When I was a kid, I would get home from school and switch on the tube to see the latest installment of the cult classic soap opera, "Dark Shadows". I couldn't wait to check out the latest shenanigans on the Collinwood Estate. Awhile ago, I had added the DVDs for the TV series to my "need to watch" list for Netflix. The news about Tim Burton's latest 'Dark Shadows' film project bumped the DVDs up my list to the top spot. I won't get into my views right now on Burton touching what should really be untouchable (you can find two posts that reflect my thoughts on the subject under 'Movies'). This post is about the original...the engaging, often hilarious, "Dark Shadows".
|(Joan Bennett, Louis Edmonds, Alexandra Isles)|
|(Jonathan Frid as 'Barnabas', Grayson Hall as 'Dr. Hoffman')|
keeping Maggie Evans while he brainwashes her into being his long lost love Josette, Maggie (Kathryn Lee Scott) is in the basement eavesdropping on Barnabas and his 'Renfield', Willie Loomis, when she gets frightened and throws her back against a brick wall...that proceeds to sway like a cardboard partition...which it most likely was. There are tons of gaffs like that. Actors "pounding" on doors, and the doors, door frames, even the walls shake and sway. Another constant presence in a number of shots is the microphone being held above the actors. Not only do we see it moving around in the tops of shots, we see the pole extension it is on, as well as the operator in shadow form on walls of the sets. Shadows of the on-set crew are a regular part of the cast. Nothing like an intense moment where Barnabas is looking like he might go all 'bitey' on someone, when they switch to an angle where you can see the dark silhouette of a beer gutted stage hand on the wall. Then there is the less than perfect camera work. Moving in quickly for the dramatic close-up right before a commercial break and the shot just turning to fuzz due to no accompanying focus. That was quite common. Every once in awhile seeing a shot go to another camera that is focused on something totally unrelated to the scene happens as well. It doesn't get any better than that. Seriously. It doesn't.
|(Kathryn Leigh Scott as 'Maggie')|
|(The Old House ~ home to Barnabas Collins)|
|(David Henesy as 'David Collins')|
|('Igor' on the Munsters...)|
|(The entry hall of Collinwood)|
|(Left: Anthony George as 'Burke Devlin', Alexandra Isles as 'Victoria Winters'|
Right: Peter Trugeon as 'Dr. Woodard')
|(Am I right, or am I right?)|
|(Left: Isles as 'Winters', Nancy Barrett as 'Carolyn Stoddard', Michael Hadge as 'Buzz Hackett, |
Joel Crothers as 'Joe Haskell'
Right: John Karlen as 'Willie Loomis')
An interesting thing...while I was doing a little research for this post, I found the official "Dark Shadows Fan Club" site. Apparently, they are having a big dinner gathering for fans. Kind of a dinner convention (which it looks like they have a number of...conventions, that is). The guest is supposed to be Jonathan Frid. The man doesn't look to be a spring chicken on the show, so he must be older than dirt by now. I tried to find some current pictures of him, but didn't have any luck.
|(Lara Parker as 'Angelique', David Selby as 'Quentin Collins')|
There were two feature films based on the world of Collinsport, "House of Dark Shadows", and "Night of Dark Shadows". 'House" is about Barnabas and his young lovely vampires. 'Night' centers around Angelique and a more modern day (well, modern in the 1970's) Quentin Collins who brings his new wife, Tracy Collins (played by Kate Jackson) to Collinsport. Both films aren't bad. I have them in VHS format. Are they Oscar material? Does anyone really need to ask?
|(I had to include this screen capture of Barnabas. This is a super-imposed Barnabas after he changed from his bat form. I do realize that the hilarious effect isn't as easy to read in the photo...oh well, I tried...)|