Monday, December 1, 2008

House Of Dark Shadows

Today's Monster Memories are of:
"House of Dark Shadows."
(Click on images to view full-sized.)
The newspaper ad that so enthralled me as a kid!

"Come See How The Vampires Do It," was the tagline for the 1970 movie. What "It" may have been is only inferred, but it must have been blood-sucking, because the sex level was no higher than the TV version, despite it being freed from the restrictions of the small screen. But the romantic aspect of the teen-idol Barnabas was played up so that the girls would flock to it. The appeal of Barnabas as the idol of teenybopper girls was lost on me, as I thought he was too old and not particularly appealing in a physical sense. But, I wasn't a teenage girl or a soap opera fan so I had no frame of reference. I just liked the show because it featured vampires and werewolves! It was a little like a Hammer movie in daily installments. So when the feature movie came out, I was anxious to see it; of course I couldn't. But I finally got the chance when it was shown on TV a few years later, while I was staying over at my Grandma's house, where I had freedom to watch what I wanted. Unfortunately, the TV versions edited out the more graphic gore scenes that the theatrical release allowed them to have.

Below are some of the ads slicks made available to the theaters.

Unfortunately, this movie has not yet been released on DVD, so when I chanced upon a scheduled showing on Turner South last year, I managed to catch it and record it onto DVD as it played. That explains the Turner South logo in the bottom right corner of each screen capture. Sorry for that, but I hope you enjoy viewing them!

The house used for Collinswood was different in the movie from the TV series. Filming took place at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York with additional footage at nearby Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. At the bottom of this post you will see some photos of the location used for it!

Rather than a new story based on the series, it was decided to do a remake that told a condensed version of how Barnabas came to Collinswood, and take the story to it's originally intended conclusion as far as Barnabas was concerned. Not a part of the show's continuity, it was a stand-alone movie that featured the same characters, even killing some of them off. Perhaps a disappointment to the fans of the show, but a good choice for those not so familiar with it.

"Man, this place could use a 'Stick-Up!'"

After the credits, the "dead" Barnabas fades into the mist and a bat flies up out of the frame. He lives... to bite again! But he doesn't show up in the sequel, sadly.

You can see the locations used for "House" if you go to the long-haunted countryside of Sleepy Hollow, NY. Of course, this is where the ghost of the Headless Horseman rides, the very same that tormented poor Ichabod Crane.

You can view pics of all the movie and TV locations here. It's a great DS fan resource.


Anonymous said...

Yet another terrific choice to cover here & may I be the first to say that you did a wonderful job of it. Consider this a big thumbs up!

I have a bit of an unusual history with DARK SHADOWS myself, in that although I followed the television series & the two films as closely as possible through the pages of Famous Monsters & other magazines. But, I never got to see the films until many years later on cable & only saw exactly one episode of the show during it's run.

The soap wasn't carried by our ABC affiliate here in the Buffalo area because the station instead carried a kids after school program called COMMANDER TOM during that time slot. But, apparently once SHADOWS' ratings got big enough nationally, the station decided to begin showing it.
And, wouldn't you know it, the very first episode that they telecast was one in which the werewolf Quentin Collins ( rather graphically for TV in those days ) attacked an old man & killed him. Which, of course, all the local school kids tuned into expecting to see COMMANDER TOM & were subsequently scared witless by the big bad wolfman. Which, resulted in many of their Mommies calling in to complain.To which the station responded by immediately cancelling it's plans to air SHADOWS & rusumed with about another decade of the COMMANDER TOM show in that slot.
Which, seemed to please virtually everyone in the area except for me. With that one taste of the show being nothing more than the ultimate tease!

I finally did catch quite a few episodes back during it's popular re-broadcasts in the early '90s though & I loved it almost as much as I thought I would as a kid.

Anonymous said...

Oh, & isn't it amazing that neither film is available on DVD yet? A VERY frustrating situation for you as well, I'm sure. Though, you were able to make one for yourself of excellent quality judging by your screen captures.

Myself, I haven't seen either film in years. This after being able to see both telecast quite regularly back in the 80's on the WPIX & WOR "super stations" out of NYC.
Obviously, HOUSE is & has always been my favorite of the two, but after the first few years of always being disappointed whenever the vampire-less NIGHT was shown instead of the monsterific HOUSE, NIGHT's subtle chills began to grow on me & I appreciated it more.

To the point that now, I eagerly await BOTH film's eventual debut on DVD.

- Jim

Frederick said...


I wouldn't mind at all to see both films put out on one DVD, since the first is my favorite, but would like the second for my completist urgings.

