Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Horrorhound Magazine Interviews Tim Burton

The Dark Shadows movie makes the cover of the new March/April issue of horror journal HorrorHound. The magazine features an interview with director Tim Burton, discussing the film in depth.

"The reason I liked Dark Shadows was that it was a weird family story. It just happened to have supernatural qualities to it," he reveals. Responding to reports that the film will feature comic elements, Burton says: "It's news to me... I always start things with the most serious of intentions. I sometimes find humour in things that aren't funny and vice versa."

On Johnny Depp's look for vampire Barnabas Collins, Burton explains that: "We wound up with a nod to [original actor] Jonathan Frid's Barnabas," and explains the inspiration for the character's elongated fingernails. "Because of the sensitive nature of the character, I liked the idea of his fingernails being long, a bit more tactile."

As post production nears completion, Burton also says Dark Shadows will use special effects sparingly. "I want to rely on the characters... We were trying to keep it as human and personal as possible. Every effect should not seem like an effect."

The issue is available in stores now and also includes an overview of the original Dark Shadows storylines and a look back at the career of the show's creator Dan Curtis.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Picture of the Week: A Looming Legacy?

This week, it's one of my favourite images from Dark Shadows – actor Jonathan Frid (Barnabas) snapped while being menaced the poster of Bela Lugosi as Dracula that hung in the show's rehearsal room. In 1969 journalist Donald Freeman, writing for the Toledo Blade, noted the picture and asked Frid if Hollywood's vampire had influenced Collinwood's resident fiend:

"Barnabas is like Macbeth, a hero of sorts, but very guilt-ridden," Jonathan suggested. "Every woman among our viewers wants to accept him. Women love to see men admit guilt. Women love men to be vulnerable." By comparison, "Bela Lugosi's vampire loved being a monster, but Barnabas, while being a rotten character, has the emotional qualities of a hero."

If you would like to submit an image for Picture of the Week, email webmaster@collinwood.net

Friday, February 24, 2012

New Audio Dramas For 2012

Big Finish Productions have announced a number of new Dark Shadows dramatic readings CDs for 2012. This month sees the release of The Voodoo Amulet, starring Jerry Lacy as Tony Peterson alongside Lara Parker as Cassandra Collins. March's story is The House by the Sea, followed by Dress Me in Dark Dreams in April, Deadhouse and The Eternal Actress in May, The Fall of the House of Trask in June and Operation Victor in July.

To order any of the titles from Amazon.co.uk at a discount price with worldwide shipping, click on the hyperlinked titles above.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Back Yard Shadows

Reader Alan Louis has written in to share some childhood photos of him and friends staging their very own Dark Shadows play, back during the show's original run. These images are a charming illustration of the way Dark Shadows captured the imagination of its first generation of viewers. Alan takes up the story:

"My father was a Marine and my family moved often throughout my childhood. It was in 1968 when I first began watching Dark Shadows. My father was serving in Vietnam, while my family and I lived with my grandmother in San Jose. That's when I began running home after school with friends to watch the show at 3.30pm. It was that summer that ABC-TV moved the series back to its original 4.00pm airing, which made it much easier on us when school began again in the fall.

I was only seven years old, but over the next year I became an avid viewer and a regular reader of 16 Magazine. I remember eagerly walking with my grandmother to the local grocery store for the latest issue, which always had the best pictures and stories. There were full-page photos I'd tape to my closet door, along with the pin-up posters of Barnabas and Quentin from gum packs and, of course, the great Dark Shadows soundtrack album.

In December 1969, my father was transferred to Japan, and our family went with him for the next two years. I soon met other kids who loved Dark Shadows, and as a very young writer, my first works were a couple of short Dark Shadows plays. I wrote them out in longhand, and my father actually took them to his office on the base, where a secretary typed them out on coloured tissue paper, using carbon sheets between. We ended up with six smudgy copies, and each player got their own uniquely-coloured script.

