The original series Dark Shadows was the brain child of TV producer, Dan Curtis. The hugely popular show ran from 1966-1971. It centered around the strange supernatural occurrences that surrounded the rich Collins’ family in their estate home of Collinwood.
Set in the fictional Colinsport, ME, the Dark Shadows first episodes introduced the Collins family to it’s viewers. Classified as, but not your typical “soap opera”, Dark Shadows was watched faithfully every week by millions of enthusiasts who just couldn’t get enough of the highly addictive show during it’s run on ABC.
The series opens with the introduction of the Collins family matriarch, Elisabeth Collins Stoddard, who for some reason hasn’t left her ancestral home in over 18 years. Her brother, Roger, daughter Carolyn and Roger’s young son David all inhabit the estate. So far, the weird part is the arrival of orphan girl, Victoria, who, no one seems to know anything about, winds up at the Collinwood estate hoping for clues as to her existence. Following the arrival of Victoria, it seems that it was discovered the character of Burke Devlin literally came off the same train as she did.
Then, there’s the mention of con man Willie Loomis, who was later identified also as a thief, and finally the long awaited arrival of the shows most famous character; Barnabas Collins. It couldn’t be overlooked that he showed up right after Willie the thief came up missing after he broke into the family tomb to steal precious, valuables from the Collins family; or that this man looks identical to the portrait hanging in the Collins manor. Stranger yet this Barnabas Collins guy is over 200 years old. The explanation of his existence given to us by the writers of this glorious dark gothic “soap opera”, well, Barnabas Collins is a “vampire” of course.
What drew so many viewers to the Dark Shadows series wasn’t just the long anticipated arrival of the “vampire”. The shows many plot twists of ghostly warnings and past suicides that took place in the made up town of Collinsport, left viewers hanging on the edge of their seat each and every week, anxiously awaiting the next episode to air. The draw was the wait to see what was would happen next.
The supernatural has always been a fascinating subject to the public. It is not so surprising that stories of vampires, witches, werewolves and ghosts have been around to entertain us on television for decades. Shows like the Dark Shadows preceded the shows of today that continue to tantalize our generation.
If we really think about it, there most likely wouldn’t be any of the beloved vampires like Damon or Stephan on TV shows like the Vampire Diaries every Thursday night, if it wasn’t for characters like Barnabas Collins, the vampire of the Dark Shadows.
So is the Dark Shadows’ movie anything like the popular TV series? Does it do justice to our memories of the show of the past? Most fans say “not so”.