Follow TV Tropes

Following

Series / Dark Shadows

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/resized_dark_shadows_cast_large_4507.jpg

"My name is Victoria Winters. My journey is beginning. A journey that I hope will open the doors of life to me, and link my past with my future. A journey that will bring me to a strange and dark place. To the edge of the sea, high atop Widows' Hill. A house called Collinwood. A world I've never known, with people I've never met. People who tonight are still only shadows in my mind, but who will soon fill the days and nights of my tomorrows..."
—The opening narration of the very first episode.
Advertisement:

Dark Shadows was a Soap Opera which ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971. While the show had Gothic themes from the very beginning, it was not until six months into the first season when it gained notoriety by introducing overtly supernatural elements.

Though many soaps have since flirted with plots involving ghosts and psychic energy, Dark Shadows used almost every classic horror element (vampires, werewolves, zombies, magic users) as well as sci-fi tropes like Time Travel and alternate dimensions.

The show was also notable for having storylines taking place in different time periods and parallel worlds, allowing the same actors to play identical relatives or lookalikes.

Dark Shadows has been an inspiration for numerous other supernatural series, including Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Twin Peaks, The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One plotline even involved a vampire who gives an extended interview about the supernatural to a hack writer.

Advertisement:

The show's musical score was considered notable, receiving a Grammy nomination and spawning a top 20 Billboard hit in addition to several soundtrack albums.

Dark Shadows is one of the only soaps of the era to boast a nearly complete archive. All but one episode survives intact, most as the original color videotapes, with a handful as black-and-white kinescopes. (An audio track exists for the "missing" episode, which was mated with publicity stills for later commercial release and syndication.)

There was a short-lived television remake in The '90s, as well as a still ongoing Big Finish Audio Play series. A Tim Burton movie version came out in 2012, with Johnny Depp portraying Barnabas Collins.


Advertisement:

