Master of Dark Shadows (2019)
Director: David Gregory
Stars: Dan Curtis, Nancy Barrett, Ben Cross, Roger Davis, Jonathan Frid, Ian McShane, William F. Nolan, Lara Parker, David Selby, Barbara Steele and Whoopi Goldberg.
Tagline: The Gothic World of Dan Curtis
Dan Curtis’ soap opera, Dark Shadows, was scheduled for cancellation in six weeks. When Curtis was told this, he decided to take his traditional daytime melodrama in a new direction, He added a vampire! Surprisingly the show soared to the top of the ratings. Kids and young adults made it must-see tv and the show was saved. Dark Shadows ended up running for six seasons. Spin-offs included two feature films, comic books, trading cards, board games and more.
Although Dan Curtis became best known for films in the horror genre he wanted to break out into other genres. Master of Dark Shadows is his story.
Thoughts (beware of spoilers)…
Dan Curtis produced and directed the two Dark Shadows feature films. He also wrote the second. Then when the series ended, Dan Curtis was considered the go-to guy for horror. He produced The Night Stalker. It became the highest rated tv movie of its time. Curtis followed that up by producing and directing The Night Strangler, The Norliss Tapes, Scream of the Wolf, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Turn of the Screw, Trilogy of Terror, Burnt Offerings, Dead of Night and Curse of the Black Widow. Although Dan Curtis did produce and direct other films, he was still best known for horror.
That all changed when Curtis produced and directed the television adaptation of Herman Wouk’s Winds of War. The seven episode mini-series became the highest rated television event of its time. The series was nominated for eleven Emmy Awards, winning three (Outstanding Cinematography for a Limited Series or a Special; Outstanding Individual Achievement – Costumers; Outstanding Individual Achievement – Special Visual Effects).
Dan Curtis followed with War and Remembrance, a continuation of Winds of War. War and Remembrance received 15 Emmy Award nominations. It won for best miniseries, special effects, and single-camera production editing.
I’m happy that Dan Curtis was able to break out from the horror genre and make big budget, award winning projects. But the truth of the matter is, I will always remember the thrill of running home from school to catch the latest adventures of Barnabus and Quentin Collins. Five days a week on Dark Shadows we got vampires, werewolves, and a taste of horror. I read the novelizations, comic books, collected the cards and saw the feature films. The excitement we had as kids talking about Dark Shadows is a highlight of this kid’s elementary years.
If you’re of the right age, Master of Shadows will take you back to that time. If you’re too young, then you’ll get a taste of something that will never be replicated.
Master of Dark Shadows (2019) earns 5 of 5 stars.