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Psyclops unveils DARK SHADOWS from an early test screening... Sounds Like Fun!!!

I was invited to an early screening of DARK SHADOWS last night in Burbank, CA. This is Tim Burton's version of the gothic soap opera that ran on television from 1966 to 1971. I don't know much about the original series or what the tone might have been, but this version is most definitely a comedy, and a pretty damned funny one. The lead character here is the vampire Barnabas Collins, played by Johnny Depp looking like the bastard child of Morticia Addams and Marilyn Manson. The film opens with a flashback narrated by Depp, showing a young Barnabas and his family leaving England for the New World in the late 1700's. We see the Collins family make their fortune and home in America, watching as Barnabas grows up to be a young man, and quite the heartbreaker. He eventually breaks the heart of the wrong woman, a beautiful servant girl named Angelique (played by Eva Green) who also happens to be a powerful witch. She curses Collins, destroying his family and the woman he loves before turning Barnabas into a vampire. Before long, Barnabas finds himself at the hands of an angry mob led by Angelique and is buried in a chained casket condemned to spend eternity in darkness.

We move forward in time to 1972 where a mysterious young woman named Victoria (Bella Heathcoate) arrives at the Collins mansion hoping to serve as a nanny to the youngest of the family's children. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Elizabeth, matriarch of the Collins clan, who lives in the mansion with her ineffectual husband, Roger (Johnny Lee Miller), and their two children, David (Gulliver McGrath) and Carolyn (Chloe Moretz).

Things get shaken up for the family when Barnabas, freshly dug up from his tomb by an ill-fated construction crew, also arrives at the mansion seeking to honor his duty to help save the dying family business and, more importantly, to get revenge against Angelique, who is still hanging around after two hundred years and more powerful than ever.

Now this film wasn't quite the gothic horror movie I was expecting, even though Burton brings that kind of creepy atmosphere to it. It's more of a horror comedy, closer in tone to "Beetlejuice" or "The Addams Family," only a little sexier and with implied violence. There are the usual 'fish out of water' moments as Barnabus tries to wrap his head around the modern world of the 1970's. At one point he mistakenly believes his 15-year old niece is a prostitute because of her skimpy outfits and later attacks a television set showing a performance by The Carpenters (most things he can't understand he interprets as Satan). Depp makes those moments work wonderfully because he plays Barnabas with such earnestness that you can't help but like the guy, even when he's kind of an asshole (he does kill several people).

There's even a really funny performance by Jackie Earl Haley as the surly groundskeeper of the Collins estate who gets hypnotized into becoming Barnabas's drunken version of Renfield. On a comedic level the movie does work, but there's a romantic angle between Barnabas and Victoria that just falls flat. The film seems to focus on the character of Victoria at the beginning and we're first introduced to the quirky Collins family through her, but once Barnabas shows up it's Depp's show and Victoria becomes marginalized. Her character almost disappears into the background until she's needed to be the love interest for Barnabas. Even then, it's a few brief scenes, too quick to buy into their romance.

I don't know if this version is anywhere close to what the source material was like, but I can honestly say that I really enjoyed it and that it does have some great laughs in it. As long as the marketing stays true to the comedic nature of the movie and doesn't try to sell it as purely a horror film, I can't see this failing to be a hit.


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  • March 14, 2012, 5:53 a.m. CST

    Can't wait!

    by chuffsterUK

    Sounds great!

  • March 14, 2012, 5:56 a.m. CST

    Feeling more positive about this...

    by Duck of Death

    ...hearing that it's a horror-comedy and not a straightforward soapy melodrama like the original. The campy aspects (like Barnabas' over-the-top appearance) now make more sense. Some of the more intense Dark Shadows fans will probably be outraged, though.

  • March 14, 2012, 5:56 a.m. CST

    Depp should take a step back from Burton

    by Mr Soze

  • March 14, 2012, 5:57 a.m. CST

    Sounds like a Tim Burton movie

    by lochkray

    Quirky characters, gothic style setting, odd macabre humor, and Johnny Depp. I know it's not for everybody, but count me in. Love Tim Burton movies (except for Mars Attacks - just don't like that movie).

  • March 14, 2012, 6:03 a.m. CST

    god i hope this is awesome


    but depp/burton collaborations just aint what they used to be.

  • Maybe a rental if the trailer is good.

  • March 14, 2012, 6:11 a.m. CST

    Sounds great!

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Beetlejuice vs The Addams Family? Not a bad tone to go for at all. Officially looking forward to this one now.

  • March 14, 2012, 6:13 a.m. CST

    This sounds good.

    by Kill List Hammertime


  • March 14, 2012, 6:19 a.m. CST

    A slither of footage...

    by chuffsterUK

  • March 14, 2012, 6:28 a.m. CST

    Meh. Tim Burton crapping on source materiel...

    by Buck_Futt

    ... in favor of his personal run-into-the-ground-by-now "quirkiness?" Been there, seen that, wasted money on the ticket.

  • March 14, 2012, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Looking forward to this...

    by Uridium

    I am a big fan of Burton, however I can see where a few of his more reicent films have not been up to scratch. However, despite not knowing the source material (maybe this is a good thing), I am looking forward to this.

  • March 14, 2012, 6:57 a.m. CST

    Is The Night Stalker gonna be a bloody comedy as well?

    by Carl's hat

    Don't you hate how every comedy remake of a classic show makes fun of the original without being anywhere near as good as the original? Pathetic.

