‘Dark Shadows: Collections 3 & 4’
(Joan Bennett, Jonathan Frid, Kathryn Leigh Scott, et al / 4-Disc DVD / Not Rated / (1966-71) 2003 / MPI)
Overview:With its alluring tales of Gothic mystery and supernatural intrigue, ’Dark Shadows’ became one of the most popular daytime series of all time. Since first airing on ABC-TV from 1966-1971, ’Dark Shadows’ has earned the reputation as being one of the most unusual and enduring programs in television history. The character of Barnabas Collins, a guilt-ridden 175 year-old vampire, bought the show tremendous success.
Collection 3: Dr. Julia Hoffman promises Barnabas that his secret is safe if he will allow her to conduct experiments to cure him of his vampirism. Jealous of Victoria Winters’ engagement to Burke Devlin, Barnabas plans revenge against Burke, who becomes suspicious of Barnabas and begins to investigate him. While trying to hide from Barnabas, David Collins becomes trapped in the secret room of the Collins Mausoleum. The frightened boy pleads with the ghost of Sarah Collins to rescue him. Barnabas realizes that David may hold the key to finding his late sister’s spirit.
Collection 4:Barnabas’ secret is threatened by David Collins’ curiosity. Anxious to become human again, Barnabas orders Dr. Julia Hoffman to accelerate her treatments to cure him, but the experiment backfires, causing Barnabas to age rapidly and assume the appearance of a 200 year-old man. During a séance at Collinwood to contact the spirit of Barnabas’ young sister Sarah, Victoria Winters mysteriously disappears and finds that she has traveled back in time to the year 1975.
DVD Verdicts:There's something about ’Dark Shadows’ that always forces you to come back for more. This classic always delivers the greatest and most shocking story lines that one could ever want from an era that had little else of its ilk on show. If supernatural themes filled with vampires and ghosts interest you, then ’Dark Shadows’ is the one and only show that will deliver all the goods. There's something simultaneously so fascinating and addictive about this original series, and yet, sure some might criticize the sound and picture quality. But one has to realize that ’Dark Shadows’ is a story in the old-fashioned style that was filmed the old fashioned way and has been in storage for decades. Besides if you really LOVE this kind of genre you get so engrossed in the whole thing that you don't even notice the visual and/or acoustic imperfections. If those kinds of glitches REALLY bother you then look elsewhere. If you like an old fashioned gothic that's heavy on mood, atmosphere, dialog and that's decidedly LOW tech and relies more on subtlety and understatement in lieu of blood and gore then this series is certainly for you. MPI did a great job with the first two releases of this series and have once again outdone themselves here with these two new collections. The picture and sound quality allow the viewer to experience each episode in a whole new way. Honestly, if you've every enjoyed watching ’Dark Shadows,’ then the DVD set is the answer to all your prayers! These are all Full Screen Presentations and come with the Special Features of: 3: Exclusive Interviews with Actors Jonathan Frid, Sharon Smyth, Louis Edmonds and Director Lela Swift.
4: Exclusive Interviews with Series Producer Robert Costello, Writer Sam Hall, Special Make-Up Artist Dick Smith and Actress Lara Parker.
Reviewed by Sarah Hickson