This feature movie condenses the story line of the long-running soap opera of the same name. After two-hundred years of being imprisoned in a stone coffin, Barnabas Collins is set free by the Renfield-like groundskeeper Willie Loomis. He takes residence in the abandoned mansion on the Collinwood grounds and introduces himself as a long-lost cousin from England. The family believes him.
He falls in love with Maggie Evans, who he believes is the reincarnated Josette, who he was engaged to a lifetime ago. When he had told Josette that he was a vampire, she had thrown herself from the cliffs and killed herself. But someone has taken an interest in Barnabas--the family's physician, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall). She thinks the vampirism is a disease and tells Barnabas she can cure him. But when he spurns her advances she refuses to treat him--and this causes him to rapidly age into a horrific looking vampire. There's some great makeup by effects master Dick Smith.
The entire time I was watching this (probably the tenth time I've seen this movie in 30 years) I kept on thinking how this would really lend itself to a spoof--and lo and behold I view the trailer to Tim Burton's remake and it does just that. Yes, I grew up watching the 70's DARK SHADOWS and I even enjoyed the 90'S Redux--but this story is so familiar to fans that, well--what else is there to do with it?