  • March 14, 2012, 7:07 a.m. CST

    As a Dark Shadows fan this sounds lame.

    by Rob Jenson

    Dark Shadows has absolutely no sense of humor. It is not funny. It is a heightened Gothic melodrama. Making it into something akin to Beetlejuice betrays the spirit of the source material, which begs the question -- why make it in the first place? Of course, I have the same problem with a lot of TV show-to-movie projects. The buzz on 21 Jumpstreet is that it's good -- that it's FUNNY -- but the source show is not a comedy. Dukes of Hazzard was also turned into a comedy. I love comedies, and I love Beetlejuice, but why not just make Beetlejuice 2 instead of mocking the source material of something Tim Burton obviously loves?

  • March 14, 2012, 7:08 a.m. CST


    by BackStJoe

    So it sounds like my worst fears from the still pictures that have come out are true...why does every remake have to be a comedy? Why couldn't this be some big horror movie keeping the tone of the original?

  • March 14, 2012, 7:13 a.m. CST

    by anne

    Psyclops, it's too bad you didn't honor the confidentiality agreement we signed at that screening last night. :(

  • March 14, 2012, 7:14 a.m. CST

    Hated DS...

    by Unscripted

    My sister wouldn't miss an episode and I learned to loathe the soapy gothic weirdness. Looks like the remake is just another excuse for Johnny Depp to play a weird, off character in too much makeup. And WHAT is with the HarryHead this week? It looks like Harry giving his brain head...

  • March 14, 2012, 7:26 a.m. CST


    by lochkray

    Failing to honor confidentiality agrements used to be the bedrock of Aint It Cool.

  • March 14, 2012, 7:26 a.m. CST

    notcool - more importantly, do you agree with psyclops' review?

    by i_got_worms

    Yes or no?

  • March 14, 2012, 7:37 a.m. CST


    by Darkman

    The animation is based on 1986's FROM BEYOND. <br><br> Call me crazy, but this sounds promising. Then again, I'm a do-or-die Burton fan. Even the ridiculously uneven ALICE IN WONDERLAND had its moments.

  • March 14, 2012, 7:38 a.m. CST

    I actually do agree with Psyclop

    by anne

  • March 14, 2012, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Burton's films always start off well....

    by cookylamoo

    But he never seems to know where he's going and the ending always disappoint.

  • March 14, 2012, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Why are some remakes done as comedy? 21 Jump Street, Starsky and Hutch...

    by impossibledreamers

    They weren't comedies back then, why spoof them up now? Is this the suits ideas of being hip or do producers think they can't do them serious because they're too old? The A-Team wasn't a spoof. And I loved it.

  • March 14, 2012, 8:15 a.m. CST


    by Unscripted

    Because the original shows WERE comedy, no matter how seriously they took themselves. There's no way to do a serious take on any of this TV junk, so if it has to be done (arguable...) we may as well amuse ourselves at the same time.

  • March 14, 2012, 8:23 a.m. CST

    Burton's next Beetlejuice or Ed Wood?

    by elsewhere

    Please make it so.

  • March 14, 2012, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Not a Burton fan

    by barnaby jones

    couldn't careless about this.

  • are there any scenes where barnabas and julia both forget their lines and try to stammer their way through the scene? any possessed flies buzzing around?

  • March 14, 2012, 8:32 a.m. CST


    by ATARI

    I believe the Harry head is from the movie "From Beyond".

  • March 14, 2012, 8:40 a.m. CST

    great, dark shadows as an intentional comedy

    by gumbyandpokey

    Was really hoping for gothic melodrama like the original series.

  • March 14, 2012, 8:54 a.m. CST


    by Cletus Van Damme

    Would you prefer being called "Plant-eriffic" or "Plant-tastic?" The choice is yours.

  • I would like to think Burton and Depp will be able put their spin on it. Destroying a tv playing The Carpenters (would it be playing "We've only just liive..." ? It would be appropriate), is a nice start. This must be one of the rare positive reviews that no one has shouted PLANT........yet.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Tim Burton is worthless and predictable.

    by hatespeech

    and how.

  • Better be a smart, satirical comedy tho.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:07 a.m. CST

    And Harry's From Beyond aorner animation? It makes me, I hate to say it,

    by openthepodbaydoorshal


  • March 14, 2012, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Shame on you, Depp and Burton.

    by AOTF

    Yes, the show was campy at times, but it was never purposefully going for laughs. It never once "winked at the camera." It played all the outlandish scenarios with complete sincerity. That was the charm and brilliance of the show. Using the Dark Shadows characters for comedic purposes is a complete travesty.

  • If only Burton had made Princess of Mars it wouldn't have tanked.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:12 a.m. CST

    aotf: Dark Shadows was boredom times the square root if Pi

    by UltraTron

  • March 14, 2012, 9:20 a.m. CST

    As soon as Depp signed on I was on board

    by Wcwlkr

    I'm not surprised they're taking a comedic approach. I think Johnny Depp is a supremely hilarious comedic actor. If you saw him in the 2nd episode of Life's Too Short you can see this guy is just hilarious. Save for POTC 3 and a small portion of POTC 4 he's done no wrong to me. And even the things I didn't like about the POTC had nothing to do with Depp he was the one saving grace of those debacles.

  • Glad Burton is spicing this up. Depp as a vampire sounds great. Still wouldn't have minded Depp as batman. He's a bit small but he had the Bruce Wayne. Michael Keaton was bigger? I think Depp could have pulled off Batman with some padding.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:28 a.m. CST

    WHY... did they have to make it a comedy?

    by Yotz Von Frelnik

    I guess I can kiss my long-held hopes for a proper reboot of Dark Shadows goodbye. It's a solid storyline that's ripe for updating and I really hopes Burton and Depp would do something dignified with it, especially with Depp being a lifelong FAN of the original show. The WB had their chance back in 2004 and I guess they screwed it up. I think the 1991 version with Ben Cross might have picked up steam if it weren't pre-empted by a little thing called "Operation Desert Storm". Geez, with all the vampire mania the past dozen years between Buffy, Angel, Twilight and others, you'd think that SOMEONE would get hold of this and make a great new TV series. How could it miss???

  • March 14, 2012, 9:32 a.m. CST

    The show was boring and it knew it...

    by taosjedi

    glad to see Burton's hand in this rather than some Twilight version of it that would completely lose the audience

  • March 14, 2012, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Lets remember...this was a SOAP OPERA. Or do we call them serialized dramas now?

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    The genre elements made it different, but it was, in essence, a soap opera. If General Hospital:The Movie was made today, would we expect an earnest, heartfelt drama?

  • March 14, 2012, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Tim Burton has turned into a frustrating filmmaker

    by I_Snake_Plissken

    Almost everything prior to Mars Attacks is pretty good (although I may be in the minority who finds Edward Scissorhands fairly annoying – looking back it’s definitely a harbinger of what his later films would become). I enjoyed Sleepy Hollow, but everything else has been an excuse to demonstrate capabilities in makeup and allow Depp and Helena Bonham Carter to mug for the camera. It’s the same movie, over and over again – enough already, try something different. I never did see “Big Fish,” so I may still give that one a try.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:59 a.m. CST

    Why am I not surprised?

    by TrueLies

    AICN splooges all over a movie with Chloe Moretz.<p>In other news, water is wet.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Re: "Dark Shadows" and Comedy ...

    by ArmageddonProductions

    For those of you bitching about Burton's movie being a comedy, I'm not sure you understand the nature of the joke. They already attempted a serious remake of "Dark Shadows" in 1990 and acquitted themselves quite well -- they had a decent budget, they shot on location on film and Ben Cross pretty much obliterated Frid's version of Barnabas Collins (and yeah, while Grayson Hall was just swell, the remake series had Barbara-fucking-Steele). Thanks to the Gulf War, the ratings got decimated and it never got a chance to pan out, which is a huge shame. Anyway, that's not even the point here. Burton's movie is paying homage to the original series, not attempting to remake it ... and unless you watched the original series with a bong in hand or drunk off your ass (or unless you're deluded enough to have convinced yourself that it was some form of high art), then you're well-aware that the original series was a huge slab o' Gothic soap opera cheese. Next, you'll be clamoring for a "serious" remake of "Holmes & Yo-Yo" or "Auto-Man".

  • March 14, 2012, 10:06 a.m. CST

    WHERE. IS. THE. FUCKING. ***TRAILER?!?!?!?***

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    The movie comes out in barely TWO MONTHS, and we haven't seen a single FRAME of this movie yet?! I can;t think of a single big summer movie that hasn't had at least a teaser out at least six months before opening day, and yet Dark Shadows has given us only a smattering of staged publicity photos. Yeah, it's nice not to have the entire plot given away months in advance, but's fucking bizarre.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Actually sounds interesting. Recently watched parts of Alice in wonderland.

    by Tikidonkeypunch

    If they didn't cast ugly cunts in that movie I may have enjoyed it more. But it was still bland any way you look at it.

  • Funny how ready some people are to dismiss source material that took it self seriously - when it made that source material beloved enough to be a viable basis for a film decades later. Irony and cynicism are a flimsy foundation for anything. Hope this manages to transcend its feeble premise.

  • Wonderful! That means it might be really interesting. I bet the studio execs are sweating bullets. They're just hoping that people will see it because it has a famous director and the world's biggest movie star in it because they have no idea what it's about! They're terrified about cutting a trailer for the movie because they don't understand it and don't want to screw up the opening weekend by releasing a trailer that may confuse the people of Walmart that make up the multiplex audience. My guess is that they hope people might think it's "Twilight" with Johnny Depp.

  • Jonny Depp as vampire. Not to be confused with :Jonny Depp as pirate. or Jonny Depp as injun.

  • March 14, 2012, 11:10 a.m. CST

    A comedy?

    by lv_426

    Dukes of Hazard, 21 Jump Street, The Stepford Wives... and now Dark Shadows need to be comedies? I can understand the feeling that the original source material is now considered cheesy in certain cases, but that shouldn't equate to comedy in the case of a remake or reboot of something. Are you people so forgetful that you can't recall one of the cheesiest and silliest 70's programs being turned into one of the best shows of the new millennium? Need a hint? Battlestar Galactica. Going with the standard Hollywood remake logic, that should have been a comedy. And what about J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot? That one was about the original crew from the old Star Trek from the 60's, which many people see as cheesy and dated in some aspects. I guess they fucked up on that too, they forgot to make it a comedy with Steve Carrell as Spock and Will Ferrell as Captain Kirk. What about Batman? Tim Burton made that one dark and with a serious slant, then fucked it up with the over-the-top Batman Returns. I guess I can't say I am not surprised that he went straight for comedy with Dark Shadows. So will there be a big budget film reboots of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, the Sopranos, and The Walking Dead twenty to thirty years from now? Going by the logic of Hollywood backed up by all the kinds of comments here, yeah, that'll probably be the case.

  • Oh, and the irony is that we are getting three Paul Verhoeven sci-fi film remakes in the next few years, and by the sounds of it those will all be serious but dull iterations of the stories that were laced with humor and satire in the original RoboCop, Total Recall, and his adaptation of Starship Troopers.

  • March 14, 2012, 11:19 a.m. CST

    why a test screening now if the movie comes out in may?

    by chainsaw autotune

    kinda late to make any major changes. just to figure out what parts audience responds to for marketing?

