Dark Shadows

Many years ago, there was a soap opera that dealt with vampires, werewolves and other denizens of the night.  The name of this show was Dark Shadows and it went on for almost forever.  Correction, it only ran from 1966-1971 but since it was daily, it seemed like it was forever. But this has nothing to do with the show.  This is a review of the Time Burton directed film adaptation of the same name.

Johnny Depp plays Barnabas Collins, heir to the Collin’s family fortune.  The Collins’ family was a rather rich family who came to Maine in the 1700s to start what became a fishing empire.  In 1772, Depp earns the ire of his former mistress, Angelique (Eva Green) by declaring his intention to marry his true love Josette (Bella Heathcote).  But it turns out Angelique is a witch.  So, doing the only sensible thing, she kills his parents and turns Barnabas into a vampire.  Barnabas is then buried in a coffin until…

We are now in 1972.  The Collins’ family is…not doing well.  Let’s review the remaining major players in this drama shall we?

Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfieffer) – Family matriarch
Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller) – Elizabeth’s brother.  General pain in the ass
Carolyn Collins (Chloe Grace Moretz) – Daughter of Elizabeth.  Secret of her own
David Collins (Gulliver McGrath) – Son of Roger.  Sees things.
Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter) – David’s shrink.  Obsessed with Barnabas.
Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley) – Collinswood’s caretaker.  Barnabas’s thrall.
Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) – the reincarnation of Josette; David’s governess

Barnabas’s coffin is dug up by a crew looking to build something commercial.  As he is… hungry, lets say the construction workers don’t make it past this scene.  Barnabas then finds his way back to Collinswood to see it in its less then stellar condition.  He endears himself to Elizabeth by showing her a secret vault of treasure.  Que the Collins’ ascent back into power.

But wait!  You didn’t think it would be easy, did you?  Angelique has been kicking around Collinsport running her own canning and fishery business, putting the Collins family in its dilapidated state.

Its at this point Barnabas wants to hold a ball, which is now apparently called a thing.  Carolyn comments on how the situation is weird, and all they would need is Alice Cooper. Cue Cooper!  I was really surprised and pleased that they got Alice Cooper to appear.  He performed ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ and ‘Ballad of Dwight Fry’.  Both very good choices for the movie.  Carolyn did the intro to ‘Ballad’, which was appropriately creepy.

Didn’t I mention that Julia (the shrink) was obsessed with Barnabas?  Well, in her search for a cure to Barnabas’s condition, she was instead shooting up the blood she took from Barnabas.  We won’t be seeing Julia any more in the movie.  Here’s a clue: she sleeps with the fishes now.

Eventually it all comes to a head with Angelique.  She gets the town to turn on the Colins clan once again.  As the towns people storm Collinswood, Barnabas and Angelique come to blows.  As they battle in the mansion, Angelique begins to take the upper hand.  That is until, Carolyn’s secret power is revealed.  With her help (and the ghost of David’s mother) Angelique is defeated.  Everybody lives (mostly, except Victoria who is turned into a vampire by Barnabas)(but at least she ‘lives’)  Yay!  Happy ending…ish.

Except… Julia awakens at the bottom of the sea.  She’s a vampire too!  Sequel?

I liked this.  It was dark, goofy and entertaining.  The music was all pitch perfect.  My wife, who watched the show like it.  I liked it, and had never watched the show.  So either way, give it a shot.  You just might like it; its got a lot to bite into.

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