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Tim Burton's DARK SHADOWS is not the film Harry thought it was based on the trailers!!!



On Wednesday, I hosted screenwriter and author, Seth Grahame-Smith, in the basement to talk about DARK SHADOWS and something rather surprising came out of it.   You see, the trailers for the film, while looking handsome, were a tonal ocean away from what I was hoping the film would be.   I'm not a die-hard on the show, but I was raised aware of it.   My parents had friends that were addicted to this genre Soap Opera - and the idea of Tim Burton making a gothic melodrama...  well that's sort of exactly what I feel Tim should be doing.

That night when I hosted the screening, I asked Seth if he wanted to tell the audience anything to prepare them for the movie that followed and he asked how many of them had seen the trailers for the film.  Being an AICN audience, everyone raised their hands.   He then told them to clear those trailers out of their minds.   What they shot was something that had those moments we saw in the trailer, but between that was a fairly straightforward adaptation of DARK SHADOWS...   the family & personal secrets, the creaky manor, but most of all...  the ache of a family under a curse.

The film begins in the 1700s and wow - it just looks fantastic.   The casting is fairly spectacular.    And the movie for me plays.   Under no circumstances should this film be opening today, this should have opened in late September for a run into October and through Halloween, that element is actually completely in the movie.    Opening the week after AVENGERS was always a leap from a box office cliff.    

My favorite discovery of the film was Bella Heathcote, I'd seen her IN TIME, but didn't particularly love that film.   But in DARK SHADOWS as the iconic Victoria Winters / Josette DuPres - she's perfect.   I love her journey to Collinwood, it reminds me of Pamela Franklin's journey in THE LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE - and I don't think it is just Elfman's score.   Her outfit on that trip absolutely reminded me of Hayley Mills' outfits from TWISTED NERVE, an absolutely brilliant film which Tarantino quoted with Darryl Hannah's whistled theme from KILL BILL by Bernard Herrmann.   Well, her large round eyes are so expressive in this movie, that I just sort of got swept away.   I got the idea that she was in fact as special as Barnabus felt she was.   Which is key for us understanding his longing for her.

Willie Loomis was always a fave character of mine and having Jackie Earle Haley playing him with the absolutely golden mumbled lines he gives throughout - he's definitely the most giggle worthy character on this strange estate.

Chloe Moretz is growing up.   It's not anything that I feel is exploitive - most girls tend to begin projecting their sexuality in their mid-teens - and in this film, Chloe is smoldering.   She's tired of Collinwood and her family.   She longs to escape to New York, where she can lose herself in the excitement of the city.   She wants to dance in clubs and wander the streets at night.   She likes to eat as far away from her family as possible.   She wants to dance and let her body explode with the music.   She feels isolated and lonely.    She's a teenage girl - and she's fantastic.   Later I have some issues with some of her character changes, but I'll let you judge those on your own.

Michelle Pfeiffer as the matriarch of the family, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, is just perfectly plucked from the tapestry of the 70's as I remember it.   In particular - my childhood memories of my maternal Grandmother...  strike me very much like this character that she plays.   The last member of a prestigiously wealthy family in decline.    She has the air of aristocracy, but the continual slapping of reality that tells her she is no longer the Queen Bee she once was.    There's a sadness to her.   But when she gets a whiff of reestablishing the former grandeur of the COLLINS family - she latches onto that dream.  

Then there's EVA GREEN.   I am of the opinion that I would like Eva Green to be the way I go out.    Yeah, if I had to get all Kevorkian - I choose death by Eva Green.    She can throw me around a room, she can roll me up a wall and across a ceiling.    She can rake my back and put splinters in my ass.    Eva Green is more woman than any man could handle - and to be the focus of her sexual appettite would just simply be...  Well, I'll bite the apple.    She's amazing.   There's a heightened manic energy when she comes on the screen.   As a witch, she can pretty much rework reality however she likes.   But at the center of her character is a centuries old bitterness left from the class warfare of her youth.   She dabbled in magic to equalize the class boundaries from whence she came.   She was a daughter of a servant to the Collins Family - who had always crushed upon young Barnabas Collins.   Her mother constantly telling her that she wasn't even allowed to look upon him.    Later as she blossomed into EVA GREEN, the class ocean between her and Barnabas had seemingly gone, until she realized that Barnabas could never seriously consider her for a lifemate due to the disparate class origins that they had.   This turned into the heart of our story.   She loves Barnabas, he does not love her.   Unrequited love is always a pain in the ass, especially when the woman that loves you has witching ways.   If she's Eva Green and Angelique Bouchard - you're probably going to have a miserable existence as a result.