  • March 14, 2012, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Remeber when movies had trailers?

    by Randy

    I guess the studio who made this forgot.

  • opinions on this site from people who say things like- I haven't seen the whole movie or I haven't seen this but Tim burton is this and that. The only movie I'm guilty of having an opinion about that I haven't seen the whole thing is attack the block. That's because everyone made me turn it off every time I tried to screen it. Also Kevin Sorbo is funnier than Bruce Cambell. Why no Sorbo cameos in Raimi films?

  • March 14, 2012, 11:59 a.m. CST

    RUINED!!! Won't Spend A Penny On This!!

    by Tracy Tobias

    A lifelong Dark Shadows fan here (like, alledgedly, Tim Burton and Johnny Depp). I am APPALLED that these two have decided to make this film a COMEDY when the original material was dark, gothic horror. Who cares if it was a soap?! Some of you ignoramuses think that exempts it from a serious treatment because it was a soap?! Obviously people today have the attention span and intelligence of turnips (My apologies to turnips). Before you type posts about something you know nothing about, here's an idea: Why don't you get ahold of the original series DVDs and watch some of the highlight episodes and acquire and informed opinion? At any rate, I won't waste a penny on this since they made it a comedy. Which is what I have said all during production of this. If the studio can't take the material seriously and give it the proper respect, then I hope they are prepared for a film that tanks at the box office. A film that will appeal to no one -- diehard fans of the original or "the Twilight crowd". From the pictures, the film looks great...too bad they wasted all that on a "comedy". I feel terrible for Jonathan Frid, Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker and David Selby who went to the UK to do cameos in this film thinking and believing it would be something special...a great tribute to their work on the original. And again -- shame on Depp and Burton for taking on a dump on a great classic series!!

  • While we'll probably get a super serious and depressing David Fincher style, Se7en-esque movie reboot of Twin Peaks and The Cosby Show.

  • March 14, 2012, 12:12 p.m. CST


    by Tracy Tobias

    One more thing -- I won't spend on damned penny on any more Depp/Burton shit!! I am SO pissed off they ruined and SQUANDERED this opportunity to make a great film based on one of my all-time favorite series!!!! SHIT, I could make this movie the right way in MY SLEEP!!! ASSHOLES!!! :-( And I hope they are reading this. Some "fans" they are!! I don't know what Dark Shadows they watched! Thanks ALOT, JERKS!!!!

  • March 14, 2012, 12:43 p.m. CST


    by lv_426

    I feel your pain. Your anger over the Depp/Burton Dark Shadows film is exactly how I felt when I walked out of the theater right after seeing Alien Resurrection, which was an Alien movie essentially done as a comedy.

  • March 14, 2012, 12:45 p.m. CST

    lv_426, over exaggerate much? Like a

    by openthepodbaydoorshal

    kajillion times?

  • March 14, 2012, 12:53 p.m. CST

    AUTOMAN!!!! Haha!

    by Darth Macchio

    I LOVED that show back in the day. I loved "Cursor" and how it was like a computer geek variation of Green Lantern. Or Weird Science (or both?) Also use to love Manimal as well... Ahh 80s tv...sparkling gems and cheese for everyone!

  • March 14, 2012, 1:23 p.m. CST

    LV_426 -- Alien Resurrection

    by Tracy Tobias

    Oh I hear ya on Resurrection!! Awful...particularly all that "Newborn" nonsense. Well, hope is on the horizon -- and it's called "Prometheus". :-) Now that I'll be saving money by not seeing Dark Shadows, Prometheus will be my most anticipated film of 2012. I know Ridley Scott won't screw that up the way Burton has made a mess of Dark Shadows...

  • March 14, 2012, 1:36 p.m. CST

    Another Burton fag fest.

    by TheGangBangTheory

    Really, back in the day I loved Batman, but it doesn't hold up. Since Batman Returns most of his films have been like weird Tranny Cirque du Soliel movies, with few exceptions such as Beetle juice.

  • March 14, 2012, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Sounds like a disaster...

    by Lord Elric

    Which means it'll likely make big money. And another great horror concept gets staked in the heart.

  • March 14, 2012, 1:44 p.m. CST

    Hell, if you can't watch the series, get the movies...

    by Lord Elric

    Both of them. They're coming out restored this year, but the current versions are out there in the wild. The first one is a compact version of the Barnabas storyline and is one of the most nihilistic Gothic horror movies ever seen at that time.

  • March 14, 2012, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Not a huge fan of Burton's

    by DJ

    ...But I love Dark Shadows. The original was actually a gothic soap opera that originated in the late 60s. It wasn't a comedy in the vein of The Munsters or The Addam's Family. Nary a laugh in sight. In fact, a lot of it was pretty sad. Wow. Willie as a Reinfeld type character? Not really. Willie Loomis was an ex-con who drifted into town with his friend Jason. They tried to weasel money out of Collins matriarch Elizabeth Stoddard, but all Jason got for his trouble was death at the hands of Barnabas. Willie was actually the one to open Barnabas' casket. That's how he was enslaved. There was nothing comedic about Willie. The character went from being smug and thug-like to very, very remorseful after he unleashed "death" upon the town. He was even heroic several times during the series. This Willie Loomis will be nothing like the original.

  • March 14, 2012, 1:56 p.m. CST

    I was never a fan of this series


    But it might be worth a watch though unlike Depps portrayal of Willy Wonka....which was fookin terrible.

