Bennington Gothique. Doesn’t this wonderful name alone conjure all sorts of possibilities? You wouldn’t be far off the mark if you imagined a touch of Dark Shadows coupled with the great ’80’s mini-series Lace (famous for the wonderful line “which one of you bitches is my mother?). In Bennington Gothique Gregory Connor has created a marvelous combination of soap and spooky gothic suspense, complete with an appropriately eerie soundtrack.
Upon the death of her grandmother, orphaned teen Angela Wentworth (Natasha Phillips) makes the decision to enroll in the exclusive girls’ boarding school, Bennington House “where girls become women or die trying”. Angela, found as an infant in the woods surrounding Bennington House, needs to uncover the mystery surrounding her birth. She’s determined to find out the truth, whatever the cost. Headmistress Agatha Bennington (Varda Appleton) may have the answers Angela seeks, but she’s not giving anything away. Faculty member Raven Chandler (Libby West) is none too pleased with Angela’s presence. What secrets are the adults hiding?
It’s summer session at the school and enrollment is low. Angela begins to make friends with some of the other students – Victoria Hemsdale (Liza van Deventer), leader of the mean girls, and her acolytes Kyle (Yumi Ishibashi), and scholarship student Brittany Joyal). Due to a fire at the nearby boys’ prep school, some of their students are temporarily boarding at Bennington House, in a separate wing from the girls. Despite the headmistress’s admonitions to remain apart, the beautiful Bladen (Michele Weaver) takes full advantage of the proximity of the boys. Bladen is the one girl who seems to view Angela’s presence as a threat. When the girls take a blindfolded Angela into the woods for the traditional initiation into Bennington life, she encounters more mystery than she anticipated.
Bennington Gothique has a great story brewing. I’m eager to see more, so it’s disappointing that there are only four episodes available. The Bennington Gothique website provides extensive background on all the characters, including some information not yet introduced in the episodes. I hope that the recent entry of Bennington Gothique into several web fests means a drive towards funding and making future episodes.