Which brings me to talking about Barnabas Collins as played by Johnny Depp.   Barnabas Collins is the Waldo of the film.   He's the character that stands out as not quite belonging...  but then, that is Barnabas Collins.   Depp plays Barnabas without nearly the level of reserved class that Frid imbued the character with - but I get what Johnny is doing.   He's concentrating on what he would associate with, had he been ripped centuries out of time and made to deal with a world of modern 70's wonders. He's suddenly faced with a world that the Collins family was no longer the masters of.   He's a vampire, cast more from the world of Max Schreck...  even having that extra knuckle and how he rises from his coffin.    He avoids direct sunlight with umbrellas used as parasols.   He is old fashioned, his language and demeanor are antiquated - and the humor isn't with him making fun of Collins, but of the time Collins has arrived in.   The humor comes from the situation and his reaction to it.  This is an actor choice.   Personally, I wish the character of Barnabas was played with less pomposity and awkward flair - and instead, had Depp played the role with more of a sense of reserve and consideration.   Barnabas Collins, to me, was a character that had a deep love and devotion for his family - and he wanted to get in there and help them rise to the top again.   If anything, something more akin to Pacino in the GODFATHER Part 2.   

Tonally the film is a bit all over.  But that is what happens on most Soap Operas.   In a way, this version of DARK SHADOWS has something more in common with the films of Bollywood.   There's violence, family drama, personal secrets, a musical number and an outrageous conclusion that's rather spectacular.

At the end of the day though - I feel like I prefer the centuries old vampires and sexuality of TRUE BLOOD to DARK SHADOWS - but I certainly enjoyed the film and had quite a bit of fun with it.   Real shout outs to the amazing production design of Rick Heinrichs and the lovely lensing of Bruno Delbonnel and the score by Danny Elfman.   The film is so much better than the trailers and TV spots would make you think.    

If you're someone within whom the spirit of Halloween resides, this is a film you should charm to.

Readers Talkback
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  • May 11, 2012, 5:18 p.m. CST

    I'm still a Burton/Elfman fan

    by LordPorkington

    But I can't see myself seeing this on the big screen. Netflix will be good enough for this one I think...

  • May 11, 2012, 5:20 p.m. CST

    Yay, Harry got his toys for this!

    by Tikidonkeypunch

  • May 11, 2012, 5:21 p.m. CST



    I got zero toys for this.

  • May 11, 2012, 5:27 p.m. CST

    hey Harry

    by mick vance

    how are the actual dark shadows in this movie? like are they really dark? i need a new place to pleasure myself this weekend while my mom's bridge club is over, and they don't like me doing it on the patio where they can see me...

  • May 11, 2012, 5:33 p.m. CST



    A review for a film should review the film. You reviewed the characters... That does not bode well for this. It's OK Harry; you can tell us you hated it. We'll understand.

  • May 11, 2012, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Sounds like you were struggling to give a positive review.

    by Angry Mike

  • May 11, 2012, 5:37 p.m. CST

    your reviews are written well again Harry

    by future help

    not great...but well. Was flying all over the place before...

  • May 11, 2012, 5:43 p.m. CST

    no surprise that this is being released in theaters now

    by StarryNight

    Putting this in the cinema in the middle of Spring means they'll be able to release the DVD in time for Halloween, which is obviously when they expect/hope to be making most of their money. That doesn't give me much hope for the quality of this picture.

  • May 11, 2012, 5:50 p.m. CST

    I feel like the source material isn't real...

    by Frisco

    ...and that the idea that this movie is an adaptation of a TV series is a put-on, like "Fargo's" true story. Because I've never ever heard of the TV show and I don't know anybody personally who has. And we're geeks, and I grew up in the 70s and 80s. So weird. Anyway, I agree with Harry that this thing is going to run into the Avenger's buzzsaw. Maybe they're hoping for Halloween DVD sales? This kind of thing isn't my cup of tea, so I'll probably be missing it. Thanks for the effective review, Harry!

  • This intrigues me.

  • May 11, 2012, 6 p.m. CST

    Having said that. Eva Green......... By the gods.

    by harryknowlesnothingaboutfilm

  • May 11, 2012, 6:05 p.m. CST

    Frisco - I agree

    by Fart Magnus

    Nobody I know had ever heard of this old show either and I was born in 1970, and many of the people I asked were born before then. And actually, having seen the film last night, I wish I'd never heard of THAT either. It was a turgid, muddled mess. I am starting to think people talking about this old show are actually in on some huge collective joke that some of us never received the email for.

  • May 11, 2012, 6:23 p.m. CST

    I agree with Harry

    by syn_flood

    Chloe Moretz underage ass sure is fine!

  • May 11, 2012, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Harry, how would you rank it...

    by Batguy

    ...against Sleepy Hollow? That's my favorite Burton film thus far. It represents a Halloween-ish good time to me.

