Where was Dark Shadows filmed?
Buckinghamshire, Beckenham, Cornwall, Tarrytown, Newport
Beach/Oceanview, Castles, Mansions, Victorian, Ship Docks
Beachfront, Castle/Chateau, Gothic/Victorian, Shipping Yard/Dock
About Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows began as a gothic-horror soap opera TV series from the 1960s and 70s about a town called Collinswood. The story follows a woman who applies for a job as governess to a wealthy family but instead she ends up being entangled in the strange events and mysteries of the family, which gets even crazier once Barnabas Collins, an old relative and vampire, shows up. Over time we discover the history and drama behind Barnabas’ life and his curse, which was placed upon him by a witch named Angelique Bouchard.
The show went on for years and gathered a total of 1,225 episodes that were released weekly. The series was created by Dan Curtis who actually got the idea from a dream! The episodes starred actors and actresses like Jonathan Frid, Grayson Hall and Alexandra Isles.
Several films and spin-off novels were created after the series became popular, like House of Dark Shadows released in 1970, and Night of Dark Shadows released a year later. The most recent movie was made by Tim Burton in 2012 and is based loosely on the series, following the same characters in the town of Collinsport with Barnabas leading the show once again.
The movie follows his life and upbringing as a boy in Collinsport until Angelique, after being hurt by his unrequited love, kills her fiance, curses him, and traps him for eternity buried in a coffin. After he is accidentally freed centuries later he awakens to a world unlike the one that he remembers.
His old home, the Collinwood Manor, has seen better days, and the descendants of his family are facing their own struggles. He now has to help his family and claim back the town, all while facing the witch who cursed him in the first place. This rollercoaster ride of a movie was directed by Tim Burton and cast stars like Johnny Depp, Eva Green, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Did you know that Barnabas Collins was not planned to be a character in the soap opera series? After first airing in 1966, the show had trouble gaining a fanbase, and the character of Barnabas Collins was only supposed to be a temporary member with hopes to increase ratings. He ended up being so popular that they decided to keep him on the show. Spoiler Alert: Watch out if you haven’t seen all of the series episodes or movies, since we will mention scenes from all of them.
Dark Shadows Locations
In order to suit the theme for the shows and movies, the Dark Shadows production team had to find places with a rustic, Victorian and Gothic aesthetic. Much of the TV series was filmed in Newport, Rhode Island. They used several locations around the area and also filmed at ABC Studios where many of the scenes took place.
Tarrytown of New York State was used in the filming of the first two films, House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows. The most recent film by Tim Burton was mainly filmed in the studio at Pinewood Studios but also took the production team and cast to certain locations in Canada, England, and Scotland.
Were you a fan of Dark Shadows growing up? Or maybe you’ve seen some of the movies and are interested in learning more about where they were made. Listed below are some of the most memorable scenes from the series and films and the Dark Shadows filming locations, so you can actually go to the places where they were made.
Victoria arrives at Collinwood Manor scene in Dark Shadows
Seaview Terrace-Carey Mansion
In the first episode of Dark Shadows, “The Beginning”, we get our first introduction to all of the story’s main characters. The episode begins with Victoria Winters riding into Collinsport on a train to respond to a job description. If all goes well, she is set to be the governess to a young boy in the family, but she is also hoping to learn more about her mysterious past and her parents who she never met since she grew up in a foundling home.
After arriving in Collinsport, Victoria makes her way to a coffee shop where she meets a waitress named Maggie Evans who warns her about the wealthy Collins family. She tells her; “Listen, honey. The Collins family is the biggest thing in this town. They own the biggest cannery, the biggest fishing fleet and the biggest, darkest, gloomiest old house. And they’re kooks, every one of ‘em”. We also meet a man named Burke Devlin who has his own reservations about the strange family and has hired a private detective by the name of Wilbur Strake to investigate the people of the town, but mainly the Collins.
Not only do we get our first glimpse into the show but also the famed Collinwood Manor. This huge mansion which sits atop Widow’s Hill in Collinsport appears regularly throughout the series and is a building that all dedicated fans of the show are able to recognize. The building still stands today and is actually called the Seaview Terrace-Carey Mansion. If you ever find yourself in Newport make some time to stop by this filming location for Dark Shadows.
Barnabas awakens scene in Dark Shadows
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Let’s look at the movie for a bit. In the Dark Shadows movie called House of the Dark Shadows, which was created after the television series, many of the same characters are present. The film begins with young David being missing and his governess, Maggie Evans, is sent out by his father Roger Collins to look for him. She begins her search and runs into Willie Loomis who is the handyman of the estate. He briefly tells her that he has no interest in aiding in the search for David, but is instead hoping to find the precious family jewels to take for himself.
He ends up breaking into the family mausoleum and, after deciphering a riddle, he gains access to the Collins family's secret burial chamber. The riddle read; “The Madonnas rest high above, the lion’s head watches the dove, and in the womb beneath the hill - a blazing light glows bright and still.” He is still hoping to find the lost jewels but what he stumbles upon is much worse. Willie discovers an ancient coffin that is kept shut with chains so, of course, he decides to open it. Viewers watch as a hand reaches out and grabs Willie by the throat; Barnabas Collins is awakened once again!
This is a classical scene for a vampire movie and a memorable one. The setting for this Dark Shadows movie scene takes place at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Take a stroll around and see if you can find the exact vault pictured in the movie.
The costumed ball at Collinwood scene in Dark Shadows
This scene happens soon after the one mentioned above in the House of Dark Shadows film. After the arrival of Barnabas Collins to the new Collinwood Manor his distant relatives Elizabeth and Roger decide to host a huge costumed event to celebrate his return to the family. Of course, they don’t know that he is a vampire. As everyone prepares for the ball, Barnabas ends up attacking Carolyn as she is getting ready, but he does not kill her. This only causes problems for him in the future, since now she knows that he is a vampire.
