Step with Depp into the Dark Shadows
May 10, 2012 / 8:00 pm
Greetings movie lovers, it's time to take a peak at what's in store for us this weekend at the cinema.
In 1752, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) was living the good life as a wealthy English playboy, master to Collinwood Manor. However, when he broke the heart of vindictive witch, Angelique (Eva Green), he was turned into a vampire and imprisoned in a tomb for nearly 200 years. When he's accidentally freed in 1972, he finds the world a much different place. His Maine manor is now in ruins and inhabited by his dysfunctional descendants, all harboring twisted family secrets. Can Collins adjust to the times and his new family?
When I first heard about this project last year I was super excited. Tim Burton would be directing an adaptation of the gothic soap opera that garnered a huge cult following when it aired from 1966-1971 and was hugely influential towards the modern telling of vampire tales. He of course cast Johnny Depp (their 8th collaboration together) as Barnabas Collins, which made sense since Depp has admitted to having been obsessed with the character as a child and a big fan of the show.
Surely this would be one of the most creepy, gothic, atmospheric horror films we've seen in awhile, right? Then I saw the trailer for the movie a couple of months ago and my jaw dropped. What do you mean they've turned this horror classic into a campy comedy spoofing the 70's? Are you serious? Yikes!
Once I allowed my disappointment to dissipate, I realized that the studio probably couldn't have done it any other way. After all, the target audience for this film isn't familiar with the source material anyways so they won't be bringing in any preconceived notions about the characters and plot, and comedy has a much broader appeal to a wider audience than horror does, so from a marketing perspective it makes total sense. If only they had thought about not opening it one week after the Avengers - whoops.
I think Burton is a great director and storyteller when he gets the right material so I hope that Dark Shadows will be highly entertaining and not too goofy. This better be more Ed Wood Burton and less Mars Attacks! Burton.
In addition to Depp and Green, he's assembled a stellar cast which includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee and Alice Cooper (how cool is that?). I do really appreciate the fact that he has included cameo appearances from some of the original cast members of the TV series like David Selby, Lara Parker, Kathryn Leigh Scott and Barnabas Collins himself, Jonathan Frid. Sadly, Frid just passed away on Friday April 13 (spooky eh?) so this marks his final film appearance.
The original TV series was created by Dan Curtis, who was the king of late 60's, early 70's TV horror films. Since Dark Shadows ran for 1225 episodes it would take you approximately 470 hours to watch - and if you're super ambitious and have $450 burning a hole in your pocket, you can get the complete 131 DVD set in July. If you're like me and have less time and money then I would highly recommend that you check out some of his other work like The Night Stalker, The Night Strangler, The Norliss Tapes and Trilogy of Terror. It's great stuff.
If you're in the mood for a campy comedy with a little bite to it (I know, bad, huh?) then you might want to check out Tim Burton's Dark Shadows this weekend. If you are a purest however, you've been sufficiently warned.
Six Degrees of Chuck Norris
Johnny Depp from Dark Shadows was in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) with Robert Englund, who was in the Walker Texas Ranger episode entitled Deadline (1996) with Chuck Norris.
Eva Green from Dark Shadows was in Casino Royale (2006) with Daniel Craig, who was in Road to Perdition (2002) with Tom Hanks, who was in Saving Private Ryan (1998) with Dennis Farina, who was in Code of Silence (1985) with Chuck Norris.
Michelle Pfeifer from Dark Shadows was in One Fine Day (1996) with George Clooney, who was in The Descendants (2011) with Robert Forster, who was in The Delta Force (1986) with Chuck Norris.
Chloë Grace Moretz from Dark Shadows was in Hugo (2011) with Christopher Lee, who was in An Eye for an Eye (1981) with Chuck Norris.
Helena Bonham Carter from Dark Shadows was in Fight Club (1999) with Brad Pitt, who was in Burn After Reading (2008) with John Malkovich, who was in Dangerous Liaisons (1988) with Uma Thurman, who was Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) with David Carradine, who was in Lone Wolf McQuade (1983) with Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris Fun Fact:
When Chuck Norris is bitten by a vampire, the vampire turns into Chuck Norris.
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