Title: Dark Shadows
Watched: May, 2012
Summary: Old school gothic
The upcoming Tim Burton remake reminded me that I wanted to rewatch the 1991 Dark Shadows revival. I saw some of it at release, but being a lover of all things vampire, felt it my duty to revisit. Now, that vampire-philia doesn’t extend so far as to actually watch all 2,231 episodes of the 1966 original, particularly when it’s black and white and shot live!
Anyway, back to the 1991 version. It has a certain production cheese. I think the photos to the right make that pretty clear. But the writing is actually good. This can not always be said of the acting (David Collins, I’m thinking of you!). Still, some of the leads are solid. Victoria Winters is cute, and Barnabus has an old school vibe. He even says yes instead of “yes.” Imagine the classic horror movie vampire voice as the italics. He has all that classic vampire goodness: No reflection, sunlight challenged, a fear of crosses and stakes. Fog machines follow him everywhere and when he gets excited, out come the red contacts and the pop in fangs.
This show has everything: vampires, dopplegangers, witches, ghosts, curses, familiars with low IQs, vampire-curing doctors, even time travel! And all that in just twelve episodes. There is a classic sensibility to all of it. Barnabus arrives (recently freed from his coffin) and poses as a long lost relative. What a coincidence, he looks just like his namesake from 200 years ago! And, the family tudor is the spitting image of his long dead love. I love a good Bram Stoker homage. I enjoyed that the writers actually plotted a real story with solid characters and a bit of complexity. There might be hammy moments, but the characters remained true to themselves.
Plus, the last four episodes are all set in 1790, which is always cool.