Saturday, December 31, 2011

Danny Elfman Talks Dark Shadows

Fearnet caught up with Dark Shadows movie composer Danny Elfman recently, where he chatted about the possibility of including Robert Cobert's original theme tune from the series. It was previously reported that the piece would feature, but Elfman was unsure if it would feature in the new score:

"We had this discussion with Batman... whether we wanted to incorporate the TV theme. And Tim said, 'No, don't do that.' And on Planet of the Apes, once again, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory... So I'm just guessing that he's gonna say no again, that he's gonna want to develop his own language and dialogue for this. Having said that, who knows? You may just hear a theramin!"

In other movie news, Christopher Lee has spoken briefly about Dark Shadows in a Christmas video message posted on Youtube. He describes the experience as "a very happy reunion for me, because I really do feel like one of the family with producer Richard Zanuck, director Tim Burton and actor Johnny Depp." As previously reported, Lee will play fisherman Bill Malloy. "It's not a long part," he says. "I don't play long parts. They must be short parts, but they've got to be parts that mean something... where people will notice when I’m on the screen and people will remember the character."

Friday, December 23, 2011

Two Dark Shadows Events For 2012

The Dark Shadows Festival has announced two events for 2012, taking place on both the east and west coasts. ShadowGram reports that planning is underway and more details will be announced in the coming months.

West coast fans can celebrate the release of the new Tim Burton Dark Shadows feature film when the Festival hosts a midnight premiere screening on May 10 at Hollywood's Vista Theatre, featuring "in-person appearances by original Dark Shadows actors" and "other surprises". The Vista has hosted a number of Dark Shadows events over the years, including 2010's House of Dark Shadows screening, which saw Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins) place his handprints in cement for posterity.

Additionally, the east coast will host a second Dark Shadows event in the Summer, set to take place in "the New York vicinity". The precise date and location have yet to be confirmed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rare Seaview Terrace Photos

Site reader Bill Branch has written in to share some wonderful rare photographs of Seaview Terrace, the Newport, Rhode Island residence that was used for the exterior of Collinwood on Dark Shadows.

The images were first published in the May 1928 edition of The Architect showcasing the recently-completed mansion and the work of its architect, Howard Greenley. The project had taken five years of construction at a cost of over two million dollars. Dark Shadows viewers will note the interior elements of the building that designer Sy Tomashoff later included in his studio set designs, such as the great hall's distinctive chandelier and stained glass window. Other details of the house, such as the griffon sculptures on the patio and the tower's weather vane, were long gone by the time the show filmed at Newport in 1966.

Click on the thumbnails for a larger view. Courtesy of the Bill Branch collection.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dark Shadows Costume Designer Interviewed

MTV has spoken to Colleen Atwood, the costume designer of the forthcoming Dark Shadows feature film, discussing her designs for Johnny Depp's incarnation of vampire Barnabas Collins. The actor was photographed by unofficial photographers during September location filming in Cornwall, with his unusual look becoming the subject of huge debate online.

"He plays a vampire who wouldn't normally go out in the daytime, but we wanted him to be able to have outings," explains Colleen. "So I did two or three different hat shapes and we tried them once he got his hair and makeup on. I also found these amazing hundred-year-old sunglasses, but they were too small... so I took them and had them copied. The color of the sunglasses and the color of the hat and his costume coat, which was a really dark green, is one of our favorite combos we've come up with in our work together."

Elsewhere, a new Dark Shadows production photograph has surfaced on the website of the British Society of Cinematographers. The image shows director of photography Mike Valentine BSC shooting an "underwater ghost" in a green screen tank at Pinewood Studios. To view the image, click here.

And don't forget, you can now keep up with all the latest Dark Shadows updates on our Twitter feed, including daily trivia and more. Find us by clicking here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

News in Brief

  • Dynamite Publishing have announced that they will be publishing a trade paperback volume of their new Dark Shadows comic strip. The paperback collects the first four issues and will be released in April. To pre-order the book from Amazon at a discount price, click here. UK readers can also purchase from by clicking here.
  • David Selby (Quentin Collins) can be seen this week in TNT's original movie Deck The Halls. The film airs on Tuesday December 20 at 9.00pm EST. David will also be returning to Washington's Ford's Theatre to portray Abraham Lincoln in the new play Necessary Sacrifices. The production runs from January 20–February 12 and tickets can be purchased online by clicking here.
  • Jerry Lacy (Reverend Trask) has recorded a CD of his favourite ghost stories and poems. The disc includes readings from Edgar Allen Poe and Saki and can be purchased from his official website.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kathryn Leigh Scott Responds To Helena Bonham Carter

Actress Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) has written in with some thoughts on the recent comments from Helena Bonham Carter about the original Dark Shadows series. Carter, who plays Dr. Julia Hoffman in the new production, described Dark Shadows as "a really bad, hilariously bad soap opera."

