Night of Dark Shadows
Night of Dark Shadows

Dan Curtis


Dan Curtis
Sam Hall


David Selby
Grayson Hall
John Karlen
Lara Parker
Kate Jackson
James Storm


Robert Cobert


Dan Curtis Productions



Release Dates

United States: August 4, 1971

Running Time

94 minutes
129 minutes (unreleased director's cut)





MPAA Rating


Preceded by

House of Dark Shadows

Followed by

Dark Shadows (2012)

We have 442 images of Night of Dark Shadows
Just another night of... terror!
When the sun goes down, the terror begins!

Synopsis Edit

Quentin Collins and his new bride Tracy have just inherited the Collins family estate known as Collinwood. It is a Gothic mansion set atop a cliff on the shores of Collinsport, Maine.

Upon arriving, they meet Collinwood’s housekeeper Carlotta Drake. Carlotta states that she has worked here all of her life and even lived at Collinwood when her parents were caretakers. Carlotta begins showing the newly-weds around the house.

Pretty soon, Quentin comes upon a 19th century portrait of a blonde haired woman with captivating green eyes. Carlotta explains that the portrait is of Angelique Collins who used to live there over a century ago. A short while later, Quentin stares out of an upstairs window and seems to see someone hanging from one of the branches of an old oak tree outside. He blinks several times and the vision is gone. He then decides to go to bed. Throughout the course of the evening, Quentin dreams of Angelique being sentenced to die for witchcraft. His mind replays the events of her death and the vision matches that of the woman he believed to have seen hanging from the tree earlier on.

The following morning, the mansion's stable hand Gerard Stiles enters the kitchen. Gerard is mentally slow, and harbours a bizarre relationship with Carlotta Drake. He asks if Carlotta knows 'what happened last night', complains that he 'used to be good enough', but Carlotta cuts him off, and states forcefully that everything will be different now.

Angelique - Night of Dark Shadows

The hanging of Angelique

Quentin decides to go riding and he meets Gerard for the first time. While he roams the grounds on his horse, he has another vision. This time he sees himself as Charles Collins dressed in 19th century attire attending the funeral of Angelique. He also sees himself blaming the local priest, Reverend Strack for her death and murdering him by trampling the good Reverend with his horse. After what Charles did, Gabriel sealed him alive in the family crypt with Angelique's corpse for eternity.

Shortly after, he finds the cemetery and is drawn toward the family crypt that he saw in his vision. Before he can go in, Claire, who is passing by, calls to him, breaking his strange spell. Quentin goes to visit his good friends Alex and Claire Jenkins, who are a husband and wife team of mystery writers and seem to have a flair for modern art. Quentin tells Alex of the dream he had and Alex begins to get a bit concerned.

The next day, Quentin decides that he wants to set up his own art studio at Collinwood. Carlotta recommends the third floor tower room for privacy and atmosphere. Quentin has no reason to suspect Carlotta of duplicity, so he takes his painting supplies up into the tower. Conveniently enough, Carlotta places the portrait of Angelique up there as well.

Later on outside, Quentin suffers another vision. In this one, he sees himself as Charles Collins (again) who is romantically involved with Angelique. To make matters worse, not only is Angelique a witch, but she is the wife of his younger brother Gabriel as well. Quentin dreams of Angelique’s execution again, but this time he (Charles) turns his head away to gaze up at the third floor window of Collinwood. He sees a young girl staring down gasping in horror as Angelique is pushed from the tree branch.

Quentin goes upstairs to question Carlotta about what he had seen. Carlotta explains that it was she who he had seen at the window and that perhaps his mind was playing a trick on him and made him think that he was watching a little girl. Quentin isn’t completely satisfied with her answer, but he lets the matter drop.

That evening, Quentin and Tracy invite the Jenkinses over for dinner. The group has a really good time despite the discomfort of Carlotta’s presence.

Later, Quentin and Tracy make love and the two fall asleep. Quentin dreams of Charles Collins once again. Charles’ jealous brother Gabriel discovers the two (Charles and Angelique) in each other’s arms and the two men come to blows. While Quentin is dreaming, Gerard hears a noise coming from the master bedroom. Upon investigating, Quentin attacks him. Quentin is still asleep, but in his dream-state, he believes it is Gabriel that he is actually fighting. The two wrestle each other out into the hallway awakening Tracy and Carlotta. In the throes of his mania, Quentin begins to strangle Tracy. He finally snaps awake once he realizes what he’s doing.

The next day, Alex rides a bike to check on Quentin. He stops near the greenhouse when he believes he sees someone lurking about. Getting off the bike, he calls out, but no one answers. He goes into the greenhouse and suddenly, all of the glass falls down on top of him. Alex manages to dive out of the greenhouse before any of the shattered glass has a chance to strike him.

Quentin meanwhile, is getting angry concerning the strange visions and dream-memories that he’s been having. He questions Carlotta and forces her to reveal what she knows. Carlotta explains that the little girl that Quentin thought he saw at the window was actually Sarah Castle. Sarah was the daughter of the housekeeper in charge of Collinwood in 1810. Carlotta is the reincarnation of Sarah Castle.

The full story of the events that transpired in 1810 is basically thus: Angelique was the wife of Gabriel but as a witch she seduced his brother Charles. Angelique had also murdered a local reverend named Harridge. Harridge’s close friend Reverend Strack learned of this and came to Collinwood to accuse Angelique of witchcraft. Angelique was taken downstairs for trial. Prior to sentencing however, she was stopped by a distraught Sarah Castle. Sarah and Angelique were very close and Angelique gave her a special necklace. She said that so long as she wore it, she would never forget her. Angelique was then taken out to a great tree on the Collins’ estate and hung. Charles blamed Strack for his true love’s death and trampled Strack with his horse. Quentin is actually the re-incarnation of his own ancestor, Charles. The spirit of Angelique is working through Carlotta in an effort to keep Quentin’s body near so that Charles’ spirit can dominate him completely. However, the conspirators need to do away with those who would threaten this union; namely Tracy, Alex and Claire.

Quentin tries to dismiss all of this, but to no avail. He goes back up to the tower to work on his painting. Tracy tries to come up and visit him but Quentin grows enraged and tells her to "get out". Tracy is beginning to suspect that there is something seriously wrong with him.

Later on, Quentin decides to go into town for a few hours. Tracy decides this is a good opportunity to sneak into the tower and see what he’s been working on. She finds Quentin’s coat and absconds with the tower room key. While searching the room, she finds a painting of Quentin (Charles) carrying Tracy’s dead body and placing it at the feet of Angelique. Tracy doesn’t know what to make of all this since she doesn’t know the complete back-story concerning Angelique. Quentin returns early because he forgot his wallet in his jacket. Tracy rushes back down to try and replace the key before Quentin discovers that it is missing.

Meanwhile, Alex and Claire go to New York to attend the Burton Art Gallery.

That night, the spirit of Charles Collins once again possesses Quentin and he tries to rape Tracy. Tracy manages to get away but she's completely horrified by Quentin’s rash behaviour.

Alex and Claire return from New York with a 19th century portrait of Charles Collins. They notice that barring a small scar on the cheek, Charles is the spitting image of Quentin. Alex begins to suspect that something otherworldly is taking place at Collinwood. But the ghost of Angelique is getting tired of the Jenkinses’ interference and tries to kill Alex. Her spirit covers him and tries to choke him while he’s sleeping, but Claire saves the day and manages to drive the ghost away for a while.

The following day, Tracy goes wandering around the original family mansion known as the Old House. She loiters about near the old swimming pool when Quentin comes lumbering along. He is completely taken over by Charles now and is even suffers from a lame leg, similar to what Charles had to endure. Quentin attacks Tracy and tries to drown her in the swimming pool. Satisfied that he has killed her he stalks off back to Collinwood.

Just as he’s leaving, Alex and Claire show up to warn the Collinses about what they have found out. They find Tracy floating in the pool and manage to save her before she drowns completely. Alex knows that Quentin is responsible and is able to piece together the reality of the situation on his own. Claire takes Tracy back to their cottage while Alex heads off towards the main house. He angrily confronts Quentin, who insists everything is fine; Carlotta lies that Tracy is probably in her room, and when Quentin finds that she isn't, blandly states that she's left him. He tells Alex to go away.

