Advertisement

Film review: 'Dark Shadows' more comedic than dark

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp keep the blood flowing in remake of vampire soap opera.

May 11, 2012|By Andy Klein
  • Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins and Eva Green as Angelique Bouchard in Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures "Dark Shadows."
Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins and Eva Green as Angelique… (Photo courtesy…)

In “Dark Shadows,” Tim Burton exhumes the Dan Curtis gothic soap opera of the same name, which ran five days a week from 1966-1971. Not surprisingly, Burton's frequent collaborator Johnny Depp takes over the role of vampire Barnabas Collins. (Jonathan Frid — who played Barnabas in over a thousand episodes of the TV show and who died just a few weeks ago — can be spotted in the film as a guest entering a gala ball.)

Curtis also made two features from the material: Burton's film cleaves fairly closely to the plot of 1970's “House of Dark Shadows,” the first of these. In the late 1700s, Barnabas is cursed by witch Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), whose affections he has spurned. After she makes his beloved (Bella Heathcote) jump off a cliff, she turns Barnabas into a vampire, and then has him buried alive.

Two hundred years later, accidentally unearthed, he returns to the family estate, Collinwood, pretending to be a distant cousin. He finds the family business on the verge of going bust, thanks to ruthless local competitor “Angie” — who is, of course, Angelique, also an immortal. He also finds the pathetic remnants of the Collins household: matriarch Elizabeth (Michelle Pfeiffer), her sullen daughter (Chloe Grace Moretz), wastrel Roger (Jonny Lee Miller), his troubled 10-year-old son (Gully McGrath), a drunken live-in psychiatrist (Helena Bonham Carter), and a nanny (Heathcote again) who happens to look exactly like his late fiancee. Barnabas uses his vampiric powers in an attempt to fight Angie and restore the family's fortunes.

Advertisement

The TV show came and went during the only TV-less period of my life, so my sole exposure to the “Dark Shadows” phenomenon was the Top 30 recording of “Quentin's Theme”; for the uninitiated, the success of this snatch of dippy carousel music was beyond understanding. Apparently, the show was played for horror, not for laughs, which may make Burton's film more fun for us still uninitiated types than for longtime fans with an attachment to the original tone.

Glendale News-Press Articles Glendale News-Press Articles
|
|
|