Wednesday, March 16, 2005


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