Too bad you missed getting to see much of it when it was on TV! It's funny how I came to watch the show in the late 60's and early 70's during it's initial run. My mother, a real soaps fan, would watch it along with her other ones, and since it played right after I got home from school, I watched it since it featured vampires and werewolves. The opening music and scene always gave me a bit of a delicious chill.

I recently bought a used DS disc that had been part of a season set, which was a retrospective on the show, and I enjoyed that a lot too.

I really didn't watch the show that much, though, just for a few months while we lived in a certain place. After that, I lost track of it. But I enjoyed the comic books, and will post some covers and stories from them here very soon.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah!

How could I have neglected to mention that great old Gold Key comic. I absolutely adored that thing!

Sure, in retrospect the plot lines & art weren't the best ( the interior art that is, those painted covers on the DARK SHADOWS title & indeed, ALL Gold Key comics, were just awesome! ). Far from it, but I enjoyed the heck out of each & every issue that I got my hands on back then.

You too?

- Jim

Fred said...

House of Dark Shadows brings back so many memories for me. As I young child, I used to watch the soap opera with my housekeeper and get nightmares from it (my mom wasn't home so she didn't know). When HoDS was released, I remember going to see it at the Freeport Theater (which is now a church) with my Dad and oldest brother when I was 6 and I loved every minute of it. This is the same theater where I saw my first James Bond movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. After seeing HoDS, I found out that my friend Eric had a magazine which was filled with pictures from the movie. This was the first time I'd seen Famous Monsters of Filmland, and I became an instant fan. My first issue was the one with the cover from Night of Dark Shadows (which I saw on a family trip to Acapulco in 1973, in an indoor tennis court converted into a makeshift movie theater). I think I still have the VHS of this somewhere in my basement, but I don't know when Fox will be releasing this onto DVD.

As for Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, at this point I mainly associate the area with traffic jams on the way to the Tappan Zee Bridge. I really should go visit the mansion one of these days.

Anonymous said...

the lurker from Held Over is here! Hi! I loved HofDS...Warner Brothers owns the rights to the 2 movies and plans to release them on dvd...they were hoping the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp remake was gonna be the excuse to release them but it might be sooner now due to the fans interest.

I used to catch DS in reruns back on KDFI ch 27 in Dallas back in the 80s....Barnabas used to scare me silly but I still loved to watch.

Several months ago I went to the Dark Shadows convention in Burbank that featured several stars of the show in attendance including Jonathan Frid and David Selby.

PS- Fabulous screen caps!

Frederick said...


Yeah, I liked the DS comics, but have only a couple that I could find back then. I'm scanning in my first one to share on this blog, next!


Thanks for sharing those memories, and it's cool that you live in that area! I would love to visit some of those locations, and see Sleepy Hollow, which was captured so well in the Disney short, which I dearly love and watch at last half-a-dozen times each October.

And Anon,

Thanks for commenting! Wow, a DS convention, I bet that was fun! It's sad that so many of our childhood heroes are getting so far up in years. We must treasure them while we can!

Frederick said...

I just found out, in an amazing bit of cosmic synchronicity, that the day I posted this blog on House of DS, was Jonathan Frid's BIRTHDAY!!!!

Incredible coincidence? Or psychic phenomena? YOU DECIDE!

Anonymous said...

Hello Frederick,

I have been voraciously enjoying your blog, which is about the best classic horror blog I've seen.

Thanks for your posting on Dark Shadows! My son and I recently drove 75 miles up to San Francisco to an annual festival here in Northern California called SHOCK IT TO ME! This year it featured House of Dark Shadows, Night of Dark Shadows, Spider Baby, Night of the Living Dead, Horror of Dracula, and The Curse of Frankenstein--all on the big screen! But get this: the special guests were Lara Parker and Leigh Scott!
Author and Creature Features host John Stanley was also there, so yeah it was an awesome time and we look forward to returning in 2009. Between films there were some 16mm short films like "Monsters We've Known and Loved" a killer retrospective featuring Karloff; it reminded my of the days when as kids we would go to the library to check out Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man and Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein!

Thanks again for your blog, and you can bet I'll keep coming back for more memories!


Anonymous said...

I just found out there is a 10-minute clip of Lara Parker on YouTube, in case anybody is interested!


Frederick said...


Thanks for adding your deposit in the Memory Bank! That's the kind of comment I enjoy, personal experiences with our beloved monsters. That festival sounds like a lot of fun! I never get out to these kinds of things, sadly.

There's nothing like seeing these films on big screen in the company of those who love them, is there?

Thanks for commenting and for the compliments! I appreciate it.