Cast & Crew
In Maine, Quentin Collins takes his bride Tracy to Collinwood, an estate he has inherited but never seen. Since the death of the former owner, Mrs. Stoddard, the estate has been maintained by the somber housekeeper, Carlotta Drake, and her nephew, Gerard Styles, who serves as caretaker. Quentin and Tracy are at first thrilled with the beautiful estate, especially as they have invited their close friends, Gothic mystery novelists Alex and Claire Jenkins, to live rent-free in the gatehouse. Despite the comforting feeling that he has come home, Quentin is uneasy about visions he begins to have: a woman hanged from a nearby tree and a little servant girl looking out the window. The old mansion has a large art collection and Quentin, a painter by profession, is taken with a portrait of a former inhabitant of the house, Angelique Collins, who died in 1810. At Carlotta's suggestion, Quentin sets up his studio in the old tower room, which was used similarly by a previous resident. In a secret closet built into the wall he finds another, more seductively dressed image of Angelique. In the studio, Quentin has visions of Angelique being painted by her brother-in-law and lover, Charles Collins, and, in nightmares, sees that it is Angelique being hung as a witch. Quentin shares these visions with Tracy and the Jenkinses. On another night, Quentin awakens and proceeds to the tower room, where the ghost of Angelique awaits him. As if reliving Charles's life, he begins to make love to her, but is interrupted by Gerard, whom the delusional Quentin confuses with Angelique's jealous husband Gabriel and attacks. Carlotta and Tracy are drawn by the noise, and Tracy runs to Quentin. However, Quentin, still believing he is Charles, tries to strangle Tracy, whom he sees as Charles's wife Laura. Later, after regaining his reason, Quentin worries for Tracy's safety, but she assures him that all will be well. The next day, while walking on the grounds, Alex narrowly escapes harm when parts of a dilapidated greenhouse collapse around him. Tracy, who is out riding a horse, sees the incident, and after assuring herself that Alex is unharmed, tells him about Quentin's behavior the night before. Uncomfortable in the tower, Quentin sets up his studio in a downstairs room, but Carlotta mysteriously tries to dissuade him. Although Quentin wants the portrait of Angelique removed, Carlotta returns it to its place on the wall. Angered by her insistence, Quentin accuses her of knowing about his dreams and demands an explanation. Carlotta claims that, in a previous incarnation, she was a little servant girl who worked for the Collins' family, Sarah Castle, and retains her memories of over one hundred and fifty years ago. Like Quentin, she explains, she has lived before and remembers it. She tells him that Angelique will always love him and then recounts events that happened in their previous lives: Sarah eavesdrops when the conniving Laura, a minister and other men of the town ask for Gabriel's agreement to hang Angelique as a witch. They force their way into the tower room and, despite Charles's attempts to stop them, take Angelique down the stairs. Crying, Sarah runs to Angelique, whom she adores, and Angelique gives her a necklace, saying that as long as she wears it, Sarah will remember her. After Angelique's death, Sarah hears her voice telling her to keep her spirit alive and that someday she will know what she is to do. In the present, Carlotta says that Quentin will soon accept that he is Charles and that Tracy does not belong there. To Quentin's passionate declaration that he loves Tracy, Carlotta suggests that he leave Collinwood¿if he can. On a walk with Tracy, Quentin tells her he needs her, but later sends her to bed alone. As if lured by Angelique, he returns to the tower room. When Tracy later awakens and knocks on the tower room door, he yells that he "can't stand the sight" of her and orders her never to return there. The next day, after the Jenkinses go to New York to consult with an early American art specialist and Quentin goes to town for supplies, Tracy takes the key from Quentin's jacket, unlocks the tower and sees a painting of Quentin carrying the body of Angelique. When Quentin returns, Tracy hides from him and tries surreptitiously to return the key. That night, in their bedroom, after Quentin tells her he knows she was in the tower room and assures her that he is not angry, she admits that she is afraid. Tenderly he talks to her, but then abruptly becomes hostile, claiming that if she does not like it, she can leave. Meanwhile, the Jenkinses have returned with a portrait of Charles, who, except for a scar, looks exactly like Quentin. In the morning, they intend to show Quentin, hoping he will be convinced to vacate the mansion. However, during the night, Angelique haunts Alex, surrounding him in a thick, white, smoke-like substance that nearly kills him until he is awakened by Claire's scream. In the mansion, Tracy awakens and feels lured to a disused natatorium on the estate. Quentin is there and, believing he is Charles and she Laura, tries to drown her. Realizing the danger that threatens Quentin and Tracy, the Jenkinses drive to the mansion, but on their way, see Quentin leave the natatorium. Inside the building they find and revive Tracy. While Tracy and Claire return to the gatehouse, Alex proceeds to the house and confronts Quentin, who remembers nothing. When he discovers that Tracy is missing Quentin is at first concerned, but then the spirit of Charles overtakes him and he demands that Alex leave. Afterward, realizing that Alex was right about the danger facing them, Quentin prods Carlotta into revealing that Gerard is doing "what has to be done." As Quentin races to the gatehouse to save Tracy and his friends, Gerard ambushes Alex and runs him off the road, crashing the car, and then goes to the gatehouse. Upon discovering Gerard outside, Claire shoots and injures him, but he manages to slip inside and abduct Tracy. Quentin finds Gerard on the footbridge and in the ensuing fight, as Gerard attacks Quentin with a knife, Tracy finds a log and knocks him off the bridge to his death on railroad tracks below. Realizing the only way to exorcize Angelique's ghost is to find Carlotta because she keeps Angelique's spirit alive, they return to the mansion. Quentin and Tracy, lighting their way with candelabras, enter the cellars beneath the house, where Angelique traps Tracy in a room. Meanwhile, Alex corners Carlotta on the roof of the building, but, seeing Angelique beckon to her from below, she jumps to her death, after which Quentin frees Tracy. After Quentin goes to town to arrange to sell the estate, he returns to the gatehouse, where Tracy and the Jenkinses are preparing to escape to Cape Cod. They leave in two separate cars, but at a fork in the road, Quentin heads toward the house, saying he must pick up his canvases. Promising to be quick, he leaves Tracy in the car, enters and collects his belongings, but then lingers. When Tracy goes in search of him, she discovers that he has acquired the characteristic limp and facial scar of Charles. Although at first confused, she then sees Angelique, who is present in the flesh, and screams as Charles approaches her. A short time later, a news bulletin reports that the Jenkinses died in a highway accident, before which, according to witnesses, their car filled with thick white smoke.
