In 1795, Barnabas Collins has risen as a vampire and begs family servant Ben Stokes to drive a stake through his heart. Using her supernatural powers, Angelique tricks Josette Collins into going to Widows' Hill, where Jose... more »tte sees a horrifying vision of her future should she become Barnabas' bride. Naomi Collins attempts to prevent the unscrupulous Nathan Forbes from reconciling with Millicent Collins. Reverend Trask persuades Nathan to testify against Victoria Winters, who is on trial for witchcraft. Barnabas vows revenge against Trask. Bonuses: Includes exclusive interviews with series creator/executive producer Dan Curtis and actors Lara Parker, Nancy Barrett and Alexandra Moltke. Starring Jonathan Frid, Joan Bennett, Louis Edmonds, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Nancy Barrett, Thayer David, Lara Parker, Joel Crothers, Grayson Hall, Roger Davis, Clarice Blackburn, Jerry Lacy, David Henesy, Sharon Smyth, Craig Slocum, Jane Draper, Leslie Barrett, Anita Bolster, Dan Morgan, Vala Clifton, Elaine Hyman and Alexandra Moltke« less
The curse starts to have its full effect; Victoria goes on t
David H. Downing | Psoli, PA | 05/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The 175-year-old vampire Barnabas Collins (Shakespearean actor Jonathan Frid) who turned the soap opera DARK SHADOWS from forgettable to famous was originally supposed to be dealt with and disposed of entirely in the present day. The events of 1795 that made Barnabas a vampire and took away his true love Josette were to serve only as a back story. But Barnabas's popularity changed the plan. He was spared the hammer-and-stake treatment, viewers were transported to 1795, and that back story became the main plot.
This installment continues the 1795 sequence from a point shortly after Barnabas becomes a vampire. Angelique's curse starts having its intended effect as those who love Barnabas die. and at long last, we see Josette's suicide -- the big event we've been hearing about for so long. After all the buildup, this could have been a disappointment, but in my opinion, it wasn't.
What DIDN'T work for me was the "Monkey's Paw" variation involving Josette's ghost. It's a nice little shocker but with three problems. First, anyone familiar with the original W.W. Jacobs short story will see that DS missed the point -- that what's imagined is much more terrifying than what's actually seen. Jacobs never shows the THING behind the door, but when Josette lifts her veil, we see her mangled face in all its gory glory. Second, this sequence doesn't go anywhere. Barnabas realizes he goofed, sends Josette back to her grave, and that's that. Third, after we've seen EVERYTHING up to this point, it's frustrating to have Barnabas send Josette back off-screen.
One person who escapes Angelique's curse is Barmabas's father, Joshua Collins -- ironically, because of a flaw in his character. Joshua is a hardened, cold-hearted man who is incapable of loving anyone, including his own son. The curse said that anyone who loved Barnabas would die. Because Joshua can't love Barnabas, the curse can't touch him.
I find Joshua's reaction to Barnabas interesting because it's so much a product of his character. Joshua believes it's his right to be in charge and in control, and can't stand having that right violated. So, when confronted with the incomprehensible and unspeakable horror of his son being a vampire (in #447), Joshua HAS to take charge. He pretty much blackmails Barnabas into letting himself be locked in the tower room at Collinwood. (And I feel there's a plausibility problem here. Would it be possible to drag that coffin all the way up to the tower room?)
I was also interested to see the non-supernatural storyline involving Suki Forbes, Nathan's not-quite-ex-wife, who shows up to blackmail him. To some extent, this sequence, along with all the subsequent nastiness between Nathan and Millicent, recalls the pre-Barnabas portion of DS, which was more about mystery and intrigue than horror.
The other major storyline is the witch trial of Victoria Winters, our involuntary time traveler. Her prosecutor is the self-ordained, fanatical witch hunter, Reverend Trask. Her defender is a young prison employee and aspiring lawyer named Peter Bradford, who is fast becoming the new love of her life.
Trask blackmails Nathan Forbes into giving false testimony, and I've heard this cited as evidence that Trask's motives are not quite so pure as he would have everyone believe. I would argue, however, that those who are convinced they're on the side of righteousness can justify any action in the name of righteousness. And rather than maligning Christians, this incident shows Trask as a miserable excuse for one because of his ego. The true Christian would ask God to let the truth be revealed, even if that meant losing the case.
Angelique, the real witch, discredits Ben Stokes on the witness stand. The other eyewitnesses to the truth is Barnabas, who cares for Victoria, but apparently not quite enough to reveal himself. Granted, he doesn't want to dishonor his family and traumatize his mother, but I still see a large portion of self-preservation in the mix.
Yes, Barnabas does torture and murder Trask for persecuting Victoria -- and I feel the "Cask of Amontillado" variation is more effective than the "Monkey's Paw" variation -- but this seems like an attempt to compensate for what should have been done. Furthermore, murdering Trask is foolish because there's then no way to substantiate his written statement that Victoria is innocent.
We discover how dangerous Angelique is when "good witch" Bathia Mapes is destroyed while trying to lift the curse. It's a powerful moment dramatically, but I'm sorry to say I find the special effect less than convincing because it looks suspiciously like a close-up of a welder's torch. It would have been more convincing if Anita Bolster had actually sounded like she was in agony instead of like she'd seen a mouse.