Dark Shadows provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Victoria's parentage, once the Driving Question, was left unresolved once Alexandra Moltke left the show. Word of God says: Elizabeth Collins Stoddard is her mother.
  • Anachronism Stew: Oddly enough for a show not only set, but created, in The '60s, the series, with few exceptions, seems to be almost completely oblivious to technological and social changes, particularly after the first season or two. The aversion of this trope by The Movie makes this glaringly obvious.
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: An inversion, as the Leviathans aren't allowed to use lethal force on humans.
  • Artistic License – Biology: After Barnabas feeds on Willie for the first time, a doctor examines Willie and declares his arm to have been "completely drained of blood."
  • Back from the Dead: It's a soap, so pretty much everyone. Angelique deserves special mention, though, due to sheer persistence, even travelling forwards and backwards through time to do so.
  • Betty and Veronica:
    • Barnabas Collins is torn between the memory of his fiancée, Josette du Pres, a Betty type, and the Veronica type (to the max) his ex-wife Angelique, the witch who gave him the vampire curse. At the end he gets over his torch for Josette, and avows to Angelique that he loves her. She is then killed, and Barnabas ends up with neither.
    • Sam Hall in an article in TV Guide claimed that, had the show continued, Barnabas would have married Julia and found his cure to turn him human. Both would have ended up living in the Far East. There's a casual reference to their journey together away from the family danger in Return to Collinwood.
  • Big Bad: Throughout different Story Arcs,
    • Laura Collins
      • In 1967, as Roger's ex-wife, she returns to Collinsport, ostensibly to gain custody of their son, ten-year-old David. In fact, she is a Phoenix, who is periodically reborn and who seeks to immolate herself and David.
      • In 1897, as Edward's wife, Laura returns to Collinsport, ostensibly to reconcile with Edward. Again, as a Phoenix, her goal is to immolate herself and her children, Nora and Jamison.
    • Jason McGuire is a conman who, in 1949, convinced Elizabeth that she murdered her husband. Now, he has returned to Collinsport with the goal of blackmailing Elizabeth into marriage and securing the Collins family fortune for himself.
    • Barnabas is a vampire who has been released from his coffin after over 170 years. He terrorizes Collinsport, draining various women of their blood and kidnapping Maggie to bring his beloved Josette back to life.
    • Angelique the witch
      • In 1795, she uses a Scarpia Ultimatum to coerce a reluctant Barnabas into marriage. Still jealous of Josette, she curses Barnabas to become a vampire, engineers the deaths of Josette and most of the Collins family, and frames Vicki for her misdeeds.
      • In 1968, as Cassandra, Roger's wife, Angelique acts to restore Barnabas' vampire curse by way of a dream curse, tries to drive Elizabeth to suicide, turns Tom Jennings into a vampire, and aids Nicholas Blair's schemes.
      • In 1897, Angelique tries to kill Rachel Drummond and uses a Scarpia Ultimatum on Quentin Collins that almost gets him killed by a jealous Beth.
      • In 1840, Angelique turns Roxanne Drew into a vampire, using a Voodoo Doll.
    • Quentin the ghost who, in 1968-9, ensnares the two children, David and Amy, terrorizes Maggie and Mrs. Johnson, tries to kill Elizabeth and Chris, and drives the Collins family from Collinwood.
    • Count Petofi, who comes to Collinwood in search for his missing hand, which contains his supernatural powers. The chaos he causes includes possessing Jamison, erasing Edward's memory and causing him to think he's a butler, causing Charity to be possessed by Pansy, killing people through his experiments with I Ching, and trying to switch bodies with Quentin — and later Barnabas — to leave 1897 to travel to the future of 1969.
    • The Leviathans gain control over much of the Collins family, ruthlessly dealing with opposition such as Paul Stoddard (and framing Jeb's guardian, Philip Todd, for the murders they commit), calling forth zombies, and Jeb attempting to marry Carolyn so she can have a Half-Human Hybrid.
    • Parallel Time Angelique, who rises from the dead, kills and switches places with her twin sister, Alexis, and drains the life of hapless men she ensnares in a plot to reunite with Parallel Time Quentin.
    • Gerard Stiles.
      • In 1995, his ghost, along with Daphne and two children, haunts Collinwood, repelling anyone who ventures near with deadly force. He tries to kill Barnabas and Julia, and kills Carolyn and Mrs. Johnson.
      • In 1970, his ghost ensnares the two children, David and Hallie, and, with the help of Daphne's ghost, Quentin as well. He causes David and Hallie to be possessed by Tad and Carrie, who then resurrect Daphne. He kills all three of them, unleashes a horde of zombies to destroy Collinwood — killing most of the family — and drives Quentin and Carolyn insane.
      • In 1840, Gerard is possessed by Judah Zachery, who is really responsible for the actions of his ghost in 1970 and 1995. He commits acts of witchcraft that kill Lorna Bell and Mordecai Grimes, frames Quentin I and Desmond for his deeds, and — in the timeline before it was corrected — had killed or engineered the deaths of Daphne and most of the Collins family.
  • Breakout Character: Barnabas. Initially meant to be a Monster of the Week, whose character was expected to last six weeks before being written out, he became so popular that he became the major protagonist for much of the remaining series.
  • Creepy Child:
    • When we first meet nine-year-old David, he is obsessed with ghosts and death.
    • Jeb, the Leviathan, who rapidly ages from infancy to adulthood in a matter of weeks. As a child, he terrorizes Maggie Evans in addition to ordering the deaths of Julia and his own guardian, Philip Todd.
