"The first "Dark Shadows" entry into the DVD arena is undoubtedly a mixed bag, though viewers who can overlook its technical and creative flaws should find plenty of interest. While much of its material is culled from previous VHS releases, the DVD format offers a sufficient number of unique features to justify its purchase.The meat of the disc is to be found in its documentaries, all of which are previously released. "Dark Shadows: Behind the Scenes" is a fascinating hour-long programme, which consists of a broad selection of vintage and original cast interviews, backed to series highlights. With the addition of rare home movie footage and trailers, it succeeds at placing the "Dark Shadows" phenomenon firmly in context, though feels distinctly light on hard facts, lacking a needed authority on its subject matter. In "Inside the Shadows", creator Dan Curtis makes a leisurely, but modestly diverting commentary on the show, with some overlong archive exerpts. Finally, series star Nancy Barrett takes viewers "On Location", for a tour of series filming locations. While this segment is well-researched and nicely composed, it fails to fully ignite, emerging as a quaint aside, though nothing essential.Elsewhere, there is an original episode of the series with its dubbed Spanish language soundtrack (though sadly no choice of alternative English audio); some movie trailers; and finally, "Dark Shadows: Nightmares and Dreams", which compiles some of the show's imaginative dream excursions, but through non-existent presentation only succeeds in making them dull and tedious.As a bonus from the material available on VHS, there are some nice extras, in the form of a scratchy copy of a previously lost commercial for a "Dark Shadows" board game, recorded on the Collinwood set with Jonathan Frid; a series of 1980s "Dark Shadows" PBS pledge spots again featuring Frid; an exemplarly Picture Gallery, featuring beatiful rare pictures and sound cues; and finally a few text-only features, which seem notable only for their staggering pointlessness. Where the disk genuinely fails is in its lack of overall cohesion and variable picture quality. While certain segments look excellent, others fail with smeary overcompressed pictures, particularly in the "On Location" segment. This chapter is also prone to compatability issues on certain players, though I experienced no problems on mine.In spite of the technical problems, this emerges as a worthy package offering a broad range of content and excellent value for money. While it would be churlish to criticise this at length, a more focused approach and a desire not to shoehorn in excessive material at the cost of picture quality, would help make future releases more essential viewing. Hopefully future "Dark Shadows" DVDs can address these teething troubles, allowing their presentation to match the content. As times, less can definitely be more."
Get your Dark Shadows fix with this DVD's special features!
NoirDame, Vintage film/TV/radio wri | Houston, TX, USA | 11/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Now that America's Sci-Fi Channel has decided to permanently cancel reruns of "Dark Shadows," this special DVD, along with the DS DVD collections, makes a terrific gift for Dark Shadows and vampire lovers everywhere.Among the high points are a behind-the-scenes documentary, featuring most of the regular cast, and a documentary on location shooting, hosted by Nancy Barrett (Carolyn Stoddard). Who knew that Collinswood doubled as a girls' summer school in real life? (No doubt where the idea of "Satan's School for Girls" originated!) A episode dubbed into Spanish is fascinating - even in another language, the evocative music, tumbling winds and black and white cinematography manage to create a creepy gothic mood.There are also vintage commercials featuring the Dark Shadows cast, from a Dark Shadows boardgame targeted to kids, goofy New Jersey PBS ads with Jonathon Frid (Barnabus Collins), to a cast member in a deodorant ad doing a ... Bogart impression?!The only down note is a rather boring ad for additional DS merchandise, hosted briefly by Lara Parker (Angelique) and Pomegranate Press publisher Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) - as well as a streaming (rather than static) list of credits of DS actors.Recommended - especially for those who loved the series as children in the 1960s and 1970s."
FINE, BUT WHERES THE SERIES?
robsiegel | Minnesota | 08/08/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I am a HUGE fan of Dark Shadows...and this collection of some of MPI's compilations and documentaries is a nice start....but who wants a Spanish episode on a Region 1 disc? I could see it as an extra on the disc of the English episode....oh well, very informative programming for those into the series. I have one question for MPI: WHERE'S THE ORIGINAL SERIES ON DVD? With DVD18, they could fit the entire series on 50 volumes or less...but nothing is scheduled....MPI: fans are waiting"
With the series out, this DVD has terrific extras
David Waters | Montgomery, AL USA | 09/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD contains a treasure trove of Dark Shadows bonus material, such as interviews and clips. An excellent buy now that the series has made its debut on DVD. Pretty good menu as well, though not as good as the series DVD menu."
CREEPY AND SO COOL!
C. M. Marvin | Eden Prairie, MN | 01/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an awesome DVD! I grew up watching Dark Shadows on ABC, and this brought back such great, creepy memories. The behind the scenes stuff is very interesting and informative. You get an update on cast members, and they even give you a Spanish Episode! I have recommended this disc to all my friends."