Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Master of Dark Shadows


LuckyDan
 Share

Recommended Posts

Master of Dark Shadows, an appreciation of the 60s daytime gothic soap opera, was released on DVD and streaming video in April of 2019, and can be found today on Tubi. It is narrated by Ian McShane and features archival interviews with people who died long before production began, such as creator and director Dan Curtis, and the show's most recognizable actor Jonathan Frid, and newly conducted interviews with cast members including Nancy Barrett, David Selby, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, Jerry Lacy, Roger Davis, Marie Wallace, Chris Pennock (who has since left us), and James Storm. Also making prominent appearances are Barbara Steele, who co-produced Winds of War with Dan Curtis; and Whoopi Goldberg, who is there because I don't know why. 

2zTkMme.jpg

(1966 cast photo)

I was first struck by the production design, with subjects seated in front of life sized images of whatever room would be appropriate for them: the Dark Shadows set for actors, and office sets for executives or the writers, which not only provide continuity, but nicely mimic the low-budget artifices created on the Dark Shadows set. Film clips from the show are inserted into the screen space of vintage tv set facades, recalling the way many of us first saw the show. I also enjoyed the color stock footage of 1960s Chicago and NYC cityscapes, the home movies of the actors arriving at the studio and walking passed fan kids and signing autographs, and the clip of Jonathan Frid putting the vampire moves on an uncertain Barbara Bouchet in front of Merv Griffin. 

 

Zp03Lfo.jpg

 

I learned not only that Jonathan was dyslexic and struggled to learn his lines, but that he became something of a pre-teen romantic idol with appearances on the covers of "Tiger Beat" and "16" magazines.

In the segment that discussed where story ideas came from and how plots were borrowed from classic works, actor Jerry Lacy got off a good one when he said, referring to all the horror cliches they built upon, "There was one thing we missed. We didn't do mummies." 

In the final third, focus turns to the movies House of Dark Shadows ('Unnatural love ... Come ... And see how the vampires ... DO it."), and Night of Dark Shadows, followed by a prolonged discussion of Winds of War and War and Remembrance, which killed the buzz for me, but since the main subject, as the title indicates, is Dan Curtis, this is a necessary if not entirely welcome diversion.

Dark Shadows is known for having an entertaining blooper reel which might call Dan Curtis's quality control practices into question. He didn't foresee the possibilities for rebroadcast, since he rarely granted requests for retakes saying, Why bother? It will be seen one time. 

Curtis was ultimately disappointed that his lasting legacy would be Dark Shadows, and not a broader or more ambitious body of work building on his Winds of War success, but not so disappointed that he could not, like the actors who loved him, look back on his most famous work with a smile.

siwQoUT.jpg

 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fifty years ago Dark Shadows debuted as a newspaper comic strip. Beautifully drawn in a "photorealistic" style  by cartoonist extraordinaire Ken Bald (using the pseudonym "K. Bruce"), Barnabas Collins & Co. haunted the daily and Sunday "funny pages" --  much to the collective unease of Blondie and Dagwood, Nancy and Sluggo, Rex Morgan and Mary Worth, and Charlie Brown and Snoopy, undoubtedly.

I used to clip out the Sunday editions, and probably still have them somewhere, wrapped in a plastic bag.

SxW2exr2kTP9zx2WwljDAm24zZz-8-bNd6Dp6y35

fFqCpAriXA1kp4ZiIAMZNF-6bbwDvNfb9qjx55tZ

HlagJoxUt-55yYKGGypFMCM1DiTGiEs1gkTdTU5n

Z0r7h9arO61sKWc171sD93NGvvFIQEDhzXGbp1J9

JIe2SpQb_-bBheq4ynGT52IsY7CJSNS9rld-uS4a

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, LuckyDan said:

If that was mentioned in the doc, I missed it. I have no recollection of the strip. Thanks for the post. 

No, you didn't miss it because it wasn't covered in the documentary.

. . . and thank you for your promo. I watched Master of Dark Shadows and enjoyed it.

I, for one, was delighted with Dan Curtis' decision to 86 the "romantic" image of a tortured, Byronic Barnabas Collins for the feature-film House of Dark Shadows. In the documentary, it was reported that Curtis and writers decided to go for broke and pull out all stops after ABC decided to cancel the soap opera (what have we got to lose?). In House, Curtis turned the blood-letting and violence and -- most importantly -- Barnabas' villainy  "up to 11" (relatively) -- a change in tone that (for me) satisfying replaced the soapy Gothic romance with dynamic, thrill-packed horror.

I also got a kick out of composer Robert Cobert's reminiscence of reminding Curtis why Quentin's Theme sounded so familiar to the producer. Cobert routinely recycled music in Dan Curtis productions.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Eucalpytus P. Millstone said:

. . . and thank you for your promo. I watched Master of Dark Shadows and enjoyed it.

The poster Lorna Hanson Forbes brought Master to my attention in a general discussions post. He has a thread devoted to Dark Shadows going strong at the moment, which I'm sure you've seen if not taken part in.

I first posted a draft of this review in that thread but it got buried pretty quickly, so I thought I'd revise and re-post here for the documentary hounds. Glad you enjoyed the show 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, LuckyDan said:

The poster Lorna Hanson Forbes brought Master to my attention in a general discussions post. He has a thread devoted to Dark Shadows going strong at the moment, which I'm sure you've seen if not taken part in.

I first posted a draft of this review in that thread but it got buried pretty quickly, so I thought I'd revise and re-post here for the documentary hounds. Glad you enjoyed the show 

 

Yeah, I participated in LHF's Dark Shadows discussion (and thanks for confirming my suspicion that "she" is a he). I saw your review thereon.

Again, thanks for the promotion of Master of Dark Shadows.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

© 2023 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...