Dark Shadows Update Photos of Barnabas

Thanks to some intrepid paparazzi photos from the actual filming of Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” have made their way onto the web! Lacking context, they don’t mean a whole lot but we can glean a few details. All the shots involved were taken at a rocky beach and show Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins. We can tell because of the clothes. Not only is he wearing an inverness coat but in his hand is the famous wolf’s head cane the 1960s reluctant vampire was rarely without. Interestingly, Depp also wears a wide-brimmed hat. In the original series, Barnabas usually wore a gray suit. So does Depp. But the coat in the series was black, whereas Depp’s is green. Likewise in the series Barnabas wore a hat pretty much once–when he first showed at Collinwood and never again.

A close-up shot reveals Depp wearing sun glasses and with some startling make-up. He grins and clearly seems to be in between takes, not least because the sunglasses. Barnabas is unlikely to ever need sunglasses, being a vampire of the old school (or if you prefer cliche school–classic vampires from 19th century literature such as Dracula, Ruthven, Varney and Carmilla were all active in broad daylight). Which strongly suggests that the scene being filmed involves filtering or digital grading–turning this bright day setting into nighttime. Makes sense. Film lighting is expensive and if you can use natural sunlight the time saved can be worth more than many people make in a year. This also might explain the make-up, which look rather extreme at first glance. In “Sweeney Todd” the entire film was digitally altered, de-saturating almost every frame and requiring them to use bright orange liquid in place of blood. Once the process was complete, the bright orange became blood red. Likewise Depp’s face will most likely alter with the filtering or grading done on the footage.

Chloe Grace Moretz has finished filming her part as Carolyn Stoddard, daughter of Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer–who has also finished her part). In a radio interview for ChoiceFM September 2 she described her character as a “hippie” which would seem a more vivid version of the Carolyn initially met in the t.v. series. At that time, she was a rebellious young woman with a biker boyfriend–a sure annoyance to her mother (Buzz would have seemed like a doctor from old money compared to some of Carolyn’s later paramours–a werewolf, an artificial man pieced together from corpses, a demon entity given human form in an effort to make with her and take over the world, to name a few). Moretz described “Dark Shadows” as a combination of three other Burton movies–“Sleepy Hollow” “Sweeney Todd” and “Beetlejuice”. What instantly comes to mind is–what parts is she thinking of with each of those films?

She also said Johnny Depp was the “most normal” guy on set.

Moretz let out one other hint about the plot of the film. She revealed Carolyn has a ‘dark shadowy secret’ and that it is ‘close to what I once played before.’ Upon further grilling she admitted the previous role to which she referred was Abby in “Let Me In.” For those who don’t know (a tiny minority presumably) Moretz played a vampire in that film. Some possibilities that occur with these hints–maybe Carolyn is bitten by Barnabas? or somehow learns his secret? or just sees something supernatural? We’ll presumably know for certain next May. The interviewer asked it it was the ‘same’ secret and Moretz said ‘no.’ So presumably Carolyn is not a vampire, unlike her character’s fate in the motion picture “House of Dark Shadows.”

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. Great! Johnny Depp looks like he’s channeling Michael Jackson. What dimwit came up with that makeup and costume design?

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