MovieChat Forums > House of Dark Shadows (1970) Discussion > Do you have to be familiar with the seri...

Do you have to be familiar with the series to follow this?


I've never seen a single episode of Dark Shadows, but this movie is coming on TCM next month and I was thinking of checking it out. But do you have to be familiar with the mythology to follow it, or could I enjoy it as a standalone film?

reply

[deleted]

My sisters and I watched this series in the late sixties, when we were all pre-teens. And of course, we also saw both of the movies.

Yesterday I watched a VHS recording of the movie and loved it! Since it was over forty years since the first time and I remember only names/faces from the show, it was like watching it with fresh eyes. Yes, I agree that one does not have to know the show or even to have seen it in order to enjoy the movie.

As an adult, I now appreciate the mood and excellent use of sound and lighting in the movie. The scene where Carolyn calls out to his fiance and he goes to her was visually stunning. The funeral scene and the costume dance were also memorable.

At the time this was an unheard-of amount of blood for a movie, much more than the Hammer horror films of the time. My mom had to think long and hard before allowing 11 year old me and my 10 tear old sister to see it. Nowadays the blood looks like poster paint, but the good acting and great production design make up for it.

reply

[deleted]

[deleted]

I just watched this for the first time last night on TCM. I've never seen a single episode of "Dark Shadows," but in terms of the characters, I was utterly lost as to their relationships to each other and the setting. Even though the movie is essentially a standalone retelling of the show's arc that introduced Barnabas and not a direct continuation of the show's storyline, the movie throws all the characters at us and makes no effort whatsoever to explain who they all are and how they are all related to each other, nor explains the world of the show. It just takes it for granted that viewers are already familiar with the show. Visually, I enjoyed the film and its spooky atmosphere, and Jonathan Frid was terrific, but storywise it was frustrating to follow who was who.

reply

In case you haven't figured it out by now, Elizabeth was the mistress of the house. Carolyn is Elizabeth's daughter. Roger, Elizabeth's brother, lives at Collinwood with his young son, David. Maggie is David's governess, and Willie is just a handyman. Hopefully this will help if you ever decide to watch the movie again. Luckily I was a fan of the show for years beforehand so it didn't even occur to me that people might not understand who's who. Now that I really look I can see why people would be confused.

reply

❤️️
No. You really don't have to have watched the soap in order to watch this.
This is more or less a Reader's Digest version of what happened when Willie opened up Barnabas's crypt on the TV show.
If you go into this cold, you'll be able to follow fine.

reply

No, it's a stand alone movie.

reply