Carlotta is determined to follow Angelique’s will, and she sends Gerard out to kill Alex and Claire. Gerard hops in his pick-up and begins following Alex’s car. He runs him off the road into a tree nearly killing him. He then drives off to the Jenkins’ cottage. He attempts to break in through the front door but Claire shoots him in the face at point blank range. The shot is only a glancing blow however, because it only succeeds in causing a severe flesh wound. Gerard breaks in and kidnaps Tracy. He takes her in his truck and heads off into the country.

Meanwhile, Quentin has managed to temporarily take control of himself. He finds the scratches on his arm where Tracy tried to fend him off as he was drowning her and realizes Alex was telling the truth. Questioning Carlotta, he learns what Gerard is doing. Quentin finds Alex; Tracy, in the pick-up near a bridge on the countryside, manages to honk the horn, alerting Quentin. Gerard gets out and runs. Quentin chases him onto the bridge and the two square off for their final confrontation. Quentin does pretty well against Gerard, but Tracy executes the final blow. She comes up behind Gerard and bludgeons him with a lead pipe. Gerard falls off the bridge onto the rail-road tracks below. (Ironically enough, during the scuffle Quentin suffers a gash across his cheek, which bears a striking resemblance to the scar borne by Charles Collins.)

Quentin and Tracy go back to Collinwood. They decide to end Angelique’s madness for good. They go down into the basement searching for Carlotta. Angelique’s spirit appears and struggles with Tracy, but Tracy manages to shrug the violent spirit off of her.

Alex, meanwhile, chases Carlotta to the roof of Collinwood. She’s perched on the parapet when she looks down to the ground and sees Angelique beckoning her. Carlotta answers the summons and leaps to her death.

Quentin and Tracy believe that with both Carlotta and Gerard dead, everything will be peaceful again. Quentin decides however that he is going to sell Collinwood and leave town. They meet up with the Jenkinses, and everyone decides to drive up to the Cape for a small vacation. Alex and Claire drive off and Quentin says he’ll follow shortly. He just wants to get his canvases from the house.

Quentin goes inside leaving Tracy to wait for him in the car. After a few minutes, she gets tired of waiting and goes inside to find Quentin. He finds him sitting in an easy chair brooding. She calls out to him and he slowly rises. He has an evil grin on his face and begins limping over to her. He tears the bandages from his face revealing the scar. Tracy now knows that the spirit of Charles Collins has taken him over completely. Angelique appears, now returned to life, and the two converge upon Tracy. The last thing we hear are Tracy’s terrified screams.

In an epilogue we learn that the Jenkinses' car went off the road killing both Alex and Claire. Witnesses report seeing a ghostly white smoke filling the vehicle as it went off the highway.

Memorable quotes Edit

  • Carlotta: Everything is different now.

  • Carlotta: We're rare people, you and I. Not only have we lived before, but we are fortunate enough to remember.

  • Carlotta: Angelique loves us. She always has and she always will.

  • Quentin: I don't know why I almost feel I've come home again.

  • Angelique: Bring the painting to life, Charles.

  • Carlotta: Mrs. Collins, did you ever stop to think that perhaps you don't belong here?

Dramatis personae Edit

Cast Edit

Crew Edit

Background information and notes Edit

  • Night of Dark Shadows is a self-contained story and does not share continuity with either the original Dark Shadows television program or the full-length feature film, House of Dark Shadows.
  • There is one intriguing detail in the movie, however - almost a throwaway line of dialog
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    "Night of Dark Shadows" was released on region 1 DVD on October 30, 2012

