House of Dark Shadows 1970 Movie Review: Done by Rancel
House of Dark Shadows is a 1970 vampire related horror movie based on the classic 1966-1971 Gothic Soap Opera Dark Shadows, which was produced by Dan Curtis. Some original cast members make their return such as; Jonathan Frid, John Karlen, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Nancy Barrett, and Grayson Hall. Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) searches for a cure to his vampirism so he can marry a woman in present day Collinsport/Collinswood, who resembles his lost fiancé, Josette (Kathryn Leigh Scott).
House of Dark Shadows begins much like the TV series with the Vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) being awakened by Collinswood mansion handyman, Willy Loomis (John Karlen). Barnabas charms his way into the lives of the present day Collinswood family. Shortly afterwards, Barnabas is introduced to Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott) at a costume ball. He immediately notices the resemblance she has to his true love, Josette du Pres from 200 years ago. Barnabas becomes obsessed with having Maggie Evans as his new bride. Barnabas starts killing/converting some of the residents in the town, including Carolyn Stoddard (Nancy Barrett), Professor T. Eliot Stokes (Thayer David), and Roger Collins (Louis Edmonds).
He also wants to regain his mortality so he can be with Maggie Evans and marry her. Barnabas undergoes an experimental treatment to revert his vampire curse. It is being administered to him by Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall). As Barnabas and Maggie Evans romance blossoms, Mrs. Hoffman becomes increasingly jealous. She finds out that they are scheduled to be married. In her act of betrayal, Mrs. Hoffman sabotages the treatment process and Barnabas reverts into a physically old looking vampire. She is later killed for her act of treachery. Unfortunately, Maggie Evans happens to arrive as Barnabas reverts and is fed upon by him which turns him back to his normal form.
Barnabas Collins has been drawing the wrong kind of attention with his killing spree. He attracts the attention of the local authorities, who have already killed the converted Carolyn Stoddard, Stokes, and Roger. Eventually, Barnabas Collins reign of terror is put to a stop by Jeff Clark (Roger Davis) and Willie Loomis at the mausoleum he fled to with Maggie Evans.
House of Dark Shadows Review
House of Dark Shadows is a 97 minute film compilation of the original Dark Shadows TV series. Several of the original cast members make their return, albeit a little older looking. The movie does a great job of fitting most everything in with the short amount of time to work with. The TV series makes a smooth transition with the House of Dark Shadows movie.
The acting is less cheesy for the most part. Some elements are still around such as the exaggerated and overly loud screaming, which does get annoying. I would have liked to seen Angélique in the movie, but she was left out since House of Dark Shadows takes place in present day Collinswood. She is my favorite character in this great Gothic Soap Opera series. I always enjoyed the past era TV episodes of Dark Shadows more than the modern.
House of Dark Shadows is also more extreme in content than the TV series with more blood and gore, which I prefer. Blood drips from every victim’s neck and the death scenes are splattered with gore. Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins is unbound and ferocious in House of Dark Shadows. The film is comparable to a Hammer Studio Production. House of Dark Shadows resembles a Christopher Lee Dracula movie. The House of Dark Shadows movie has its own set of voluptuous beautiful females, such as Kathryn Leigh Scott as Maggie Evans.
Looking back at the TV series and watching the House of Dark Shadows movie, this is the approach they should have taken with the Dark Shadows (2012) film starring Johnny Depp. I was very disappointed after hearing they were going to make it into a comedy. I watched some early scenes of it and turned it off in disgust. I prefer the dark content the original and the 1991 revival series had to offer. The excellent score of the TV series makes its return to the House of Dark Shadows movie. The movie features some excellent cinematography. My favorite shot being Barnabas Collins death scene in the mausoleum. House of Dark Shadows is a nearly flawless extreme adaptation of the TV series.
House of Dark Shadows (1970) Trailer
About the Author: