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Dark Shadows: The Beginning Collection 4

20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The Start of a Legend!
Named One of TV s Top 25 Cult Shows by TV Guide

With its alluring tales of Gothic mystery and supernatural intrigue, DARK SHADOWS (1966-71, ABC-TV) became one of the most popular daytime series of all time. The character of Barnabas Collins, a guilt-ridden, 175-year-old vampire, brought the show tremendous success. Now, for the first time on DVD, MPI presents the spooky series rare, early episodes before Barnabas.

When Victoria Winters searches the Old House for David Collins, she is abducted and held captive by Matthew Morgan, the Collinses fugitive caretaker who is hiding following the death of family friend Bill Malloy. A massive search is held to find Victoria. An angry and jealous Joe Haskell fights with Burke Devlin after he catches Carolyn Stoddard, his girlfriend, with Burke in his room at the Collinsport Inn. A mysterious woman visits the diner and asks waitress Maggie Evans about the Collins family.

The ghost of Josette Collins appears to Matthew and attempts to protect Victoria. Sam Evans reveals to a stunned Roger Collins that Roger s estranged wife, Laura, has returned. Sam begins to paint a bizarre portrait of a woman surrounded by flames, which he cannot explain. Burke hopes to get Laura to clear him of the manslaugter charge that sent him to prison. Laura tells her son, David, the story of the immortal creature known as a Phoenix and he has a terrifying nightmare about his mother.

Special Features:
New interviews with actress
Diana Millay (Laura Collins),
writer Malcolm Marmorstein and
producer Robert Costello.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Dark Shadows, Joan Bennett
  • Format: Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 690 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012IWNSQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,888 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Dark Shadows: The Beginning Collection 4" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By E. Hornaday on January 12, 2008
After jumping out of the frying pan and directly into the occult fire, Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis knew there could be no turning back. He knew his decision to accept his children's advice to "go supernatural" would either save or kill the first-ever gothic soap opera, and it did.

With the ratings at an all-time low, he unleashed his first ghosts (episodes included in Dark Shadows: the Beginning Set 3) then kept up the pressure cooker in the episodes included in this boxed set. Amazed, he watched as the ratings steadily and miraculously rose from the dead (much like the reluctant 175-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins would do about six months later.)

In this boxed set, the Collins family is turned upside down by recent events: the murder of Collins Plant Manager Bill Malloy, the unexpected return of Roger Collins' wife, Laura Murdock Collins, and the abduction of Collinwood Governess Victoria Winters.

Roger (Louis Edmonds) had told his young son David (David Henesy), that his mother was dead, but she had actually suffered a mental breakdown and was confined in sanitarium. Since being released, she apparently had been living in Phoenix, Ariz., unbeknownst to the Collins family.

Without warning, Laura (Diana Millay) returns to Collinwood late one night and demands full custody of her son. Roger and his sister, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Joan Bennett) refuse to allow her to see David, who is fast asleep and turn her away. Even so, that night David mysteriously dreams of his mother coming out of powerful flames to kill him.

Because of his dream, David doesn't want to see his mother, but eventually agrees.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Antony Edwards on September 15, 2008
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Here's where it starts to get GOOD! In this volume of the 60s gothic horror soap, the show finally stops dancing around the subject and embraces the supernatural. In the process the show saves itself and starts to lay the groundwork for its cult popularity. Two characters emerge here--the ghost of Josette Collins and Laura Collins, The Phoenix--both of whom will be pivotal in future storylines. While this volume also deals with some of the show's primary (and plodding) non-supernatural plots, you'll see the show's lively side with colorful characters such as the deranged caretaker and the aforementioned deliciously evil Laura. Along the way you'll see the show experiment more with special effects. After this there's no turning back.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Terrance Richard TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 17, 2012
Many believe that it was Jonathan Frid who made the ratings spike on "Dark Shadows" and saved it from cancllation as many soap opera books wrongly state. However, it was the Laura Collin's story that made the Nielsen numbers go into the ratings sky. Six months into the show's run ABC informed creator and executive producer Dan Curtis they were cancelling "Dark Shadows" and that he had only 13 weeks to finish up the storylines.

In order to save his family's legacy he fired the former writers and brought on Malcolm Marmorstein and Ron Sproat (both former serial writers) and told them to come up with something that was never done on daytime TV before and to make the story as gothic as possible. The result was the resurrecting of Roger Collin's wife who was said to have died in the early shows. In the "new" story Laura was in an insane asylum. She eventually moved to Phoenix and would arrive in Collinsport to see her son David. Unknown to everyone Laura was really a Phoenix, a supernatural creature who dies every 100 years and is reborn. Laura wanted to kill her son with her in a fire so they could live together forever. Almost from the time Laura arrived the ratings shyrocketed and the show would be renewed for another 13 weeks.

What made this story so popular with viewers was Diana Millay's poignant and interesting portrayal of Laura. At times she could be soft-spoken then become brash and evil, but viewers couldn't get enough of her. Finally the writers had to kill the character off as Diana was pregnant in real life and she only signed on for the 13 week story arc. Then the writers, knowing the show was saved, had to come up with another story, even more interesting than the Laura Collins one. Malcolm Marmorstein would create the vampire Barnabas and the rest as they say is history.

Enjoy these episodes as they are simply well-written, well-acted and involving and you will not stop watching at one episode.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert H. Thomson on December 16, 2008
Verified Purchase
Dark Shadows The Beginning collection 4--Before Barabas Collins--Its more a Gothic type romance heading towards the Supernatural--Louis Edmounds as Roger Collins shines.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By HollyNYC on August 5, 2012
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Around a year ago, while killing some time in a Barnes & Noble video department, I stumbled across boxed DVD sets of "Dark Shadows," including the "Beginning" episodes, of which I was unaware of. Not long after that, I heard the news about the Tim Burton-Johnny Depp "Dark Shadows" movie project (for which we all had such high hopes ... sigh...) and "Dark Shadow" videos began popping up wherever I turned. I know signs when I see them, and decided to renew an old childhood acquaintance.

My first impulse was to pick up with the Jonathan Frid-Barnabas Collins episodes, but the "Beginning" sets I had seen in the bookstore were stuck in my mind. Being a completist at heart, I decided to go ahead and start at the very beginning. I can't say I was disappointed, the packaging (and on-line reviews and information about the series) made clear the early episodes were different in subject matter and tone than the shows produced after Barnabas's arrival. And the shows were enjoyable and addictive in nature. But it is with "Dark Shadows The Beginning Collection 4" Dark Shadows: The Beginning Collection 4 that "Dark Shadows" for me became the show we all love so much. It is in Volume Four that the show, creatively, makes a huge leap in its evolution, struggling onto dry land, and developing lungs instead of gills.

For one thing, the story-lines that drove the show in the first 3 volumes -- Burke Devlin's schemes to ruin the Collins family, Roger Collins's mysterious car crash, Bill Mulroy's death, Carolyn's misadventures in dating -- are either resolved or pushed into the background.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews


Topic From this Discussion
Dark Shadows - Complete
To see all the episode in order, first watch "Dark Shadows: The Beginning" Collections 1-6. They contain episodes 1-209. THEN watch the "Dark Shadows" Collections 1-26, as these contain the rest of the episodes, 210-1245. They're divided by the introduction of Barnabas in... Read More
Jul 25, 2011 by Keelee von Cupcake |  See all 4 posts
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