Thursday, December 31, 2009

Second Comics Collection Cover

Hermes Press have unveiled the cover image for Dark Shadows: The Complete Series Volume 2, which features a great vintage rendering of Barnabas Collins stalking a victim. Click on the thumbnail for a larger view.

The book is the second in a series of deluxe hardback reprints of the classic 1960s Dark Shadows comic books from Gold Key, and is due out on July 29 2010, priced $49.99. Amazon are currently offering the book at a 30% discount, and it can be pre-ordered by clicking here.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Michael Currie: 1928-2009

The Portland Press Herald has reported the death of actor Michael Currie, who played Sheriff Jonas Carter in the early episodes of Dark Shadows. Michael died on December 22 at his home in Freeport, Maine, aged 81. His other work included appearances on M*A*S*H, Soap, Dallas and Cheers. For a full obituary, click here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Conard Fowkes: 1933-2009

Theatermania has reported the death of actor Conard Fowkes, who played lawyer Frank Garner in the early episodes of Dark Shadows. Conard died on December 14 at the age of 76.

His career included roles on Broadway, stints on Secret Storm and As The World Turns, plus a long-serving position working for the Actor's Equity council, which he held until earlier this year. To read a full obituary, click here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Final Judgement Due in January

Big Finish's next Dark Shadows audio drama is out on CD and download in January. Final Judgement is an all-new audio drama starring Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott in an exciting story that sees Angelique and Josette fighting for survival. Here's a teaser synopsis:

"Do you swear to reveal to this jury of your peers, the truths you’ve withheld from your lord and master?"

In the afterlife, Josette has made a pact with the Dark Lord to try Angelique for crimes against true love. But Josette’s time spent as a restless spirit has taken its toll. Is she strong enough to take on her old adversary? If Angelique is convicted, then her soul is forfeit, restoring Josette to life and beauty. If not...

"I received an email from Lara Parker saying that she'd always wanted to do something where she and Kathryn Leigh Scott could really go at it,” reveals author Debbie Smith. "I immediately thought that was a wonderful idea."

Final Judgement is the second release in the new series of Dark Shadows Dramatic Readings, following on from September’s Curse of the Pharaoh. From January-May 2010, there will be five new stories, including scripts by Stephen Mark Rainey and Torchwood novelist James Goss. To order online, click here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dark Shadows Movie Confirmed for 2010

It's been a long time coming, but SciFiWire reports that Dark Shadows has been confirmed as Tim Burton's next film. The big budget feature film will begin shooting in late 2010, starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins. 

The project had previously been delayed by director Tim Burton's ongoing commitments on his current project, Alice in Wonderland. Dark Shadows producer Graham King, updated the production's status at a recent press conference for The Young Victoria, revealing that pre-production is underway:  

"We've been working on the script a lot... John August wrote the first screenplay. We're making some changes, but the film's going to be in production [by] September or October of next year."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Second Volume of Gold Key Reprints Announced

Hot on the heels of the announcement of the first volume of 1960s Dark Shadows comic book reprints, Hermes Press has confirmed the release of a second volume, due out in Summer 2010. The publisher plans to issue the entire series in five hardcover books.

Dark Shadows: The Complete Collection Volume 2 is due out on July 29 2010 and includes digitally restored strips, plus bonus content and other features. To pre-order the book at a 30% discount from Amazon, click here. Volume 1 is still due out on March 29 2010 and can be pre-ordered by clicking here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ron Sproat Dies

It is with sadness that we report the death of longtime Dark Shadows writer Ron Sproat. Ron died at his apartment in Manhattan of a heart attack on November 6, aged 77. In addition to contributing numerous scripts for Dark Shadows, Ron was a key player in the development of the character of Barnabas, who cemented the show's transition into mainstream popularity. 

In addition to his work on Dark Shadows, Ron contributed scripts to several other soaps, including Strange Paradise, Never Too Young, Secret Storm and The Doctors. His other television credits included United States Steel Hour and General Motors Presents. Latterly, he worked as a magazine and feature writer, and as a lyricist contributed to musicals such as Ravenswood and Abie's Island Rose.

