|Josette DuPres (2012)|
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No firm details are given of the early life of Josette DuPres. Her only appearances in the film as a living human being are in the opening sequences set around the year 1776. She is first seen as a young woman on a sunlit terrace at Collinwood, embracing and exchanging promises of love with the Collins heir Barnabas Collins. In so doing, she and Barnabas arouse the ire of her would-be rival, the servant-witch Angelique Bouchard, with whom Barnabas has had a physical dalliance. Josette is next shown as a victim of Angelique's trance, spellbound to end her own life by taking a backward step off the precipice of Widows' Hill , plummeting into the crashing Atlantic waves far below.
Her final words while fully alive are spoken, plaintively, to Barnabas: "Help me!" And, 196 years later, she repeats these words, and the gesture of falling backward, in apparitions at Collinwood to the newly arrived Victoria Winters, who is Josette's modern counterpart or reincarnation. The film eventually reveals, in flashbacks, that, in fact, Victoria (whose birth name was Maggie Evans) has been in contact with Josette's spirit since childhood, and that this contact resulted in Maggie's confinement for a period of years to the mental hospital Windclyffe. Flashbacks further show that it was Josette's apparition which pointed out to Vicky the help-wanted ad for a governess that led to her employment at Collinwood and her fateful encounter there with Barnabas.
Josette's one other verbal statement to Vicky consists of the words, "He's coming! He's coming!" as she, apparently, foresees Barnabas' imminent escape from the coffin confinement to which Angelique had subjected him after imposing the curse of vampirism upon him.Although she presumably dies without having had the opportunity to join the Collins family, a large figural painting of Josette is nonetheless displayed prominently in the Collinwood foyer even in 1972, 196 years or so after her fatal leap from Widows' Hill.
"Josette" is the final (non-musical) word spoken in the film, as Barnabas succeeds in "saving" Victoria Winters from a spell-induced fall from Widows' Hill - forced upon her magically by Angelique in much the same way as had been done to Josette. Barnabas accomplishes this by draining Victoria of blood during the plunge, as the two fall together. As they embrace in the waves at the foot of the cliff, Victoria arises as a vampire and, when Barnabas calls her "Victoria," she replies "Josette," suggesting that Josette's spirit has in some way merged with the physical body of Victoria, in effect reuniting Barnabas with his lost love. Exactly what happened at that moment remains a matter of debate among fans. Was Victoria's 'soul' displaced? Did Victoria and Josette merge in some way? Were they both parts of the same person, now reunited?