Thursday, July 12, 2012

Display art for House of Dark Shadows, Night of Dark Shadows DVD releases

Above is the artwork for the upcoming Blu-ray releases of House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows, which will arrive in time for Halloween this year. It's something that many Dark Shadows fans have been waiting years for ... so why are people so angry?

Fans are already threatening to extend their boycott of the 2012 Dark Shadows movie, which will be released on home video a few weeks before the classic films. Warner Bros. seems intent on fucking the Dark Shadows brand at every turn, so I understand the anger. Don't interpret what I'm about to say as a defense of their counter-productive marketing strategy. (Note that Jonathan Frid's name is misspelled in the above ad.)

We have no reason to boycott the DVD releases of House of Dark Shadows or Night of Dark Shadows.

Yes, the lack of bonus features on these discs is a bad thing. There's only one reason for this: Warner Bros. doesn't believe the audience for these movies is large enough to justify the expense of developing additional content for the DVD releases. When you consider that these movies are being released just a few weeks after the DVD release of the 2012 Tim Burton movie, the studio is clearly hoping the original Dark Shadows films will get a boost from the Burton project.

I'm not holding out hope that House and Night will sell in such high quantities that we'll ever get more expansive releases of these films. But if we refuse to buy these relatively inexpensive movies because they don't have enough "value added content," then we're just shooting ourselves in the feet.

Refusing to buy these movies because of their skimpy bonus features is like refusing to buy a hamburger because you can't have ice cream afterward. A glass eye in a duck's ass is more intuitive than WB has been during the last year (I think their entire corporate strategy can be summarized as "SAVE US, BATMAN!") but some Dark Shadows fans aren't really helping the situation by declaring a fatwā on our beloved franchise.

Yes, the upcoming DVD packages could have been more thoughtful. I have no doubt that Kathryn Leigh Scott, Nancy Barrett, John Karlen, Kate Jackson, David Selby and James Storm could have been recruited for a commentary track. I'd like to have seen a featurette on the Lyndhurst Estate where both movies were filmed. There are deleted scenes still sitting in a vault, numerous international movie posters that would have made an interesting gallery, and the beauty pageants staged  as publicity stunts for both movies are events worth exploring. I'd love to find out what happened to Miss Vampire America.

Right now, I don't care about any of that. I'm getting digitally restored versions of the original two Dark Shadows films, and that's enough for now.


BT said...

OK. I will buy these films.
What I don't understand is why this deleted footage hasn't seen the light of day (in 200 years?) on a fan website? Stuff leaks all the time and if WB isn't going to release it on Blu-ray/dvd, they could at least give us teasers as a promo.
At this point, I would take anything!
I have been waiting forever for the restored versions and am amazed that this is what we are getting.
BTW, I LOVE Night of Dark Shadows.
And your site!

Nathan said...

Totally agree with you, Cousin Barnabas! While I understand the anguish that fans feel about getting fairly bare-bones releases, I feel that those outraged need to look at how these things get released from an angle outside of "Dark Shadows fan." A good deal of lesser known films get released with absolutely no extras, and half the time in cropped, pan & scan transfers. The fact that we're getting both films with a trailer is actually more than I was expecting - I figured we'd get both films on one disc and that's it.

Of course I'd love to see a whole "bells & whistles" special edition, and I know the folks at the Night Restoration site have been working hard, but I agree that this is the first step - and supporting the discs by buying them is a small price to pay to fuel the interest.

I still believe, though, that the ideal situation would be that an independent dvd distributor like Shout! Factory or Blue Underground or Synapse could snatch up the rights and do a full on deluxe edition, but with the Tim Burton film doing as well as it did, I can't imagine Warner relinquishing the rights anytime soon.

Artamus Sumatra said...

Wait, you are saying Fans are boycotting the original movies?! I can fully understand refusing to buy Burton's middle finger salute, but the originals must be supported - we need to send a message to the powers that be at WB that Fans LOVE Dark Shadows, and we won't sit still while ego maniacal Directors and Actors defecate on it! There's NO way I'm buying Timmy and Johnny's craptastic "Barney and the Fish-stick Factory" version , but I intend to buy the REAL DS movies on Blu-ray, multiple times as gifts for Friends and Family. We need to make the originals out sell Burton's steaming pile!

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