    • Sarah is the ghost of Barnabas' ten-year-old sister, making her an Undead Child as well.
  • Cult Soundtrack: Rare for a Soap Opera, an album of Bob Cobert's score was released in 1969, and, alongside it, bandleader Charles Randolph Grean issued a version of "Quentin's Theme" as an Instrumental single. Both the album and the song reached the Billboard Top 20.
  • Did Not Get the Girl:
    • Barnabas. His first love, Josette, is Driven to Suicide due to the machinations of witch Angelique. He spends most of the series trying to bring her back to life. Only late in the series does he get over her, first with Roxane Drew, whom he meets in a parallel universe. Too bad the room that is the gateway between universes changes with Barnabas in it, returning him to his home time but trapping Roxanne in a burning Collinwood. Next, after Angelique renounces witchcraft for good, Barnabas comes to realize he loves her, only for her to be immediately shot to death by witch hunter Lamar Trask.
    • Quentin II as well.
      • His pursuit of Beth Chavez is thwarted, first by a Scarpia Ultimatum from Angelique, then by the machinations of the evil Count Petofi. Specifically, Petofi switches bodies with Quentin, which Beth discovers shortly before Quentin switches them back. Unfortunately, this happens as Count Petofi, in Quentin's body, is pursuing Beth; when Quentin returns to his body, Beth, unaware that the switch has been undone, flees in terror and jumps from Widow's Hill.
      • Next, Quentin falls for the eternally youthful Amanda Harris, but is again thwarted by Angelique's Scarpia Ultimatum, and then, having lost the portrait that controls his werewolf curse (and prevents him from aging), remains away from Amanda for the next seventy years. Returning to Collinsport, he is reunited with Amanda but doesn't recognize her due to the Leviathan-controlled Barnabas wiping his memory. When he recovers his portrait and his memory, it's too late, as Mr. Best, Amanda's Grim Reaper, has come to claim her. Quentin makes a deal with the Reaper, that requires Quentin to lead Amanda from the other side without the two of them touching. Unfortunately, as with the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, they fail the test and Amanda is Killed Off for Real.
  • Discretion Shot: During the destruction of Collinwood in 1970, we see Gerard ominously advancing on Daphne and the children, and their bodies are discovered a couple scenes later, but we don't actually see them — or anyone else that day — get killed.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Barnabas tried to turn Maggie into this and failed. He also attempted it with other love interests, even though they didn't resemble Josette.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • As noted above, there were no supernatural themes when the show premiered.
    • In the pre-Barnabas episodes from 1966-67, instead of fading out into the opening titles, it cuts to the opening titles.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Immortal vampire Barnabas is chained up in his coffin for over 170 years.
  • Faux Affably Evil: When we first meet Barnabas, he gives the impression of a perfect gentleman with Old World manners. In reality, he is a vampire who, even aside from attacking women to drain them of blood, is a Bad Boss, regularly beating Willie, and who kidnaps and terrorizes Maggie in an attempt to brainwash her into becoming Josette.
  • Fauxlosophic Narration: At the beginning of every episode in order to attempt to set a gothic mood. Originally done by Victoria, but others started joining in especially after she left the show.
    Vicki: My name is Victoria Winters...
    Audience: WE KNOW!!!!
  • Femme Fatale:
    • Angelique is a seductive woman, who is actually a witch who uses magic and murder to get what she wants.
    • Laura is also an attractive woman. Too bad she's a phoenix, whose goals include immolating not only herself but any children her husband might have with her.
  • The Film of the Series: The 2012 Tim Burton film Dark Shadows.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In 1795, time-traveler Vicki brought a Collins family history book from the present day, which foreshadows the tragedies about to befall the Collins family, including Josette's and Sarah's deaths.
    • In 1897, Jamison dreams about 1969, in which Quentin's ghost relates three events that led to Quentin's death.
    • Also, Carolyn's dying message in 1995, which foreshadows what happens once Barnabas and Julia return to 1970, that lead Collinwood to become a ruin.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: In curing Barnabas of his vampirism, Dr. Lang reenacts Frankenstein's experiment, creating an artificial man out of parts assembled from dead bodies. The creation is even named 'Adam', like the original.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Barnabas, after significant character development. In one of the better done sequences, we see Barnabas Collins the man regain the upper hand over Barnabas the Monster, when he refuses to be party to murdering a man to gain freedom from his curse.
  • Ghost Story: Barnabas telling Vicky and Carolyn how Josette died. That he did it during a thunderstorm with the power out was a nice touch.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Satan. Although he only appears in two episodes, credited as Diabolos, he is behind Angelique, Nicholas Blair, Judah Zachery, and — according to Word of God — the Leviathans.
  • The Gwen Stacy:
    • Josette DuPres, whose suicide resulted from Angelique's machinations. One of Barnabas' primary motivations through much of the series is to prevent her death or to bring her back to life. An unusual example, as Josette's death serves as the motivation for Barnabas' more selfish actions, including kidnappping and attempting to brainwash Maggie, and, even after his Heel–Face Turn, attempting to brainwash other women into becoming Josette.
