Thursday, June 18, 2015
In April 1967, the failing horror-soap opera DARK SHADOWS introduced the character for which the show would become best known: the tragic vampire Barnabas Collins. About six months later, the writers introduced the witchy woman who had created him: Angelique. She was usually tagged with the surname "Bouchard," though as this Wikipedia writeup details, neither name precisely signified her original identity.
Mythically, Angelique is interesting as an example of a "downstairs" striving to mingle with the "upstairs." Her early life as Angelique portrays her as having come to work as a servant to the Countess DuPres in the French Caribbean colony Martinique in the 17th century. Later she, as a member of the Countess' retinue, emigrates to Collinsport, Maine. There she enjoys an affair with wealthy Collins scion Barnabas, but Barnabas rejects her in favor of another upper-class representative: Josette, daughter of Angelique's mistress. This rejection of her love leads Angelique to curse Josette to experience a fatal accident, and to condemn Barnabas to the mordant existence of a vampire. When Barnabas revives during the 20th century and seeks to undo his curse, witchy Angelique shows up at the Collins door, determined to make her former paramour suffer.
Over the serials' remaining years Angelique displayed a variety of awesome supernatural powers, including a period when she herself became a vampire, as shown above. But the greatest mystery about her is: why did the writers make her a low-class servant from Martinique? Given that the Caribbean Islands signify a condition of racial admixture, is there a sense that Angelique, despite being a blonde Caucasian, is actually "coded" as having the "colorful" background often assigned to Martinique's Creole population?
Regardless of this possible reading, Angelique was one of the better developed DARK SHADOWS characters. Other actresses essayed the role in later versions of the show, but for this fan, Lara Parker remains the definitive incarnation.