Dark Shadows: The Trailer!

At long, long last a trailer for the upcoming vampire film starring Johnny Depp has seen the light of day!  (Pun intended)

Earlier this week, the word came out that the trailer would debut on the talk show Ellen.  Sure enough, as fans eagerly waited, said trailer did indeed give us our first real glimpse of the movie Dark Shadows coming out May 11 (see trailer below).

My name is Barnabas Collins,” intones Depp’s voice–deeper and more solemn than we’re used to .   “Two centuries ago, I made Collinwood my home.  Until a jealous witch cursed me, condemning me to the shadows for all time.”  During this voiceover we see the great estate with the silhouette of Barnabas gazing with pride upon it.  Then Barnabas, in 18th century garb, holds hands with a pretty young woman calling her “My love.”  The witch (Eva Green) drops what looks like a feather into a cauldron.  Wind and fog, then a close-up of hands than have become claws.  Barnabas’ face, blood tears streaming down his face, screams “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”  The fangs in his mouth pretty much answer that question.

After the Warner Brothers logo, we hear someone ask “What the hell is this?” followed by what looks like a shot in a hallway of Collinwood.  Some female figures, pretty clearly ghosts, whisper the words “He’s coming.”  As an admitted DS geek, allow me to point out one of these looks rather like actress Bella Heathcoate, who portrays both Josette the long-lost love of Barnabas and Victoria Winters, governess to the modern Collins family.  If true, this would echo an interesting plot point from the original series — namely, that Collinwood was haunted by Josette’s spirit, warning the family of danger.  It also kinda puts the kabosh on the idea pursued in every remake of Dan Curtis’ show since then, that Vicky is Josette reincarnated.  Frankly the closeup of one ghost seems to confirm this.

Next,  Barnabas rises from a coffin, very Nosferatu-like.  But with an interesting twist.  He raises and spreads his arms.  Frankly it harkens a bit to an image of crucifixion.  “Hear me, future dweller” Depp’s voice commands, and we see he is speaking to a hypnotized Jackie Earl Haley (as Willie Loomis) “what is the year?”  His reply, “1972,” receives a look of shock from the vampire, still in very nice clothes for an era when John Adams was President!

Quick cut to Collinsport, as it would have been in the year Nixon won re-election.  Traffic lights.  A volkswagon van.   A lava lamp.  And the music takes a turn from solemn to…well, kinda hippy.

“My beloved Collinwood,” says Barnabas as he approaches the family manse.  In the dining room we get out first look at the modern Collinses.  Helena Bonham Carter peaks out through sunglasses (in the morning, hints of a hangover) and asks “Who the hell is this?”  Series of shots including Barnabas saying “I am a vampire, Madame” and Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller) saying abruptly “Yeah.”

A lot of little shots follow.  One is Barnabas brushing his fanged teeth, but only the toothbrush showing up in the mirror.  Chloe Grace Moretz as Carolyn asking “He’s not staying with us forever, is he?”  Then her cousin David (Gulliver McGrath) saying “I like him.”  Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard says “Welcome home, Barnabas Collins.”  All this to the strains of 70s pop music.  Barnabas asks “How soon can the horses be ready?”  Elizabeth tells him “We don’t have horses.  We have a chevy.”  He looks baffled.  Carolyn slams shut her door, with sign that says KEEP OUT.  Then we see Barnabas freak as he sees the Carpenters on television.  “What sorcery is this?” he demands as he rips out the back of the machine growling “Reveal yourself, tiny songstress!”  This leads to a red convertible driving up and a blond woman entering through the foyer.  Eva Green’s Angelique says “Hello Barnabas.  Remember me?”  “Witich!” he calls her.  We get a series of shots then, including flashbacks to the 1790s of a figure on a cliff in the pouring rain (presumably Widow’s Hill).  Barnabas tells her “You may strategically place your wonderful lips upon my posterior and kiss it repeatedly!”

