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Title: House of Dark Shadows

General info:
Year: 1970
Director: Dan Curtis
Screenplay by Sam Hall and Gordon Russell
Producer: Dan Curtis
Based on the ABC-TV series Dark Shadows


Cast:
Jonathan Frid - Barnabas Collins
Grayson Hall - Dr. Julia Hoffman
Kathryn Leigh Scott - Maggie Evans
Nancy Barrett - Carolyn Stoddard
John Karlen - Willie Loomis
Thayer David - Professor T. Eliot Stokes
Louis Edmonds - Roger Collins
David Henesy - David Collins


Plot synopsis:
This is the first feature film to come out of the 1966-1971 Gothic Soap Opera "Dark Shadows." The soap opera was such a popular hit with teens and adults alike that MGM offered creator Dan Curtis a shot at making a major motion picture using the same characters. This movie basically takes the incredibly famous Barnabas Collins storyline and turns it into a 1 hour and 38 minute self-contained horror film.

Barnabas Collins, a centuries-old vampire, comes to Collinwood, the family estate in Maine and presents himself as a descendant of the original Barnabas Collins. The family welcomes him into their fold, despite his uncanny resemblance (and similar fashion sense) to the original Barnabas.

Barnabas soon meets the family friend Maggie Evans, who just happens to bear a frightening resemblance (despite no apparent family relation) to his long-lost love Josette Collins. He becomes obsessed with her and proceeds to court her.

The story continues and finally comes to a climax with more undead Collins family members than live ones.

Why you like it - or not: This movie is hideous, although not quite as hideous as its sequel Night of Dark Shadows, which was totally nonsensical.
The thing about this movie is that it's not the Soap Opera. What made the TV show so gothic and eerie was its filming, and the control that the directors had in the studio. Most of this film was done on location, and the realism ruined the fantasy.
Also, in order to bring the film to a wider audience, the film was made rather gory, well gorier then the original series, and that turned off a lot of the original fans, including this one. Despite that fact, the film did VERY well at the box office and the next year, MGM gave Dan Curtis the go ahead to make a sequel, but the final product was so unlike what Curtis intended, it's almost unintelligible.

Sequel: "Night of Dark Shadows" 1971.

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