Says Kathryn: "Lara Parker (Angelique) and I, who both play cameos in the new Dark Shadows film, are surprised by Helena Bonham Carter's comments because they do not at all reflect our wonderful conversation together on the set. She was eager to hear about Grayson Hall, who played Dr. Julia Hoffman, and we were only too happy to tell her about our old friend."

"Helena and Michelle Pfeiffer (Elizabeth Collins Stoddard) were both into watching the original episodes and we all laughed about the famous bloopers, which were indeed 'hilariously bad'... However, we take pride in the original series, bloopers and all. Our budget for a single episode of the series wouldn't pay for a tea break on the set of the new film, Yet our series has become an enduring classic for over 45 years! The new movie should be an easy sell to the legions of fans who ran home from school to watch the original and the multitudes of young new fans drawn to us each year."

Elsewhere, in a recent interview with Soap Opera Digest, David Selby (Quentin Collins) spoke briefly about filming his cameo for the film: "My part is very brief. There's a big party and I'm one of the guests. Tim [Burton] and Johnny [Depp] wanted to pay homage to the show. I also couldn't believe how they managed to create the Collinwood set. It was incredible."

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Michelle Pfieffer Reveals Love For Dark Shadows

Michelle Pfieffer has spoken about her role as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard in the forthcoming Dark Shadows feature film, revealing that she personally approached director Tim Burton, asking to be involved. Appearing on ABC's Live With Kelly show earlier this week to promote her new film New Year's Eve, the actress spoke about watching Dark Shadows as a child:

"I would rush home from school every day... and you got home [mimes panting] and you would sit in front of TV. I was driving in the car with my husband. We were talking about TV shows that were being made into movies... I said 'Somebody should do Dark Shadows! Literally, a couple of months later I read in the trades that Tim Burton is doing it. And I go [mimes dialling on a phone] 'Tim, it's Michelle!'"

Talking to The Detroit News, she added that Dark Shadows was "an exceptional experience on every level. It's one of those movies where a lot of stuff was shot that I wasn't privy to, [with] the special effects, and I just can't wait to see it. I was a huge, huge fan of the show."

Monday, December 12, 2011

Dark Shadows Movie News Round-up

  • Michelle Pfieffer is already eager to reprise her role as Collinwood matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard. Speaking to MTV, she says the Dark Shadows feature film was "a dream job... such a fun cast and we had so much fun. I loved meeting Helena [Bonham Carter] (Dr. Julia Hoffman) and getting to know her. I hope it's successful so that we can do a bunch of them because it was such a fantastic, creative group of people."
  • Eva Green (Angelique) tells Film News that she initially found herself intimidated by her Dark Shadows co-stars: “I am always anxious before shooting - this time, I was petrified. The first two weeks were really difficult. I was fazed by Johnny Depp (Barnabas), and, most of all, by Michelle Pfeiffer, who plays my rival in the movie. [Director] Tim [Burton] believed in me and he did everything to make me feel comfortable. Finally, it was the most beautiful shoot of my life."
  • Meanwhile, Helena Bonham Carter courts controversy in an interview with MTV, where she described the original Dark Shadows as "a really bad, hilariously bad soap opera. And because it's so bad, [Tim Burton] felt he had to make a hugely expensive movie." Speaking about the remake, she was rather more positive: "I love Dark Shadows. It's very original. It's uncategorizable. It's going to be impossible to sell, frankly, because it's just so... it's a soap opera but it's very, very subtle. It's a ghost story... but then it's an unhappy vampire story. It's a mixture of so many different things and a real ensemble piece."
  • Rock legend Alice Cooper has revealed more about his Dark Shadows movie cameo in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. The newspaper reports that he was filled with admiration for the film's sets at Pinewood, which include "a sprawling gothic mansion and a harbour city complete with pier and boats floating in an artificial ocean." The piece once again confirms that Cooper will be playing himself, adding that "Barnabas Collins hires the rock star to play a private ball at his seaside home in Maine."
  • And finally, Variety has reported on the enduring appeal of vampires on-screen, citing the success of the latest instalment of the Twilight franchise and a slew of undead projects for 2012. The article declares Dark Shadows' May 11 release date is a "prime slot" and estimates the budget for the production to be $60 million.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

New Dark Shadows Movie Tie-In Book Announced

Pomegranate Press has announced that it will be publishing a new Dark Shadows factual book, released to coincide with the forthcoming feature film. Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood offers an overview of the show's entire history, illustrated throughout with rare photographs.