    • A better example is Roxanne from Parallel Time, with whom Barnabas falls in love, finally able to get over Josette. Unfortunately, as Barnabas, Julia, and Roxanne are escaping into the main universe, the room that serves as the gateway between universes changes, with only Barnabas and Julia inside and Roxanne trapped in a burning Collinwood. Barnabas subsequently finds that Roxanne has a counterpart in the main universe. Too bad she's a vampire, and not the friendly neighborhood variety either. In 1840, Barnabas' attempts to prevent Roxanne from becoming a vampire fail, and she is ultimately killed via exposure to sunlight.
  • Gypsy Curse: Quentin II married Jenny, a Gypsy, then abandoned and later killed her. In revenge, Jenny's sister, Magda, cursed Quentin to become a werewolf.
  • Haunted House:
    • Collinwood, which is haunted, at various times, by the ghosts of Quentin Collins II and Beth Chavez, Jenny Collins, Jeremiah Collins, Peter Bradford, Gerard Stiles, Daphne Harridge, Tad Collins, and Carrie Stokes. In Parallel Time, the ghosts include Damien Edwards and Brutus Collins.
    • The Old House, which, early in the series, is haunted by Josette and Sarah Collins.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Reverend Trask, a witch hunter in a series where witches are real and oftentimes evil. However, the woman he persecutes is the innocent Victoria Winters. Trask is eventually talked into a Heel–Face Turn as a ghost.
  • Headless Horseman: Judah Zachery's disembodied head and his headless body terrorize Collinsport briefly in 1840.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Angelique finally renounces witchcraft, and is promptly shot to death by witch hunter Lamar Trask.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Barnabas, initially an Expy of Dracula, became a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire. Quentin II was originally an evil ghost who terrorized David and Amy. When his death was prevented, he became one of the main protagonists.
  • I Have Your Beloved: Subverted in the Leviathan arc, when the Leviathans claim to be holding Josette hostage to pressure Barnabas to carry out their schemes. When a seance is held to contact Josette, she assures them that she knows of no Leviathans.
  • Identical Grandson: Unsurprising, since actors often played different characters within the same time period.
    • Louis Edmonds plays Roger, his grandfather, Edward, Edward's great-grandfather Daniel, and Daniel's cousin Joshua.
    • David Henesy plays David Collins, his grandfather Jamison, Jamison's cousin twice removed Tad, and Tad's grandfather as a boy, Daniel.
    • Joan Bennet plays Elizabeth Stoddard, her grandaunt Judith, Judith's distant cousin by marriage in an earlier generation Flora, and Flora's cousin by marriage in an earlier generation Naomi.
    • Nancy Barrett plays Carolyn and her great-great-great-great-grandaunt Millicent.
    • Denise Nickerson plays Amy and her cousin, twice removed, Nora.
    • Don Briscoe plays brothers Tom and Chris Jennings.
    • Lara Parker plays twin sisters Alexis and Angelique in Parallel Time.
    • David Selby plays Quentin II and his granduncle, Quentin I.
    • Kathy Cody plays Hallie Stokes and a distant collateral ancestor, Carrie.
    • Jerry Lacy plays three generations of Trasks: the Reverend from 1795, his son Lamar in 1840, and Lamar's grandson in 1897.
    • Thayer David plays Prof. Elliot Stokes as well as his ancestor, Ben.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Literally, in one of the Mad Scientist plotlines... mild-mannered lab rat Cyrus Longworth took a potion that turned him into aggressive psycho John Yaeger.
  • Kill 'Em All: The 1795 storyline comes damn close, given that the writers were essentially just playing around with a whole new cast of characters they wouldn't have to worry about after the storyline ended. Pretty much the only thing stopping them from truly killing everyone was that someone needed to live to provide future generations of the Collins family.
  • Killed Off for Real: Numerous people throughout the series. Please note that, although the following list contains only a few superhuman or supernatural characters, with the remainder being ordinary humans, in this show, even mundane people can be brought back to life via sorcery or Body Surfing, or have their deaths negated via Time Travel.
    • Bill Malloy is killed by Matthew Morgan to stop him from airing Collins family dirty laundry
    • Matthew Morgan, who kidnapped and was going to kill Vicki to cover up the first murder, was frightened to death by the ghosts of the widows and Bill Malloy
    • Dr. Guthrie, a parapsychologist who was working against Laura, is murdered by Laura, who stages a car accident.
    • Jason McGuire was killed when he discovered vampire Barnabas in his coffin.
    • Dr. Woodard is poisoned by Julia when he discovers Barnabas' secret.
    • Burke Devlin dies in a plane crash in South America.
    • Jeremiah, whom Angelique has enchanted to fall in love with Josette, is killed in a duel by Barnabas.
    • Abigail Collins dies of fright when she sees her apparently dead nephew, Barnabas, risen as a vampire.
    • Naomi is driven to suicide upon learning of Barnabas' vampirism.
    • Suki Forbes is drained by vampire Barnabas.
    • Josette is Driven to Suicide by Angelique. Later, when her original suicide is prevented, she kills herself shortly afterward, believing that Barnabas has abandoned her.
    • Sarah, seeing Barnabas as a vampire, hides in the cemetery during a storm and dies of pneumonia.
    • Noah Gifford, Nathan's accomplice in his attempt to steal money from the Collins family, is shot by Vicki while trying to kidnap Daniel.
    • Reverend Trask is bricked by Barnabas.
    • Phyllis Wick takes Vicki's place at the gallows and hangs.
