The pairing of genius is once again among us as Tim Burton and Johnny Depp bring Barnabas Collins and his relatives to the big screen in the feature length version of “Dark Shadows.” The film opens May 11 and is expected to be widely popular.
Both Depp and Burton were fans of the original TV series “Dark Shadows” which ran as a daytime serial on ABC from June of 1966 to April of 1971. At the time, supernatural beings were unprecedented on television. The gothic series also used werewolves, warlocks, witches, zombies, and other man-made monsters to round out parts of its cast. Time travel and a parallel universe were also explored during its run.
The series, which today has achieved cult classic status, was so popular that a primetime remake was aired in 1991 on NBC. The new show was an instant success but frequent pre-empting by the Gulf War caused ratings to flag and the show was cancelled at the end of the first season.
The movie has Depp playing Barnabas Collins in his unique style. A human in 1792, when young Barnabas first comes to America, he is turned into a vampire some 20 years later when his playboy ways break the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), a witch who turns him into a vampire and then buries him alive. Barnabas is freed in 1972 and returns to his manor home, Collinwood to find it in ruins and his family descendants in no better shape. And yes, the witch is still around and still after him.
The film is sprinkled with comedy as Depp deftly handles Collins’ transition to the new world and its trappings. The passion for the characters is clearly seen in the trailer on the left. The sound track is classic 70s as are the costumes and sets.
At first glance, the film appeared to be nothing more than a gothic yet flashy spoof of the original series but on closer inspection, it is clear that a great deal of love and thought have gone into crafting this movie.
Southern Illinois fans will be able to get their fix at AMC Centre 8, AMC Showplace Mt Vernon 8, Wehrenberg Cape West 14 Cine, Paducah and AMC Evansville 16
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