  • May 11, 2012, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Jumping Jesus on a Pogo Stick!!!

    by Red Ned Lynch

    Dark Shadows was a fucking cultural phenomena! They published an entire series of horribly written gothic novels based on it. Multiple albums were released, both from the show's music and spoken word. The song Shadows of the Night (Quentin's Theme) charted. They made two movies with most of the original cast. A couple hundred episodes are available for viewing on Netflix streaming right now. If you haven't heard of Dark Shadows the fault is in yourselves, not the stars.

  • May 11, 2012, 7:01 p.m. CST

    I still say Burton nuked the fridge (spoiler)

    by Logan_1973

    The shotgun coming out of nowhere was so out of character and so out of place it just jarred me out of the movie. I loved the atmosphere, loved the set pieces, loved Eva and I even dug Depp...but man they made a lot of silly-ass decisions that ruined it.

  • May 11, 2012, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Sounds like a Halloween rental at best.

    by adeceasedfan

    Decent review Harry.

  • May 11, 2012, 7:13 p.m. CST

    yeah this film was pretty bad

    by jules windex

    Not quite as awful as POTA or Alice, but it failed as comedy or drama.

  • May 11, 2012, 7:35 p.m. CST

    The Legend of Hell House...

    by Red Ned Lynch extraordinary. I wouldn't call it the greatest horror movie ever, but it deserves a spot in any top 100.

  • I will keep an open mind and my expectations realistic.

  • I would not publicly post some of the stuff you just did. It could be seen through the prism of Polanski-rape...

  • May 11, 2012, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Eva Green should play Ava Lord in Sin City 2

    by Cobb05

    She'd be great. I think she's an underrated actress. Unfortunately she picks the wrong movies to be in. Yes, she was in Casino Royale, which should've made her a bigger star. But she really needs a breakout role. Plus she had a rockin' body and has no problem getting naked.

  • May 11, 2012, 8:21 p.m. CST

    I didn't like it that much.

    by Yelsaeb

    The Hit Girl werewolf was just a little too random. But, surprisingly, I actually liked Danny Elfman's score. It had a John Carpenter's The Thing, Morricone-esque feel to it.

  • Dark Shadows From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia This article is about the original 1960s ABC soap opera. For the 2012 film based on the soap opera, see Dark Shadows (film). For the 1990s remake soap opera, see Dark Shadows (1991 TV series). For other uses, see Dark Shadows (disambiguation). Dark Shadows is an American gothic soap opera that originally aired weekdays on the ABC television network, from June 27, 1966, to April 2, 1971. The show was created by Dan Curtis. The story bible, which was written by Art Wallace, does not mention any supernatural elements. It was unprecedented in daytime television when ghosts were introduced about six months after it began. The series became hugely popular when vampire Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) appeared a year into its run. Dark Shadows also featured werewolves, zombies, man-made monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel, and a parallel universe. A small company of actors each played many roles (as actors came and went, some characters were played by more than one actor). Major writers besides Art Wallace included Malcolm Marmorstein, Sam Hall, Gordon Russell, and Violet Welles. Dark Shadows was distinguished by its vividly melodramatic performances, atmospheric interiors, memorable storylines, numerous dramatic plot twists, unusually adventurous music score, and broad and epic cosmos of characters and heroic adventures. Now regarded as something of a camp classic, it continues to enjoy an intense cult following. Although the original series ran for only five years, its scheduling as a daily daytime drama allowed it to amass more single episodes during its run (1,225) than most other science-fiction/fantasy genre series produced for English-language television, including Doctor Who and the entire Star Trek television franchise. Only the paranormal soap opera Passions, with a total of 2,231 episodes, has more. Directors Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino,and pop singer Madonna have publicly stated they are fans of the series. As a child, Johnny Depp was so obsessed with Barnabas Collins that he wanted to be him; he collaborated with Tim Burton on a theatrical film adaptation which opened in 2012, in which he plays Barnabas. In 2004 and 2007, Dark Shadows was ranked #19 and #23 on TV Guide's Top Cult Shows Ever.

  • May 11, 2012, 8:25 p.m. CST

    Use this review to induce vomiting if needed.

    by Mugato5150

    Holy shit.

  • May 11, 2012, 8:31 p.m. CST

    Take it easy, zol

    by Logan_1973

    I don't think he said anything exceptionally wrong. Very fact-like, actually.

  • May 11, 2012, 8:32 p.m. CST


    by Chris Moody

    That has got to be the most ridiculous piece of fiction to ever haunt the small screen. I can't imagine a television show with more preachy allegory or absurd scenarios.

  • May 11, 2012, 8:35 p.m. CST

    There are some chesters in this TB...

    by Chris Moody

    ...ogling after an underage girl (Chloe). She was 13 when she filmed this. That is deeply...disturbing. Seriously.