    • Dr. Lang, who cured Barnabas of vampirism, is killed by Angelique using a Voodoo Doll
    • Sam Evans dies from injuries sustained defending Maggie from Adam.
    • Tom Jennings, turned into a vampire, is killed by bursting into flames when forced by Barnabas to stay up past dawn.
    • Eve, Adam's mate, is strangled by a jealous Adam when she pursues Peter Bradford.
    • Janet Findley is killed by Quentin's ghost while investigating the hauntings in the West Wing.
    • Ezra Braithwaite, called to Collinwood to examine a medallion he made, dies of a heart attack when he sees Quentin's ghost.
    • Donna, a friend of Carolyn, is killed when Chris transforms into a werewolf in front of her.
    • Edith Collins dies of shock after encountering and recognizing vampire Barnabas.
    • Jenny, Quentin's wife, who tried to kill him, is strangled by Quentin.
    • Dorcas Trilling, a teacher at Worthington Hall, is killed by Quentin in werewolf form.
    • Julianka, granddaughter of King Johnny, is killed by Count Petofi.
    • Pansy Faye is killed by newly-turned vampire Dirk Wilkins.
    • Minerva Trask is poisoned by Tim Shaw, who was brainwashed to do the deed by Minerva's husband Gregory and Evan Hanley.
    • Rachel Drummond, who is held hostage in a pointless attempt to make Barnabas bring back Laura, is shot by Judith on the orders of vampire Dirk.
    • Dirk, a vampire, is killed with a stake through the heart.
    • Beth jumps from Widows' Hill fleeing from Quentin, who she thinks is possessed by Petofi.
    • Wanda Paisley is killed in one of Count Petofi's experiments with the I Ching.
    • Sandor, whose wife Magda stole Count Petofi's hand, is killed by other Gypsies.
    • King Johnny is killed by Aristede.
    • Aristede and Evan Hanley are strangled by Garth Blackwood.
    • Gregory Trask is sealed with bricks in Quentin's room by Judith and Tim Shaw, after she discovers his plots against her.
    • Petofi is burned alive by Garth Blackwood.
    • Charles Tate is killed while painting Chris' portrait, when Chris transforms into a werewolf.
    • Amanda Harris dies when she and Quentin fail the challenge her Grim Reaper has set out for them.
    • Paul Stoddard, Sheriff Davenport, and Lawrence Guthrie are killed by Jeb.
    • Philip falls from Widows' Hill after a struggle atop the cliff with Jeb.
    • Megan Todd, having been turned into a vampire, is staked through the heart by Willie.
    • It is revealed that the Leviathans were responsible for the deaths of Vicki and Peter Bradford.
    • Nicholas Blair is killed when Jeb transfers Angelique's shadow curse onto him.
    • Bruno is killed by Chris in werewolf form, while trying to kill Carolyn.
    • Jeb, who has renounced the Leviathans and become mortal, is thrown from Widows' Hill by Sky Rumson.
    • In revenge for the above, Sky is shot by Barnabas.
    • In Parallel Time, Angelique rises from the dead by killing her twin sister, Alexis.
    • Also in Parallel Time, Bruno is killed by Angelique with a Voodoo Doll, framing Quentin for his murder.
    • In Parallel Time, Horace Gladstone, having attempted to blackmail Cyrus, is killed by John Yaeger
    • Again in Parallel Time, John Yaeger/Cyrus Longworth, having abducted Maggie, is killed by Barnabas during her rescue.
    • In Parallel Time, Will dies rather than betray Barnabas to Angelique.
    • Also in Parallel Time, Hoffman is killed by her counterpart, Dr. Julia Hoffman, to stop her from staking Barnabas.
    • In Parallel Time, Carolyn and Elizabeth are killed by Roger, to cover up his murder of Angelique.
    • Again in Parallel Time, Fred Block's, Larry Chase's, and Roger's life force are drained by Angelique.
    • Also in Parallel Time, Claude North is stabbed by Timothy Stokes, who refuses to return Roxanne to Claude.
    • In Parallel Time, Angelique dies when Roxanne, whose life force has been keeping her alive, speaks.
    • Also in Parallel Time, Timothy Stokes dies while burning down Collinwood.
    • Ben Stokes is forced to kill himself by the head of Judah Zachery.
    • Roxanne Drew, turned into a vampire, is killed by being forced by her brother Randall to remain in the sunlight.
    • Randall Drew, Daniel Collins, and Edith Collins are killed by Gabriel.
    • Mordecai Grimes and Lorna Bell are killed by a possessed Gerard to frame Quentin for witchcraft.
    • Gabriel dies falling from the roof of Collinwood.
    • Samantha is forced by Joanna to jump off Widows Hill.
    • Possessed by Judah Zachery, Gerard is shot by Desmond, ending the possession but killing Gerard as well.
    • Having renounced witchcraft, Angelique is shot by Lamar Trask, who in turn, is killed by an enraged Barnabas.
    • In Parallel Time, Justin, dying of old age, dies in the cursed room.
    • Also in Parallel Time, Daphne dies of illness.
    • In Parallel Time, Stella Young, a secretary to the Collins family, is stabbed to death by Melanie, who is prone to bouts of schizophrenia as a result of time spent in the cursed room.
    • Again in Parallel Time, a homicidally insane Gabriel is killed by Morgan in self-defense.
    • Also in Parallel Time, Morgan is killed by Bramwell and Kendrick in self-defense.
    • In the flashback episode to 1680, Amanda Collins, Brutus' wife, and James Forsythe, with whom she is having an affair, are both killed by Brutus.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Unintentional. Louis Edmonds once flubbed a line, referring to his character's ancestors as "incestors." As noted in My Own Grampa below, Roger unwittingly married his own grandmother, Laura, who is an immortal Phoenix.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Julia uses hypnosis to erase Maggie's memories of her abduction by Barnabas.
  • Leitmotif:
    • "London Bridge" for Sarah.
    • Both music box tunes for Josette.
    • "Ode to Angelique" in both the 1970 parallel time plot and the film Night of Dark Shadows.
