawrence and Robert McCullough, produced by McCullough and Jerry London and directed by London.

The telefilm starred veteran actress Joan Fontaine, Linda Purl, Michael York, Melissa Sue Anderson, Nicollette Sheridan, Grant Aleksander and Lois Chiles.

The plot: Shellane Victor (Purl) is hired to write a book about a wealthy ship-building family, the Drakes. At the family's estate in Oregon she finds that she is a dead ringer for a long-deceased member of the family. Soon, strange things begin to happen that mirror the events that lead to the previous woman's death. Will Shellane fall victim as well?

I remember the very day I watched this, way back in 1986. I had been looking forward to it, as it had sounded to me like a supernatural spin on Dynasty or Dallas, which were very big at the time. The day it was to air, I had gone to my grandmother's house with my mom. As the afternoon wore on, all the adults were making plans to go to Jai Alai or the dog track, something like that. I stayed behind at my grandmother's very rural home. It was no "dark mansion", but it was a bit creepy being there alone.

Watching the movie on her small, portable television set wasn't the best, picture-wise, but the whole experience added a level of eeriness to the show that it might otherwise have lacked. I remember liking it, but it only ever aired this one time and was gone, a footnote in television history.

I have found at least one not-very-positive review for the movie online, but there is virtually nothing else available for it. No pics, no videos, just a short clip of Anderson and Aleksander from the film. It truly is one of those forgotten, brief moments in TV land.

Anyone else remember Dark Mansions?


  1. Never heard of it...put it on the wishlist on the dvd thingy??

  2. Yep I remember it well and have been looking for a copy of the movie for the long time . It was a Hidden Gems amongst Tv movies :)