  • March 14, 2012, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Dark Shadows Feature Films

    by Tracy Tobias

    Excellent point, Lord Elric!!! Basically, I was hoping this was going to be a sort of update of House with Angelique in it. Thats really all it needed to be and i think it would have worked! Red Riding Hood sort of had the kind of tone it needed. Or A Company of Wolves...But,'s to hard to make a DS movie that honors the tone and mood of the original I guess. Modern audiences can't handle serious classic horror I guess. Pure insanity... It's bad enough that most people in Hollywood do not have an original idea these days, but when they can't even get things right with the remakes it really pisses me off. As someone said above -- "Thanks for raping my childhood". Never again Burton/Depp!!!

  • March 14, 2012, 1:57 p.m. CST

    I haven't seen anything on Dracula 3D on here too.


    Isn't Dario Argento making a new Dracula flick? Haven't seen any coverage on Aintitcool about that.

  • March 14, 2012, 2:31 p.m. CST


    by Tracy Tobias

    Well, you nailed most everything in your post -- except the thing about dark comedy. I have to admit, there were occasions that I chuckled at the original but that was mostly due to something that maybe Angelique would say (or someone else) mostly because of the absurdity of the situation but I liked the fact that they never really winked at the camera on the original. It always took itself seriously.

  • March 14, 2012, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Saw a Dark Shadows movie when I was a kid...

    by thot

    ....was pretty freaky. The soap was darkly weird and kinda campy. Making it a dark comedy may work if they avoid getting too silly.

  • March 14, 2012, 2:52 p.m. CST

    *weird Tranny Cirque du Soliel movies*

    by lv_426

    HA! I'd say that perfectly describes all of Burton's films after Big Fish.

  • March 14, 2012, 3:02 p.m. CST


    by lv_426

    Ridley Scott making a Dark Shadows film, done in a normal and serious but gothic tone might have been pretty cool. I'm not really a fan of Dark Shadows, but a new gothic vampire film would have been something I would be interested in seeing, regardless of it being based on an old TV show or not. It pisses me off to see the fans of this and many other shows and stories pissed on whenever Hollywood remakes something nowadays.

  • March 14, 2012, 3:18 p.m. CST


    by Tracy Tobias

    Exactly!! A gothic horror film by Ridley would be interesting! He hasn't done one of those yet but it would be interesting! I think the director of Red Riding Hood could do a good job with Dark Shadows. I really liked that film. Yes, I'm tired of these idiots ruining perfectly good properties/franchises by making them into comedies. Just because something is old or produced with a limited budget (as DS was) doesn't mean it couldn't be redone with a big budget as a serious film. That whole mentality of "if it's old, it must be bad" is really annoying. Dark Shadows was a groundbreaking soap/TV series for its time. I guess if the Twilight Zone or Outer Limits were brought back today, those would be sitcoms? Ugh...the pain. The pain...

  • March 14, 2012, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Fuck it. I'm out.

    by captaincosmos

    Man, I was so optimistic about this, but after reading this review, it's clear that this is so NOT the Dark Shadows movie I was hoping to see. I'll echo the sentiments of several other folks above -- I REALLY wanted to see a straight-up, atmospheric, period gothic horror-melodrama. NOT. A. FUCKING. COMEDY. And Burton and Depp claim to have loved the original series -- fuck them. I've really grown to despise Burton as a filmmaker since Planet of the Apes. And while I recognize Depp's talent, I could give a shit about his being attached to anything these days. Too bad, really.

  • March 14, 2012, 4:31 p.m. CST

    Romance + Johnny Depp never work out on screen

    by TitusPullo


  • March 14, 2012, 4:51 p.m. CST

    Captain Cosmos

    by Tracy Tobias

    Yeah, Burton raped Planet of the Apes and was OWNED by Rise of the Apes. At least with that, he wasn't out there talking about how much of a apes fan he was. If this review is accurate, I'll never forgive him for doing this to Dark Shadows. I'll never watch another thing with his name on it. He can bite my frankenweenie...

  • And FYI, I loved every minute of it. If Burton plays this straight and light on the camp while actually acknowledging the potential for the humor of the bad, over the top moments Dark Shadows unintentionally delivered in heaps (rather than an obvious "frantic point to funny moment. See how funny this is?! BWAHAHA!" delivery) and doesn't treat the characters too much like caricatures, I can absolutely get behind this take. <P> The closest to a dark, "modern" melodramatic gothic horror it could be played up against would likely be the terribly underrated 1991 Dark Shadows that quickly fell by the wayside as Operation Desert Shield broke and escalated into Desert Storm (and even that Dark Shadows, as awesome as Ben Cross was, had some staggeringly cheese encrusted moments of prime Dan Curtis badness). <P> Those who expected zero tongue in cheek with Johnny Depp wearing that expertly a manicured piss take on Jonathan Frid rather than a more original, elegant Depp-as-vampire look have only themselves to blame for their disappointment.

  • March 14, 2012, 6:06 p.m. CST


    by Batlash

    Why do modern filmmakers feel the need to turn existing dramatic material into comedies? "The Green Hornet"? "21 Jump Street"? (just to name recent examples...) This sounds well and truly fucked. I had hoped that Burton and Depp, being self-confessed "fans" of the TV show, would have done it justice. Sounds like they've just raped it. A vampire comedy is fine, but not "Dark Shadows." If you buy the rights to "Dark Shadows," for the love of god, make "Dark Shadows."

  • March 14, 2012, 6:21 p.m. CST

    Eva Green's tits...

    by DickBallsworth

    Ticket bought.

  • March 14, 2012, 6:47 p.m. CST

    Eva Green's tits...

    by Tracy Tobias

    That's it? That's all you need to buy a ticket? Man, I'll bet you've seen lots of shit movies! LOL!!! Well, as much as I like tits and as hot as Eva Green's going to take much more than that to get my greenbacks.

