[UPDATE: The limited edition box set sold out right away, so now a Deluxe Edition box set will be release July 2012, with pre-order available now.]
Dark Shadows, the first supernatural soap opera, the massive cult hit that originally aired on the ABC network way before most of the cast of Twilight and True Blood were even born, is being resurrected (pun firmly intended) this year; a Tim Burton vehicle with Johnny Depp makes its way into theaters on May 11th. Now, MPI Entertainment is releasing Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series, which is the ENTIRE series, on DVD on May 8th in one beautifully encased black coffin, WITH archetypical red lining inside! (See box art here at top and below.) This massive DVD box set will also include bonus material, like over 100 interviews, bloopers, a behind-the-scenes documentary, and cast reunion, as well as a 96-page commemorative booklet.
The SRP on this one of a kind item goes for $599.98, which obviously will not be appealing or affordable to everyone, but for those who want to own some of the show without breaking the bank to do so, or for those who have never experienced the show and are curious to dip their toe in the black swamp so to speak, MPI is also releasing more affordable options. There will also be two single-disc DVDs out on April 10th — Dark Shadows: Fan Favorites and Dark Shadows: The Best of Barnabas — at a much more down to earth price of $14.98 each, with each DVD showcasing 9 episodes, ones that are considered the benchmark of the series.
Dark Shadows, created by the late Dan Curtis, who produced many horror films in the “wake” of Dark Shadows, was a popular daytime serial for teenagers and their parents alike across America from 1966-1971, and was one of ABC-TV’s first daytime hits. Over its 5 years and 1,225 episodes, scores of fans rushed home from school to watch the gothic serial, which turned the traditional soap opera formula on its ear, with its frightening adventures, trials, tribulations, and overt romanticism centered around a wealthy family living in a estate up in Maine, complete with traditional macabre effects and surroundings replete with mist and fog, werewolves, ghosts, vampires and an evil witch.
The show took some time to pick up steam, a year had elapsed before the writers and producers of the show introduced one Barnabas Collins, played by Jonathan Frid, who became a star in his own right as one of the show’s most memorable characters and a hero to thousands of rabid fans (Johnny Depp included, who will play Barnabas in the aforementioned Tim Burton movie adaptation, which will sport cameos by many of the original surviving cast members of the serial, Frid included).
The vampire genre, which as of the last few years has exploded as a successful franchise in its own right on par with McDonald’s and Apple Computers, certainly was the catalyst to spearhead the release of this handsome DVD box set. Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series will include EVERY EPISODE of the series — a Herculean task in itself in terms of preparation for this package — on 131 discs that will house the 1,225 episodes, which indeed is an absolute holy grail for the fanatic of this show.
For the casual fan, the zealot, or just someone who’s impressions of vampires have only been by way of the CW Network, HBO, and “Team Jacob and Edward,” these upcoming Dark Shadows DVDs are certainly something one wants to “sink their teeth” into. (Couldn’t resist that one!)