Monday, December 8, 2014

Your 2014 DARK SHADOWS Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday shopping season is upon us! For me, the hardest part of Christmas has always been picking out thoughtful gifts, which is a much more loaded statement than it might appear on first reading. It's hard enough finding the right gift for someone you love; it's even more difficult finding the appropriate present for that relative you don't much like (but might be obliged to shop for, anyway.) Many years ago, I solved this problem by giving almost everyone I knew a copy of Blue Oyster Cult's CULTOSAURUS ERECTUS album. Some people were happy, while others got a passive aggressive critique of their shoddy tastes in music. Merry Christmas!

If you're shopping for a DARK SHADOWS fan, you've got quite a few possible gifts from which to choose this year. Here are some of my favorites:

Remember those t-shirt iron-on transfers produced by Mani-Yack in the 1960s? Sadly, the company never produced one for Barnabas Collins. A creator calling themself ManiYackMonster has stepped up to remedy this oversight, creating dozens of customs designs in the Mani-Yack style. In addition to Barnabas Collins, there are also custom shirts for THEY LIVE, DR. PHIBES and others. Use the code "BONUS20" to get a 20 percent discount on everything in his Resbubble store. LINK

Kathryn Leigh Scott is having a holiday sale at her website through the month of December. Featured are signed 8 x 10″ prints of Rachel Drummond on the stairs of Collinwood from the DARK SHADOWS television series, as well as a still from the 2012 film with original cast members Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott with Johnny Depp. Also included are the books Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood and Down and Out in Beverly Heels.All items are signed.  LINK

DARK SHADOWS: BLOODLUST isn't set to begin until January, 2015, but Big Finish has arranged for fans to subscribe to the series in advance.  BLOODLUST is a collection of thirteen episodes, released twice-weekly in a nod to the soap operas that in part inspired this classic series. The 13 episode series is also available as Volume 1 and Volume 2 - each 3-disc CD set (which can also be bought as downloads) bringing the episodes together in two easily-bought titles. A Bundle brings together both sets as one purchase. LINK

Zazzle has a number of items available that would appeal DARK SHADOWS fans. Among their items for sale are shirts bearing the logos of DAN CURTIS PRODUCTIONS shirt, TRASK ACADEMY BIBLE CAMP, and our own COLLINSPORT HISTORICAL SOCIETY logo. (Note: The TRASK and CHS shirts are creations of this website.) LINK

The complete DARK SHADOWS movie experience (Part 1)

It's a wonderful world we live in. A few years ago, the original DARK SHADOWS movies were consigned to home video purgatory, available on out-of-print VHS tapes. Today, the films are available for the first time ever in high-definition and they've never looked so good. The bonus features are skimpy, but most of the content created for DVD "special features" is forgettable junk, anyway.

But you don't have to end your viewing experience with the movies. While commentary tracks would have been nice, Kathryn Leigh Scott has published a book about HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS and its sequel/sidequel NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS. The book includes the original shooting scripts for both films (which includes all of the excised scenes and director Dan Curtis's original hand-written notes) but also excerpts from her journal written during the making of HOUSE.

But wait! There's more! If you're a completist, there's also an out-of-print (and kind of expensive) CD that collects both of Bob Cobert's scores for HOUSE/NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS. It's some of his most sophisticated work that builds on the melodies created for the original television show. As I said before, the CD can be a little expensive, currently selling on Amazon between $23 and HOLY CRAP $109. 

The links:

The complete DARK SHADOWS movie experience (Part 2)

The 2012 DARK SHADOWS feature film had a decent amount of bonus features, even if they managed to successfully compile featurettes that failed to mention the original ABC television show in any meaningful way. While there was scant merchandise created for the film, the movie received a published guide to its art direction, which is almost obligatory for a Tim Burton film. It's packed to the gills with preproduction art that revised Barnabas Collins, Collinsport and the rest for a new generation. There's also a limited edition of the book available, but it's a bit more expensive.

DARK SHADOWS also had a pair of movie soundtracks collecting Danny Elfman's moody score on one disc, and the pop music featured in the film on the other.

The Links:

Lara Parker has a wide variety of items for sale through her website.You can order personally signed photos and books directly from her, with a dedication of your choice. She's got copies of her books for sale, numerous photos, portraits of her character "Angelique Bouchard," and audiobooks. LINK

This is the crème de la crème for DARK SHADOWS fans, a delight that's proven to be too rich for the blood of many fans. That didn't stop the initial production of this collection from selling out, though, and the price has only dropped since returning to the market a few months later. The coffin-shaped box contains a whopping 131 DVDs holding all 1,225 episodes of the original series. It comes with a book of episode summaries and photos, bloopers, behind-the-scenes featurettes and more than 120 cast and crew interviews. Get it at Amazon!

These are 8x10 prints of art done by Belle Dee for Video Watchdog Magazine. They're also marked as "limited edition" (so they might no longer be available) but here's hoping Mrs. Cousin Barnabas is reading the blog today. Get them from Dee's website!

Last but not least:  Sharon Smyth Lentz, who played Sarah Collins on the original DARK SHADOWS television series, has a website. You can get a signed from Sharon HERE.

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