Wednesday, March 16, 2005

DARK SHADOWS Vol. 17

Speaking of vampires and Gothic horror, MPI Home Video sent me the latest release of the DARK SHADOWS TV series…Volume 17! The set contains 40 half-hour episodes from the cult daytime soap opera about the cursed Collins family of Collinsport, Maine. The picture and sound quality is what one might expect from a thirty-five year-old soap, with blurry, soft video imaging and uneven audio levels.

But the show, with its unique mix of Gothic horror and standard soap opera tropes, is a surprisingly addictive diversion. I’ve never seen but a few random episodes of the show in my life, but when I put this disc in to review, my wife and I found ourselves watching a half-dozen episodes in a row (and have been watching an episode or two every day since).

These episodes are from the Fall and Winter of 1969, and incorporate such fantasy elements as time-travel (both physical and astral), mind transference, lycanthropy, ghosts and reincarnation. And then there’s Barnabas (Jonathan Frid), of course, the melancholy vampire that drove a stake through the hearts of America’s housewives for several years in the late Sixties. The four-disc set also includes interviews with actor David Selby (Quentin Collins – the heartthrob werewolf) and various crew members. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend starting with this set, but it has made me contemplate going back and picking up the earlier volumes.

BUY: Dark Shadows: DVD Collection 17