Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More From Thomas McDonell

While promoting his new movie Prom, actor Thomas McDonell has spoken briefly about his role in the upcoming Dark Shadows feature film, in which he will play the young version of Barnabas Collins.

Speaking to Movieline, McDonell says: "It's a small role so it will only be a week or so [to film]. It's going to be at the end of the shoot, so I'm not going to be on set for another little while. They're going to shoot the whole film; the beginning comes at the end."

In an interview with the Toronto Sun, he adds that Dark Shadows is "pretty good. The guy I play is pre-batbite and then a bat comes and bites his neck and then he's a vampire and he's locked away for a couple hundred years, then blah blah blah. I didn't know much about Dark Shadows. And I had certainly not watched any of it. But the more I'm learning all the time the weirder and more interesting I think the film could be."

Meanwhile, IMDB has reported some additional behind the scenes appointments for the movie. Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou is Dark Shadows key makeup artist. Her credits include Band of Brothers, Atonement and The Social Network. Louise Egan is the production's set costumer. Her other work includes About a Boy and Casualty 1909.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

News Digest

  • Alexandra Moltke-Isles (Victoria) has produced a new documentary film, Hidden Treasures, which looks at the staff of New York's Metropolitan art museum. To read more about the project and see a recent photograph of Alexandra, click here.
  • Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie) has written a feature for British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph detailing her experiences working at the Playboy Bunny Club. To read it online, click here.
  • Ben Cross (1991 Barnabas) can be seen in the Lifetime TV movie William & Kate, in which he plays Prince Charles. With Los Angeles backdrops conspicuously doubling for the English locations, it looks set to become a dubious cult classic.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been confirmed to appear in the Batman sequel The Dark Knight Rises. He will play John Blake, a Gotham City cop.

Monday, April 25, 2011

New Comic Collection Covers

Hermes Press have unveiled revised final cover artwork for two of their upcoming Dark Shadows comic book reprints, which can be seen above. The company is reissuing the complete Gold Key Dark Shadows series in deluxe hardback format.

As previously reported, Dark Shadows: The Original Series Story Digest is due out in August, reproducing a rare illustrated storybook produced by Gold Key. To pre-order the title at discount price, click here. Meanwhile, The Complete Series: Volume Two has slipped back in the schedules slightly, and will now be released on May 17. To pre-order, click here.

Picture of the Week: Frid Makes Friends

This week, it's a true oddity from the pages of the March 1969 issue of teen magazine Flip, which featured a cover shoot with Jonathan Frid in costume as Barnabas Collins. For reasons unclear, Barnabas is poised to attack Brian Carrigan of The New York Rock & Roll Ensemble and Flip model Judy Nugent. Let's hope they survived.

Scan courtesy of Arashi at Hollowmoon. If you would like to submit an image for Picture of the Week, email

Sunday, April 24, 2011

4DMax Joins Dark Shadows Movie

UK-based visual effects company 4DMax is to work on the new Dark Shadows feature film. 4DMax offers a number of digital effects services, including 3D scanning, producing motion-controlled camera work and digital doubles of actors.

The company has grown considerably in recent years, with its projects including X-Men: First Class, Green Lantern and Captain America: The First Avenger. IMDB reports that representing 4DMax on the Dark Shadows crew are Duncan Lees as head of 3D services and Louise Brand as head of operations.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Geoff Miller: 1936-2011

It is with great sadness we report the death of Geoff Miller, the husband of actress Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans). Geoff passed away peacefully on April 16, following a long battle with progressive supra-nuclear palsy. He was 74 years old.

He made his career in publishing, most notably founding Los Angeles magazine in 1960. He worked on the title as editor and later publisher, with circulation peaking at over 170,000 copies. He married Kathryn Leigh Scott in 1991 and the couple divided their time between Los Angeles, London and New York.

Geoff was a familiar face to many Dark Shadows fans, often accompanying Kathryn to the annual Dark Shadows Festivals, right up until last year's event. Kathryn has posted a tribute page on her official website, which can be viewed here. On behalf of Dark Shadows fans everywhere, we'd like to extend our sincerest condolences to Geoff's family and friends.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Picture of the Week: Zombie Fail

Barnabas Collins! His earthly form enchained... his spirit enslaved... His zombie captors, erm, distracted by something on the left. Gold Key's Dark Shadows issue 10, originally published in August 1971: Souls of Bondage. No, that really was the title.

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

ABC Announces Soap Cancellations

Thursday was a sad day for soap fans, as ABC confirmed that long-running soap operas All My Children and One Life to Live are to leave the airwaves. All My Children will end in September, with One Life to Live winding down in January.