The 200-page large format paperback will also include behind the scenes anecdotes from Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) and the other cast members who have filmed cameo appearances for the new movie: Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins), Lara Parker (Angelique) and David Selby (Quentin Collins), detailing their experiences taking part in the new production.

Promising "hundreds of exclusive photographs of Dark Shadows then and now, along with behind the scenes information, production materials and unique archival elements", Return to Collinwood is due out in May and can be pre-ordered at a discount price from Amazon by clicking here. UK readers can also purchase from by clicking here.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

New Dark Shadows DVD Sale

Amazon are running a special promotion on selected titles in the Dark Shadows DVD range, offering savings of between 50-70% on the retail prices for a limited time.

Each four-disc collection contains 40 complete episodes with bonus interviews and other special features. Here are the discounted titles; click on the hyperlinked titles to order:

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Comics Collection Cover Revealed

Hermes Press have unveiled cover artwork for Dark Shadows: The Complete Collection – Volume Four, which continues the series of collector's hardback reprints of the classic 1960s Gold Key comic strips.

The 200-page collection features more digitally restored strips from the latter run of the Dark Shadows comic, complete with supplementary essays, rare photographs and other bonus content. This title, along with the recently announced Volume Five, complete Hermes' Dark Shadows reprint programme.

Dark Shadows: The Complete Collection – Volume Four is due for release on February 14. To pre-order the book at a discount price from Amazon, click here. UK readers can also purchase from by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Dark Shadows Comic Book Launches


The first issue of Dynamite Comics' new
Dark Shadows comic book is now available. The monthly series follows on from the original television episodes with all new stories. Issue One is available with two covers, seen above. The script is by Dark Shadows News Page editor Stuart Manning, with artwork by Aaron Campbell. The first issue sold out within days of its release and has been reprinted. From the publisher:

Television's original reluctant vampire is back! Barnabas Collins is re-adjusting to life under his vampiric curse. Haunted by terrifying dreams of his age-old lover and nemesis, Angelique, and fighting his bloodlust, Barnabas fears that danger lies ahead for all who live at Collinwood. Meanwhile, Barnabas' ally and trusted friend Dr. Julia Hoffman is harboring secrets of her own...

The launch of the comic has been covered by a number of websites. Newsarama hosted a preview of the opening pages, while KSiteTV, PopCultureAddict, Things From Another World and ComicVine have featured writer and artist interviews.

The Dark Shadows comic book can be purchased from comic stores everywhere. To order the series directly from the publishers, click here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New Classic Comics Collections Announced

Hermes Press have announced two new Dark Shadows titles for publication in 2012, as their programme of classic reprints from the Gold Key archives continues.

First up is the final volume of classic Dark Shadows comic reprints, featuring digitally restored artwork and bonus content. Dark Shadows: The Complete Collection – Volume Five is due out on February 14 in hardback, completing the series. Provisional cover artwork can be seen on the right and the book can be pre-ordered at a discount price from Amazon, click here. UK readers can also order from by clicking here.

February will also see the release of a separate compilation volume aimed at the general market. Dark Shadows: The Best of the Original Gold Key Series will be a deluxe trade paperback collecting 12 complete stories from the series, along with photographs, essays and other bonus features. The book can be pre-ordered at a discount price by clicking here. UK readers can also order from by clicking here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Maggie's Mug

We recently ran a prize draw for Kathryn Leigh Scott's novel Dark Passages, asking readers the place where Maggie Evans worked in Collinsport. The answer, of course, was the diner at the Collinsport Inn, which prompted Keith Dunmire to write in and share a picture of this treasure – an original cup and saucer used on the set. Keith takes up the story. "We acquired them some years ago from a prop department in New York. Kathryn autographed them a few years ago and recognised them immediately."