  • March 14, 2012, 6:52 p.m. CST

    the bastard child of Morticia Addams and Marilyn Manson

    by Foucault

    Superlatively brilliant. But why "bastard"?

  • March 14, 2012, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Eva Green's tits have been well documented

    by Mugato5150

    It's going to take more than that and Burton's queered up Johnny Depp to get my interest. But it'll still make a billion dollars anyway.

  • March 14, 2012, 7:17 p.m. CST

    I wish it was melodrama

    by lutz

    Perish the thought Tim Burton should try to make a real, serious in tone, movie.

  • March 14, 2012, 7:29 p.m. CST

    Sounds lame

    by Tug

    Sounds like more forgettable, family-friendly crap for the masses. Burton is a sell out, he lost his touch ages ago and this doesn't sound any better than any of the other uninspired bs he's put out in recent years. Dark Shadows was not a comedy, is it too much to ask to stick to the source material but bring it up to date just a bit? Apparently so.

  • March 14, 2012, 8:15 p.m. CST


    by Michael

    Anyone who saw the original and came away ONLY seeing "cheese" is short sighted and shallow. Yes, the production values were cheap and the acting often overblown, but there were LOTS of wonderful dramatic moments and acting as well. Nothing had a tone and atmosphere like DS and to think that Burton is 'honoring' a show he purportedly loved by vamping up Depp as a gothic Boy George/clown mashup and making a broad comedy is indicative of his tendency to completely miss the point of his source material. It's seriously as if the man is aesthetically tone deaf.

  • March 14, 2012, 8:26 p.m. CST


    by Tracy Tobias

    If the makeup on Depp was the biggest problem with this film (from what I've read...not from seeing the film of course) then I would be a happy man! MY biggest problem with this is that --according to these advance reviews -- this is not serious gothic horror film like House of Dark Shadows was and like Night of Dark Shadows was...or even the series! It's like they intentionally sabotaged the material by making it a comedy! I have to ask -- why would any "fan" of the original make such a film?

  • March 14, 2012, 8:37 p.m. CST

    Burton could have gone full on Brady Bunch Movie with it

    by Terrence

    This is more like what most tv to movie adaptations do, recreate it, but with a lot of tongue in cheek shit from the actual show.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:37 p.m. CST


    by JaredP

    the movie isn't even out yet, and we haven't seen a trailer yet, so lets give brton a chance

  • March 14, 2012, 9:48 p.m. CST

    the trailer comes out tomorrow

    by JaredP

    they said it will premiere on ELLEN DEGENERES, so there all naysayers

  • March 14, 2012, 10:06 p.m. CST

    Could be interesting but fans are going to absolutely hate it.

    by elgato73

    DS was campy here and there but it was gothic melodrama at its finest and always took itself very seriously. And it was never funny. Burton sounds like he's made a whacked out version of the show but considering that several past remakes (both film and television series) from even creator Dan Curtis could not generate the same interest or ratings as the original, then maybe doing a full on horror comedy could be the right move.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:09 p.m. CST

    It's not suppossed to be campy

    by pat

    My first introduction to Dark Shadows was the early 90's revival series & I was immediately hooked. Later I was able to see the original series when the Sci-Fi Channel (not SyFy) aired it. It wasn't meant to be campy. The show was ambitious & any camp that resulted was due to a fast schedule & low budget. They didn't have the time or the money to fix mistakes. Its almost like watching live theater - only recorded for TV. I had high hopes for the movies but this just sounds awful. I wouldn't be surprised to see some comedic elements like Pirates of the Caribean but to make it a total comedy is the wrong way to go. Why even bother calling it Dark Shadows? Its not well enough known that they can rely on the name to draw in the crowds. I really expected better - a serious gothic horror treatment. I really hope Psyclops is wrong & its not as much of a comedy as he says it is.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Ugh...comedy/horror? Say it isn't so.

    by Tarch

    Wow, that just destroyed any chance of me going to see it. Comedy/horror never works.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:28 p.m. CST

    House of Dark Shadows

    by pat

    Anyone interested in seeing what the original show had to offer should check out House of Dark Shadows first. It was made in the early seventies with most of the original cast. Its an abbreviated version of Barnabas the vampire's story & is very well done. Skip the second one (Night of Dark Shadows). Its just not as good and only has a loose connection to the first movie. Even though both were adapted from the TV show's story lines, NoDS is missing the entire cast of the first movie & really suffers for it. A third movie was proposed but never made. The Revival Series was great too - up until the final episode when things start to get a bit over the top. It's a shame that it didn't get to continue. Its available in a crappy dvd set complete with fake widescreen (i.e. they chopped the top & bottom of the picture off to make it look widescreen). Sadly, we're not likely to ever get anything better. I love the house used in the Revival Series. Its called Greystone Mansion & has been used in a lot of movies & tv shows.

  • Charlie & Chocolate Factory got kinda close to Burton's wacky filmmaking origins but he has mostly made weird stuff quite seriously for the last while. Funny is good. Also I never saw Dark Shadows and feel zero attachment to the source materiel so I'm cool with that.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:58 p.m. CST


    by Tracy Tobias

    Well, I'm glad you're cool with it but imagine if some hack took a show you loved and fucked it up BADLY and intentionally...Basically making the material the exact opposite of what the creator of Dark Shadows intended. How would you feel? Oh yeah? Well, that's where I am (and other die-hard Dark Shadows fans) right now...