Naturally, over the years, both soaps have shared personnel connected with Dark Shadows. All My Children's writing staff included Art Wallace, Dark Shadows' original story developer, and Clarice Blackburn (Mrs Johnson); Clarice even won an Emmy for her work on the show. Meanwhile, Louis Edmonds (Roger Collins) enjoyed a long-running role on the show as flamboyant con artist Langley Wallingford.

Not to be beaten, One Life to Live's cast included stints by Nancy Barrett (Carolyn Stoddard) and Anthony George (Burke Devlin). The show's writing staff was also headed by Sam Hall and Gordon Russell during the 1980s, with Grayson Hall (Julia Hoffman) featuring as the brilliantly-named Emphemia Ralston, a role Sam wrote especially for her.

With General Hospital, The Bold and the Beautiful, The Young and the Restless and Days of Our Lives left as US television's last remaining daytime dramas, the outlook for the format looks increasingly grim. It would take a brave broadcaster to launch a new series, and the culture that allowed a gothic soap to creep on the air as an offbeat experiment seems well and truly gone. Sad days indeed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Thomas McDonell Speaks

The MTV Movie Blog has interviewed actor Thomas McDonell about his upcoming movie Prom, and the conversation turned to the new Dark Shadows movie, in which he was recently cast as a young Barnabas Collins. "It is a small role, but an interesting one. We're going to do a lot of rehearsals," the actor reveals, "but we've got a while before we do that."

Asked about how the younger Barnabas fits into the movie's storyline, he ventured that "The film... spans a long period of time so there's a lot of ways in which they deal with that." To read the full interview and watch it in video format, click here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Movie News Round-Up

As the Dark Shadows feature film gears up to start filming, more news continues to trickle out across the web. The production is now firmly established at Pinewood Studios in England, with set construction underway and pre-production in full swing.

Michael Sheen has confirmed that he is in discussions to join the cast of Dark Shadows, following recent speculation that he was in line for the role of Roger Collins. Speaking on BBC Radio 2's Drivetime show, he told listeners: "I am maybe doing a film with Tim Burton this summer."

Jackie Earle Haley (Willie Loomis) appeared at WonderCon 2011 earlier this month, where he was interviewed by MovieViral podcast, speaking briefly about Dark Shadows: "It's an amazing cast. My character, kinda becomes... I don't even know how to describe it. I've never worked in London before, so I'm really looking forward to that." Asked if the look for Willie had been decided upon, Jackie says: "It's coming together. It's a work in progress." To listen to the full interview, click here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Picture of the Week: Safety First

Here's a candid snapshot of Nancy Barrett modelling a hard hat on location for Night of Dark Shadows in 1971. In the movie, Nancy played novelist Claire Jenkins, a relatively straight role compared to her previous Dark Shadows characters. Speaking to The Pittsburgh Press during filming, Nancy joked about being spared from the supernatural for once: "The girl... isn't bloodthirsty, she isn't even possessed by anything. All I'm afraid of is that when I kiss a guy in front of a movie camera, I'll forget and bite him instead."

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rondo Award Win For Big Finish

Big Finish Productions have won a Rondo Award for their Dark Shadows audio drama The Night Whispers. The Rondo Awards annually celebrates the best in classic horror, with The Night Whispers scooping the award for Best Horror Soundtrack. The story was released featured Jonathan Frid returning to the role of Barnabas for the first time since 1971, alongside John Karlen as Willie Loomis and Barbara Steele (1991 Julia) as Celeste.

Jason Haigh-Ellery, Big Finish's MD, comments: "Jonathan Frid agreeing to come back to recreate the iconic role of Barnabas was reward enough for fans of Dark Shadows, but it is even more amazing to have seen his performance honoured by the winning of the Rondo Award."

"Returning to the character of Barnabas was something I'd resisted for many years," says Jonathan, "but in the event, I really enjoyed the experience. Thank you to the fans of Dark Shadows for voting for this old vampire."

Jonathan Frid continues to appear at the annual Dark Shadows Festivals and maintains an official website, which he posts on regularly. The Night Whispers is available on CD and download from Big Finish by clicking here.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Eva Green Speaks Again

The Hollywood Reporter has published an interview with actress Eva Green, promoting her new Starz series Camelot, in which she speaks briefly about her upcoming role as Angelique in the new Dark Shadows movie. "It's sort of a dark comedy," she reveals. "Tim [Burton] was like, 'Do you actually have a sense of humor?' A lot of people don't know that I'm really light on set... They put you in boxes. But it is also true for me that dark roles are always so appealing." To read the full interview, click here.