We see her crouching over a coffin, lid open, inside of which Barnabas is chained.  “What if I made you love me?”  She puts a red cloth of some kind over his mouth.  Then the scene shifts to some other place, where he snarls back “With what, a spell?”  She tears open her blouse, revealing a black lace bustier, and says “With this!”  His stares for a moment and replies “I must admit — they have not aged a day.”  Then Angelique in a series of seductive poses, with Barnabas’ face increasingly bothered (whether these shots actually take place together is anyone’s guess).

Helena Bonham Carter’s Dr. Hoffman (in sunglasses still, probably the same scene) asks “Is she for real?”  Barnabas groans “Indeed” and puts he head down on the keys to an organ.   “If I can’t have you, I’ll destroy you and your family” says Angelique (she does not in fact mention anyone’s little dog) amid shots of various things including Barnabas out in the day but under a very Burton-esque umbrella.  A disco mirror ball falls and shatters.  Barnabas says “Missed me.”  Next is what looks like a disco party (complete with music)  in Collinwood, where Angelique arrives in a bright red dress.  Dr. Hoffman watches, moving her head to the music and a curiously childike expression on her face (my guess?  She’s been drinking).  A close up of Barnabas during the day, with hat and sunglasses and under aforesaid umbrella.  “I shall restore the family business to its former glory,” he says while Angelique intones “Burn baby, burn” and we see an explosion.  Elizabeth touches a seated Depp on the shoulder and says to him “Fight on, Barnabas, fight on — for us.”  We see her holding Carolyn outdoors with the other family members at night, looking at something (presumably a fire).  “Fight,” he says, “I SHALL!”  Then we see him raise his hand as if forcing Angelique to fly through the air in a burning room that looks like Collinwood.  We also see Bella Heathcoate, presumably as Vicky, look up inside a padded cell.  She wears a straightjacket.  A plot point about which we receive no other clues.  We see Barnabas flying down through the air, trying to catch a young woman falling backwards before him.  “Love me,” demands Angelique to which Barnabas replies “Never!”

Followed by what looks like the pair of them clenched together literally flying all over a modern room, going to the ceiling and such, and Angelique licking his chest with a forked tongue at least two feet long.  Wow.  “A regrettable turn of events” he says surveying the wrecked room and its furniture.

The words DARK SHADOWS appear on screen.  Then Chloe Grace Moretz asks “Are you stoned or something?”  Depp answers with “They tried stoning me my dear.  It did not work.”  She makes a sneer in a very teenage-rebellion way.

Two things immediately spring to my mind watching this.  First is the tone, a blend of the deadly serious with a humorous touch.  Reminds me for one of both Sweeney Todd and Edward Scissorhands.  Second is the relative lack of Victoria Winters, who seems to have a major role in the movie but which is not reflected in this trailer.  Which is good, because among other things I like how the ending of the film isn’t shown.  One gets a sense of the plot, but not a blow by blow of  all that happens.

Watch the trailer for yourself…!

What do you think of the Dark Shadows trailer?


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. LOL, was this filmed off the tv screen? I didn’t know people still did that in our digital age:)

    Anyway, I’m still not sure about the weird make up, but it looks like it might be fun!

    1. Yes, sadly they have yet to release the actual trailer online. Which is weird. Usually trailers are released on TV and internet at roughly the same time. :(

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  8. Ok sadly they’ve made another great tv show from the late 60’s early 70’s into a laughing stock! I remember Dark shadows back in the days as a mysterious show with no comedy whatsoever ! This is another Charlie’s angels remake MISTAKE , sorry but I had to say it

  9. Gotta say…I love Johnny Depp’s work but I don’t like this Dark Shadows. I understand Tim Burton changing the tone a bit but he completely changed the feel of the series. Besides the setting, characters, and basic plot (barnies a vampire, angels a witch, barnies been locked up) there is nothing simpler. The original series was awesome. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

    Look at Let Me In and Let The Right One In. Very simulacra but somewhat different. I would have loved the same for Dark Shadows in the new millennium.

    Dark Shogun

    1. I thought it was originally going to be a true remake and the prospect of that being done by Tim Burton scared me a little, haha. I was relieved that it was being made in a humorous style.

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