He is survived by his sister, and Frank Evans, his partner. Click on the links to read obituaries from Playbill and Variety.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Press Cuttings

With Halloween approaching, Dark Shadows has been getting plenty of mentions in the media:

Canadian news source CNews profiles Jonathan Frid (Barnabas), with An Interview with a 'real' Vampire; Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, Kevin Williamson, executive producer for CW's The Vampire Diaries acknowledges Dark Shadows as an influence on his new show; while Phil Guarnieri discusses the nostalgic appeal of Dark Shadows for the Floral Park Dispatch

Rounding off things, New York's Paley Center for the Media will host Dark Shadows at Twilight: A Paley Center Vampire Weekend, taking place on November 13-15. Dark Shadows DVD producer and author Jim Pierson will be discussing the show on Saturday 14. For more information, click here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

News Round-up

  • Dark Shadows fans could recently see some familiar faces amidst the new US fall line-up. US Ivana Milicevic (2004 Angelique) guested on the October 14 episode of ABC's Eastwick, while Michael Cavanaugh (1991 Sheriff Patterson) turned up in the October 22 episode of FlashFoward.
  • Barnabas Collins is featured in a poll currently being conducted by the Paley Centre for the Media. You can vote for Barnabas as your choice in the TV Vampire (S)Takedown by clicking here.
  • Several readers have emailed in about the recent iTunes release of Night of Dark Shadows, which features some audio not included in the theatrical release, including additional music and some unheard dialogue. Dark Shadows movie expert Darren Gross tells me that this release accidentally uses the film's original magnetic soundtrack master, which includes some unmixed edit joins from the film's last-minute editing session. These were later smoothed out for the final release. Darren located the longer director's cut of the movie over 10 years ago, and has been working on a restoration effort, which includes reconstructing the full soundtrack. So while these glitches may leave iTunes viewers scratching their heads for now, they will play their part in the eventual restoration: "It's this aspect of the original master that's so helpful," explains Darren. "All these little bits help indicate what music was used in the scene that follows or the scene preceding it." 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Halloween is Coming

Halloween is just around the corner, so here's the Dark Shadows Journal's run-down on how to enjoy the holiday, Collinsport style. Way back when, this site hosted a Dark Shadows Halloween micro-site, featuring e-cards, desktop wallpaper and a a downloadable Barnabas jack-o-lantern pattern – just the thing for scaring away evil spirits and mad relatives in the attic.

If you're having a Halloween party, you'll need some party music, so why not check out the Dark Shadows: 30th Anniversary Collection, featuring some fantastic kitschy muzak arrangements of Robert Cobert's character themes. And if you're decorating your home with a flavour of Collinwood, then don't forget the blue candles and cobwebs. For party food ideas, the show's resident phoenix Laura, alias actress Diana Millay, has a great cookbook, I'd Rather Eat Than Act, featuring her personal recipes and tasty treats from Dark Shadows co-stars. Also, for some creepy festive viewing, check out MPI's two new DVD compilations – The Vampire Curse and The Haunting of Collinwood, plus for a midnight matinee round-off, there's the spin-off movie House of Dark Shadows, now available as a digital download.

I also realised this week that it's been 10 years since the Dark Shadows Journal launched online. The exact date is lost somewhere on a dusty hard drive, but this seems as good a time as any to celebrate. So a tip of the hat to everyone who's supported and contributed to this site over the past decade. Thank you all. Have a great Halloween everyone!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

News Bites

  • Night of Dark Shadows, the second Dark Shadows spin-off movie, is now available as a digital download from the iTunes store source from a new HD transfer. This version is the original theatrical edit of the film and not the mooted extended director's cut.
  • Rebecca Staab (1991 Daphne Collins) is to join the cast of ABC's Desperate Housewives, as the show enters its sixth season. Rebecca plays a new permanent resident of Wisteria Lane, and makes her debut on October 25.
  • Seaview Terrace, the original location for Collinwood, has ended its long-time affiliation with the Salve Regina University. For many years, the property's owners had leased rooms out as dormitories and teaching facilities. Seaview's owners, the Carey family, have now returned the Newport, Rhode Island location to a private property.
  • The Greystone mansion (1991 and 2004 Collinwood) was featured in the October 12 episode of Fox's House, titled Instant Karma. The show featured exterior and interior scenes of the estate and can be viewed online for a limited time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