  • March 14, 2012, 11 p.m. CST


    by Michael


  • March 14, 2012, 11 p.m. CST

    "comedy/horror never works"

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Not an Evil Dead fan, eh?

  • March 14, 2012, 11:12 p.m. CST


    by AaronSch

    Johnny Depp claims he wanted to play Barnabas Collins since he was a boy. It's a shame that it appears he allowed Tim Burton to turn that character and Dan Curtis' gothic soap opera into comedy. I will still see it, however I am afraid it will be as lame as Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes." I just hope a different director and lead will helm "The Night Stalker." Depp and Burton are wrong for that Dan Curtis property as well.

  • March 14, 2012, 11:18 p.m. CST

    Dark Shadows is not Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice, or Evil Dead

    by Tracy Tobias

    I enjoyed all of those but that's not what Fark Shadows is. Why bother to make a Dark Shadows film and proceed to change everything that made it what it is? This review says the romance between Barnabas and Vickie "fell flat". In previous incarnations of DS, Barnabas seeing (Maggie Evansin the series and House of DS) was CENTRAL to the story of Barnabas' arrival at Collinwood! Marginalizing that is like doing Romeo and Juliet and barely having Juliet in it!! This, to me, shows how little BurtDepp understands DS! If they couldn't get THAT right, then why the hell did they make this film? My mind reels the more I think about what was in this review...

  • March 14, 2012, 11:31 p.m. CST

    Horror & comedy DON'T work

    by pat

    Most horror & comedy doesn't work. Shaun of the Dead is the exception & that worked because they made fun of the humans - not the zombies. The comedy takes away from the horror - especially when you make fun of the monster. Evil Dead was great because it was horror first with some dark comedy mixed in. When they started going slapstick with Evil Dead 2 & AoD the movies started to suck.

  • March 15, 2012, 3:55 a.m. CST

    Is the original series available on DVD?

    by ReportAbuse

    I'd like to watch a bunch of eps in a row.

  • March 15, 2012, 6:28 a.m. CST

    It's on Netflix

    by Bedknobs and Boomsticks

  • March 15, 2012, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Regarding NODS

    by Lord Elric

    Keep in mind that NIGHT lost nearly 30 minutes at the last minute. Dan Curtis did a 12th hour reedit in less then a day. The missing bits have been found and SHOULD hopefully be out this year in a restored version. If Warners didn't change their mind. HOUSE lost around 6 minutes after previews, mostly from the beginning, which is why the credits are like they are now. Both are worth seeing, and they're more graphic then the show.

  • March 15, 2012, 10:59 a.m. CST

    And yes, I'll still see the new DS

    by Lord Elric

    I LOVE Tim Burton and I love Johnny Depp. Burton has always been tongue in cheek, so I'm still hoping this review is maybe a bit exaggerated from the viewpoint of someone who knows nada about the show. likely the target audience, knowing how studios think today. Bad release date, though, imho.

  • March 15, 2012, 11:22 a.m. CST


    by Tracy Tobias

    I was aware of the significant edits in Night and I've been waiting for-ev-er it seems for both House and Night to be released on DVD. When it finally happens, I hope they both get a proper Blu-Ray release....

  • March 15, 2012, 12:22 p.m. CST

    To those interested in watching Dark Shadows the series . . .

    by Rob Jenson

    It's really quite fun and I whole-heartedly recommend it -- with some caveats. If you're someone who can't take Classic Doctor Who because of the production values, don't start on DS. It's low-budget. It's a daily soap opera in the 60s, with all the budget and acting that implies. Not that the acting is bad -- it's not -- but they probably only had one, maybe two, takes to get it in, and a very brief amount of time to learn their lines in. As such, you can frequently see the actors look for their cue cards, and you can't really blame them. Also, of course, the writers did not have eons to get it right. They had a day or so. And the boom mike, well -- it's possessed. All that said, there are really some excellent stary arcs, good characters and a generally engaging Gothic vibe to be had. It's a lot of fun, but don't come back to the TB crying because you saw a boom mike.

  • March 15, 2012, 1:55 p.m. CST


    by Tracy Tobias

    There is no way in hell I am paying to see this after the completely AWFUL complete trailer I just bore witness to!!!! There's really no other word to describe this. AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! For the last time -- shame on Burton and Depp. They have turned Dark Shadows into a complete and total JOKE!!!!

  • March 15, 2012, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Alice Cooper is in this too. I'm sold.

    by starbuck2907

    Alice Cooper is in this film, appearing as himself. source: Also, there is a clip of Johnny Depp paying guitar in Alice's band at the bottom of that page. Direct Link to the youtube clip here:

  • March 15, 2012, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Love At First Bite II

    by Tracy Tobias

    Congratulations to Burton and Depp for finally giving us a sequel to the comedy Love At First Bite...I thought it would never happen!! I'm confused though...why did they call it Dark Shadows? Assholes!!!!!! :-(

  • March 15, 2012, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Studio Is Worried

    by Tracy Tobias

    They damned sure SHOULD BE!!! I've never written letters of PROTEST about a film before to a studio or to the makers of a film but I think I am going to do just that. We, as fans, need to speak out and let the studio know that they DID make a HUGE mistake letting Burton and Depp turn DS into a JOKE. Yes, I know "It's only a movie" but dammit -- I was eagerly looking forward to this movie for two years. Everything they were selling us with regard to PR about this film (until VERY recently) said that this was going to be a RESPECTFUL retelling and reimagining of Dan Curtis' Dark Shadows. I'm serious -- I am really wondering why they didn't either create their own comedy-horror vehicle for this OR just remake Love at First Bite...because this sure as hell isn't Dark Shadows! I hope everyone who loves the original series will actually take the time to write Warner Brothers AND Burton and Depp and let them know how you feel about his. I sure hope Depp didn't actually buy the rights to DS from the Curtis estate because if that's true, we'll never get another shot at this the way Rise of the Apes redeemed the Apes franchise after what Burton did to THAT. Then again, if Depp has any integrity at all he will give and even ENCOURAGE another Dark Shadows project that is FAITHFUL to the original series. I won't hold my breath! If you're a fan...please let the studio know how you feel about how the DS franchise has been treated by Burton and Depp! Just a short note is all it takes, but if they get enough of them maybe they will listen and revisit Dark Shadows

