Return to Collinsport, House Of Dark Shadows on Blu-Ray.
Deciding to brave the crowds today, I intended to go to a local music and movie store and try to find some deals on a few titles. One mainly being Friday the 13th the series season 3 (I feel sorta bad claiming to be such a big fan of the show when I don't even own the last season...but could anyone blame me?) Anyways while out on my little adventure I was more than a little disappointed with my finds...until I found.
House Of Dark Shadows.
I first heard of Dark Shadows a couple of years ago when I was at Rock &Shock. Doing my usual sweep on bootlegs (this was before they decided to stop selling them...great idea.) I stumbled across House and Night on DVD. Buying them on impulse all I knew about them was that they were based off the cult TV series and that Dan Curtis was involved. I'm a pretty big Dan Curtis fan since one of my all time favorite 70's horror movies is Burnt Offerings.
It wasn't until when I was living alone in my last semester up at school that I dug into my collection and needed a movie to watch while I was working. It was here I witnessed one of the most bad ass vampire movies ever made.
PLOT: Vampire Barnabas Collins is released from his prison and searches for a cure to his affliction, so he can marry the incarnation of his lost love.
LOWDOWN: Being highly impressed with watching this movie I right away had to pop in Night. As much as I liked the back story on Angelique, but besides that I found it rather lackluster. What I liked was the main focus being on Barnabas. No wonder he was the reason the soap opera became so popular, his story is the most interesting! I had also owned the revamp Dark Shadows which was made in the early 90's and starred a very young Joseph Gordon Levitt. Deciding to get into the spirit of things I watched the first and only season and was simply blown away. I will admit I have only seen a few episodes from the original show (it's on my bucket list to watch the whole series someday but sadly right now the box sets go for insane money.) The remake show is very impressive, and crammed a lot of back story and information together. Sadly it never lasted and a few years later after another failed attempt of breathing life into the show, the whole Collins' family seemed to stay in limbo until Tim Burton decided to make Dark Shadows into a feature film with Johnny Depp. Now I hate to say this, but I really didn't enjoy this movie. I think it was very well made but the whole tongue in cheek feel really didn't work. I'm sorry Burton but Dark Shadows is a dark Gothic soap opera nothing more...nothing less.
I noticed with these two feature films which were released in the 1970's when the height of the Dark Shadows craze was at it's highest. Dan Curtis proved yet again that he was the master of crafting these tales and took a much darker view into this movie changing the ending and turning everything into a complete blood bath.
Dark Shadows has a very huge sense of elegance. This was back when movies weren't just about hacking and slashing. This was a very well written movie that honestly captured the whole Gothic tragedy. In the remake show, the first two episodes are really what House is about all crammed into an hour and thirty minutes. I loved how Barnabas was a vampire you felt sorry for. Here was a man who just wanted to feel human again and be with his long lost love (knowing more of the history of him makes his actions even more powerful.) I loved the twist Curtis took with this and how it all unravels out of control, resulting in one of the most bad ass endings of all time. Talk about a wedding gone wrong!
I adored the music (Josette's music box theme is beautiful and haunting.) I loved the red credits playing over the opening scene, the locations, and best of all the monster makeup. Props to Dick Smith since that was reused old age makeup he used in Little Big Man.
I would have to say House Of Dark Shadows is not only one of the best vampire movies out there, it's one of the best made movies from that decade. Some may say it moves a tad bit slow, I on the other hand feel the pacing is perfect. So instead of wasting your time with Burton's new movie, go find House on blu-ray and get ready to be blown away by how amazing the transfer looks!