TV Shows on DVD/ / / / / / / Obscure 70s music & more! / / / / / / / Movies on Blu Ray/ / / / / / / Holiday Specials on DVD / / / / / / Classic Commercials

 

 

THE DARK SHADOWS MOVIES (1970s)

 

 

Shop Amazon's New Kindle Fire

 

1970s Dark Shadows movies


by Billy Ingram

Dark ShadowsIt's a foregone conclusion that whenever a big screen adaptation of a TV show happens it's a disaster. Over and over we see the examples. But there was a string of motion pictures based on television shows that were as good or better than the originals.

They tended to be the very first adaptations - McHale's Navy (1964), McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force (1965), Munster Go Home! (1964), Batman (1966), and House of Dark Shadows (1970).

The first McHale's Navy film was pretty good, the second not so great, but I would say they were on par with the sitcom. That's not really saying much but they were movies for kids.

Munster Go Home! was a dumbed down, stretched thin episode of the CBS show (that had just been cancelled), relying too much on bad puns and childish slapstick. It might actually play better if you've never seen The Munsters before, the best gags were all too familiar from the TV version. The first season of The Munsters represented some of the funniest television ever but the motion picture never aspired to that level of quality, in terms of the writing anyway. But it does sport the original cast (with a new Marilyn) in vivid color for the first time and featured a cool new dragster created by George Barris.

Say what you will about the primetime portrayal of the Dark Knight but if you liked the 1966 Batman TV show you'll love the movie of the same year.

But for me, House of Dark Shadows stands as the most effective TV adaptation to the big screen until Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan came along in 1982.

The daytime soap opera Dark Shadows struggled to find an audience before Jonathan Frid joined the cast as Barnabas Collins. This happened in 1967 just after Batman ignited in primetime; both Frid and Adam West became instant pop icons. Perhaps it was the success of the Batman movie that prompted MGM to green light a film version of Dark Shadows four years later.

House of Dark Shadows movie posterThe motion pictures House of Dark Shadows from 1970 and the sequel Night of Dark Shadows from 1971 finally appeared on DVD in 2012. Interest in the Johnny Depp film version of Dark Shadows briefly made the series super hot again. Who would have thought this daily soap opera would rise again after the failed primetime revival in 1991? Sadly, the film was a flop on all levels, absolutely dreadful and a stiff at the box office... it was so poorly received that the studio put a hold on any future projects with Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.

House of Dark Shadows is a faithful re-telling of the origin of Barnabas Collins straight from the soap opera plotline, only far more gruesome and bloody. Creator and producer Dan Curtis constructed a rock solid scenario so a blood curdling time was had by all.

There are many creepy moments and genuine chills in this gothic tale of a vampire released after more than a century in captivity, consumed with a longing to romantically reconnect with his long-buried past.

The music by Robert Cobert was a major contributor to the overall creepiness of Dark Shadows and it is carried over nicely to the motion picture version. Some of the dialogue and camera set-ups are identical to the first Barnabas TV story arc but the house was different, by necessity. You can't shoot a motion picture on a TV soap opera set so the Lyndhurst Estate in Tarrytown, New York and the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion in Connecticut became the new Collins' mansions.

The feature film broke with the TV show's continuity in another key area in that almost everyone was left dead by the end credits.

Night of Dark Shadows motion picture Night of Dark Shadows I remember being schlocky and seemingly meant to go straight to the Drive-In circuit, the equivalent in 1971 of going direct to DVD.

Like the television series, part of the film takes place in the past but there's no Barnabas - instead Quentin Collins (David Selby) is the center of attention, a silly prat possessed and in love with the ghost of Angelique.

Most of the cast of House of Dark Shadows returned except Jonathan Frid and Joan Bennett as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. I guess she stayed dead after the last movie.

Actors who played supporting characters that were offed in the first film were reincarnated with different identities in Night of Dark Shadows - but then that was a common thread on the TV show as well.

This movie was a great deal more violent and overtly sexual than the afternoon soap, obviously, but not the least bit scary. I was left totally confused by the whole tawdry affair, being a fan of the show and seeing familiar characters in so murky a setting.

Unlike the first Dark Shadows movie, which surprised everyone with strong box office receipts, Night of Dark Shadows wasn't as successful.

Dark Shadows comic bookWhy didn't Curtis do something more in the same bloody vein of the series and the first feature? Jonathan Frid didn't want to do it, he was terrified of being typecast.

Can you imagine not wanting to be the star of what could have been a lucrative film franchise? He should have instead been apprehensive about not working again; Jonathan Frid was rarely seen on TV or in movies after the ABC series left the air in March of 1971, two days before Night of Dark Shadows began filming.

The daytime soap had undergone a major change in the last months of its existence with Frid portraying perennial loser Bramwell Collins in a drab storyline that took place in the 1800s.

