Night of Dark Shadows (1971)

Article 2812 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-18-2009
Posting Date: 4-25-2009
Directed by Dan Curtis
Featuring David Selby, Grayson Hall,Kate Jackson
Country: USA

Quentin Collins returns to Collinwood with his new wife. Unfortunately, the ghost of the witch Angelique plans to claim Quentin for her own…

I was of the age that tried to rush home every day after school to catch the latest episode of “Dark Shadows” on TV; I rarely made it, but sometimes I did. I was also of the age to see the ads for this movie on afternoon TV and found myself wondering where Barnabas Collins was. Of course, he’s not in this one, and I went into this viewing (for the first time) of the movie with the intent of giving it every chance, despite the fact that it lacked the character I really wanted to see. I still emerged from it unsatisfied. To me, it seems written as if it was still a daytime soap rather than a feature length movie, so much of the dialogue is overly melodramatic. It also tries too hard to be atmospheric and scary, from the overabundance of tilted camera shots, the overuse of echo in the first nightmare sequence, a score that thinks it’s the scariest movie ever made and seeks to remind you of it, the protracted twist ending in which you know exactly what the twist is but the movie goes on and on pretending that it’s some big surprise, and the overuse of that camera trick in which the focus gets fuzzy around the edges. The story, though utterly conventional, is also a bit of a mess, but this may be due to Dan Curtis having been forced to cut thirty minutes from it at the last minute. Still, in my heart, I wanted Barnabas, and though I can fully understand Curtis wanting to have a franchise that just wasn’t a series of vampire movies, the movie just wasn’t satisfying without Barnabas.

I’ll just have to wait until I finally get a chance to see HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS.


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