Review Dark Shadows (1966)

Doctor Omega

Member: Rank 10
Dark Shadows Cast Photo 01.jpg

Dark Shadows is an American Gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971.

The show depicted the lives, loves, trials and tribulations of the wealthy Collins family of Collinsport, Maine, where a number of supernatural occurrences take place.

The series became hugely popular when vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) appeared ten months into its run.

Dark Shadowsalso featured ghosts, werewolves, zombies, man-made monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel, and a parallel universe.

A small company of actors each played many roles; as actors came and went, some characters were played by more than one actor.

Dark Shadows was distinguished by its vividly melodramatic performances, atmospheric interiors, memorable storylines, numerous dramatic plot twists, adventurous music score, broad cosmos of characters and heroic adventures.

The original network run of the show lasted for nearly five years to amass 1,225 episodes.

It continues to enjoy an intense cult following.

In 2004 and 2007, Dark Shadows was ranked #19 and #23 on TV Guide's Top Cult Shows Ever.

Since 2006, the series has continued as a range of audio dramas produced by Big Finish Productions, featuring many of the original cast, including David Selby, Lara Parker, and Kathryn Leigh Scott.

This is where it all started. Episode 1 was taped on June 13, 1966, and first aired on June 27, 1966.

Last edited:

Doctor Omega

Member: Rank 10
I have yet to watch this series at all, even the episode I have just posted, but I am looking forward to giving it a look.

I have known of it for years, since I was a kid, , thanks to Stephen King mentioning it in his non-fiction book, DANSE MACABRE.....



Member: Rank 8
While I can't claim to have seen every episode of the original soap, it is a brilliant - if at times campy - show in the horror trope. Certainly a soap opera, but with the supernatural angle which makes it very interesting. Originally, Barnabas wasn't to stay very long, but the character proved very popular, and Barnabas Collins became the best part of the show.

Creator Dan Curtis took the BC plot of the show and made the feature film House of Dark Shadows in 1970, which was less soap opera and more Hammer or Amicus. The film ended with Barnabas' death, and the following year he released Night of Dark Shadows, a fun film, if not as good as its predecessor.

Then in 1991, he retooled it for prime time, and Dark Shadows Revival began, bringing BC in right away (this time portrayed by the inimitable Ben Cross) and featured Barbara Steele of classic Hammer and Italian horror fame as Dr. Julia Hoffman. The first season was only 12 episodes, but was bumped around due to network coverage of the Gulf War (always some republican messing things up). It has been released on DVD, and is definitely worth the watch.

The WB actually tried to retool it again in the early 21st century, but it never made it to pilot. The cast would have been played by young, attractive people who look more like models than their characters. Pass.

And the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film? I liked it more than I should have, to quote a friend of mine. The film doesn't know what it wants to be, going from straight horror to camp and back. But Depp is likable, as is the rest of the cast. Fun fact: Depp got into acting only because his roommate talked him into auditioning for A Nightmare On Elm Street with him. The friend was Jackie Earle Haley, who lost out to Depp, but played Freddy (horribly) in the (horrible) remake (did I mention it was horrible?). They act together in this film.

(head full of useless knowledge...)

Doctor Omega

Member: Rank 10
McShane Narrates “Dark Shadows” Doco


MPI Media Group today has reportedly completed production on “Master of Dark Shadows,” a feature documentary celebrating the legendary Gothic daytime soap series and its visionary creator Dan Curtis.

In 1966, the series attracted a massive youth audience as it shifted to the supernatural with the introduction of vulnerable vampire Barnabas Collins.

Shot in New York, LA and London, it includes interviews with key actors and filmmakers involved in the story of vampire Barnabas Collins and all the eerie goings-on at the gloomy Maine mansion Collinwood.

Ian McShane narrates the work with talent like Alan Ball, Whoopi Goldberg, William F. Nolan, Herman Wouk, Ben Cross, Barbara Steele and various surviving members of the cast all appearing. David Gregory helms the project which is aiming for a Spring release.