Dark Shadows (The Movies)

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Dark Shadows News Page: (Saturday, July 23, 2011) “. . . At the same time, Jim Pierson (marketing director for Dan Curtis Productions and consulting producer on the new film) revealed that the original Dark Shadows movies, House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows, are finally coming to DVD, following recent hints, and that Night of Dark Shadowswill feature a full restoration of Dan Curtis’ 129 minute director’s cut.

Night of Dark Shadows was heavily edited for release and the original version was missing for many years, until archivist Darren Gross discovered the complete film elements in 1998. The recovered version lacks a full soundtrack, however, so several original actors have been enlisted in recent years to re-record lost dialogue. “While there are still T’s to be crossed and I’s to be dotted, it’s looking very solid,” says Darren. “I’m delighted that after all these years of work, it’s looking like it will finally see the light of day. There’s much work to be done yet, and I can’t wait to get started.”

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This is from Warner Archives Facebook Page (2/21/2010). Here’s what they officially had to say about any pending DVD/Blu-Ray News:

“Both Dark Shadows movies were being readied for release as far back as 2006….but we’ve been holding back the releases in order to coincide with the new DARK SHADOWS movie, which was in development for YEARS! The wait will have been worth it, as this will now allow Barnabas to be Blu…. 🙂 :)”

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What you’re about to read is the most current update I could find of what is happening with Night Of Dark Shadows and House Of Dark Shadows as it pertains to their eventual DVD release, someday. There’s also this website, The Dark Shadows Movies, which chronicles everything you ever wanted to know about these two films.

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Howdy. Darren Gross here. (AV Maniac Forum Posts, 5/3/2010)

I’d be happy to answer any questions regarding the restoration on the two DS films, but looking over the thread, there are few pieces of information I can share/correct, etc.

HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS was originally between 15-20mins longer, but none of that material was cut out at MGM’s instructions. Dan Curtis had all that material cut out by choice, including the opening sequence where David pretends to hang himself and a raft of other scenes. Unfortunately, the cutting of these scenes makes the continuity a bit jerky, as the movie lurches forward, constantly, as all the scenes that were a tad slower or more character & plot oriented ended up on the cutting room floor. Curtis wanted to make a slam bang fast, shocking horror picture, and succeeded at that, but when we spoke a few years back, he did think he over-cut the picture and should probably have kept some of the scenes in.

All of these scenes were cut out back during the edit session in NY, so MGM never had any of this material, and Curtis had it all destroyed, within a few years after it was shot.

There were reports of a longer Japanese cut, but these have proven to be false. Apparently the pressbooks and Japanese program list a longer running time, but it was a typo, carried over from an international cutting continuity (a post-production script listing every shot and cut, and reel length), which added up the reel footage wrong- literally a 500ft + 300 feet = 1100 feet kind of obvious error.
All international releases of the film were either the 97min version or shorter, depending on each country’s censorship demands.

Since MGM created promo reels for trade shows each year with brief snippets of films that were coming soon, there was always a chance that some HOUSE OF DS material was present in them, perhaps sourced from a longer cut workprint, before the final edit was finished, but this did not pan out. There was a promo reel for 1970, which I examined, but HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS was not one of the films included or highlighted for the coming year. ZABRISKIE POINT yes. HOUSE OF DS…no.

So, while we’d love to put together a longer cut of HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS, not a scrap of footage from the cut scenes survives.

On NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS, the “director’s cut” runs 129mins– 35mins longer than the versions released on video and laserdisc which run 93.5mins.

The audio for most of the additional scenes was lost or destroyed in the intervening years, but the picture elements remain. In the last several years, I’ve worked with Dan Curtis Productions and Jim Pierson, re-voicing all of the missing dialogue, with the exception of Grayson Hall. We did receive audition tapes from Grayson impersonators, but have not re-recorded any of her dialogue and will be casting a wider net to throatier female actresses when the project gets a greenlight. The same thing goes for the actual editing of the dialogue (choosing the best takes, pitch correcting, massaging the sync, etc.), the sound effects and music editing, and post-production polishing, lab work, new transfers, etc. All of which can’t happen until the budget comes together.

We’re told that WB feels confident that the restoration budget will come together if the movie gets greenlighted and starts filming, but not until then. It’s way too early to declare that there will definitely be a restored version released. Nothing is a certainty at this point, but odds are good, and if it happens we’ll probably be able to release it on Blu-ray as well as DVD.

No certainties, but the movie is helping things along. Keep your fingers crossed.

Oh, and the film is owned by Warner Bros.

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4 Responses to Dark Shadows (The Movies)

  1. Karan L. Long says:

    How will i know when these ds movies will be released on dvd so i can purchase them for my collection?

  2. I’ll announce it on this blog. Current rumor has it their release has been pushed back to 2013.

  3. Silverwolf says:

    Dear Host,
    It looks like all the hard work of those who looked for the lost NODS footage and those working to get it restored for a couple of years now has all been for naught. MGM despite their phony PR have shown imho, that they never intended to work on, restore or do anything in the area of this move no matter if the TB movie made billions and the DVD release in the fancy package sold out completely. They intend as we can already see tends to feed everyone the 95 minute version this OCT 30. What are your feelings on this and have you any feedback from your sources on what I consider a slap in the fans faces. Not that they care.. Thank You

  4. Yes, it does suck that NIGHT was not restored. In all honesty, I have never seen NIGHT all the way through. HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS is my favorite, and I remember trying to watch NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS when it came on when I was a kid, but when I quickly realized there were no vampires in it, and I had no idea what was going, I bailed out. If they had restored it, I would buy it.

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