With just a week before the big screen release of “Dark Shadows” featuring Johnny Depp as the vampire Barnabas Collins, I thought this would be a good opportunity to take a look at two DVD releases from MPI. Both DVDs are compilations of the groundbreaking daily serial that ran from 1966 through 1971 – a total of 1225 episodes. Those 1225 episodes followed Baranabas and the rest of the Collins family as they encounter werewolves, ghosts, demons, witches and other creatures of the darkness.
The first compilation – ‘The Best of Barnabas‘ contains 9 complete episodes which range from attempts at curing Barnabas of his vampirism, time travel, alternate worlds and of course, someone falling to the curse of the vampire! The second compilation – ‘Fan Favorites‘ features 9 top episodes including Barnabas’ introductory episode, werewolves, exorcism, insanity and possession! Between these two discs you really do get a feeling for the Dark Shadows universe.
While I haven’t yet made it through all 18 episodes on these discs, I’ve watched a few off of each and I’m having a blast. The quality of video and audio is good, considering that the source material is a 46 year old daytime drama – if you’re a careful viewer you can spot the occasional boom microphone’s shadow (or the microphone) itself creep into the shot. One of my favorite parts of watching these episodes is the inclusion of episode introductions by two of the stars of the series, Kathryn Leigh Scoot and Lara Parker. They both provide useful context for the episodes as well as behind the scenes tidbits. They totally add to the viewing experience.
Overall I enjoyed both discs, and while I know I don’t have time to view it, I’m longing a bit for the full 1225 episode series collection. But these discs really do provide a great look at a groundbreaking series – and the best is that they’re both right around $10 at Amazon. If you’re at all curious about Dark Shadows, you should pick these up!