Night of Dark Shadows
Director/producer Dan Curtis took an entirely different approach to the original storyline and characters in this entry but fans of the daytime TV series and the first feature film were disappointed that Barnabas (Jonathan Frid) was excluded from the narrative. Originally Curtis had delivered a much longer cut of Night of Dark Shadows to the studio heads but they thought it was too long and demanded severe cuts which amounted to about forty minutes of footage. Curtis is currently trying to raise money to restore the missing footage (you can visit home.earthlink.net/~moviemandg/ for more information).
Director/Producer: Dan Curtis
Screenplay: Dan Curtis, Sam Hall
Cinematography: Richard Shore
Production Design: Trevor Williams
Music: Bob Cobert
Cast: David Selby (Quentin Collins/Charles Collins), Grayson Hall (Carlotta Drake), Kate Jackson (Tracy Collins), Lara Parker (Angelique Collins), John Karlen (Alex Jenkins), Thayer David (Rev. Strack).
By Jeff Stafford
Night of Dark Shadows
Filmed on the grounds of the gothic estate Lyndhurst on the Hudson River in New York State.
The working title for the film was Curse of Dark Shadows. At the end of the film, a simulated news report, shown as teletype over the movie, announces the deaths of Alex and Claire, and adds that one of their novels was being made into a film. George Goodman's onscreen credit reads: "Production Supervisor and Associate Producer." Trevor Williams' onscreen credit reads: "Production Designer and Associate Producer." Two opening credits were not discernable on the viewed print. Night of Dark Shadows contains several brief flashbacks to the nineteenth century. Sometimes the ghost of "Angelique" is shown as thick white smoke that surrounds her victim.
Night of Dark Shadows was based on the groundbreaking daytime serial Dark Shadows, which ran from 1966-1971 on ABC-TV. Joan Bennett starred as family matron, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, a character who does not appear in the theatrical film but is referred to as the deceased "Mrs. Stoddard." Most of the cast of Night of Dark Shadows also appeared in the television series. However, only Lara Parker, David Selby and James Storm, who portrayed Angelique, "Quentin Collins" and "Gerard Styles" respectively, maintained their original character names. Despite the re-using of character names, the story lines of the television characters were changed in the film. This was in keeping with the original series, which had actors playing multiple characters, and had plot sequences set in varying centuries and alternate realities. In the television series, as well as the 1970 House of Dark Shadows, which was the first feature film to be based on the television series, the vampire "Barnabas Collins," played by Jonathan Frid, was a prominent character. Frid did not reprise his role in Night of Dark Shadows, and although House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows were based on the same source, their plots are unrelated.
The television series marked Kate Jackson's first major role, and Night of Dark Shadows, her first feature film. Actress Grayson Hall, who portrayed "Carlotta Drake," was married to screenwriter Sam Hall. Modern sources add Arthur Haggerty and Robert Singer to the cast as henchmen.
According to a March 26, 1971 Daily Variety news item, filming began on March 29, 1971. The news item and Hollywood Reporter production charts reported that the film was shot on location at Lyndhurst, an eighty-acre estate on the Hudson River located near Tarrytown, NY that was formerly owned by railroad magnate Jay Gould and which was also the shooting location for House of Dark Shadows. The estate's exteriors and interiors, grounds and natatorium are featured prominently throughout the film. Although onscreen credits read "filmed in Panavision," the print viewed was in standard width.
Reviews differ as to the duration of the film: the New York Times review reported 96 minute, and the Los Angeles Times review reported 94 minutes. Variety and Hollywood Reporter reviews, the latter of which erroneously called the film House of Dark Shadows, listed the film's duration as 97 minutes. The film's copyright record lists the duration as 93 minutes. Modern sources explain the discrepancies: Under orders from M-G-M studio heads, director-producer Dan Curtis cut thirty minutes from his original two hour film. Among the scenes cut was a séance sequence.
Expecting a GP rating, M-G-M made prints of a version of the film lasting 97 minutes in order to meet a scheduled August 4, 1971 New England opening date. However, the film was submitted to the MPAA several times before it received the GP rating, each time with additional scenes of violent or sexual nature trimmed out, until the length was 93 and a half minutes. Although instructions were sent to distribution centers to excise the offending scenes from the prints they had received, only some of the centers fully complied, resulting in several versions being shown simultaneously. The 93 and a half minute version was released commercially on video. In August 1999, film historian Darren Gross located much of the missing footage, in hopes of restoring it to 129 minutes.
As noted in Filmfacts, reviewers gave Night of Dark Shadows unfavorable critiques, citing disjointed plots and little character development, as well as the poor quality of the color and special effects. However, the original soap opera and its two spin-off films gained a cult following which resulted in the sale of comic books, collectibles and a 1991 short-lived television night-time series, also titled Dark Shadows, starring Jean Simmons and Ben Cross. Also in the 1990s, the phenomenon spawned Shadowcon, a convention for Dark Shadows enthusiasts.
Released in United States Winter January 1, 1971
Released in United States Winter January 1, 1971