Dark Shadows Burton-style

Okay, I’ll admit it. I was one of those kids who raced home from school to watch Dark Shadows every single day. I could hardly wait to get my daily dose of vampires, werewolves, witches, shaky sets and boom mikes.

Which explains a lot really.

Years before Lost, Dark Shadows was playing with alternate timelines and shape-shifting villains. Which was why you couldn’t miss an episode. You missed an episode and you wouldn’t know who the heck was possessing Caroline this week. (Actually, it was Caroline in the Past, AKA Charity Trask, who was always getting possessed by a dead dancehall girl named Pansy Faye. Who was more fun than the real Charity Trask so when Charity was singing and dancing it was a dead giveaway that she was someone else.)

Barnabas was always Barnabas, no matter what time period they were in, because he was old as dirt, but occasionally someone from the Present would run into Barnabas from the Past in the Past and he would have no clue who they were. Because he was Barnabas, but he hadn’t gotten to the Present yet. People from the Present were always getting mistaken for witches in the Past and then they’d have to be rescued from hanging or stoning or something.

Luckily, all those time travel paradoxes did not apply in the Dark Shadows universe. You could go back in time and visit yourself and the world would not implode.

I worshipped Jonathan Frid with his plastered down bangs and David Selby with his fearsome sideburns (When you think about it, werewolves really should have fearsome sideburns). Did it matter that the sets moved every time someone closed a door? No. Did it matter that the boom mikes got almost as much screen time as the actors? No. Did it matter that the actor who played Roger once did an entire scene with a fly crawling over his face? No, but that was pretty funny. So it was with much excitement that I waited for the new Tim Burton version of one of my all time favorite shows.

Then the first trailer came out.

And it was a comedy.

I wasn’t sure how to react to this. I mean, the original Dark Shadows could be hilarious at times, but only by accident. That was what made it funny. Making Barnabas a laughing stock when he ought to be a tragic figure seemed sacrilegious. I was prepared to be appalled.

Only I wasn’t.

Because there were funny bits, but the core of the story was true to the original series. Johnny Depp’s Barnabas is perplexed by the Present which the original Barnabas never was. That seems more realistic although realistic has never been a word used to describe anything involving Dark Shadows before. But Barnabas’s core angst is the same. He still hates being a vampire, he still longs for Josette, he still suffers at the hands of Angelique.

So I’m in.

And while Johnny Depp will never be Jonathan Frid, he will always be Johnny Depp which turns out to be almost as good.

Dark Shadows logo © Warner Bros.

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So what did you think of the new Dark Shadows movie?  Post your comments below!

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5 thoughts on “Dark Shadows Burton-style

  1. OK, you’ve intrigued me. But do they mock the 70’s? From the trailers and ads it would appear to. I know i’m in the minority but I actually enjoyed that decade!

    1. They mock the 70’s in a gentle sort of way. There were a couple of things that I found totally hilarious, but I won’t ruin things and mention them here.

  2. Robin, I agree with Dana. You should be writing more than tool manuals! We will look forward to a book in your future… I mean near future! Don’t put it off! I’m sure you have some writings in the works.

  3. So now I have to see it. lol Actually, I’ll go see nearly anything with Johnny Depp in it. I was so smitten with Barnabas when I was 10. I wasn’t a huge fan of Quentin, but he could be funny. Sort of like Q in Star Trek Next Gen. :>

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