The bonus interview with Lara Parker is the most entertaining one in this set, being practically a one-woman show -- complete with candles and red tablecloth -- wherein she waxes poetic about the vampire myth.
The Sy Tomashoff interview is the most interesting from an informational standpoint. Tomashoff discusses the sets for DS and how they were constructed to much higher standards than other television sets of the time.
Roger Davis rubbed me the wrong way by talking about his pranks on other actors. He seemed rather pleased with himself, but if I'd been one of those actors, I wouldn't have been amused. The interview with Louis Edmonds depressed me because he appeared to be in such bad shape. I'm guessing this was one of the last things he did before he passed away.
In the next installment, Barnabas's arch enemy follows him to the present, and the modern-day version of another famous horror story begins."
Can't beat the price and good quality
Jill Goldstein | Skiatook, OK USA | 06/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you're a fan of the old series and were made bankrupt by the price of dark shadows on vhs, this is the perfect solution. I've been a fan since I was a young child, which happened to be after the original run, but only by a year or two. The interviews at the end are mostly good, some are really lame, like Lara Parker's soliloquy (sp?) on vampires and the sexual beings that they are. But, others give real insight into the show, including the ones with Jonathan Frid and Kathryn Leigh Scott. It wasn't until these videos that I saw an up to date picture of Frid. He's better looking now than he was then.The quality of the video is very good, I would call it above average. There are still some kinescope episodes, but that will never be helped. At least we have something.I highly recommend this series."
1795 Flashback Continues!
A viewer | Michigan | 10/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"1795 adventures continue in Dark Shadows DVD Collection 6 (VHS Volumes 37-44). In these episodes, Barnabas Collins rises as a vampire and unleashes terror throughout Collinsport. Knowing that he can't go on hurting people, Barnabas begs family servant Ben Stokes to drive a stake through his heart. Ben can't bring himself to do it, however. Barnabas secretly sees Josette and they agree to spend eternity together as vampires. Before he can take her away, Angelique lures her to Widows Hill, where Josette sees a vision of herself as a vampire and she jumps to her death. Naomi Collins attempts to prevent Lt. Nathan Forbes from marrying Millicent Collins (he only wants her for her money). In Victoria's witchcraft trial, Reverend Trask convinces Nathan to testify against Victoria. Nathan betrays Victoria and she is found guilty of witchcraft. Barnabas vows revenge against Trask.Bonuses include interviews with Roger Davis (Peter Bradford), Lara Parker (Angelique), Louis Edmonds (Joshua Collins), and scenic designer Sy Tomashoff."
Reverend Trask gets "POE-etic" justice, later plays BOGEY
Michael Ziegler | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States | 10/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In one of the most truly errie coincidences in Television, Jerry Lacey was hired to play the role of a Detective/Investigator/Lawyer type in his initial stunt for Dark Shadows. He looked like Sam Spade played by Humphrey Bogart in the old 40's movies and eventually ironically was hired by Woody Allen to play Bogart's ghost in "Play it Again SAM". He did so well in the role of REVEREND TRASK for the 1795 shoot that he became perhaps the second most interesting character up to that point opposite the ever popular Vampire, Barnabas Collins. He continued to get more air time as the audience loved the portrayal by Lacey of a VERY RADICAL SELF- ORDAINED REVEREND/WITCH HUNTER in "Trask". Cleverly the story writers chimed his activities in with the Salem Witch Trials and became the basis for the reputation of Trask for the role he played. Needless to say, he finally encounters some real evil and falls for all the tricks that are employed against him. In his efforts to persecute, he arrests the wrong suspect, gets clobbered by Barnabas's magic and beat up by Angelique. He is led to his death by deception in a dream sequence, not remembering his Bible to "Test the spirits to see if they are from God". Instead he convinces himself through the influence of the dream that he will find the answers at the Old House of Collinwood. It is here that Barnabas has arranged his revenge in one of the most memorable sequences of the entire 1795 run. One cannot help but feel sorry in the end for the overmatched Trask. Walled into an unknown grave while still alive ala' a bit of "POE-etic" justice. This and the work performed by Ben Stokes make this a very memorable DVD set in one of the highlights of the era of Dark Shadows that tied up all the loose ends from the beginning of the series. Fascinating, interesting and very clever!"
The Supernatural Saga Continues in 1795 Flashback!
Music Fan-atic | Hogwarts | 07/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Collection Six of the enduring supernatural series, finds Barnabas Collins rising from his coffin in 1795 as a vampire. He begs faithful servant, Ben Stokes to drive a stake through his heart. Angelique continues her jealous rampage by luring Josette to Widows Hill and showing her visions of her future with Barnabas as a vampire. Terrified and dismayed she leaps to her death. Nathan Forbes courts rich Collins cousin Millicent for her money much to the displeasure of Naomi Collins. Trask persuades Nathan to testify against Vicki in her witchcraft trial while Barnabas swears revenge against Trask. Great 4 disk set contains 40 episodes, a collectible postcard from 1795 episodes and bonus interviews with Roger Davis, Lara Parker, Louis Edmonds and Sy Tomashoff. Episodes in color!"