    • The theme referred to as "Joanna" on most soundtracks was also (over) used in Night of Dark Shadows in scenes featuring Kate Jackson's character Tracy.
    • Quentin's gramophone song. Not only is it a plot point at times, but in the Big Finish drama The House of Despair he and Angelique discuss why it fits him.
  • Local Hangout: The Blue Whale is a local bar in Collinsport where people go to unwind. In the early seasons, it has a jukebox.
  • The Lost Lenore: Josette, Barnabas' lost love, who killed herself as a result of Angelique's machinations. Barnabas spends most of the series trying and failing to return her to life. Only later in the series is he able to move on, only to have both of his subsequent love interests — Roxanne and Angelique — also die tragically.
  • Lovecraft Country: Collinsport, a fishing village in Maine, with its seemingly endless fog and storms and hauntings. It even includes an Expy of Cthulhu in the form of the Leviathans.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Angelique. Her obsession with Barnabas, who was about to marry Josette, led to Barnabas' becoming a vampire, as well as the deaths of Josette and Barnabas' family (except for Joshua, Millicent, and Daniel).
  • Love Transcends Spacetime: Peter Bradford follows time-traveling governess Victoria Winters from 1795 to 1968, based entirely on the strength of his love forever. Immediately following their wedding, Vicki and Peter disappear, returning to the 1790s for an off-screen life together.
  • Mad Scientist: Three examples:
    • Dr. Julia Hoffman, upon discovering the identity of the vampire who has been murdering women, terrorizing Collinsport, and who kidnapped Maggie, sought to cure him through unethical experimentation.
    • Dr. Eric Lang, who successfully cured Barnabas of his vampirism by reenacting Frankenstein's experiment.
    • Dr. Cyrus Longworth, who reenacted the experiment of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, turning himself into the sociopathic John Yaeger.
  • Madwoman in the Attic: Poor Jenny Collins, wife of Quentin II, who lost her mind when Quentin ran off with Edward's wife Laura. As a result, Jenny was locked in the Tower Room at Collinwood.
  • Monochrome Casting: With just one minor exception. The entire series, which lasted nearly five years and contained over 1200 episodes, included one person of color, Sho Onodera, who played Mr. Nakamura for a single episode.
  • The Movie: House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows, neither of which took place in the main continuity despite featuring the same actors. House was a more grisly retelling of the introduction of Barnabas, whereas Night was barely connected at all, essentially retconning all characters and lore for a new story.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Originally aimed at women like most soap operas, but its supernatural plotlines soon attracted a lot of young monster-movie fans as well.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: In the 1795 storyline, witch Angelique was obsessed with Barnabas, who in turn pursued Josette. Josette's death is the end result of Angelique's schemes.
  • My Own Grampa: Almost. Laura, a phoenix who was reincarnated every few decades, ended up married to her own biological grandson. Never mentioned in the show, either due to censorship or the writers not having the best grasp on the continuity.
  • Never My Fault: Matthew Morgan claims that he doesn't want to kill Vicki, but she forced him into it. Naturally, she calls him on this.
  • Never Sleep Again: Inverted in an arc where a character turns into a werewolf and kills people in his sleep. He is able to trap his curse in a portrait, but needs to stay awake until it is finished.
  • New Era Speech: Although not a speech, in the 1840 storyline, Gabriel warns Barnabas that, with Daniel dead and Quentin in jail, there will be a "new régime" at Collinwood. Gabriel's right as far as it goes — only he will have no part in it; according to Daniel's will, Gerard is to hold Collinwood in trust for Tad until he comes of age, and Gabriel will be killed a few episodes later.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now:
    • Hardly surprising, given the number of supernatural characters, but a special shout out has to go to the human Julia, who survives being attacked and drained by two separate vampires, shot in the chest with a pistol, poisoned, barricaded in a remote location and left to starve and possessed by a malevolent spirit who drains her life force when Barnabas attempts to sever the connection.
    • Inverted in the case of Angelique, the immortal witch, who rescinds her powers in the 1840 storyline and is felled by a bullet to the chest two days later.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: The word "vampire" is used pretty rarely, not showing up at all until the 1795 storyline when Angelique explains her curse to Ben. This makes the scene where Barnabas reveals himself to his father by shouting "I am a vampire!" quite shocking and moving.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Barnabas. Before he shows up, the only other paranormal thing in town is Josette, whom every other character believes is a figment of David's imagination. Throughout all the investigation of the mysterious puncture wounds that show up on the necks of Loomis, Maggie, and assorted cattle, no one so much as utters the word vampire, even in jest, as though they don't know what one is.
  • Panty Shot:
    • In one scene an unconscious Maggie is carried by another character. Her skirt is so short that we catch a glimpse of her underwear.
    • When Carolyn was knocked out by the Leviathans and spent the rest of the episode on a bed with her legs spread towards the camera.
  • Pendulum of Death: In episodes 795 and 796 ("The Pits" and "Death and Taxes") Aristede straps Quentin to a table beneath a slowly descending swinging axe blade as he attempts to extort the Legendary Hand of Count Petofi from Angelique.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: Barnabas, a vampire who wants to be human. He seems to finally get his wish by the end of the series.