News in Brief

  • MPI's new Dark Shadows DVD compilations The Vampire Curse and The Haunting of Collinwood are out today. Order them from Amazon by clicking on the hyperlinked titles.
  • David Selby (Quentin) guested in the September 6 episode of AMC's Mad Men. His episode, The Arrangements, is available from iTunes. David also features in the LA Theatre Works' production of The Autumn Garden, which has just been released on CD.
  • Congratulations to Marley Shelton (2004 Vicki), who has just become a parent. Marley gave birth to her daughter, who she has named West, on September 6.
  • Big Finish Productions have announced a second series of Dark Shadows dramatic readings, featuring original cast members performing new stories on CD. The first in the new run, Curse of the Pharaoh, is available now, with five more titles following monthly from January. For more information, click here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Classic Comic Reprints Announced

Hermes Press has announced that it is to reprint the complete series of classic Gold Key Dark Shadows comics in a series of collector's hardcover books. Each volume will feature full-colour digitally restored strips plus bonus features, including poster reprints, documentary material from the show and new essays.

Hermes' news release for the series describes the stories as: "thoughtful and beautifully crafted; they are the perfect companion for fans of the show, but they stand on their own as fine examples of compelling and effective comic book storytelling." Publisher Daniel Herman adds: "The classic Dark Shadows books have been out-of-print far too long. Our new series of complete reprints will remedy this situation and make the entire run available to old and new fans alike."

Dark Shadows: The Complete Series Volume One is available from March 2010; Provisional cover artwork is shown above. The 208 page hardcover book will retail at $49.99.

Update: Amazon are currently offering the book at a 35% discount from the retail price. To order, click here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Amazon DVD Sale

Good news for readers with gaps in their Dark Shadows DVD collections, as Amazon are running another sale on the episode box sets. For a limited time, the entire range is available at half price, averaging at just $27.99 a volume. Here are ordering links for the discounted titles:

Dark Shadows: The Beginning (pre-Barnabas episodes):

Dark Shadows DVD Collections (episodes from Barnabas' arrival onwards):

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wayne Tippit: 1932-2009

The Los Angeles Times has reported that Wayne Tippit, who played Hiram Fisher on the 1991 Dark Shadows, died on August 28. He was 76 and had suffered from emphysema for a number of years. His many credits included stints on The Secret Storm, Search for Tomorrow and latterly Melrose Place, plus numerous television guest appearances. To read a full obituary, click here.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Literary Parallels

An obscure Dark Shadows crossover can be found in Thomas Pynchon's new seventies detective novel Infinite Vice. The author has done his homework and gets in a mention of Collinwood's 1970 parallel time storyline, along with a number of other contemporary shows. A review of the book on Britain's Catholic Herald website discussed the Dark Shadows connections with some background on the show. To order Infinite Vice from Amazon, click here.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New DVD Trailers have posted two video trailers for MPI's upcoming Dark Shadows DVD compilations, The Vampire Curse and The Haunting of Collinwood. To view them, click on the hyperlinked titles. Both titles are due out on September 15 and are available to pre-order at a discount price.

Curse of the Pharaoh

Big Finish are now taking orders for their latest Dark Shadows Dramatic Reading CD. Curse of the Pharaoh stars Nancy Barrett and Marie Wallace. Both actors have previously made cameo appearances in the full-cast Dark Shadows audio dramas and now take the lead for this new story. Nancy reprises her classic role as Carolyn Stoddard, while Marie tackles an intriguing new character.

Famed Egyptologist Dr. Gretchen Warwick has come to Collinwood, searching for the answers to life in the hereafter. At first, Carolyn cannot understand why Warwick needs her help, but, to her horror, she soon discovers that she is the key to the dark, dangerous world on the other side of death...

"Gretchen Warwick is a mystery," says writer Stephen Mark Rainey. "She’s brilliant and eccentric – not to mention abrasive. As a woman accustomed to being in a position of authority, she’s just the kind to raise Carolyn’s hackles!"

Marie Wallace is full of enthusiasm for her new character, Gretchen: "When I received the script, I read it from beginning to end and was so intrigued by the character of Gretchen. She had all the qualities that make a person interesting, compelling, fascinating, and out of the ordinary. Such fun to play! And of course, to then work opposite Nancy Barrett, with whom I hadn’t been on camera for many a year, why, I couldn’t ask for anything more... Until the next script comes along!"

