Customer Reviews: Dark Shadows: The Vampire Curse
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on June 26, 2009
Decades before Twilight there was Dark Shadows, the first-ever gothic soap opera, its supernatural stories captivating audiences young and old for almost 45 years.

With its alluring tales of Gothic mystery and supernatural intrigue, Dark Shadows became one of the most popular daytime series of all time. Since first airing on ABC-TV from 1966-71, Dark Shadows has earned the reputation of being one of the most unusual and enduring TV programs in history.

Thanks to MPI Home Video, that iconic Classic returns with two special DVDs compiling episode scenes from two of its most popular story arcs, one featuring the character Barnabas Collins, the vampire, the second disc featuring Quentin Collins, the werewolf.

Each disc, sold separately, contains about three hours of content, which includes selected scenes from color episodes as well as a new interview with the actor whose character is spotlighted.

Dark Shadows: The Curse of the Vampire, is devoted to the original beloved blood sucker from the realm of the undead - Barnabas Collins.

Barnabas, the 175-year-old guilt-ridden and love-lorn vampire, was portrayed brilliantly by the classically trained actor Jonathan Frid. Frid, now, in his 80's, was interviewed for this special compilation disc.

Dark Shadows debuted in June 1966, but faced cancellation because of poor ratings within a year. Creator Dan Curtis, desperate to save the show, decided to "go" supernatural, so he launched various spook-filled stories that led to the introduction of Barnabas.

Released from his chained coffin after nearly 200 years, Barnabas arrives at the Collinwood estate claiming to be a relative from England. Although noticing Barnabas' resemblance to his "ancestor" in a foyer portrait, the Collins family did not realize he is the same Barnabas who lived at Collinwood in the 18th century. As Barnabas moves into the Old House on the property, those around him are unaware of the horrors that will soon follow.

The vampire was to be a temporary character that would be killed off following a reign of terror, but Frid's compelling characterization caused Barnabas to remain throughout the series as ratings soared. Not only was the series saved from cancellation, but it became an international phenomenon boasting more than 20 million daily viewers! Frid also became incredibly popular, a sudden idol and sex symbol among teenaged girls.

In this special disc, the origin of Barnabas is told. From the Collinwood drawing room of 1967, the family governess, Victoria Winters, portrayed by Alexandra Moltke, is transported back in time via a seance ends up in the Collinwood of 1795. In the past, the Barnabas Collins of that era, BEFORE a vicious curse had turned him into the blood-thirsty vampire.

Barnabas is about to wed the love of his life, Josette Du Pres, but a jealous servant of Josette's with whom Barnabas had brief affair, successfully plots to ruin their relationship. The servant, Angelique, portrayed with verve by Lara Parker, is actually a witch born who uses her supernatural powers to wreck havoc on everyone in Collinwood. It is Angelique who places the curse of the living dead upon Barnabas.

The core brilliance of has made Dark Shadows endure are the eternal themes it illustrated: Love, death, fear, longing, revenge, obsession, lies, secrets, loyalty and betrayal all played out against a compelling backdrop of Gothic sensibilities that included vampires, werewolves, zombies, seances, time travel, ghosts, mystery, murder, intrigue and a constant dose of the unexpected.

This "soap opera" managed to transcend its genre by bringing a taste of Gothic horror and science-fiction fantasy to the hum-drum world of the afternoon drama. There had never been anything like it before - and there never has been since!

In addition to Frid, Parker and Moltke, primary co-stars on the disc are: Joan Bennett, Grayson Hall, Louis Edmonds, Nancy Barrett, David Henesy, Kathryn Leigh Scott, David Ford, Clarice Blackburn, John Karlen, Anthony George, Thayer David, Jerry Lacy, Craig Slocum, Sharon Smyth, and Joel Crothers.

Note: The entire series is available on DVD, also produced by MPI Home Video.
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on September 18, 2009
This disc, along with the other new DS DVD, are definately a must have if you are a casual fan of the show. For those of us with the complete collection already on DVD, there is nothing really new of interest. There is a nice NEW interview of Jonathan Frid, but it only runs a few minutes and leaves you wondering what happened to the rest of the interview. Just when you are getting into the interview, it chops off and ends. I guess they will be using the rest of it for some other re-issue down the road. There is also a 20 second PBS spot by KLS. Also included a a complete episode from the show. I would have left that off and included more of the interview, at least this way there could have been more new content on the disc. For the common fan who has not purchased all 20+ box sets, this is a good disc to get, but for those of us who regularly watch the episodes, this disc will probably sit on a shelf collecting dust after the first viewing.
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HALL OF FAMEon February 26, 2013
THE VAMPIRE CURSE is a "digest" version of the Barnabas/Josette/Angelique plot from the 1795 arc of "Dark Shadows". For what it sets out to achieve, it succeeds quite well. The hardcore fans of course know this story backwards, sideways and inside-out, but for the uninitiated it will provide a tantalising entrée into the world of this addictive series.

Collinwood's governess Victoria Winters (Alexandra Moltke) is unexplainably swept back in time to 1795, where she witnesses the series of events which sealed the fate of Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid). The house of Collinwood is buzzing with wedding preparations, for shortly Barnabas will marry his great love, Josette duPres (Kathryn Leigh Scott), who has just arrived from Martinique along with her aunt, the Countess Natalie (Grayson Hall) and maid Angelique Bouchard (Lara Parker). There is one person, however, who seeks to destroy the happiness of the pair forever...