  • Put on a Bus: Both Joe Haskell in 1969, and Maggie Evans in 1970, were sent to Windcliff Sanitarium. Joe was sent there when, after discovering Chris' werewolf curse, went insane and tried to abduct Amy. Maggie was sent there to protect her from the vampire, Roxanne Drew. Neither they nor their respective actors appeared on the show again.
  • Recycled Script:
    • In 1970, David and Hallie have to deal with two ghosts — a malevolent man and the benevolent woman he loves — just like David and Amy did in 1968-9.
    • In 1840, (1970 in Real Life) Quentin is on trial for witchcraft. He is innocent of the charge and being framed by a real warlock. Similarly, in 1795-6 (1967-8 in Real Life) Vicki was on trial for witchcraft, being a similarly innocent victim of a frameup by an actual witch.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Not only did the series re-use its music, House of Dark Shadows was also almost entirely reliant upon the show's recordings. Night of Dark Shadows, though also featuring a Recycled Soundtrack, had more original music written for it.
  • Resist the Beast:
    • After his Heel–Face Turn, Barnabas attempts to resist his vampiric urges, seeking a cure for his condition.
    • Cursed to be a werewolf, Quentin tries to keep from harming others before his portrait effectively cures his condition.
    • Chris, also a werewolf, tries to keep from harming others, with sleeping pills and later by having Barnabas lock him in a secret room.
  • Running Gag: Reverend Trask and his grandson, Gregory, both get bricked in the manner of The Cask of Amontillado.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Tad and Carrie are referred to as the astral twins of David and Hallie. However, in astrology, astral twins refers to people who are born at the same time, latitude, and longitude. Being born 130 years before David and Hallie, Tad and Carrie could not possibly be their astral twins. Curious, because reincarnation is a thing in this series and would fit the circumstances much better.
  • Satan:
    • Although the big guy himself, credited as Diabolos, appears in only two episodes in the series, during the Nicholas Blair arc, he serves as a Greater-Scope Villain, being behind such figures as Angelique, Nicholas Blair, Judah Zachery, and, according to Word of God, the Leviathans.
    • Evan and Quentin attempt to summon him in 1897.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Before he is released by an unwitting Willie Loomis in 1967, vampire Barnabas Collins had been chained in his coffin for over 170 years.
  • Scarpia Ultimatum:
    • Levelled against Barnabas by (who else) Angelique. She actually uses this twice: once she makes him marry her if she saves his sister (whose pains Angelique caused for exactly this purpose), and once they are married, she threatens Josette's life to keep Barnabas acting as a "faithful husband." When he tries to remove Josette from danger, the threat is simply expanded to his family.
    • During the 1897 arc, she uses this against Quentin as well. She persuades him to marry her in exchange for healing Jamison from Petofi's spells. Later, when Quentin reneges and tries to pursue Amanda Harris, Angelique threatens Amanda to keep him in Collinsport.
  • Security Cling: Done wordlessly by Daphne and the possessed David and Hallie, when Gerard who is really Judah Zachery, kills them.
  • Series Continuity Error: A few, including:
    • During his earliest episodes, it's clear that Barnabas was supposed to be from the 1830's, rather than the 1790's.
    • Originally, Dr. Hoffman was supposed to be male, and was referred to as such shortly before her first appearance.
    • Similarly, Amy's original name was Molly.
    • After Vicki's return, Elizabeth referred to Daniel as her great-great-grandfather. Later episodes would reveal that he is, in fact, her great-great-great-grandfather.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Angelique — and how! Spurned by Barnabas, she coerces him into marriage using a Scarpia Ultimatum. Out of continued jealousy over Barnabas' love for Josette, Angelique curses Barnabas with vampirism and engineers the deaths of Josette and most of the Collins family.
  • Start of Darkness: The entire 1795 storyline, for Barnabas, as it shows how he became a vampire as well as the family tragedies that embittered him.
  • The Show Must Go On: Numerous times:
    • Barnabas's heart-wrenching dramatic pauses were reportedly just Jonathan Frid forgetting his lines.
    • Frid accidentally walked in on the end credits while carrying everyone's coats...
    • The camera once caught Frid quite visibly picking his nose when he thought the camera was pointed on Robert Rodan and Betsy Durkin.
    • Given that the show was "live" because at the time editing costs were off the chart there are really too many to list from bugs flying around actor's heads to people tripping. In a rare instance Frid managed to get them to edit an particularly bad gaffe on his part by agreeing to waive a bonus owed for working extra late on an episode.
    • Plus, the very first thing the show ever aired: The ABC announcer saying in an irritated tone, "Okay, I'm here. What do you want me to do?" (pause) "I can't see the slate!" He then proceeds to read the episode number as usual.
    • In one of the better-done dramatic moments of the series, when the witch Angelique is face-to-face with the newly risen vampire Barnabas, alone and cornered by the monster she has created, simultaneously grief-stricken, terrified, and even remorseful, as Barnabas realizes the true horror of his new status, we see a stage hand realize that he is in the camera view-zone...
