Dark Shadows

When this movie was first announced, I thought it sounded like some really warped, twisted horror film. It’s the title. When the first trailer came out I was pleasantly surprised, and giggled all the way through it.

I enjoyed the film, however I did feel it lacked something. Maybe it needed a little more character development, I don’t know. What’s sad is that the trailer is fantastic, and the movie just misses the mark, maybe because the scenes in the trailer, when taken out of context are hysterical, but in the movie they fizzled a bit.

I did love that it was set in the 70’s, it gave the film a marvellous flavour and vibrant aesthetic. I also loved the Collinwood Mansion, it was an incredibly detailed set, over the top ornate carvings that so easily could have been gaudy and over the top, but managed not to be. I mean seriously, giant Seahorse statues on the outside of the mansion, can easily make it look kitschy but for some reason didn’t.

I enjoyed Johnny Depp as Barnabus Collins, you couldn’t see any Captain Jack Sparrow in his mannerisms. However I did find him a bit lacking. Maybe because they didn’t deal with Barnabus’s self hatred of what he is, and his inner turmoil with feeding on humans to live. In this regard I have seen these problems dealt with better in the Twilight Saga and Vampire Diaries, plus the golden oldies, Angel, Blade and Interview with a Vampire. Now these films and shows knew how to deal with the vampire with a conscience. Dark Shadows dealt lightly with the issue, and Barnabus fed too easily, and with not enough self loathing and remorse. Edward and Angel had it in spades.

I enjoyed Eva Green as the evil witch who Barnabus spurned. She was a fun villain. She also had great clothes. The way her immortality was dealt with reminded me of Death Becomes Her (1992) starring Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis with hair, and Goldie Hawn. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn’s bodies become similar to that of a doll, their movements rigid and spastic, the same kind of movements Eva Green starts to make in the final battle.

I also enjoyed Chloe Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard, she was fantastically monotone with lots of lip. Sometimes I wondered if the character was high or not. She had spunk and sarcasm galore.

This was an enjoyable movie; it also aroused my curiosity about the original series made in 1966. What’s interesting is that this series is credited as the first day time soap show to have supernatural elements. The first supernatural element was the appearance of ghosts, six months into the shows airing and Barnabus Collins only made an appearance in the show a full season in. What I find very interesting is that during its five year run, Dark Shadows managed to produce 1,225 episodes, since it was a daily show; the series has the most episodes in a sc-fi / fantasy series produced for television, surpassing Doctor Who and the entire Star Trek franchise! (And there’s a lot of Star Trek) The series has it all, vampires, ghosts, witches, werewolves, zombies, a Frankenstein named Adam, drama, mystery, long lost loves, flashbacks, time-travel, parallel universes –  it sounds like the 60’s version of my favourite shows Buffy, Angel and Supernatural. This series sounds like a fun watch, but it would be a daunting undertaking to first locate the series and then sit down and watch it!

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