House Of Dark Shadows, based on the very popular TV Gothic soap opera, follows the life (or is that AFTERlife) of Barnabas Collins. Recently unleashed from his coffin by local drunk, Willie Loomis, the vampire (Barnabas) goes on a killing spree, while at the same time charming his present day family members. In the process he meets local girl Maggie Evans and notices that she looks exactly like his deceased fiance Josette. Barnabas assumes that she is the reincarnation of Josette, and plans to make him his unholy bride for eternity. Written by
Nate Gardner <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This film was shot concurrently with the original Dark Shadows (1966) series. During the time of filming, the television program was in the middle of its 1970 parallel time story-arc. Major characters appearing in the film were written out of the TV series so that they would be available to shoot the movie. See more »
"House of Dark Shadows" was made chiefly for fans of the popular daytime television series from which it was derived through the participation of the show's producer, composer, writers and several prominent cast members. For others this hodgepodge will seem choppy and even incoherent. The main difference between TV show and movie (besides the extreme compression of hundreds of hours of content into 100 minutes of action-packed but narratively absurd melodrama) is in the superior, atmospheric color photography and painstaking, often baroque, set design. In this movie an old stone crypt really looks and sounds like an old stone crypt, not plywood painted grey. Exteriors are really exteriors and not a few plastic trees sitting insecurely in piles of dirt on a soundstage. Freshly lit candles are not conveniently burning in sealed tombs. Bannisters do not wobble when touched by human hands; mike booms do not appear in shots; eyes do not dart toward teleprompters. And blood flows copiously from numerous neck bites and impalings, all to Robert Cobert's inspired musical underscoring.
As for the actors, Jonathan Frid as the vampire loses none of his small screen potency in this adaptation. Nancy Barrett as the daughter of the Collins house gets to play demonic for much of her screen time and makes the most of the opportunity. Grayson Hall, as Dr. Hoffman, who falls in love with Barnabas while trying to cure his vampirism also survives the transfer intact, as does the superior character actor Thayer David as Professor Stokes. John Karlen as lowlife Willie Loomis, household helper and slave to Barnabas, manages to restrain his tendency toward extreme (but sometimes delightful) overacting. Louis Edmonds as the male head of the Collins household delivers the few lines given him with his matchlessly resonant voice, but Joan Bennett as his sister is largely decorative. David Henesy as his son is given very little dialogue at all.
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