Now Streaming in Austin: Master of Dark Shadows

New documentary bites into the legacy of the Gothic soap

Now Streaming in Austin: Master of Dark Shadows

Daytime soaps are the perennial running joke of television, the blue-collar dream of upper-middle-class comfort. So if you're going into the realm of fantasy, why stop there? Ditch the suburban McMansion for a Gothic hall. No more bored housewives as the protagonists: Instead, classic 19th century heroines, exploring hidden passages and moonlit cemeteries. Finally, dispatch the swoon-worthy surgeons as the love interest. Why not a vampire?

Depending on your point of view, 1960s horror-soap Dark Shadows was either the nadir of cheapo TV, or a hidden masterpiece. However, new documentary Master of Dark Shadows digs up the astonishing history behind the unlikely smash, which dominated ratings, spawned two film spin-offs, a 1991 reboot and – most terrifying of all – a 2012 cinematic do-over by Tim Burton. The show's rise, fall, and lasting legacy is narrated by Ian McShane from a script by director David Gregory and Austin film writer and historian Max Meehan (if you recognize the name, that's because Meehan is best known to local audiences as a keystone of the booking team for two now-legendary repertory series, Video Hate Squad and Savage Gold, the latter of which recently wrapped up its long run at AFS Cinema with a sell-out double bill). Yet the documentary looks beyond the cult appeal of one show and instead takes in the full history of series creator Dan Curtis, who later went on to sweep the Emmys with his epic miniseries The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Now Streaming in Austin
Now Streaming in Austin:
Now Streaming in Austin: "Texas Strong"
Webby-winning documentary lets a trans kid speak for herself

Richard Whittaker, May 17, 2019

Now Streaming in Austin: <i>Dark Side of the Ring</i>
Now Streaming in Austin: Dark Side of the Ring
Evan Husney grapples with wrestling's hidden history for Viceland

Richard Whittaker, April 19, 2019

More Now Streaming in Austin
Now Streaming in Austin:
Now Streaming in Austin: "Angus and the Boys"
Austin crime short shows the power of manipulation

Richard Whittaker, March 29, 2019

Now Streaming in Austin: <i>Love Radio</i>
Now Streaming in Austin: Love Radio
Web series shot in KOOP radio studios takes the romance out of DJ life

Richard Whittaker, Feb. 1, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Now Streaming in Austin, Master of Dark Shadows, Max Meehan, Dan Curtis, Dark Shadows

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle