For the last couple of months I have been completely obsessed with the classic TV series “Dark Shadows” that originally ran from 1966 to 1971. I was skeptical of “Dark Shadows” at first since I was one of those people that went and saw Tim Burton’s revamped movie that came out in 2012. I remember having my hopes up pretty high that I might like this Burton movie but by the end of the film I was completely let down, rolling my eyes at the over-the-top silliness that I was witnessing. Now I have begun to think that the silliness may have been on purpose.
I decided to start watching the TV series after getting tired of re-watching my favorite shows on Netflix. What a ride! This show is a horror fueled soap opera that has too many plot lines to sum up in one sentence. So far I am on season four which involves some time travel (hahaha) but I plan on finishing the series in the next few weeks.
Main Story Line
In the town of Collinsport, the Collins family is the oldest and probably the wealthiest with a family history that is unsettling and mysterious. The series starts when Barnabas Collins (a family member who was turned into a vampire at the turn of the 19th century) is released from his imprisonment (chained up coffin) with the help of Willie (a criminal of sorts with loose ties to the current Collins family). The first few episodes establish the Collins family, the current family members and characters that are key to the main story line.
Note: An interesting parallel that I noticed in the first season is the “Dracula-esque” vampire elements. Barnabas’s attire, history, and mannerisms all reflect the classic vampire icon Dracula played by Bela Lugosi in 1931. Just goes to show that the vampire’s traditional qualities were really cemented into popular culture.
Each episode is about 30 minutes long with anywhere from 3-5 minutes of introduction with the standard opening credits including an update from the latest episode. In these short episodes the mysteries of the Collins family and the evil-doings of Barnabas are slowly unraveled.
The acting is usually over the top, and the camera work is not the greatest. I often noticed that the camera will jolt left or right suddenly when trying to follow characters moving around the room, or will even go out of focus sometimes. These aspects add to the series cheesy and campy feel, and while at first this drove me nuts now it keeps me laughing and on the lookout to notice these consistent mess ups.
Since I am not done with the series yet and I have become aware there are actually a few feature-length films that were released as well I might take my time deciding on a definitive rating. If anything I would say my rating will only be based on the plot structure and coherence of the main story.
If there are any fans of campy horrors films I would definitely recommend this series.
And if you are familiar with this show and you want to start up a convo or want me to talk about some aspect in particular to “Dark Shadows” leave your comments below!
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