Meanwhile, IMDB has reported more new appointments for the film's crew. Paul Gooch is Dark Shadows' hair and wigs designer. His credits include Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow and Alice in Wonderland, along with the forthcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Jason McDonald is the production's previsualisation supervisor. His other work includes Sherlock Holmes, Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Finally, Rob Jose is the art department model maker, having previously worked on Clash of the Titans.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gold Key Story Digest to be Reprinted

Hermes Press have announced that they are to reprint Gold Key's rare 1970 Dark Shadows Story Digest. The illustrated 176-page paperback is due out in August. From the publisher:

"For the first time in over 30 years read the original, first graphic novelization of Dark Shadows: The Original Series. Conceived by Gold Key editor Wallace I. Green as a novel illustrated by Dark Shadows comic book artist Joe Certa, this book presents a complete extended story with accompanying artwork. This intriguing story finds Angelique casting Barnabas back to 17th Century Salem!"

The cover artwork is shown right. To pre-order the book from Amazon, click here. Hermes Press' next Dark Shadows release is the second installment of their hardback comic book reprints. Dark Shadows – The Complete Collection: Volume 2 is out at the end of April. To order it at a discount price, click here.

Picture of the Week: Looks Familiar?

Hmmmm... Haven't we seen this haunted house somewhere before? Perhaps someone at Hanna Barbera was watching Dark Shadows in 1969? Taken from the opening titles for the first season of Scooby Doo Where Are You!

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

40 Years Ago: The Final Episode

40 years ago today, the final episode of Dark Shadows aired on ABC-TV, bringing to a close 1,225 instalments and nearly five years of stories for the residents of Collinwood. The writers had just two weeks' notice that the show was being cancelled, leaving little time for reflection. With their current storyline stuck in a parallel strand of 1841, featuring none of the regular characters, Dark Shadows' swan song ended up being a rather low-key affair, drawing the story to a close with a minimum amount of fuss.

For the last moments of the script, writer Sam Hall devised a little wink to the audience, as the audience saw Melanie Collins struck down with two mysterious wounds on her neck. "If I didn't know better, I'd swear there was a vampire at Collinwood..." said Bramwell Collins, a little knowingly. Too knowingly for Jonathan Frid, apparently, who refused to do the scene, feeling that it mocked the character of Barnabas. So, at the last minute Thayer David was drafted in, having not been scheduled to appear, to say the lines as Ben Stokes. Also added for the recording was a closing voiceover, assuring viewers that the "Dark Shadows of Collinwood were but a memory of the distant past."

Even though it happened by fluke, somehow it seems right that Thayer David, the actor who played more characters on Dark Shadows than any other, performed its curtain call. To much of the audience, the understated ending was a disappointment, but I really like that it's a small, dignified finale. There's no great drama, no major revelations, but instead a nice breathless end-of-term style send-off, wishing some friendly faces well as they fade away.

Of course, cancellation was by no means the end for Dark Shadows. That same month, the press began to report on ABC's plans to put the show's episodes into syndication, while some of the cast assembled upstate to begin work on a new Dark Shadows feature film. And, most importantly, that original generation of viewers clung onto those memories of running home from school to watch the show. Four decades on, and Dark Shadows is still generating daily headlines as a film remake from Tim Burton enters production to massive media interest. A top-flight new cast is waiting in the wings to bring the stories and the characters to life again on a grand scale. Not a bad legacy for a faddish little soap opera made in what creator Dan Curtis once called a "rinky-dink studio". Not bad at all.

The final episode of Dark Shadows can be seen on Dark Shadows DVD Collection 26, which can be purchased by clicking here.

Chloe Moretz Joins Movie Cast

Deadline New York reports that Chloe Moretz has joined the cast of the new Dark Shadows movie to play Carolyn Stoddard, the daughter of Collinwood matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. The character was originally portrayed by Nancy Barrett. At 14 years of age, Moretz is the youngest actress to play the role (Carolyn was 18 years old in Dark Shadows' earliest episodes).

Chloe is best known for her roles in the cult superhero movie Kick Ass and Let Me In. She will also be seen in Martin Scorsese's upcoming film Hugo Cabret, in which Johnny Depp appears. Speaking to MTV at the Annual Comedy Awards last week, Moretz teased: "I just booked a huge project last night… it's huge! It's big, and it's crazy, and it involves some really cool actors."

Meanwhile, Deadline have also confirmed that Australian actor Gulliver McGrath will play David Collins, the troubled son of Roger Collins. The character was originally played by David Henesy. Gulliver's previous roles include the short film The Wake and the television series Rush. He's also set to feature in a minor role in Hugo Cabret.

Elsewhere, speaking to New York Magazine, actress Eva Green has confirmed that she will be playing the role of Angelique with an American accent, and a photograph has surfaced on Flickr, showing the early stages of construction on Dark Shadows' backlot set at Pinewood. To view the image, click here.