Early on in the night, Barnabas meets Maggie Evans for the first time, and she is dressed in a vintage gown that he recognizes as the wedding dress of his old beloved Josette who tragically passed away centuries ago. Barnabas then believes that Maggie is the reincarnation of his deceased fiance, and tells Willie that he is going to marry her. “Every wedding needs a witness. And you will be witness to this one”. Little does he know that Carolyn is overhearing his conversation and she threatens to warn Maggie about his true nature so he flies to her and finally kills her, only for her to return later on as a vampire herself.
The house that you see in this film is actually the Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown. Feel free to visit it to see where some of the Dark Shadows action scenes were filmed. As a bonus, you can also stop by the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum which is not too far away and was used as a location for the Old House and home of Barnabas in the same movie.
Alex Visits the Greenhouse scene in Dark Shadows
Lyndhurst Mansion Greenhouse
In the sequel film to House of Dark Shadows, called Night of Dark Shadows, we follow similar yet different characters existing years later but on the same timeline. Now it is Quentin Collins and his wife, Tracy, who have inherited the house in Collinsport and are moving in. We also meet the housekeeper named Carlotta Drake and other characters, like Alex Jenkins and his wife Claire who are close friends of Quentin and often come over for dinner.
Since Alex is close to Quentin it doesn’t take him long to notice that he is beginning to act strange, and he suspects some sort of supernatural phenomenon is responsible. He begins investigating around the house and in one scene he passes by the greenhouse on the Collins property. He sees a shadow inside and decides to enter and find out who it is.
To his surprise, the glass of the greenhouse falls and he manages to narrowly escape, and we learn that it is the ghost of Angelique trying to kill him. He remains suspicious but unaware of the real cause of the accident, later telling Tracy that “I was exploring, I guess I shouldn’t have been. Then the whole place fell down.”
This exact greenhouse is open to visitors and is actually housed on the same property as the mansion that was used as Collinwood Manor. If you have some extra time at Lyndhurst Mansion make sure that you explore the grounds a bit, and you can visit the exact Dark Shadows filming location where this scene took place.
Young Maggie flees the asylum scene in Dark Shadows
Beckenham Place Park
The 2012 film Dark Shadows gives some interesting backstory on its characters like Victoria, the new love interest of Barnabas. In a glimpse of the past, viewers see young Victoria, although back then she went by the name Maggie Evans, who has the ability to see ghosts. She befriends the phantom of Josette, Barnabas’ first love who had drowned after being cursed to jump off of Widow’s hill by Angelique. Although she and the ghost become friends, Maggie’s parents can’t see the spirit and quickly believe that their daughter is going mad.
They send her away to an insane asylum called Windcliff Sanitarium where the young girl is put through years of intense therapy. They use electroshock, solitary confinement and straight jackets in an attempt to cure her, but the phantom of Josette remains by her side as her only friend through it all.
When Maggie finally sees a chance to escape she takes it, fleeing from the asylum and eventually looking for somewhere to stay and a job. This brings her to take on the task of governess for David at the Collinwood Manor. She changes her name and leaves her past behind, deciding to introduce herself as Victoria for the rest of the film; “Hello, my name is Maggie Ev… Hello, my name is Victoria Winters. Please, call me Vicky”.
The scenes filmed at Windcliff Sanitarium took place at Beckenham Place Park in Lewisham. This location near Bromley, South London is now used as a golf course and historic park. It is open to the public daily so if you are interested in seeing where this Dark Shadows film scene was captured then you can head here for a nice walk and sightseeing.
Barnabas saves Victoria at Widow’s Hill scene in Dark Shadows
Star Point in the Great Mattiscombe Sands
At the end of the Dark Shadows 2012 film, after Barnabas and the Collins Family battle it out with the witch Angelique in the burning Collinwood Manor, she is defeated and all seems to be well again. Their relief is quickly put to an end when Barnabas realizes that Victoria is nowhere to be found.
The young boy David explains that the ghost of his mother saw her headed for Widow’s Hill. Barnabas is rightfully afraid because of the tragedy with Josette at the beginning of the film when Angelique curses her to jump to her death at the same location.
Barnabas hurries to the hill to see Victoria walking slowly but certainly towards the edge. He manages to stop her in time, exclaiming that he thought he was about to lose her like he did Josette almost two centuries ago. Victoria responds “You already have. We can never be together, Barnabas; I belong in the light and you belong in the shadows, I’ll age and die while you live on”.
She then throws herself off of the cliff, knowing that Barnabas would jump after her and turn her into a vampire in order to save her. This was the only way that they could be together forever, and as she awakes Barnabas realizes that it is actually the soul of Josette who takes over the body and he is reunited again with his first love.
This is one of the best scenes in Dark Shadows which concludes the movie and finally breaks the curse of the Collins family. Although parts of the scenes on the cliffs were created with CGI, some of the filming done on the rocky beaches was captured at Star Point in the Great Mattiscombe Sands not too far away from Kingsbridge, UK. You can visit this Dark Shadows filming location yourself, although you will need a car to reach it via the A379. It is also a nice place to go for a hike.
For the real Dark Shadows fans, these filming locations are iconic and are well worth a visit. Plan a short trip to Tarrytown, Kingsbridge, South London and Sleepy Hollow if you want to see them in person. It is pretty cool to find yourself in the very same places that the vampire Barnabas Collins and his relatives are said to have lived for centuries in the Dark Shadows universe!