Movie Reviews

Dark Shadows 1991 The Revival Series Review

Dark Shadows 1991 The Revival Series Review: Done by Rancel

dark shadows 1991

Barnabas Collins true evil awakened!


Dark Shadows 1991 The Revival Series is the remake of the original Dark Shadows Gothic Soap Opera TV Show. Just like the original series that ran from 1966–1971, it is developed and produced by Dan Curtis. This more graphic version aired on NBC in 1991, but was canceled before completion due to Gulf War Coverage. The War coverage ended up killing the momentum, since initially it had good ratings. The network often shifted the schedule of the show around. So it was never picked up for a second season.

Dark Shadows 1991 TV Series Promo


Dark Shadows 1991 The Revival Series is a Gothic Soap Opera about a 200 year old Vampire named Barnabas Collins (Ben Cross). He is awakened by the Collins house handy man, Willy Loomis (Jim Fyfe) from his 200-year-old slumber while trying to steal the family riches in the tomb. This version of Willie Loomis differs from the original series one, because he is portrayed as either being a bit slow or brain damaged from too much alcohol abuse. Barnabas turns Willie into his personal ghoul/servant. Soon after Barnabas makes himself welcomed at the Collins Mansion, stating that he is a descendant of the original Barnabas Collins. He falls in love with Victoria Winters (Joanna Going) after immediately noticing the resemblance to his beloved Josette Du Pres Collins from 200 years ago.

dark shadows 1991

The Cast of Dark Shadows The Revival Series 1991

Victoria Winters is the home school teacher and a babysitter for the troubled young, David Collins (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). The boy’s father, Roger Collins (Roy Thinnes) is rather abusive towards Willie Loomis and is also harsh towards Mrs. Winters. Roger Collins is having an affair with Maggie Evans (Ely Pouget), who has psychic abilities. The murders start happening, beginning with Barnabas quenching his blood lust on a local girl in the town’s popular hangout, “The Blue Whale.” He also feeds on the girlfriend of Joe Haskell (Michael T. Weiss).

Joe’s girlfriend, Daphne Collins (Rebecca Staab) is bitten by Barnabas and in turn she bites Joe. He isn’t converted because she is killed in the process by the Police and Professor Michael Woodard (Stefan Gierasch). Michael Woodard along with his friend Dr. Julia Hoffman (Barbara Steele) knows a thing or two about Vampires. A little while later Dr. Julia Hoffman betrays Barnabas during the treatments to cure his vampirism by reducing the potency of the solution. Barnabas becomes aware of this when he turns into an extremely old vampire. Barnabas is enraged and now embraces his curse. He feeds and converts Joe’s new love Carolyn Stoddard (Barbara Blackburn) into his vampire bride.

dark shadows the revival series 1991

The evil spirit of Angelíque (Dark Shadows The Revival Series)

Barnabas new found blood lust restores him to a young looking vampire. At the costume ball, the Collinswood family and their friends hold a séance after everyone becomes aware of strange happenings, such as the repeated appearance of the ghost of Sara Collins (Veronica Lauren). She is the younger sister of Barnabas. The cast shifts to their past selves after the séance. During the séance a servant girl/tutor of the Collins family children named Phyllis Wicke is transported to present day. Victoria Winters is sent back in time to 1700’s Collinswood.

While in the 1700’s, the past version of Willie Loomis’s Mom (Mrs. Johnson/Abigail Collins) finds Victoria to be strange and suspects her of being a witch. Victoria is sent to Rev. Trask (Roy Thinnes), locked up, and put on trial. Barnabas is later turned into a Vampire. He is punished by a evil Voodoo practicing witch and former lover of his named Angelíque (Lysette Anthony). The series ends with Victoria Winters being brought back to the present and with a cliff-hanger of Angelíque in the present possessing one of the cast members.

dark shadows 1991

Barnabas Collins feeding on a victim.

The Review

I have seen half of the original Dark Shadows with the use of my NetFlix account. Dark Shadows 1991 The Revival Series is still faithful to the original, albeit more Gothic and graphic in detail. The scene with the evil spirit of Angelique  conjuring up a vampire version of Josette is a highlight of the increased amount of dark Gothic content in the remake. Barnabas is bitten by Josette while lots of blood is dripping down his neck. Barnabas collapses and her evil doppelganger continues to feed on him.

