In Defense of LEVIATHAN
Doctor Mabuse | Seattle, Washington USA | 06/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"DARK SHADOWS' maligned LEVIATHAN storyline is subtle, suspenseful and genuinely creepy. The generally sober tone is a relief coming after the campiness of the generally excellent "1897 Flashback". LEVIATHAN is DARK SHADOWS for the thinking person.
The segment is rich in film and literary influences. The general storyline, loosely based on the science-horror fiction of H. P. Lovecraft ("The Dunwich Horror", "The Shuttered Room", "The Shadow Out of Time", "The Thing on the Doorstep", "The Case of Charles Dexter Ward", THE HAUNTED PALACE), involves alien creatures from earth's prehistory which absorb the minds and wills of humans in their quest to regain supremacy through the generation of a Leviathan messiah.
The segment also draws on the 1940's films of Alfred Hitchcock (SUSPICION, SPELLBOUND); film noir (Val Lewton's THE SEVENTH VICTIM); science fiction (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED); and shivery paranoid thrillers like THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE and ROSEMARY'S BABY. The subplot based on Oscar Wilde's THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GREY is carried over from the "1897 Flashback". The underworld journey of Quentin and Amanda is a variant on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, while their survival into the twentieth century is borrowed from THE MAN IN HALF MOON STREET and its Hammer remake THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH. Elements of PORTRAIT OF JENNIE and ALL THAT MONEY CAN BUY/THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER are included for good measure.
LEVIATHAN represents a return to the mysterious early months of DARK SHADOWS and provides good dramatic material for the actors, notably series star Joan Bennett whose role had been greatly diminished since the advent of Barnabas (Jonathan Frid) and Quentin (David Selby). The segment is deliberately paced, relying on intrigue and suggestion, and may seem dull to viewers conditioned by the wildness and blatancy of the vampires and werewolves which take a back seat for a refreshing change."
If Angelique is there, count me in!
R. M Simms | Fort Lee, NJ | 07/02/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are those who say that the Levithan storyline is what, in the end, did Dark Shadows in. Many have labeled it "the beginning of the end."
I would beg to differ.
While the Leviathan storyline did seem to take it's own sweet time in getting where it wanted to be, there were many fun and exciting twists along the way. Was it the best storyline to ever unfold during the course of Dark Shadows? Not by a long shot. But it was also not the worst. For those who bailed before reaching this saga, based on an H.P. Lovecraft story, go back for a second look. Those enjoying the supernatural sudser for the first time - and it is a testament to the power of this show that there are people, all these years later, doing so - may occasionally find their fingers on the fast-forward button, but will, I believe, eventually find that the story is (for the most part) satisfying.
More importantly, this disc continues the saga of my beloved Angelique, whom I would watch read the phone book. This particular storyline - in which she tried, but failed, to keep her identity a secret and was put in the odd position of having Barnabas, of all people, come looking for her help, is filled with classic moments for the wicked witch of Collinwood."
Andrew P. Catton | United States | 05/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Collection 18 is amazing! For those of you who adore Joan Bennett, she gets quite a bit of screen time in this set, playing both the angles of angry Elizabeth and a brainwashed Leviathan victim. Barnabas, who seemed to have lost his morals in the last collection, finally questions the orders of his Leviathan oppressors and shows that the strong character we all love is still inside him. Quentin returns and quickly becomes the amnesia-stricken Grant Douglas, searching for his identity. This collection, on the whole, however, really belongs to Grayson Hall as Dr. Julia Hoffman. Grayson's amazing acting ability is showcased as Julia deals with four storylines: trying to figure out what has happened to Barnabas since 1897, piecing together the clues of the "three" children that have lived at the antique shop, struggling to aid Chris Jennings in his battle with the werewolf curse, and finally working to restore Quentin's memory. Julia gets some great episodes as the definite hero of the first two discs in Collection 18. Angelique returns later on in the set, and Christopher Pennock debuts as Jeb Hawkes even later. Add this to your collection of Dark Shadows DVD's!"