It might be the year or the theme or the actors themselves – but there’s no question that the Dark Shadows TV series was one of the spookiest to be aired during the 70’s. The show is set in a fictional town called Collinsport with the story revolving around the high-living Collins family.
The Dark Shadows series is categorized as a gothic horror soap opera. Unlike shows today which mostly dwell on one specific supernatural (werewolves, vampires, ghosts, etc.) the Dark Shadows series included everything in the mix. That’s probably one of the reasons it’s so spooky. Viewers never know what to expect. Will it be a vampire this time or something much more sinister?
Of course, the fact that Collinsport is portrayed as a fishing village adds to the scent of fear for viewers. In the city, the idea of the supernatural is shrugged off. But, in a locale with old school traditions, it’s downright spooky and very realistic sounding.
The high life of the Collins family also contributes to the scary factor. After all, what’s a gothic horror soap opera without the infamous Haunted Castle? In this case, it’s the home of the Collins clan dubbed the “Collinwood Mansion”. The mansion spans several acres of land and has more than enough rooms for the family. Repeated throughout the soap opera is the haunting of the mansion by Josette Collins.
Although the setting definitely contributes a lot to the Collinsport charm, there’s no question that the soundtrack is the most spine-chilling element of the drama. Even the introduction sequence portraying the water and the castle are made chillier by the soundtrack. It’s the anticipation of a scary episode that makes Dark Shadows very terrifying. Add that to the well-thought out music inserted throughout the show and you’ve got a very good reason why Dark Shadows is still considered one of the best gothic horror soap operas today.
The characters themselves are very intriguing and have definitely contributed to the already creepy situation in Collinsport. Actors play several different roles during the series. In one episode you will see the actor portraying one character and then the same actor portraying a different character in another episode.
The memorable plot twists, combined with out of this world episodes (clue: time travel and alternate dimensions) kept the show on the air for several years.
Some people today might find the old school approach to scare tactics a bit mundane considering the kind of graphics the TV industry has now. But, Dark Shadows is the kind of show that relies more on a well-written plot and suspense to work – not just high-tech CGI. Unlike some TV shows today, Dark Shadows will place you at the edge of your seat and keep you there until it ends.