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Dark Shadows -The Revival [DVD] [NTSC]
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All 12 episodes of the 1991 vampire horror soap, that was itself an updating of the 1960s TV series. Taking up a position to tutor an accursed family's troubled son (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) at the eerie and remote coastal estate of Collingwood, governess Victoria Winters (Joanna Going) soon finds herself drawn to the darkly mysterious heir, Barnabas Collins (Ben Cross). At the same time, the people of the nearby town of Collinsport are baffled when they begin to suffer a spate of horrifically gruesome attacks.
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This production is a lot less camp than the original and I think has a much stronger horror theme. There are lots of gore and blood to accompany the kind of tension based plot and interaction which I associate with the overall storyline in its earlier telling. There are some great frights and while the effects are not entirely spectacular they are good, there is one scene, from a dream which a young boy has in which he is chased through a house by vampires and each adult he turns to turns out to be a vampire themselves which could have easily become farce but instead was an almost perfect nightmare sequence and reminded me of how frightening I found vampires when I was younger.
The story is that of Barnabus Collins, a 200yr old vampire who is released unwittingly by a grave robber and goes on to discover that persons alive today bare a remarkable resembalence to those he interacted with in his day before being entombed in the family crypt. The story unfolds and features vengeful witches, vampires, mad science/medicalisation of vampire mythos, seance, time travel, ghosts and haunting. This is part of what appealled to me about the original series, it seemed to have just so many horror, ghost story and fantastic elements, it all seemed a little madcap and I could understand how it was possible in a radio or TV drama and wasnt sure how it would translate into a more contemporary production but it does so and it does so very well. There are some acting elements which are a little unintentionally wooden or amusing, particularly with the child actors and actresses but it never spoils the feature, not for a moment.
I would recommend this to any fans of True Blood, Buffy The Vampire Slayer or even Twilight (its thematically similar to all of those productions in different ways). Very enjoyable, very enjoyable indeed.
I already owned the widescreen US discs, and bought the UK discs as they were listed as being presented in the original 4X3 aspect.The show is NOT 4X3 as listed, but presented in 16X9 cropped from the original 4X3.
Aparently when the show was originally released on home video in the early 90s, the episodes were extended, and deleted sceens were included. Perhaps we'll get these in a 'special edition' once Johnny Depp's film version is released.
Also, as any fule nos, Jonathan Frid is not starring in this show as stated in the listing. He was in the original 60s series.