One of the things that fascinates me about horror entertainment is how the ideas portrayed therein over the past 200 years or so have created a multi-generational line of spookyvolk that’s linked by almost-unchanged shared aesthetics. Someone reading “Carmilla” around the time of its publication in 1872 would be able to put “The Vampire Lovers” into context immediately (even if he might arch an eyebrow at some of the costume design in that film).
In digging through some of my magazines last night, I stumbled on these pictures from the Miss American Vampire Pageant, a perfect example of proto-gothic-rockery that makes my black little heart sing with joy. These photos are from the vampire issue of European art/comix/sexiness mag Glamour International, in which they’re incorrectly captioned as originating from a Vampirella-themed beauty pageant.
The Miss American Vampire Contest was part of the promotional blitz for “House of Dark Shadows,” and as you can see from the photo above, Mr. Barnabas Collins himself, Jonathan Frid, is crowing the regional winner of the crown from Palisades Park, NJ. The groovy ghoulette in question (in the UH-mazing crown!) is Christine Domaniecki of Belleville, NJ. Lucky winners were whisked away for the final competition, which took place on Regis Philbin’s daytime teevee show. I am just loving the “Dark Shadows” tie-in–I used to feast on repeats of that cheesily awesome gothic soap opera during my lunch breaks in art school. Swear to goodness, once you get into the zone of watching that show, it’s an incredibly difficult habit to kick!
National winner Sacheen Littlefeather (that’s NOT her above; I was unable to find photos of her appearance in the competition) is a colorful character–a model and American Indian Activist probably best known for her appearance during the 1972 Oscars, during which she accepted the award for Best Actor on behalf of Marlon Brando for his role in “The Godfather.”
And before you guys can get all “wow they should TOTALLY hold more pageants like this one” on me, I’ll advise you that I’ve been to two Gothic Beauty Pageants, and while they are indeed a rich source of schadendouche, the anthropological glee fades quickly and if one is out to see tattooed chicks in lingerie, one’s time would be more rewardingly spent at a Bourbon Street strip club.