I cast myself as Barnabas, my friend Carl as Quentin, and my first boyhood crush, Tracy, as Josette. Other neighbour kids eagerly filled out our small players group, but this left almost no one for an audience. My mother, a few other neighbours and their kids did come by, to see just what we were up to in the dirt alley that ran behind our house. We hung big blankets on the clothes line and used a large piece of plywood for the 'stage'. A sheet was added as a floor covering after I took a bad fall during rehearsals in my slick dress shoes, slipping on ketchup we used for blood.

Though actual details are lost to memory, I do recall the stories making very little sense! They were just a great excuse for us to play out our young fantasies – memories of a TV show we were no longer able to watch, as Dark Shadows wasn't broadcast in Japan. We had little opportunity to get news on our fave show, though occasionally, one of us got hold of a 16 Magazine, sent by someone on the mainland, and we'd all share the news, passing it around to see what was up.

My friends' families were transferred away at various times over the next two years; such is the nature of military life. It was my friend Tracy who wrote to me from her new Honolulu home in the spring of 1971, relaying the terrible news that Dark Shadows had been cancelled while I was still living in Japan. I kept the letter for many years, but it was lost over time, along with the scripts, the posters and the original magazines. Only these few images of that survive, which I found among other old family photos.

Today, like so many other fans, watching the old shows brings back a wealth of vivid memories – not just of the strange world of Collinwood, but of a magical time in our my life, filled with wonder and mystery, where anything first seemed possible. I eventually went on to work briefly as an actor, then as a writer and producer in film and television. My work in production also led to an interview with Tim Burton once upon a time, and I eagerly look forward to whatever his vision of Dark Shadows may be."

Rehearsal: Stagehand, Carl as Quentin and Alan as Barnabas

Kerry and Alan as Barnabas and Angelique

Barnabas and Josette, as played by Alan and Tracy

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Picture of the Week: Life After Soap

This week, it's a 1976 shot of Anthony George (the second Burke Devlin) appearing in the Country Dinner Play House production of Any Wednesday. Anthony played a heart-hearted millionaire alongside Barbara Sammeth as his mistress. The actor had recently finished a successful five-year run on daytime drama Search For Tomorrow and, having relocated to the west coast, was trying to distance himself from soap opera roles.

"I never thought that working in the soaps was a step down," he told the Chicago Daily News later that year. "I believe an actor has to act, and I've always worked steadily. Daytime drama was new for me, a challenge I had to conquer." Glossing over his 1967 Dark Shadows stint, he explained: "I never realised before what hard work it is... On daytime dramas, actors take half an hour to drink a cup of coffee, which takes three minutes in real life. You have to be a good actor to pull that off – so most of the people working in soaps are very good."

If you would like to submit an image for Picture of the Week, email webmaster@collinwood.net

Friday, February 17, 2012

Merchandise Updates

  • Following on from last week's news, Metrodome Distribution have released more information for their April UK Dark Shadows DVD release, indicating that the set will feature 20 episodes on three discs. To order online, click here.
  • In other DVD news, MPI Home Video have announced that the existing range of Dark Shadows episode DVD sets are to be discontinued ahead of new re-packaged editions being issued in April. The discontinued DVDs will remain available while stocks last, for those wishing to complete collections in the old design; For a full list of volumes with ordering links, click here.
  • Pomegranate Press have brought the release date for the new reference book Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood forward to March 27. To pre-order the book at a discount price, click here, and to read our interview with actress and author Kathryn Leigh Scott, click here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Movie News Round-Up

  • Post production on the Dark Shadows movie is now entering its final stages as the May 11 release date draws near. Today, it was reported on Twitter that actress Bella Heathcote (Victoria Winters) visited London's Air Studios to record additional dialogue with dialect coach Kohli Calhoun.
  • Elsewhere, Dark Shadows screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith has spoken about the movie in a new interview with Badass Digest. "The tone of the film is operatic," he explains. "Everything is heightened and grand... Johnny [Depp] is just dug in and big." He also confirms the certificate for Dark Shadows: "It's PG-13, so there's not gore... but there's some crazy Barnabas vampire s**t that will surprise people in terms of its ferocity."
  • Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine features artwork of Johnny Depp's Barnabas on the cover of its April edition. The issue will include interviews with original series actresses Alexandra Moltke (Victoria Winters), Kathleen Cody (Hallie Stokes) and Sarah Smyth (Sarah Collins).
  • And don't forget, to keep up with all the latest Dark Shadows dispatches, there's the Dark Shadows News Page's dedicated Twitter feed. Follow us by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dark Shadows Festival Updates

