Mark, Lawrence, and guest co-host horror writer Sean Michael Cooney (who has seen all 1225 episodes) discuss the gothic romance vampire soap opera from 1966-1971 plus the spin-off movies and reboots. We interview one of the stars of the original show, the author Kathryn Leigh Scott, to talk about the appeal and enduring legacy of this show that was once massively popular but is now a quintessential cult property that will likely be rebooted for the fourth time within the next couple of years.
Is the show camp, or just low budget? What would be required for a viewer used to today’s TV to get into this show given its production quality and sensibility? Think of all the sensitive, reluctant vampires in today’s media that this show launched! We’re doing this show (in part) in honor of Pride Month, as it has a pretty big gay following and several gay leading actors.
This might all be confusing to one who may have only heard of this property as a minor Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film from 2012, but in addition to the show, its original creator Dan Curtis retold the story (only bloodier) with most of the same cast in 1970 via the House of Dark Shadows film (Kathryn was the protagonist of that), then after another film rebooted the series in 1991 for a season with a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt, then a new WB pilot with Jessica Chastain failed to air in 2004, and since the 2012 film, a reboot was planned and cancelled for the CW in 2020. Big Finish in the UK has also done a number of recent audioplays featuring original cast members to continue the story, and there was a 2019 documentary about Dan Curtis.
We talk about Kathryn’s post-DS acting and writing, including her book Last Dance at the Savoy and her creation of Pomegranate Press. She’s currently promoting a reissue of Marcel Marceau: Master of Mime featuring photos by her deceased husband Ben Martin.
Here are a few resources for more information:
- Watch the show on Tubi
- The Dark Shadows Wiki
- The Terror at Collinwood and Between the Shadows podcasts. The former has a very beefy episode about the show’s resonance in the LGBT+ community.
- “‘Dark Shadows’: The Birth Of The Modern TV Vampire” by Elizabeth Blair
- “Barnabas Collins Lives! Dark Shadows Leading Lady Tells All About the 2023 Reboot of the Supernatural Soap” by Kristyn Burtt
- “Why The CW Canceled The Dark Shadows Reboot (& How It Could Still Happen)” by Mara Bachman
- “Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness” at TVTropes
Get bonus talking for this and nearly every episode at patreon.com/prettymuchpop, or you can sign up directly via Apple Podcasts for a subscription for ad-free and bonus material for three of Mark’s podcasts together on the Mark Lintertainment Podcasts Channel.
If you like this podcast, try The Psychology Podcast with Scott Barry Kaufman.