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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Dark Shadows: The Revival (review)

I mean it as the highest of compliments when I say that the return of the campy 1960s daytime serial is deliciously, histrionically goofy: the performances are hilariously awful, the plot ridiculously soapy, the general outrageousness of it just gloriously absurd. This is the entirety of the short-lived 1991 NBC series, 12 episodes of steely-eyed matriarchs glaring with disapproval at just about everything, time-traveling ingenues and wayward ghosts wandering the grounds of old manses in diaphanous nightgowns, creepy little kids intoning not-at-all spooky rhymes about death, village idiots getting smacked about by their betters, and, yes, lots and lots of pseudosexy necking by stupendously silly bloodsuckers. Ben Cross (Spartacus) stars as the immortal British vampire Barnabas Collins, who travels to the coastal Maine estate of Collinwood — his 18th-century home now moved brick by brick from the old country to America — where he renews his hobbies of romancing sweetly naive governesses (the latest version here is played by Joanna Going [Runaway Jury]) and going for the jugular every time. There are no extras included, but the whole shebang has been remastered in high-def, so all the vamping is crisp and clear and you won’t miss a single drop of blood.


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

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