The pieces were part of the Desert Tan range produced by Stirling Vitrified China of East Liverpool, Ohio. The company was a major supplier for restaurants from the 1940s onwards, and pieces from this range still occasionally surface on Ebay. "I couldn't resist sharing the photo of our Collinsport dinnerware," says Keith. "It's hard to look at them and not think about who may have handled them."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chloe Moretz Talks Dark Shadows

Chloe Moretz has been busy promoting her new film Texas Killing Fields, but her role as Carolyn Stoddard in the new Dark Shadows feature film has dominated much of the press material. "It's a very weird, weird, weird character," she tells NBCMiami. "In the beginning you'll be like, 'Why is she doing that?' But then you'll realize at the end that it makes sense."

"This movie is one of the most special things," Chloe enthuses in the Chicago Sun-Times. "I had never heard of Dark Shadows, but my mom says it was one of her favorite shows as a teenager." She is also full of praise of Johnny Depp's performance as Barnabas Collins: "Johnny is so phenomenal as this character. He's so cool. He's like the weirdness and quirkiness of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow with Edward Scissorhands thrown in with a little bit of Sweeney Todd and the tone of Beetlejuice."

The chance to work with director Tim Burton was a long-time ambition, Chloe tells Collider: "Tim Burton has always been one of my dream directors to work with. When I got a call and they said, 'Tim Burton wants you to be in his movie...' it was a lot to take in. My mom and my brother didn't even tell me. They kept it from me until everything was done and secure. Working with him really did live up to all of my expectations, and actually went beyond everything I expected him to be."

"My brother, Trevor, is my acting coach and we came up with a lot of weird stuff... So, I went to Tim with all these ideas and things to do, and he literally was just like, 'Oh, my god, that sounds perfect! I love that you just came to me with all of those ideas. You're not afraid to just tell me.'"

The all-star cast of Dark Shadows was also a particular enticement: "The first day I came on set, it was a dinner or breakfast scene... literally the whole cast, sitting at this gigantic dinner table, eating. For me to walk in and sit at this table with some of the most phenomenal actors, and then have one of the most amazing directors in the corner of the room, it was so, so, so surreal. They have their own little circle, and they just let you into it with open arms."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Picture of the Week: Barnabas Visits The White House

We're getting in the Halloween spirit as we take a trip back to 1969, when Jonathan Frid appeared as guest of honour at a UNICEF party for underprivileged children held at the White House. Joining Barnabas to meet the crowds was first daughter Tricia Nixon.

If you would like to submit an image for Picture of the Week, email

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

LACMA To Host Tim Burton Event

LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is to host a special event celebrating the films of director Tim Burton on Friday October 21. The museum is currently hosting a major exhibition of Tim Burton's artwork.

Bringing Burton's World to Life will feature a panel discussion with key Tim Burton collaborators composer Danny Elfman, production designer Rick Heinrichs and costume designer Colleen Atwood, all of whom have been working on the new Dark Shadows feature film. For more information on the event, click here.

Danny Elfman was recently interviewed by the MTV Movie Blog, where he said how work on the music score for Dark Shadows was progressing: "I just sent them some stuff so they can play with it while they're editing." Discussing his approach for the project, he revealed: "I think we might keep it [the orchestra] small. Tim's first thought was to make it very small, but having said that, maybe we'll make it big. I think this will be a little wilder than Edward Scissorhands, but... I really don't know what to expect until it's done."

Novel Reprint Covers Revealed


Tor Books have unveiled their new cover designs for the forthcoming reprints of Lara Parker's (Angelique) novels Angelique's Descent and The Salem Branch. As reported earlier this week, both books will be reissued in April 2012. To pre-order at a discount price, click on the hyperlinked titles.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Johnny Depp on Barnabas Collins

Johnny Depp has been busy promoting the release of his new film The Rum Diaries, but conversation has turned to his role as Barnabas Collins in the Dark Shadows movie. Speaking to Larry King on a CNN special this weekend, he spoke about once again about his childhood fascination with the original series:

"I had watched it as a kid, you know. Religiously. I remember sprinting home from school to see it. Didn't want to miss, like, a minute of it. Ironically, you know, [director] Tim [Burton] had gone through the same experience. We were doing Sweeney Todd a couple of years ago... One day we're just sitting there talking, and I said, 'You know, we should do a vampire movie sometime. Let's do a vampire movie.' I went, oh, Dark Shadows, man... And then one thing led to another."