  • March 15, 2012, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Bucket head

    by Tracy Tobias

    Truthfully, as a comedy it COULD be a success because there's enough people out there that don't know what DS is supposed to be. Hell, I liked Love At First Bite. It was funny at the time. But I hope this fails because I don't want DS to succeed as a COMEDY. I want Dan Curtis' vision of Dark Shadows to be a hit. I want it to succeed as gothic horror because I believe there is a great horror film with romance and humanity that is yet to be made. All set in that moody, gothic setting. I was hoping that's what this was going to be and that maybe we'd get a sequel with Quentin. But as it stands, I wish this film had never been made. But, you're right -- DS may never get another shot at this and that's tragic.

  • March 15, 2012, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Genreman, let's make sure to give everyone credit here...

    by Lord Elric

    Seth Grahame-Smith wrote the script. I'm not impressed with his work so far, though I've not read ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER. This looks like ADDAMS FAMILY redux, but as would have been done by lesser talented people. How they all got a wonderful cast like this and the talented Burton, who until now I loved, and then turned out what looks to be an epic FAIL is beyond me. The trailer plays more like an SNL sketch, but no, it's real. It's very depressing to see such talented people take a great thing and just piss all over it. Maybe we should just see THE AVENGERS again that weekend. To make a point, if noting else.

  • March 15, 2012, 3:49 p.m. CST

    More zany Depp/Burton hijinks? COOL! I'm out.

    by JohnnyKrypton

  • March 15, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Lord Elric

    by Tracy Tobias

    It really is a tragedy -- what this team has done. I agree -- there's plenty of blame to go around. "Famous" DS fan Jim Pierson was supposedly a consultant on this. One question I have is, why didn't he advise these guys against going comedic with this? Not that...well, he shouldn't have had to! Depp and Burton are supposedly DS fans. I like your idea of seeing Avengers twice! LOL!!! I think Avengers is going kill this movie at the box office anyway. I was excited about Avengers and it was among my three most looked forward to movies of this summer. Now, down two Avengers and Prometheus and whatever else looks good. Really mad that I was looking forward to DS for two years -- telling everyone I knew how great it was going to be...yadda, yadda. Only to have this bad joke played on me and my fellow DS fans. I really want to try to forget this got made...

  • March 15, 2012, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Just saw the trailer on Ellen ...

    by VideoVorlon

    I dunno ... looks like Addams Family on acid. I watched the original TV for years on weekday afternoons ... the tone of this new film is way, way off. It's got sex, which the original never explored, and some stunning visuals. But Depp is a cross between Morticia Addams and Edward Scissorhands. And the whole fish out of water/1970s vibe is just ... weird. It's either a surprise hit ... or a giant turd.

  • March 16, 2012, 5:44 a.m. CST

    Crap I knew Depp and Burton would turn it into a BS comedy

    by chien_sale

    I'm so tired of their shit! A Dark Shadow revamp had so much potential!

  • March 16, 2012, 2:52 p.m. CST

    As a fan of the old show... (grew up with it)

    by Oldnewbie

    Based on seeing the trailer: Yes, it sure looks like they, as in really Tim Burton, has gone the "Beetlejuice" way with the material. Depp appears to be playing "Barnabas (Jack) Sparrow" in some of the scenes (the one with the TV especially); and while amusing, has nada to do with the source material. And unless the trailer is misleading, it seems he is making no secret about being a vampire and THE Barnabas from 1795... though that could have been just an edit. And the 70's setting makes for some funny scenes I am sure as well (the lava lamp... "Are you stoned or what?" "They tried to stone me once, my dear, but it didn't work", etc). Still I have to say, in its defense, what could they really do? Remake "House of Dark Shadows"? Dan Curtis tried that in the early 90's with the reboot of the show and it failed. They tried it again in 2005 and it never got off the ground (a pilot was shot but never aired). Plus they want to attract an audience that has no real memory of the show. The older fans only make a small majority of the movie going public. And while Burton has never been known to pander to the crowd; his previous takes on supernatural material have all been rife with comedic elements ("Beetlejuice", "Edward Scissorhands", "The Nightmare Before Christmas", "The Corpse Bride", "Sweeney Todd"... even his first short film, "Frankenweenie"). So maybe we should all, as in us old timers, been wary from the beginning when it was announced he would be directing. I will see it. but it won't be on my "must see" list like "The Avengers" or "The Dark Knight Rises". Speaking of the former, it opens the week before DS does and already some are predicting it will still be the #1 movie over DS. Which really wouldn't be a surprise... a group of well know super heroes played by the actors who have recently essayed the roles Vs a Dramedy (oh I am sure there will be some moments of seriousness)? No contest. At least in the very opening voice over, Depp does sound a bit like Frid!! Oh but I did like "How long till the horses are ready!?" "We don't have horses...we have a Chevy".

  • March 17, 2012, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Before Tim Burton's Dark Shadows, there was...

    by Tracy Tobias

    ...this: See any similarities? LOL!!!