Dark Shadows

Jessica Chastain as: Carolyn Stoddard
Directed by: P.J. Hogan
Created by: Dan Curtis
Selected Cast: Alec Newman, Marley Shelton, Matt Czuchry
Aired Date: Unaired
Genre: Drama, Horror

Show summary:

My name is Victoria Winters. It’s October 31st… Halloween. The date didn’t even register when the train tickets arrived. Hundreds of years ago, we put on costumes to scare away ‘evil spirits’. Between our 24-hour science channels and the inventions of Prozac, you think we’d be past all that by now. But maybe we’ll always be afraid of the dark… I’ve been hired to tutor a troubled boy, but I keep feeling like that’s only the beginning of my journey. I’m hoping that somehow, out of the darkness, I’ll finally find answers to the mysteries of my own past…

The plot focused on Victoria Winters arriving by train to Collinsport. She is welcomed by Mrs. Stoddard, but experiences strange and disturbing dreams upon her first night in the house. She meets David Collins, who is constantly plagued by memories of his mother. Meanwhile, Willie Loomis and his girlfriend go to the Collinsport crypt in search of a treasure and open Barnabas’s coffin. In the process, she cuts her hand and some blood falls upon the desiccated corpse, reviving him. Barnabas drains the girlfriend and attacks Willie. He later attacks Carolyn, walking home from a romantic encounter with Joe Haskell on his boat.

Barnabas Collins presents himself at Collinwood, and Victoria feels immediately drawn to him. He asks permission to restore the Old House, and although Roger cautions him against it, he is determined to proceed. David and Victoria visit the Old House and Barnabas shows Victoria a portrait of Josette DuPres, which greatly resembles her. This is in Josette’s room, which had been walled up until now. Willie, now working for Barnabas, bears fang marks and cannot say enough about Barnabas. At night David wakes and goes into the wood, where he removes a dagger from the ground. What might be the spirit of Angelique is now apparently free. Meanwhile, Dr. Julia Hoffman at the hospital confirms that Carolyn’s wounds match those of the corpse of Willie’s girlfriend, who washes up on shore completely drained of blood.

Victoria goes to the hospital with Mrs. Stoddard to visit Carolyn, currently on life support. Carolyn, late at night, wakes and looks longingly out the hospital window, murmuring “Come back.” When Victoria drives back to Collinwood she seemingly hits Angelique with her car. Angelique, who has crashed through the windscreen, and Victoria both scream.

Jessica’s Role

Todd3Jessica stars as Carolyn Stoddard, a young woman in her early twenties, intensely frustrated by her life in Collinsport. She tells Joe Haskell, the fisherman with whom she has a relationship, of her fear of becoming like her mother, afraid of leaving.

On Halloween night, she is the third person attacked by Barnabas Collins after his accidental revival by Willie Loomis and Kelly Green. She had just left the bar run by Sam Evans and his daughter Maggie. Barnabas literally picks her up by the neck from trees then drops her after feeding. According to Dr. Hoffman, over half the blood in her system was gone. Carolyn evinced no memory of what happened.

Following the attack, Carolyn demonstrated personality changes. She insisted she never wanted to leave Collinsport and at least once gazed out of the window late at night, saying “Come back.”

Production Notes

Production began in 2004. The original director, Rob Bowman, had to back out of the project at the last minute due to other commitments, and the new director, P.J. Hogan, took the series in a different direction. Dan Curtis was not pleased with the result. Jim Pierson who served as an associate producer, was also not satisfied with the pilot, and said that should the series have continued, there would definitely have been some casting changes made.

It was filmed at the Greystone Mansion, which also served as the Collinwood Mansion for the previous 1991 remake.

The pilot was never quite finished and some of the special effects still needed some work. For this reason, it never aired because The WB passed on the series. It was screened at a 2005 Dark Shadows festival in Los Angeles, with subsequent showings at the 2006 Dark Shadows 40th Anniversary Festival in Brooklyn, New York, the 2008 Dark Shadows Festival in Burbank, California and the 2009 Dark Shadows Festival in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

There’s no much information online about the show, but some sites as Collinsport Historical Society has a nice behind-the-scenes (no Jessica information).