In an interview with MTV's Movie Blog, he discussed the inspiration for Barnabas' new look: "Over the years, these vampire movies have come out... vampire TV shows and stuff like that, and you go, 'Well, nobody looks like a vampire, man. What happened?'" The new Barnabas promises to be a thoroughly traditional vampire. "I adored Dracula, still do... from Bela Lugosi to Christopher Lee. It was an opportunity to sort of go into what really doesn't exist [on-screen] so much any more, which is classic monster makeup and a classic monster character. So that was really the inspiration Tim and I talked about."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dark Shadows Novel Reprints Announced

Tor Books have announced that they will be reprinting actress Lara Parker's (Angelique) Dark Shadows novels, to tie in with the release of the forthcoming feature film.

Angelique's Descent was first published in 1998 and told the story of the character's origins in Martinique, while 2006's The Salem Branch delved into the past of Angelique's alter ego Miranda DuVal and her role in the Salem witch trials.

Both titles will feature revised cover designs and Angelique's Descent will also include a brand new epilogue chapter not featured in the original book. Lara is currently writing her third Dark Shadows novel, which is due to be released by Tor in 2012; The working title is The Curse of the Full Moon.

Angelique's Descent and The Salem Branch are due out in April 2012 and can be pre-ordered at a discount price by clicking on the hyperlinked titles.

Picture of the Week: Heading Off

With Halloween fast approaching, here's the cover from the final issue of the Gold Key comic book, featuring a flaming jack-o-lantern and a headless horseman. As the popularity of the Dark Shadows line waned, the publisher downgraded the covers from painted images to simpler line drawings. Despite the best efforts of the artists, these clean ink outlines were no substitute for the brash, frenetic brushstrokes of the early issues – far too neat and spare to conjure up the spirit of Dark Shadows. From issue 35, The Missing Manuscript, published in February 1976.

If you would like to submit an image for Picture of the Week, email

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Empire Magazine Highlights

This month's issue of UK film magazine Empire features a report from the set of the new Dark Shadows movie, including quotes from screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, producer Richard Zanuck and actress Chloe Moretz (Carolyn Stoddard). "It was actually Johnny [Depp] who wanted to make this movie," reveals Zanuck. "When they were younger, he and Tim [Burton] would both rush home, at opposite ends of the country, to watch this show every day. Johnny, quite independent from Tim, acquired the rights, because he had such a passion for the show."

Writer Olly Richards reports that the massive set for the Collinwood mansion is "festooned with marine details, like merpeople sculptures that will come to life, and an enormous chandelier entirely constructed of crystal-like squid tentacles." Zanuck explains that: "You could make most of this with CG [imagery], but it's not the same. A lot of the mood is in the sets, in the detail... Tim likes to work on live sets, and it's better for actors too. And it's always worth it. It shows in the final film."

Seth Grahame-Smith, reflecting on the original Dark Shadows episodes, says: "I wasn't actually alive when it aired... It reminds me of Twin Peaks, in that it was so ahead of its time, and when you look back it's so anachronistic and daring. It's taking stories right out of Edgar Allan Poe and putting them in a soap opera..."

On the film's 1970s setting, Grahame-Smith explains: "Tim and Johnny [Depp] took a long time explaining exactly why it had to be 1972. 1972 is right at the time when the hippie movement... is dying out and being replaced by this me-me-me generation... who are all about showing their wealth and having everything. Barnabas, who was very much me-me-me in the 1700s is now realizing that family and love are what matters most and going in the opposite direction to he rest of the world."
The article also confirms that Alice Cooper, previously reported to be making a cameo appearance, will be playing himself, and that Christopher Lee's role is "a sort of king of the fishermen" who spends time at The Blue Whale, the Collinsport pub featured in the original series. IMDB is listing Lee's character as Bill Malloy, who featured in the show's earliest episodes. Originally played by Frank Schofield, Malloy was the manager of the Collins family fishing fleet.

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Dark Shadows DVD Sale

Halloween is just around the corner, and for a limited time Amazon have the entire range of Dark Shadows DVD box sets on sale, with savings of up to 50%. Each volume contains four discs of original episodes, with bonus interviews and additional features. Here are ordering links:

Dark Shadows: The Beginning (pre-Barnabas episodes): Collection 1, Collection 2, Collection 3, Collection 4, Collection 5, Collection 6