The Dark Shadows Festival has announced updated information for its summer gathering, set to take place in the New York vicinity. As previously reported, the official fan club is organising two events for the east and west coasts, with a midnight premiere screening of the new Tim Burton Dark Shadows movie taking place in Los Angeles on May 10.

ShadowGram reports that the east coast event: "will be held the weekend of July 28. More details regarding this special gathering will be announced very soon, but for those who need to make advance summer vacation plans, be sure and mark your calendars now!"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dark Shadows Greatest Episodes DVDs


MPI Home Video have issued cover artwork and advance information for April's two
Dark Shadows: Greatest Episodes DVDs. Designed as introductory titles for new viewers, each disc features nine classic episodes with specially-shot introductions:

Dark Shadows: The Greatest Episodes Collection – The Best of Barnabas
Featuring nine classic episodes showcasing reluctant vampire Barnabas Collins, with new introductions by Lara Parker (Angelique)
Includes episodes 221: Barnabas meets Maggie at the inn. At her cottage that night, she feels watched; 349: Julia's experiments have aged Barnabas, who cannot bring himself to bite Vicki; 418: In 1795, Barnabas has risen as a vampire. Josette is drawn to him at the mausoleum; 535: Barnabas experiences the frightening Dream Curse and is attacked by a bat; 703: In 1897, Barnabas introduces himself as a lost relative to the Collins family; 718: Barnabas goes to the tower room in 1897 and discovers Angelique did not die; 915: Barnabas reveals to Julia how the Leviathans have taken control of him; 982: Parallel Time: Will captures Barnabas and demands an interview with the vampire; and 1133: In 1840, Angelique the witch causes Barnabas' love Roxanne to suffer.

To pre-order The Best of Barnabas at a discount price, click here.

Dark Shadows: The Greatest Episodes Collection – Fan Favorites
Featuring nine classic episodes spanning Dark Shadows' five-year run, with new
introductions by Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans)
Includes episodes 212: Barnabas Collins returns to Collinwood after being released from his coffin; 365: A séance is held at Collinwood to reach the mysterious ghost of Sarah Collins; 370: In 1795, Barnabas' fiance Josette arrives. A jealous Angelique puts a spell on Barnabas; 699: Barnabas and Dr. Julia Hoffman uncover the secret of the werewolf; 725: In 1897, Quentin Collins rises as a zombie. Reverend Trask attempts an exorcism; 1024: In Parallel Time, a costume party is held at Collinwood with dramatic results; 1065: In 1995, Barnabas and Julia discover that Quentin and Carolyn have gone insane) 1102: Maggie Evans is the victim of a vampire. Quentin asks Daphne to save the children; and 1115: In 1840, Barnabas attacks Roxanne Drew and places her under his supernatural control.

To pre-order Fan Favorites at a discount price, click here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Picture of the Week: Burke's Law

This week, Mitchell Ryan swaps Burke Devlin's slick business suits for a natty stetson in a publicity still from the 1977 CBS television movie Escape From Bogen County. Mitchell played "political czar" Ambler Bowman, a fierce Texan dominating his terrified wife, played by Jaclyn Smith, then riding high as one of Charlie's Angels.

The film was Smith's first movie role, as Mitchell noted in an interview with the King Features Syndicate: "Frankly, I thought the producer would have gone for a bigger name [than me], especially since this was Jackie's first big TV feature." Predicting a bright future for his co-star, he concluded that: "Bogen County is a good thriller, well done."

