Though they had been recorded throughout the annals of human history long before anyone ever came up with a standard, universal word to refer to them by, vampires had almost always walked hand in pale hand within the confines of the moon-drenched night with the element of romance. Many a tale of Gothic romance had been spawned over the years focusing on undead bloodsuckers and mortal maidens — most notably Bram Stoker's immortal Dracula — but in 1966, a fellow working in that grand (and still relatively new) world of television by the handle of Dan Curtis revamped (ahem) that horrifying romantic constituent into airwave material. Thus, the long-running supernatural soap opera Dark Shadows was born.
Oddly enough, the series started out sans the very paranormal spirit (ahem again) it later became famous for — eventually adopting a vampire character named Barnabas Collins into the fray, who would undoubtedly become the show's most famous character. By the time Curtis had the chance to give an abbreviated motion picture adaptation of his brainchild to the world with the film House of Dark Shadows in 1970, Barnabas had himself become the very essence of Dark Shadows — something that continued with the poorly-received and short-lived 1991 television remake, and the comedic 2012 theatrical reboot from Tim Burton that, sadly, received more acclaim than it rightfully should have.
But we're talking about the old movies here, kids. As I said before, House of Dark Shadows essentially offers up a condensed rehash of the Barnabas story arc from the series — only with something slightly resembling a budget this time 'round. Though contemporary Gothic romance purists might not want to put too much devotion into my usage of the word "budget" — as House of Dark Shadows looks rather cheap even on the 1970 scale of things, but of course, most of that is attributable to the fact that these were TV people making a movie. It's still a thousand-times more lavish and professional-looking than its older television sibling.