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Ghastly ReflectionsHouse Of Dark Shadows (1970)
POSTED BY TERENCE NUZUM, February 24, 2015    Share

I grew up in a household that nourished my horror fandom. My mom loved horror movies and showed me all the ones that I could see at a young age, within boundaries of my age limit of course. My aunt was always the more literary, comic book, and gothic horror fan. She got me interested in Hammer Films for example. Dark Shadows is, was and will probably always be one of her favorite TV shows. As a kid I would never have for an instant thought it would be one of mine too. And it wasn't, till my mid-20s. Sci-Fi Channel started rerunning all of them starting with the Barnabus storyline. They played two episodes during the day and two at night. My work schedule permitted me to watch the daytime episodes and then I'd rush back home at night from work to watch the nighttime ones. I became obsessed. It wasn't just a show about a vampire in New England with awesome an gothic setting. No, it was a show that included it all, from Frankenstein monsters, witches, satanism, werewolves, and even Lovecraft mythos. Of course there were also those two movies.
House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows were both directed by the shows producer Dan Curtis and were, if anything, interesting curios to the fans. Night is such a cut up jumbled mess I wont even cover it here. House of Dark Shadows on the other hand is simply a condensed version of the Barnabus storyline. If you are a fan of the show and it's long run you will notice that almost every single actor from the show has some part in this film. Even if it's a nonspeaking role they manage to fit familiar faces in. The main characters of the Collins family are still played by the right actors, but their fates are drastically different. The film plays itself less as a soap opera/gothic romance and more like a straight horror film. Dan Curtis' direction is better than TV movie fare, especially the beautiful crane shots, and in particular the shot of Barnabus standing in front of Collinwood on the dark and stormy night he is resurrected. Curtis of course, would prove he was more than an adequete horror director with Trilogy of Terror and many other unforgettable horror classics. The actors try their best but they are not Hollywood. Frid as Baranabus of course is great in his usual charming yet creepy way. Most of the others just play it like cardboard cutouts since their isn't much for such a massive cast of characters to do in a brisk paced film.
If you are a fan of Dark Shadows this is good fun even if you are just playing spot the actors. But as a newcomer stick to the show as most of this screenplay will leave you wanting to know more, and you will be probably a tad confused as to how fast things move and characters motivations. House of Dark Shadows proves Dark Shadows plays best as a TV soap opera. So save your money and buy the DVDs and get your fangs into this richly creative show. For creaky cobwebbed gothic TV horror it doesn't get any better. For cinema vampires though this doesn't quite bite.

"Ghastly Reflections" is ©2015 by Terence Nuzum. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2015 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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