    ue - that would seem to indicate continuity with either the TV series or the first movie. At one point while showing Quentin and Tracy the Collinwood mansion, Carlotta remarks that "Mrs. Stoddard used to enjoy having tea in this room before her death" -- this is obviously a reference to Joan Bennett's character. Most likely it refers to continuity with House of Dark Shadows; Elizabeth was the only adult member of the family left alive - brother Roger and daughter Carolyn had both been changed into vampires and then destroyed, and it would make sense that the house would pass on to Quentin after her death. Of course, that raises the question of what happened to David.
  • On September 1st, 1998, Warner Brothers released Night of Dark Shadows on closed-captioned VHS format. A Laserdisc of the title was released by MGM Home Video in combination with House Of Dark Shadows. In 2012, the 94-minute version of the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray.
  • Night of Dark Shadows has also been released through another production company known as Title House, Inc.
  • The director's cut edition of Night of Dark Shadows runs to 129 minutes. MGM forced Dan Curtis to excise 32 minutes worth of footage from his final cut. An additional 4 minutes was further removed at the behest of the MPAA who considered it to be too violent or sexually suggestive for a GP rating. (See History section below for further detail)
  • There's a small amount of material in the 94-minute version that doesn’t feature in the 128-minute version.
  • At the time of its release, Night of Dark Shadows was given a GP rating by the Motion Picture Association of America. It has since been re-rated and given a PG rating.
  • The piano solo "Joanna" from the TV series was used and adapted as the musical love theme for the film. A version of the music with piano, harmonica and acoustic guitar was recorded for the film. Another version, this time using only acoustic guitar, was recorded but not used in the movie.
  • Jerry Lacy was supposed to play Rev. Trask but could not be in the movie.
  • A prologue involving the death of a hippie at the hands of Angelique and Gerard was cut from the script a week into shooting.
  • Virginia Vestoff was to play Samantha, the wife of Quentin, the part that the character Laura (as played by Diana Millay) filled.
  • The story takes place in the year 1971. Certain segments of the back-story take place in the year 1810.
  • It is implied Gerard is the reincarnation of Gabriel, Quentin's brother.
  • The Blue Whale is mentioned. A Captain Rossiter told Alex that a young servant girl haunts the halls of Collinwood and the estate.
  • Joshua Collins is said to have built Collinwood in the late 1600s.
  • Claire and Alex's best known novel is The Ghost at Corinth Bend and was being made into a major motion picture at the time of their deaths.

Bloopers and continuity errors Edit

History Edit

  • The rough assembly edit of NODS was around 3+ hours. This was honed down to a fine cut running approximately 150 minutes.
  • The 150-minute version version was screened for the post-production crew. Composer Robert Cobert is on record as saying he thought this version was a "masterpiece”. Director Dan Curtis knew there was no way a 2½-hour movie would be acceptable to the studio. So he cut it down to 129 minutes and delivered that version to MGM.
  • The 129-minute version was screened for MGM executives. Unhappy with the running time, studio head James Aubrey ordered Curtis to cut an additional 40 minutes out of the picture, specifically for Grayson Hall’s part to be truncated. Curtis was given only 24 hours to re-cut the picture. A 97-minute version was approved by Aubrey.
  • Finally, an additional 4 minutes were cut from the picture without Curtis' consent in order to guarantee a GP rating (1971's PG equivalent).

Restoration Edit

  • The original 150-minute version no longer exists in any form. Dan Curtis had all the additional material destroyed when he moved from New York in the mid 1970s. The 129-minute version had been considered lost and presumed destroyed for decades, however in August 1999 film historian Darren Gross unearthed the sole existing material for this version. Curtis was thrilled that the 129 minute version was found, but is quoted as saying: "What I'd really like to see is the stuff I cut out [from the 150min version], there was some amazing stuff in it."
  • In the recovered 129-minute version, approximately 102 minutes of original audio exists. All the original music composed for the film exists.
  • All the missing dialogue required for the 150-minute version has since been re-recorded using the original cast with the hopes of producing a reconstruction for the remainder of the missing scenes. A substantial amount of money needs to be spent to transfer and finish all the audio post-production work. The sound work involves ADR editing, mixing, balancing, and sound effects editing, foley, mixing, and the final overall mix.
  • To date a restored version of the film, either in a 129-minute version or 150-minute version, have yet to see a release.

External links Edit