    • Maggie mysteriously receives a pair of expensive earrings. Joe and her start fighting about her wearing them... And one falls out, causing the two to continue to have the argument while one of them is missing. Kathryn Leigh Scott attempts to hide it with her hand but it's obvious.
  • Time Travel:
    • In 1967, a séance transports Vicki back to 1795, bringing a woman of that era to the present. The two switch back just as Vicki is being hanged.
    • To stop the ghost of Quentin II from haunting Collinwood in 1969, Barnabas uses I Ching to travel back to 1897. Later, Julia joins him using the same method, but is prematurely pulled back into the present.
    • Josette's portrait transports Barnabas and a possessed Kitty back to 1797, where he tries, and fails, to save Josette. He returns to 1969 via the Leviathan stone table.
    • Emerging from the parallel universe of 1970, Barnabas and Julia somehow find themselves in the then-future of 1995. They return to 1970 via what turns out to be the Stairway into Time.
    • Upon failing to stop Gerard from destroying Collinwood, Julia escapes to 1840 using the Stairway into Time. Later, Barnabas joins her using the I Ching, and Prof. Stokes joins them both using the Stairway. Upon succeeding in their mission, they all use the Stairway to return to the present.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: To save the present family from the ghost of Quentin Collins, Barnabas travels back to 1897 to save the living Quentin. Once he returns, the family, especially Amy and David, still has memories of Quentin's ghost, despite the fact that, with history changed, Quentin is now still alive and has lived away from Collinsport for decades.
  • Title Drop: Near the beginning of Collection 3.
    Vicki: Barnabas likes this house more than you do.
    Burke: Yeah, all the darkness and the shadows...
    • An exact title drop is given during the 1840 storyline.
  • Together in Death: David, Hallie, and Daphne, the first two being possessed by Tad and Carrie, are killed simultaneously by Gerard, and their bodies are found together in their dying Security Cling in 1970, before Barnabas and Julia change history.
  • Undead Child: Sarah is the ghost of Barnabas' ten-year-old sister, who died in 1796 and haunts the grounds of Collinwood in 1967.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Tim and Rachel\, for each other. Very unlucky indeed, as, having met as children at Gregory Trask's Boarding School of Horrors, they are separated due to Trask's machinations, with Rachel finally being fatally shot on the orders of vampire Dirk Wilkins.
  • Visions of Another Self: For nearly a whole season, the characters, chiefly Barnabas and Julia, travel to a parallel universe and interact with alternate versions of the present-day Collins family. In the last arc of the series, after the 1840 storyline is resolved, the series then shifts to the 1840 Collins family's Parallel Time counterparts.
  • Voodoo Doll:
    • Angelique uses these several times.
      • She afflicts Barnabas with pain when he refuses her advances.
      • To stop Dr. Lang from curing Barnabas' vampirism, she uses one to kill the doctor.
      • When Barnabas pursues Rachel, Angelique uses a Voodoo Doll to strangle her (fortunately, this is stopped).
      • As a demonstration of her power, she uses a Voodoo Doll to strangle Aristede.
      • She uses one to turn Roxanne into a vampire.
    • Her Parallel Time counterpart uses one to strangle Parallel Time Bruno, serendipitously framing Parallel Time Quentin for the murder, and uses one on Quentin to lure Maggie back to Collinwood.
    • Gerard uses one to kill Mordecai, framing Quentin for the deed.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • At one point in the 1795 flashback, Jeremiah Collins buries Angelique alive because her hypnotizing him into marrying Josette led to his death. So where the hell was he when Angelique cursed his cousin with vampirism, which in turn led to practically his whole family being wiped out?
    • He's returned to the grave by Angelique in the very next episode, so absent from subsequent events.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Sarah gives one of these to Barnabas and Julia, after they kill Dr. Woodard. She says that Barnabas has lost his way and that he will never see her until he is reformed.
  • What Year Is This?: During the time travel storylines, particularly in 1795 and 1995, Vicki, and later Barnabas and Julia, want to know what year it is.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Several StoryArcs were taken whole hog from classic horror fiction; The Turn of the Screw, The Lottery, H. P. Lovecraft, etc.
  • Woman Scorned: It's heavily implied that Barnabas and Angelique had sex. It was before he became engaged to Josette, but Angelique still got the short end of the stick. These events were the catalyst for Angelique's hatred for the Collins family.
  • Yandere: Angelique. Prior to his engagement to Josette, Barnabas had an affair with Angelique. She became obsessed with him, using a Scarpia Ultimatum to coerce him into marrying her. Angelique's continued jealousy resulted in Barnabas being cursed to become a vampire as well as the deaths of Josette and much of the Collins family.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • In the backstory of 1897, Quentin II and Laura had to leave Collinwood because they had an affair with each other despite both being married.
    • In the backstory of 1970 Parallel Time, Angelique, who had been married to Quentin, had affairs with Bruno and Roger.
    • In the backstory of 1840, while married to Samantha, Quentin had an affair with Joanna Mills. In the storyline, still married to Samantha, he is pursuing Daphne.
    • In 1841 Parallel Time, despite being engaged to Morgan, Catherine spends a night with Bramwell. The curse that plagues the family during 1841 Parallel Time began in 1680, when Brutus discovered his wife's infidelity.

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report