Watch Night of Dark Shadows
- 1 hr 35 min
In the world of gothic horror, Night of Dark Shadows from 1971 stands out as a haunting tale of love, betrayal, and the supernatural. Produced by Dan Curtis, the mastermind behind the hit series Dark Shadows, the film follows the tortured existence of heir Quentin Collins (David Selby) as he struggles to uncover the secrets of his ancestral home, Collinwood.
Set in the late 19th century, Night of Dark Shadows begins with the arrival of Quentin and his new bride Tracy (Kate Jackson) at Collinwood. The mansion, complete with sprawling grounds and a forbidding exterior, is a formidable presence on the rocky coast of Maine. Despite the grandiosity of the estate, it is evident that something sinister lurks behind closed doors.
As Quentin and Tracy begin to settle into their new life, strange occurrences begin to unfold. Tracy encounters the ghostly apparition of a woman in white, a vision that eventually leads her to discover hidden rooms and chambers within Collinwood. Meanwhile, Quentin is drawn to the portrait of Angelique (Lara Parker), a mysterious woman from his family's past who seems to have a powerful hold over him.
As Quentin delves deeper into his family's history, he uncovers unspeakable horrors committed by his ancestors. He discovers that Angelique was a witch who cursed the Collins family, vowing that every first-born son would meet a tragic end. Quentin becomes convinced that he is destined to suffer the same fate as his forebears, and in a desperate attempt to break the curse, he seeks out the help of Professor T. Eliot Stokes (Thayer David), a paranormal investigator.
What follows is a dizzying descent into a world of dark magic, forbidden desires, and supernatural terror. As the veil between the living and the dead begins to thin, Quentin's sanity is pushed to the limit, and he must confront the ghosts of his past if he is to have any hope of a future.
One of the standout elements of Night of Dark Shadows is its bold visual style. The film is a masterpiece of gothic atmosphere, with colliding shadows, misty graveyards, and creaking staircases adding to the mounting sense of dread. The score, composed by Robert Cobert, is haunting and evocative, perfectly capturing the macabre tone of the story.
The performances in Night of Dark Shadows are also noteworthy. David Selby delivers a nuanced portrayal of Quentin, capturing both his vulnerability and his terrifying descent into madness. Kate Jackson's Tracy is a sympathetic figure, caught in the web of intrigue that surrounds Collinwood. Grayson Hall, as housekeeper Carlotta Drake, is a standout, bringing both humor and gravitas to the role.
Despite its atmospheric strengths, Night of Dark Shadows was not a commercial success when it was first released. This is in part due to its troubled production history; the film underwent extensive reshoots and rewrites, with entire plotlines being discarded and characters being rewritten. The resulting film is uneven, with some elements feeling rushed or underdeveloped.
However, despite its flaws, Night of Dark Shadows remains a fascinating entry in the canon of gothic horror. Its themes of obsession, betrayal, and revenge remain strikingly relevant, and its imagery continues to inspire contemporary filmmakers. For fans of the genre, Night of Dark Shadows is a must-see.
Night of Dark Shadows is a 1971 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 35 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.4.