To order the new story, click here.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2010 Festival Announced

I'm back from last weekend's Dark Shadows Festival in Newark, NJ. It was wonderful to meet so many of this site's readers, so thanks to anyone who said hello. I didn't manage to take any photos, but if you attended and have pictures from the event that you'd like to share, get in touch and I'll post the best here.

The Festival returns to the west coast for 2010's event, which will take place on July 16-18 at the Burbank Marriott Hotel. Look out for registration information and more details soon.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Dark Shadows Festival This Weekend

The Dark Shadows Festival takes place this weekend in Newark, NJ, at the Newark Renaissance Hotel. Guests include Jonathan Frid (Barnabas), Lara Parker (Angelique) and Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie). A full schedule of events for the weekend's activities can be seen here and for more information, visit the Festival's official website.

I'll be there to promote my work on the Big Finish audio dramas CDs, so please stop by our stand and say hello. Also, don't miss the stage panel on the dramas on Sunday afternoon, which will include Jerry Lacy (Reverend Trask) performing a brief sneak preview from the first script of the new full-cast dramas, Kingdom of the Dead. Hope to see you there!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Audio Author Interviewed

The latest issue of Big Finish's magazine Vortex features an interview with writer Stephen Mark Rainey, discussing his Dark Shadows audio dramas The Path of Fate and the upcoming Curse of the Pharoah. Check it out by clicking here.

In other Big Finish news, Echoes of Insanity, the latest in the ongoing series of Dark Shadows dramatic readings has just been released on CD and digital download. The story stars John Karlen (Willie) and Lara Parker (Angelique), and can be purchased here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New DVDs Update

MPI's two new Dark Shadows compilation DVDs are on track for release in August, and here's a sneak look at the full covers, confirming special features for the discs. Both run approximately 210 minutes long and retail at $19.98.

Curse of the Vampire, compiling Barnabas' finest moments has been retitled The Vampire Curse, and features a new interview with Jonathan Frid, a Dark Shadows promo hosted by Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie) and a bonus episode. The Haunting of Collinwood condenses Quentin's possession of David and Amy, with a new David Selby interview and promo spot, plus a bonus episode.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tim Burton Speaks

MTV's Movie Blog has interviewed Tim Burton on his upcoming Alice in Wonderland film, where he touches on the upcoming Dark Shadows movie project, which he is attached to direct. "That’s something that [Johnny Depp and I] both love and are excited about. When I’m done with this [Alice in Wonderland] I’ll definitely focus on that."

Speaking about his plans for the film, Burton commented, “It’s... [a] challenge because it was such a weird soap opera. Part of the energy of it was the tone and weirdness of it. That’s our challenge, to try to capture that vibe." Shooting on
Dark Shadows is currently slated to begin in 2010.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kathryn Leigh Scott at Comic Con

Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie) writes in with news that she's appearing at the San Diego Comic Con. Kathryn will be signing autographs on Thursday July 23 from 3-7pm. Adrian Paul (1991 Jeremiah) will also be signing at the same time, returning for an additional session on Sunday from 11am-2pm. For more information on the event, click here

Kathryn also reports: "I am thrilled that Opera News has published my piece The Star and the Stalker in the August 2009 issue, available now on newsstands... My story was given nine pages, the most they've assigned to a feature article." For more information on the piece, click here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

David Selby's Symphony

David Selby (Quentin) is to narrate an upcoming San Luis Obispo Symphony production of A Lincoln Portrait, following on from his recent acclaimed stint as Abraham Lincoln on stage in The Heavens are Hung in Black. The performance takes place on November 14 at 8.00pm. For more information, click here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Audio Dramas Update

Big Finish Productions' series of Dark Shadows audio dramas continues apace, with several new CDs due out in the coming months. In addition to the previously announced Echoes of Insanity, released later in July, Curse of the Pharaoh, starring Nancy Barrett (Carolyn) and Marie Wallace (Eve) will follow in August. More details will be released soon, but in the meantime, here's a sneak peak from the recording, showing Marie, Nancy and director Joe Salvatore in studio.

The latest issue of Big Finish's online magazine Vortex features an interview with Dark Shadows sound designer Nigel Fairs, discussing his work on the new stories. Download it for free by clicking here.