House of Dark Shadows (1970)

Article 3224 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 4-16-2010
Posting Date: 6-12-2010
Directed by Dan Curtis
Featuring Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall, Kathryn Leigh Scott
Country: USA
What it is: Theatrical adaptation of supernatural soap opera

A seeker after a hidden fortune releases a vampire from captivity, who returns to his native home. The vampire eventually falls in love with a woman who resembles his bride-to-be from 200 years ago, but what will the future hold for them?

I remember trying to get home in time to see “Dark Shadows” on TV when I was a kid, but I rarely did and only caught the show sporadically. I remember Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins, and a few of the other actors and actresses, but for the life of me, I can’t remember a single story line. So I can’t say if this movie adaptation was modeled off of specific story lines from the show, but the story line is somewhat fractured and a little meandering, and this does give me the feeling that it did adapt some of the story lines from the TV series. I thought the movie was a little too coy in keeping us from seeing the face of Barnabas Collins for as long as it does; since I suspect that the movie was mostly geared for fans of show who were expecting to see Frid and knew what he looked like, it hardly seemed necessary. The movie has some good things and some not so good things; of the latter, the music is repetitive and tiresome and the characters sometimes feel inadequately developed. Still, the acting is solid (especially from Frid, Thayer David and Grayson Hall), there are a few pleasant surprises (for example, when the policemen show up to do battle with a vampirized Carolyn, they actually are armed with crosses and know how to use them), and you’re never quite sure who will prove to be the ultimate hero. I still think it’s a bit of a shame that the next movie didn’t feature Barnabas Collins; the charismatic Jonathan Frid was really the center of attention here, and the sequel suffered for his absence.


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