If you would like to submit an image for Picture of the Week, email webmaster@collinwood.net

New Movie Photo Pits Barnabas Against Angelique

Warner Bros. have released a new publicity photograph from the Dark Shadows feature film. The latest image shows Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins facing off with Eva Green as Angelique. Click on the image for a larger view.

Images © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

UK Dark Shadows DVD Release For April

Metrodome Distribution are to release a Dark Shadows DVD set for the United Kingdom. This will be the first time that the show has been made available officially on the European home entertainment market. Dark Shadows: The Original Series – The Barnabas Collins Episodes is a three-disc set due out on April 30. Details for the release's content and packaging are still being finalised, but the title can already be pre-ordered from Amazon.co.uk by clicking here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Johnny Depp's Barnabas Headlines Tim Burton Exhibition

The official poster for the new Dark Shadows feature film is still under wraps, but Johnny Depp's Barnabas looms large on this advertisement for La Cinemathé Francaise's upcoming Tim Burton exhibition.

The show, which finished a successful run in Los Angeles at the end of last year, features hundreds of pieces of Burton's unique concept art, photography and sculpture. Tim Burton: L'Exposition runs from March 7 until August 8 in Paris. For more information, click here.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Remembering J.J. Lupatkin

It is with sadness that we report that J.J. Lupatkin, one of Dark Shadows' technical directors, died on December 29. His career in television lasted five decades, beginning as sound apprentice for the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He eventually graduated to the role of cameraman, working on such shows as Pulitzer Prize Playhouse and The United States Steel Hour.

Elsewhere, he also worked on telecasts of several major live sporting events, including the Super Bowl and the World Series. On daytime television, he was in demand as an engineer and technical director on various shows, including Ryan's Hope, One Life to Live and All My Children. His work was also recognised with two Emmy awards. Our condolences go out to his friends and family.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Picture of the Week: Hallie Gets Hitched!

This week, it's a publicity still from the 1973 film Superdad, starring Kathleen Cody (Hallie Stokes) with her on-screen love interest Kurt Russell. Incidentally, in an interview around that time, Kurt revealed that he had been a Dark Shadows viewer. "Superdad was my final obligation to the three picture contract I had signed with Walt Disney Productions," Kathleen tells us. "Kurt and I were dating exclusively by this time as it was our second Disney film together."

"Here's a little trivia – the film marked the on-screen debut of Bruno Kirby, later known for his wonderful work in The Godfather: Part II, portraying the young Pete Clemenza. Another future TV star who had a minor role was Ed Begley Jr., who'd later to go onto play the role of Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the television series St. Elsewhere. It was a wonderful and exciting time in my life."

If you would like to submit an image for Picture of the Week, email webmaster@collinwood.net

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Eva Green Promises an Extreme Angelique

Eva Green has been promoting her new film Perfect Sense, in which she stars alongside Ewan McGregor, with many news sources reporting on her role as the witch Angelique in the new Dark Shadows movie.

Speaking to Movieline, Eva describes Angelique as: "An extreme character, completely obsessed with a man [laughs], and will do absolutely anything to get him, to own him. She looks like Barbie, but a bawdy Barbie. She’s a big character and lots of fun to play." She also praises director Tim Burton: "He wanted me to feel as comfortable as possible. It was a real collaboration, which is very rare, and he was very kind... very supportive."

In a chat with Elle Culture, she touches upon the special tone of the film: "It’s very cuckoo and electric and funny. It’s a different style... I’ve never had that kind of opportunity before – to play such an extreme character and to not be afraid of doing too much. It’s kind of close to... German experimental film, in the 1920s."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

David Selby in Necessary Sacrifices

David Selby's (Quentin Collins) new play Necessary Sacrifices has just opened at Washington's historic Ford's Theatre and we are pleased to share some photographs from the production. The images show David as President Abraham Lincoln alongside co-star Craig Wallace as Frederick Douglass. The show runs until February 18 and tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

Photographs by T. Charles Erikson © Fords Theatre.