As a kid, I barely remember the TV soap opera, “Dark Shadows.” The eerie theme song is forever seared in my memory. Tim Burton, Michelle Pfieffer & Johnny Depp were also Children of the Corn-y soap. Leave it to Tim & Johnny to pick ‘Shadows’ as their vampire vehicle.
I can’t really compare the two, meaning the movie & the TV series. I did not go back & revisit the old material. It’s widely known, that, for better or worse, this is now Tim Burton’s vision. As seen in the trailers, Barnabas Collins is a vampire buried alive for almost 200 years & released in the year 1972. This juxtaposition is supposed to the springboard for comedy situations.
But I found the film to be much darker than funny. You know that old saying, ‘Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned?’ Angelique (Eva Green) plays a servant who loves Barnabas Collins. (Johnny Depp) When the relationship goes south, things are compounded by the fact that she’s a witch. Hence the evil curse she places, which transforms Barnabas into a vampire, doomed for eternal damnation. She’s gives him the extended dirt nap too.
That’s the central theme at play here. This rivalry is the films’ beginning, middle & end. The bulk of the humor stems from the way Barnabas reacts to the tackiness of the times. Johnny Depp is indeed very interesting to watch on screen. He’s playing alot of this through his extended fingers & eyes. His makeup application was very extreme. A bit too much I’m afraid.
I always like to go over Vampire Rules. Barnabas casts no reflection in the mirror, (1) Point. Resistance to silver. (1) point. He seeks darkness, (1) point. Sunlight sizzles his skin & fingertips, (1) point. Original coffin brought in for slumber, (1) point. His ability to walk around in broad daylight, MINUS (5) points! It’s a bloody wash, folks.
Hardcore fans of the ‘Dark Shadows’ TV show have been left for scrap. It is what it is. This is signature Tim Burton: Weird & creepy right down the line. I liked this world, I just wish there were more laughs. Either it’s a dark vampire movie or it’s an out-and-out comedy. Tone is so tough. As you’ll see, it’s just about impossible to combine the two. Dark Shadows is rated PG-13.
Barnabas Collins is getting with the times. He’s now following me on Twitter. You can too @leoquinones