Christopher Lee in Dark Shadows

So much news about the upcoming “Dark Shadows” film! Some confirmed, some not.

To begin, there was indeed a panel at ComicCon about the new movie, hosted by Hermes Press and including Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott (the original Angelique and Maggie respectively). They were able to confirm that not only is Jonathan Frid making a cameo appearance in the flick, but so are they along with David Selby (who played immortal werewolf Quentin Collins). Neither lady were allowed to describe anything about Johnny Depp’s look as the iconic vampire, save to use the word ‘beautiful.’ Also, they praised his own graciousness, his gratitude to the original cast as well as his public admiration of all their work, especially Frid’s. One other tidbit they offered was that Helana Bonham Carter, initially interested in playing Angelique, evidently is having a blast playing Julia Hoffman!

Jim Pierson, personal assistant to the late Dan Curtis (who created the show) confirmed that while Danny Elfman is doing the music for the film, he is evidently drawing upon the themes composed by Bob Cobert.

The other big confirmed addition to the cast from many sources is none other than Sir Christopher Lee! Sir Christopher, who catapulted to fame as Dracula in Hammer films during the 1960s, has enjoyed a much more varied career since. Among his recent roles were the evil wizard Saruman the White for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Count Dooku in two of the “Star Wars” prequels, Willy Wonka’s father in Tim Burton’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and (his own favorite) the title character in “Jinnah” a biopic about the father of Pakistan. He also appeared in Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow” and his voice graced the animated film “The Corpse Bride” with both Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp (who of course were both also in “Charlie”).

The following are a set of spoilers that have been appearing in different locations on the internet. I have not been able to confirm or (so far) even trace their origin. So take them with not just a grain, but a pillar of salt. Offered for completeness’s sake, with the real possibility these are nothing but wild rumors:

Angelique, not Barnabas, is the major villain of the film. Barnabas becomes a sympathetic character almost immediately after being released in 1972. Angelique is killed near the end of the film. During the course of the movie, Barnabas is briefly cured of vampirism, but is re-cursed by the dying Angelique. The 1972 Collins family is accepting of strange Cousin Barnabas, partly because they have lost their fortune, and Barnabas appears to be wealthy. Victoria Winters is a student of the occult, and has chosen the employ of the Collins family intentionally. In a 1972 scene, Barnabas has a violent reaction to the decrepit condition of Collinwood Manor. Barnabas does not kill any of his victims in the script, and no new vampires are created (other than Barnabas, himself). Angelique kills an important character. Angelique can fly. When Angelique initially curses Barnabas in 1772, she does not summon a bat, but a vampire named Cornelius. Barnabas attempts to escape Cornelius on horseback, while Cornelius pursues him on-foot. Cornelius leaps onto the horse from behind, and attacks Barnabas. The two fall off the horse, which continues to speed away without them. On the ground, the vampire violently and repeatedly bites Barnabas, rendering him life-less. This, in my opinion, is the only truly frightening scene in the script. David has a brief phone conversation with his mother, but her face is not shown. In an humorous segment, Barnabas is taught to drive an auto. Barnabas despises Roger and plans to kill him. Someone talks him out of it. Barnabas’s costume includes a cape, ring, cane, and oddly, a wide-brimmed hat. A major character falls from Widow’s Hill in 1972. Barnabas is chased through the forest by a group of towns-people wielding wooden-stakes and hammers. He finds a strange hiding-place. An on-going gag, throughout the script, includes a group of hippies who find themselves squatting in several very unfortunate locations. If one pays attention, some very familiar art-work is seen in the halls of Collinwood Manor. Angelique and Julia hate one-another for reasons other than Barnabas. Three actors from the daytime-serial version of Dark Shadows play cameo roles. One is quite a surprise. A 1970s rock-star also has a cameo, as does a well-known vampire author. Barnabas can transform into mist and a bat, but has difficulty mastering these powers. In a 1972 scene, Angelique informs Barnabas that there are other vampires in the world, and that Cornelius is still (for lack of a better word) “alive.”

By david

David MacDowell Blue blogs at Night Tinted Glasses.  He graduated from the National Shakespeare Conservatory and is the author of The Annotated Carmilla. and Your Vampire Story (And How to Write It) as well as a theatrical adaptation of Carmilla.


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