Published on April 9th, 2012 | by dvdpinson0
Dark Shadows: The Best of Barnabas and Fan Favorites Available on DVD April 10th
Just as Johnny Depp is poised to bring the iconic vampire, Barnabas Collins, to life on the big screen, MPI Home Video is releasing the complete original series of “Dark Shadows” on DVD. This is no small collection as the cult television show ran for five years as a daily afternoon soap and tallied 1,225 episodes during that time. This box set is huge with 131 discs housed in a coffin-shaped box. Releasing May 8th, just a few days before the revamped Tim Burton version hits the multiplexes on May 11th, the complete “Dark Shadows” collection has an Suggested Retail Price of $599.98 (although Amazon is already listing it for $539.99) and features a 96 page book and over 100 cast interviews.
However, if that price point is a touch out of your range, there are a couple of compilation discs out April 10th that can satisfy your curiosity if you are unfamiliar with the Collins family. Both “Fan Favorites” and “The Best of Barnabas” feature 9 episodes each and delivery a taste of the gothic classic.
Since the show ran from 1966 to 1971, it is from an era that precedes me. There was a minor remake in the early 90’s that didn’t have much of a bite (I’m sorry about the word play. It makes me feel like the Crypt Keeper on “Tales from the Crypt”) and only ran for 12 episodes. Not much of resurgence. So I have only seen images of Mr. Barnabas but I think it’s a great idea to get familiar with world of “Dark Shadows” so that you may have some perspective on what Mr. Burton is riffing on with his version.
The show has a strange and campy quality (everyone is sooo serious) and much of each episode is spent waiting for something scary to happen. When the “horror” does arrive, either in the form of a ghost or werewolf, it is usually more laughable than scary but that is certainly part of the shows charm. Producing five half-hour episodes weekly made for a very “live” experience and the show is told with long shots that usually feature a camera shadow or a flubbed line. Watching “Dark Shadows” can sometimes feel like you are viewing a NASCAR race, just waiting for the next crash.
After watching a handful of episodes it will become obvious why Tim Burton was drawn to the material as it fits his aesthetic perfectly. If we are going to live in a world of Remakes and Do-overs, at least it’s nice to be introduced to something from our past that deserves another look.