Props must be given for the way this program has been put together - the 1795 portion of "Dark Shadows" originally ran around 18 weeks, and to compress that down to a 3-hour DVD would've required the editors to have a clean "line" for which to follow in the episodes. There were several plots and just as many characters in the 1795 arc, the most prominent in addition to the Barnabas/Josette/Angelique triangle was the rather-entertaining introduction of the fanatical Reverend Trask (Jerry Lacy) and Victoria being accused of witchcraft. We briefly see that plot here, albeit it's one very small scene.

There are a few bonuses including an interview with Jonathan Frid, promos with Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker and David Selby (the latter two talking about their books "The Salem Branch" and "In and Out of the Shadows") and a PBS fundraising spot from Kathryn Leigh Scott. There is also an extra episode from "Dark Shadows" (#221, the one where Barnabas meets Maggie at the Collinsport Inn for the very first time).
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on August 18, 2009
Even after 40 years you can't kill Dark Shadows and its wonder why It hold a true hold over every one of us that would run home after school and see it on ABC TV at 4PM.So popular was the show that stores could not keep there bubblegum trading cards packs in stock.Right next to Bingham School here in Runnemede there was a little store named Chris's and the store owner would hold packs for My Friend Linda Difranco and Myself and we would spend all our money and buy up every pack.I'm so glad MPI has kept this fantastic series alive with new retrospectives like these and new interviews.Because we lived in New Jersey we could not go up like kids that lived in NY and stand outside the studios during the original filming of the Dark Shadows TV Series,But in retrospect I wish Linda and I could have went up there and met the actors in the day,what classic pictures they would have been.When I see shows like True Blood on HBO I cringe as they cant hold a candle to the original Dark Shadows.The actors Jonathan Frid,Kathreen Lee Scott,Lara Parker and others they might have messed up there lines among other goofs on the show but boy are they forever in our minds and hearts,something kids today with never no about.
Scott Denny-Runnemede,New Jersey
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on September 24, 2009
DARK SHADOWS:THE VAMPIRE CURSE released from MPI on Sept 15,2009.
This DVD is an edited edition of episodes from the 1795 storyline. If you have the unedited VHS or DVD's this is hardly worth the money. Bonus material is the complete episode #221 in which Maggie Evans meets Barnabas Collins at the Collinsport Inn restaurant. The program originally aired 5/2/1967 written by Ron Sproat directed by John Sedwick, a PBS promo from Kathryn Leigh Scott and an interview with Jonathan Frid. (210 minutes)
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on May 22, 2012
I saw Dark Shadows long ago, when I was six years old. I saw few episodes and I was unable to see all the chapters about the origin of Barnabas Collins . This DVD contains the complete episodes in which it is explained his origin as a vampire. For the people who enjoyed Dark Shadows it is a beautiful DVD.
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on June 12, 2015
Love Dark Shadows. This dvd compiles how Barnabus was cursed to become a vampire. This is short and sweet without having to wade through a whole lot of dvds. The acting is good and the dvd quality is very good, no not high def but very good. Love the fact that we get to see Lara Parker at her best.
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on November 29, 2009
I purchased this video and was very pleased. They have condensed the entire 1700's Barnabas becomes a Vampire story line with Josette and Angelique quite well. This video is worth a look.
Quality was very good in these transfers. Too bad the second DVD in this series wasn't as good. (The Quentin Collins Ghost Story).
I look foward to future condensed story lines if they are released.
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on October 14, 2011
This special DVD is basically a way for casual fans and curiosity seekers to sample the special Gothic mystery-
horror-romance blend of the classic 1966-71 "Dark Shadows" daytime drama series.

The months-long storyline of how Barnabas Collins became a vampire in 1795 has been condensed into a very enjoyable
3 1/2 hour movie format.

There's also a couple of nice bonus items from Jonathan Frid, Barnabas himself, and Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played
the vampire's doomed bride Josette.

With all the renewed attention on "Dark Shadows" thanks to the new Johnny Depp film version, it's nice to see the
original getting more exposure again and this DVD is the perfect way to get acquainted before watching all 1,225
complete episodes. There's also another storyline compilation called "The Haunting of Collinwood" that focuses on
the "Turn of the Screw" inspired ghost of Quentin Collins storyline from the show's late 1968, early 1969 period.
If you are interested in revisiting "Dark Shadows" or exploring it for the first time, this DVD is a great choice at a great price.
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on June 13, 2015
Dark Shadows Fans this is the one must have! Love the TV soap opera series from the 60'S, Barnabas Collins was always my favorite, Jonathan Frid really was outstanding, as the tourtured Barnabas Collins.

I have ordered many of the Dark shadows dvd's, volume's 1,2,3 only, as I love the black & white stories in there simplicity, I have also ordered the specialized dvd's this is one of them & it's mostly in color, however this is by far my favorite dark shadows dvd, as it tells the story very well of how Barnabas came to be. I only have intrest in the first 3 volumes, because as the series went forward, I found there was way to many wacky story lines to be followed, and that my favorite Barnabas was the reason why I watched the series in the first place. I only wish there was more specialized dvd's addressing the Barnabas story line. This dvd is by far my favorite hands down, so well worth the small price I paid for it, in comparsion to the other more expensive dvd volumes, I have purchased, if I could only have one dvd this would be it..
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