Counting down to Dark Shadows

A few weeks ago, a common complaint heard and read among fans of Dark Shadows and Tim Burton was “Where’s the trailer?”  No longer.  The trailer has debuted, amidst controversy (i.e. free publicity) along with a series of t.v. spots as well as a media blitz of interviews, articles, photos and a startling number of movie posters.

Some of the t.v. spots, while retreading footage from the trailer, also gives hints as to the plot.  Most recently one explained an amusing but puzzling image, that of the vampire Barnabas Collins brushing his teeth (and of course only the toothbrush showing in the mirror).  In the ad, at least, this follows his speaking with a young woman (who looks like Bella Heathcote as governess Victoria Winters) and putting a hand over his mouth.  “I hope my scent does not offend thee.”

Another clip indicates that Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) may in fact know that her long-lost cousin is in fact a long-undead ancestor.  Another scene shows Barnabas sitting in Carolyn’s (Chloe Grace Moretz) room.  It looks like a hippie’s pad.  With the air of trying to be cool, he asks her age.  Fifteen.  “Fifteen and not yet married!  You must put those birthing hips to good use!”

She says “You’re weird.”

Arguably the funniest clip is when Barnabas sees Alice Cooper perform and utters “Ugliest woman I have ever seen.”

Still another ends with Depp as Barnabas, mouth bloodied, staring up with…shock?  Puzzlement?  Fear?  Possibly all three.  He is bathed in yellow light.  Then a wider shot shows him staring at the Golden Arches of MacDonalds.

Screenwriter Seth Graham-Smith expressed some surprise at the mixed reaction by old-time fans of the show.  “The name Dark Shadows and some of the leaked photos evoke a very straightforward, dour, gothic feeling. Which the movie does have in places. However, it’s also a very entertaining, very funny movie.”  He went on to say “We didn’t want to have people sit through the organ music of a two hour chamber piece. You need to entertain and you need to have fun with the premise. And I think when people see the movie, they’ll realize we struck a good balance between respectful and updated.”

Another interview, with Eva Green (who plays the witch Angelique) went on to cause some controversy.  In one, Green said “Tim never real treated her like a ‘baddie’ baddie. She’s kind of a damaged character. I think I could identify with her because all the bad things she does comes from the incredible love she has for Barnabas, who broke her heart.”  But in another, she noted a choice not to study the original series.  “I’ve seen scenes, but the show’s not inspiring for my character,” she told the May issue of GQ.  She also wanted to make this Angelique her own.  Instead, she listened to music by Patti Smith and The Eagles and studied film clips, particularly Jack Nicholson’s bar scene in The Shining.

En route the premiere, an event is now scheduled by the Dark Shadows Festival.  In Los Angeles, May 10 will see a showing of the 1970s films House of Dark Shadows and its sequel Night of Dark Shadows prior to a midnight show of the new film.   All three will show at the Vista in Silverlake, a Egyptian/Deco theater that has hosted many events for the Festival over the years.  original series actors Lara Parker (Angelique) and Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie Evans) – both of whom have cameos in the new film, along with Nancy Barrett (Carolyn Stoddard), Roger Davis (Jeff Clark), Jerry Lacy (Reverend Trask), James Storm (Gerard Stiles), Christopher Pennock (Jeb Hawkes) and Lisa Richards (Sabrina Stuart). Between screenings, there will be guest autographs and a charity auction.  Tickets for the showing, which begins at 6pm, are $25 and to attend send that with a self addressed stamped envelope to: Dark Shadows Festival, P.O. Box 92, Maplewood, NJ 07040.

In other news, I’ve actually spoken to someone who saw a sneak peak of the film (sans music evidently) and this person very carefully did not reveal anything about the story.  They did however offer an important piece of advice:  Stay until the end of the credits.  Presumably some kind of surprise awaits, as it has done with films like Iron Man and Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 1.

So, are you looking forward to finally seeing Johnny Depp playing a vampire?


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.


  1. If I had to judge only by trailers, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” would win the 2012 rounds.

    Of course, “Dark Shadows” does have Johnny Deep, Tim Burton and a first-rate cast. It’s just that its damn trailer makes it look like “Austin Powers slapstick” instead of “Tim Burton quirky humor” (ouch!).

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  6. I wish I could see it today! Looks fantastic. Even my sister, who normally dislikes what she calls “fantasty” films, saw the trailer and wants to see it. Thanks for the tip about the the credits.

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