October came into our lives with a change in weather, at least for those of us who live in the geographical locations that boast four seasons. For some of us, the onset of Fall means cold weather, continual rain, and colorful leaves decorating the landscape.
Fall is a time of death getting ready for the Winter. It is a time when the sunlight diminishes and we get prepared to hunker down with our televisions for a little hibernation. The theme of the season is what we had in mind when we put this list together.
So, without further ado, here are some works you should consider taking in that go along with the dark themes of Fall.
1. Rocky Horror Picture Show
This particular piece is great for the season not only because it epitomizes the Halloween spirit it also has deal of darkness in its plot. Not only does the main character, Dr. Frank N. Furter try to create a living being from dead tissue, he dominates his followers to the point of dictatorship and he is rather narcissistic.
Most of all, Frank N. Furter murders his friend’s boyfriend all for the sake of his own ego. The man is the worst and he couldn’t care less about others than most characters we know. Fortunately, he gets his in the end.
Still, with the gothic look of the costumes and setting mixed with murder and intrigue we feel The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a perfect work to fit along with the season.
2. The Phantom of the Opera
Scary stories are not the only things that are synonymous with the season but one has to admit that the death of the foliage brings a dark theme to this time of year and not many stories are as dark as this Andrew Lloyd Webber classic. This story follows a young soprano destined for success in a Paris opera house and she befriends a “ghostly” like gentle man who lives in the catacombs underneath the opera house.
The Phantom lives under the opera house because he excludes himself from others due to his horribly deformed face, over which he wears his mask. Christine, the young soprano, reaches heights as a singer due to the help she has gotten from the Phantom. She is completely unaware that he is in love with her.
When she falls in love with Raoul the Phantom loses it and kidnaps Christine. He attempts to kill Raoul and pretty much, doesn’t take rejection very well at all. In the end though, Christine and Raoul are reunited and the poor Phantom fades away. The deep love mixed with the dark themes makes this work an excellent choice for Fall viewing, making it one of the best Fall season works!
3. Don Giovanni
This opera written by Mozart, is dark in theme because the main character basically attacks tons of women and almost gets away with it. Don Giovanni is a womanizer and basically a rapist. He aggressively attacks a woman after sneaking into her bedroom and would have succeeded at raping her if her father hadn’t walked in.
His servant Leporello, has to assist him in escaping but his conscious eats at him, unlike Giovanni who doesn’t care and continues his ways. This is until he meets up with a massive dark statue. The statue warns him that he must change his ways or his punishment will be severe.
Yet, the egotistical sexual assaulter ignores the warning and, yet again, tries to attack another woman. The statue pulls him out of this world we know and drags him down to the fire and brimstone, which will now be his new home.
Watch Verbier Festival’s Highlights for Don Giovanni tonight (and for free).
4. Les Misérables
This musical is so dark it is hard to find anything more depressing. Not even the tragic tale of Romeo and Juliet can out-dark Les Misérables. It all begins with Jean Valjean who is let out of jail, where he served more than a decade of time for stealing a loaf of break. Jean Valjean befriends a holy man and then robs him. The bishop tells Valjean he will not report him to the police if he straightens his life out.
Jean Valjean does this and we fast forward many years later where he is the mayor of a town and a successful business owner. Of course, darkness and depressing situations are abounding in this musical. Fantine is an unwed mother and she works for Valjean in his factory.
Fantine pays another family to take care of her daughter Cosette because having a child out of wedlock was a crime of severe punishment. The family that is taking care of Cosette are nasty and cruel. The line of horrible and unfortunate things that take place in this dark story make it one of the saddest stories we’ve ever seen.
Tis the season of darkness though.
5. The Wizard of Oz
Darkness abounds under the pleasant cover up in this musical. While we go from black and white to color giving the impression that things are getting brighter for young Dorothy, the truth is things take a seriously dark turn as soon as she steps into Munchkinland.
First, she accidentally kills someone, a person she never even met then a woman steps out of a bubble to tell her what the deal is. Then tiny people climb out of the woodwork and began to sing and dance. While they are delightful and entertaining, you have to admit, the whole place it rather strange.
Here comes the Wicked Witch of the West in a ball of flames. She’s mad because someone killed her sister. Of course, we can’t actually blame her. Evil or not, her sister is her sister. The “good” witch steals the “bad” witch’s shoes and puts them on Dorothy’s feet, which only give the Wicked Witch more reason to be angry.
There is a living scarecrow, a man made of tin, a talking lion and a wizard who is almost as frightening as the Wicked Witch. All of these ingredients make for a very dark story, under the guise of the something much more, shall we say, musical.
Let’s face it, The Wizard of Oz is a great movie for any time of the year, but this time of year, curled up sipping a hot chocolate with a fire roaring in the fireplace, is the perfect time for watching.
6. The Sound of Music
Our final story in our dark themed works is one that is also, very cheery and light on the surface the underlying themes are as dark as it gets. While Maria is teaching her soon to be children how to carry a tune, the Nazi party is slowly taking hold of Austria. While we are sure that everyone who reads this is aware of who the Nazi’s are and the atrocities they have committed to the Jewish community and many others they deemed unfit to live.
This is the backstory to this love story between a man with seven children and a woman who was supposed to be a nun. While the kids are singing about farewells and their favorite things, the local Nazi party people are doing everything in their power to make sure Captain VonTrapp serves for the Nazi navy.
His consciousness and sense of morality force Captain VonTrapp to make a very difficult decision, to escape Austria in the middle of the night before the Nazi’s capture him and his family. Luckily they were able to do so with the help of her family of nuns. Although it is never said, if they had been captured, odds are, while the Captain was serving in the navy, the rest of the family would have probably been sent to a camp.
This was a very dark time in the world’s history, and for that we feel, the dark themes of Nazi invasions and occupation enough to put this piece on the list for works that fit with this dark season.