Soap Opera Vampire
House of Dark Shadows (1970) is the movie spin-off of the syndicated horror soap opera Dark Shadows, which ran from 1966 to 1971. The TV series featured a resurrected family vampire, a ghost and a werewolf. It also featured a scheming grounds keeper named Willy. I think it’s a rule that all groundskeepers are named Willy.
I tried watching Dark Shadows as a kid, but could only get a few episodes in because the storyline moved way too slow for my Kool-Aid™ amped brain. I wanted vampires, ghosts and werewolves, but only got a bunch of dramatic yapping. Odd I should watch the movie version, which doesn’t have a ghost of werewolf, and STILL has a lot of yapping.
House of Dark Shadows revolves around Barnabas Collins, who was “executed” by his dad in 1797 for being a vampire, and stuffed in a coffin wrapped in chains for all eternity. (Pretty harsh – most kids just get sent to their rooms.) But thanks to the scheming Willy, Barnabas was released from his family crypt where he could rise and suck the aristocratic blood from the necks of his Goth mansion ancestors. That, and to take a bride and feel up her neck with his primary incisors.
A lot of the story lines relate back to the TV series, but still with way too many characters to keep track of. I just wanted to see Barnabas do his neck-puncturing routine, which he does on several hot young gals. He leaves ragged holes in their necks, so high collars/scarves are the order of the day to keep suspicions at bay.
Doesn’t work. Several people are on to Barnabas, one of which is a female doctor who promises an injectable cure for his sucking in exchange for him not sucking on her. When she finds out he’s to marry some young thang, she gets all jealous and betrays him halfway through the cure and he turns into an undead prune face. (This was part of the TV storyline.)
More biting, more screaming and some of the reddest blood you’ll ever see on film. This was a pleasant surprise as the some of the first TV shows were in spookified black and white. Black and white blood looks more like chocolate syrup. (Note: If necks bled chocolate syrup, I’d sign up to be a vampire right the heck now.)