Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 16, 2017


Kate Jackson and David Selby
NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS (1971). Produced and directed by Dan Curtis.

"Mrs. Collins, did you ever stop to think that perhaps you don't belong here?" -- Carlotta.

Painter Quentin Collins (David Selby) and his wife Tracy (Kate Jackson) move into Collinwood with their spooky housekeeper Carlotta (Grayson Hall). Quentin is fascinated by a portrait of long-dead Angelique (Lara Parker), who was hung as a witch. But her spirit still haunts the place, and Quentin finds himself possessed by his lookalike ancestor, Charles Collins, who was Angelique's lover even though she was married to his brother, Gabriel (Christopher Pennock). Quentin imagines that Tracy is Charles' wife Laura (Diana Millay) and tries to kill her. John Karlen and Nancy Barrett, who played Willie and Carolyn on the TV show, herein are cast as writer-couple Alex and Claire Jenkins, friends of Quentin and Tracy. Thayer David has a small role as a witch-hunting reverend, and Jim Storm is the unpleasant handyman, Gerard. Night of Dark Shadows was hastily cobbled together to cash in on the success of the previous big-screen version of the show, House of Dark Shadows, but it is in no way in the same league. The story is weak, the production (despite the grand house that stands in for Collinwood) cheapjack, the direction equally slipshod, badly scored (with what sounds like tin cans on occasion) and poorly photographed. The actors do the best they can, with Selby [Falcon Crest] and Jackson [Making Love], who was "introduced" in this picture (first appearing on the TV show), doing reasonably well, although John Karlen gives the liveliest performance. Millay is also good but hasn't enough to do, which is also the case with Parker. Grayson Hall is, well, Grayson Hall.

Verdict: Simply terrible. *.


angelman66 said...

Yes, agreed, Bill, this is a quick-dirty-and cheap follow up to the far superior Night of Dark Shadows. Fun to see Kate Jackson headlining the movie, though, with David Selby. Grayson chewing the scenery like crazy, and of course, the beautiful Lara Parker who I also had a crush on, and other cast favorites make it watchable for me. I still watch it every time it's on!

William said...

Lara Parker and some of the other ladies on the show still are very attractive despite all the years gone by. I loved Parker as Angelique; thought she was very breathlessly effective and evil. She's written a few "Dark Shadows" novels.