Day 23 - House Of Dark Shadows (1970)
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.
So I reviewed this movie a little over a year ago when it first came out on blu-ray. I first heard/saw this wonderful film years ago when I bought a bootleg of this and Night Of Dark Shadows at a convention. Having owned a few disc sets of the show when it first aired, and the revamped TV show that aired in the early 90's, I wouldn't exactly call myself a massive Dark Shadows fan, but I really admired the storyline and how cutting edge the original soap opera was in the world of horror when it first aired, and how wonderful both feature length films were. Dare I say, I enjoyed the revamped TV series more which sadly only lasted one season? I wouldn't call this fair since I haven't watched more than a few episodes of the original show, and from what I heard as the story went on it got more and more interesting. I mean how ahead of it's time was this program. The fact a show dealing with vampires, werewolf's, ghosts, and ghouls were made in the 1960's still blows my mind.
Still, I enjoyed the remake of the TV series which did a wonderful job with it's one and only season. Sadly the show was canceled before it could go any further and I can only dream had it continued the things they could have done. Also doesn't hurt it featured a young Joseph Gordon Levitt! Well going back to the theme of this week of movies that make you feel of Autumn, I would say House Of Dark Shadows is right at the top of my list. The original soap opera which told the story of the Collins family instantly because a cult classic. It wasn't long before they decided to take a stab at turning the show into a feature length film but this time making the ending out come much bloodier, and darker. With that we got show creator and horror master Dan Curtis to direct House, which told the same exact story many fans all knew and well. In fact, the entire movie can be summed by besides the ending in the very first episode of the revamped show that aired in the 90's. With a few minor changes, we met Barnabas Collins, a poor lost soul who was turned into a vampire many years ago and chained by in a tomb by his own father when he couldn't bring himself to end his son's cursed life. The massive mansions, owned by the Collins family spreads over aces and aces rolling land in upstate Maine which over looks the ocean and it's dangerous cliffs. Released by the drunken groundskeeper who's looking for buried treasure, he lets Barnabas out by accident who quickly turns him into his helper. Coming back to the family mansion, he poses as a long lost cousin from over seas, he's taken by a young woman who reminds him of his long lost love who died many many years before.
It isn't long before a series of people in town become attacked, even members and friends of the Collins family. The police are puzzled, and soon the attacked members rise from their graves, blood thirsty for blood. With the help of the family doctor, Barnabas hopes he can cure his blood lust and be able to walk in the day light to win the woman he loves heart. Sadly due to jealous range from the doctor, a series of terrible events follow...
What I loved about this movie was that it was classic Dan Curtis at this best. The man behind the original show came back and seriously made in my eyes one of the best vampire movies of all time. The man could seriously do no wrong in the 1970's.
Seeing all the characters come back, and of course the beyond spooky massacre at the end makes the entire movie. I love Dick Smith's makeup in this and how Barnabas vows his revenge. With a great ending scene, the movie is classic 60's/70's hammer film at it's best. A must to watch for all vampire and horror fans.
Sadly my chest got shit on when Tim Burton decided to remake Dark Shadows turning it into an awful dark comedy. Walking out of the movies I wanted to cry. Dark Shadows is not supposed to be dark and campy, this movie is supposed to be dark, brutal, and bloody. Which lucky for us House exactly is. A few years later a lesser and not as good sequel was made telling a different story, this time with a witch.
So I urge everyone to at least give House Of Dark Shadows a try. The blu-ray is stunning!