I think Ben Cross did a good job as Barnabas Collins, although it is hard to believe Victoria Winters would be interested in him since he is so old and mature looking. I assume he just hypnotized her. The acting is a bit corny and bad in places especially with the Joe Haskell/Peter Bradford characters. The tomb scene with Daphne as vampire and Joe Haskell crying was cringe worthy. Adrian Paul of Highlander fame makes an appearance in Dark Shadows 1991. Adrian Paul’s charming charisma that he would later have for the Highlander TV series is on display during the 1700’s Collinswood part of the story. The beautiful and sexy Lysette Anthony does a great job portraying Angelique. Her French accent is hot stuff.

Dark Shadows 1991 The Revival Series is the first time I saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt act in film or a TV series. He did a great job playing a brat. Veronica Lauren showed that she is talented and a good actress as Barnabas Collins little sister. As a child actress during the 90’s, Veronica Lauren appeared in Forever Young and Homeward Bound. Jim Fyfe was fun to watch with his portrayal of a dim witted and childlike version of Willie Loomis. Roy Thinnes did a good job as well with his somewhat sleazy dual roles as Roger/Trask. My box set of Dark Shadows 1991 The Revival Series spans 3 Disc’s and it only cost me 12.49 when I bought it on in 2011. I really enjoyed watching Dark Shadows 1991 The Revival Series when it first appeared on NBC and re-watching it makes me wish it was completed. I recommend this wonderful Gothic soap opera to fans of the original and people who like Vampire stories.

Article Name
Dark Shadows 1991 The Revival Series Review
Dark Shadows 1991 The Revival Series is the remake of the original Dark Shadows Gothic Soap Opera TV Show. The remake was broadcast on NBC but was canceled.

Filed Under: TV Shows


About the Author: Hello and welcome to The Eradicator/Kal-EL's Movie, TV Show, Animated Films, and Japanese Anime Review Website. I enjoy writing, watching films (especially foreign cinema and horror), playing video games, listening to music, repairing computers, and spending time with people I love. I have always been into the world of cinema, animated films, and TV series.

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  1. Leon Jordan says:

    I remember watching the original series on TV when I could and really hated to miss an episode. I really enjoy a really good soap opera spoof — remember “Soap”?

  2. David Kahoun says:

    Finally, a fairly good review of the revival of Dark Shadows. I loved the show when it originally aired. I had only seen a few snippets of the original Dark Shadows so I really had nothing to compare the new one to and everything was fresh for me storywise. I was very sad when it wasn’t renewed, but not surprised since they postponed and moved it so much when it originally aired. I only have a couple of negative things to say about the DVD. It is matted to widescreen from it’s original fullscreen picture for the DVD so part of the top and bottom are lost, also some of the lighting is wrong on the DVD. It has Barnabas in daylight when it was actually night. The only other thing I dislike about it is the last episode is the original episode shown on TV where on the VHS version there are about 15 extra minutes added. Why didn’t they use that episode? But all in all this is a very good show and I am happy to see a positive review.

  3. Paula Kate Meserole says:

    This was a great rendition of Dark Shadows.
    Wonderful actors, sets, writers, costumes, production, everything was just as it should be.

    The problem was that at the time, NBC had no idea what to do with a series that dealt with the supernatural.

    Only FOX knew how to promote and deal with shows of that nature; Case in point, “The XFiles” while it was more sci-fi oriented, did deal with the supernatural at times and was one of the most watched series on television and it was safely on FOX.

    While over on NBC, “Dark Shadows” was pre-emptied more than it was ever shown and they cancelled it after only about four episodes in. Their loss.

    The good news is that all 12 episodes( Season 1) of this excellent rendition of “Dark Shadows” can be viewed on Hulu.

    • Rancel says:

      Yes it was pretty disappointing to me at the time the show was canceled. I hope they make a new TV series. I did not like the Johnny Depp Movie. They should have never made it a comedy.

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