Gone were the vampires, werewolves, and fantastic characters, replaced instead by boring archetypes who were vaguely terrified of a room in the home, a worn out theme by then. I guess the network wanted to see if the show had any pull as a typical soap opera (set in the past?) without the bizarre plotlines before they pulled the plug.

A scene from the original Dark Shadows TV show:

 

The director's cut of Night of Dark Shadows was announced to be coming to DVD in 2012 (but I haven't seen it, just the theatrical version). I should give this motion picture another shot. Unlike House of Dark Shadows, Night was directed by Dan Curtis but MGM forced him to rush cut over 35 minutes from his finished film. This might account for the lack of cohesion.


An interview with series creator Dan Curtis:

Here's a Question & Answer period with Jonathan Frid, Barnabas Collins, from a 2009 Dark Shadows convention.

In 2004, a pilot for a new Dark Shadows series starring Marley Shelton as Victoria Winters and Alec Newman as Barnabas Collins was produced but never picked up.  


Hit Shows of the Seventies: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Gene Roddenberry in the 1970s / 1977-1978 Superhero & Science Fiction TV Shows / Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview / Best Season of Dallas Ever? / TV Show Book Tie-Ins / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / That Girl & TV's Single Working Women / Star Trek Animated / Dark Shadows / Dark Shadows Movies / Dark Shadows Novels / Dawn Wells / Gavin McLeod / The Music Dark Shadows / 1970 TV Shows / Mike Wallace, Virginia Graham & Jim Longworth / Dick Clark / 1973 TV Shows / Thriller / The Jacksons TV Show / Fall Previews of the 70s / Lance Link, Secret Chimp / Star Wars Holiday Special / Alias Smith and Jones / 1977 Year in Review / Top Ten 1970-76 / The Rockford Files / All in the Family / Sam Hall (Dark Shadows) Interview / Battlestar Galactica / Wonder Woman / Network Jingles / Class of '74 / Happy Days / Good Times / Mr. Bill / Dinah! / Maude / Doris Day Show / Pamelyn Ferdin Interview / The Bicentennial Minute / Jingles & Catch Phrases of the 1970s / Early Cable TV 1970s / TV commercials for Women / TV Moms / Country Music TV Shows of the 1960s & 1970s / Betty White Show / Ron Palillo / Shirley Jones Interview / Tom Bosley / Rodney Dangerfield / How Sanford & Son Ended / Sanford & Son Spin-Off Grady / Great Memoirs / Virginia Graham Show / The "N" Word on TV / 10 Classic Comedy Routines You Have To Laugh At Before You Die / Hollywood Squares / 1970's Teen Idols & The Hudson Brothers / TV Stars with 3 Hit Shows / The Rookies / Unsold Pilots / Jackie Cooper / The Good Guys / Match Game / Make Room For Granddaddy / Mannix & Gail Fisher / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Silent Star Marion Mack / Biff Burger / 1970s Fast Food Chains / Latin Casino / Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire / 1970's Daytime Talk Shows / The Fess Parker Show / Love, Loss & What I Watched

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
It is what it is!

DARK SHADOWS MOVIES (1970s)

 

DARK SHADOWS
Sam Hall Interview / Grayson Hall & Dark Shadows

1970s Dark Shadows novels

The Music of Dark Shadows

Fridays TV Show on DVD DVDWhen Things Were Rotten on DVD

Ripcord on DVDDobie Gillis on DVD

Shazam on DVD

 

 

Shop Amazon's New Kindle Fire


Lost Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Classic TV on the Internet!

TV's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments

 

Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Biff Burger / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You /  Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / The Carpenters / Route 66 / Bozo / The Carpenters Christmas Specials / Local Kid Shows / Death of TV's Superman / Wonderama / Sesame Street / Bob Hope Specials / Little Rascals / 1980's Retro Gay T-Shirts / 1980's TV Wrestling / Fess Parker / Howdy Doody / TV Blog / Lost In Space / Pinky Lee / 1980's LA Punk Rock / Alex Toth Book / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor big brotherShow / George Burns / Lucy's Lost Christmas Special / Classic Christmas Toy Commercials / Cricket On The Hearth / 1950's Holiday Shows / Amahl and the Night Visitors / A Christmas Carol on TV / The Yule Log / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More! 

Classic Commercials on DVD When Things Were Rotten on DVD Andy Williams Christmas shows DVD Classic Commercials on DVD TimeLife.com Fireball xl5 on DVD Tennessee Tuxedo on DVD
TV Shows on DVD/ / / / / / / TV Show Reviews / / / / / / / Punk Book/ / / / / / / Holiday Specials on DVD / / / / / / Classic Commercials
Looking for classic TV DVDs? See below:
TV Commercials on DVD Wrestling DVDs Classic TV Books
Jim Longworth Christmas Specials TV Shows on BLU-RAY

TimeLife.com
Save money!