  • May 11, 2012, 9:04 p.m. CST

    The fact that you would even respond to the 'toys' comment.....

    by The_Credible_Hulk


  • May 11, 2012, 9:14 p.m. CST

    In TRUE BLOOD, vampires have sex like this:

    by daggor


  • May 11, 2012, 9:22 p.m. CST

    I call bullshit on this

    by Paul Paradis

    I find it very hard to take this review at face value. Very few that reviewed, or saw this film enjoyed it. This film gets a 4 steaming piles of shit rating....

  • May 11, 2012, 9:26 p.m. CST

    bla bla bla

    by Paul Paradis

    This easily looks like one of the worst movies of the year so far, and that's saying something.

  • May 11, 2012, 9:28 p.m. CST

    Honestly, you weird, sexual deviant

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    Please stop writing. I keep saying I'll never read another Harry review. But like a bad tooth, I can't help but see whether if I touch it, it will still hurt. It still hurts :( You can't write. You havent made any films, even though have had access to some great film makers. Your site is not a patch of what it used to be. You're not relevant any more. Aren't you ashamed you've had producers approach you with major projects, and you haven't yet managed to make a film. No, the documentary doesn't count. At least Massa, Moriarty, and some others have written stuff that has actually been made. I now work in the industry. And one of the seeds of that job change was reading this site from 2000 onwards. I've worked on 14 feature films, and have produced my first short (which has been shortlisted by judges including Joe Dante), and am now raising finance for my first feature. I dont claim my stuff is good, but at least I am working at it. You haven't even tried. I have so little respect for you with the opportunities other budding film makers would kill for, its not funny. And someone who has let themselves go as much as you shouldn't talk sex with the normal guys. Creepy, manchild. Ban away. I'm deleting the bookmark and am out of here. The Game of Thrones tb is just spoiler central from the books. Nothing else to stay for. Quint, please set up your own website and ask capone to post. kthxbai

  • May 11, 2012, 9:42 p.m. CST

    Stop being so mean!

    by ZOMBRE

    Thanks for the review Harry. It was insightful and well written.

  • May 11, 2012, 9:54 p.m. CST

    speaking for all the indigent leprechauns

    by Anthony Torchia

    I'd just like to say the Tim and Johnny show ain't what it used to be, but what is?

  • May 11, 2012, 10 p.m. CST

    For crying out loud....

    by Felix

    If you never heard of Dark Shadows, then obviously you aren't a true vampire fiction fan. Barnabas Collins was the first tortured remorseful vampire in popular fiction. Without him, there would be no Vampire Chronicles, True Blood, Angel, Vampire Diaries, or Twilight. And being born in the 70's has nothing to do with knowing about this show. It went off the air in 1971, dumbass. How can a newborn be cognicant of a show cancelled before it was born? As far as Harry's review. It's spot on. If the review sounds just so-so with kind of a positive slant, that's because it's a so-so movie that leans to the kinda good side. On the subject of there being something wrong with people thinking Chloe Moretz is sexy in this movie. It's because she is. They deliberately sexualize her in the film. Several jokes in the film are at the expense of her sexuality. It isn't the best of Tim Burton/Johnny Depp, but it isn't the trainwreck people were expecting it to be. It's a flawed film that's kinda al right. What's wrong with that?

  • May 11, 2012, 10:15 p.m. CST

    This is the most positive negative review ever

    by CountOrlok

    Big surprise.

  • May 11, 2012, 10:37 p.m. CST

    gotta agree with the tb crowd

    by lightwriter

    What am I supposed to get from a review when the writer says "I really wanted it to be like (this)... but it was like (that). And I understand." Um, what? Its like Harry really wanted to write a positive review but also didn't want to lie.... so we get this.

  • But I didn't want to be rude and wake up everyone in the theater.

  • May 11, 2012, 11:11 p.m. CST

    but i agree about Eva Green

    by antonphd

    my wife looks like a daintier version of her yeah, i'm a very happily married man

  • May 11, 2012, 11:13 p.m. CST

    Uhhh...splinters in the ass?

    by Thad Pittman

    Probably not the best use of Ms. Green's talents.

  • May 11, 2012, 11:29 p.m. CST

    Legend of Hell House is awesome!

    by Lao_Che_Air_Freight

    Belascooooo!!! Who wouldn't love to have been a fly on a wall at one of Roddy McDowell's dinner parties? Probably gets all Clay Shaw before dawn... I firmly believe we are in the midst of film history with the Burton/Depp collaborations, which isn't necessarily a full scale endorsement of all their work (Scissorhands got old for me fast, and Alice is nigh unwatchable in parts, but I really love Sweeney and Charlie), but taking in the whole breadth of great collaborations from film's past, it's actually nice to be around to witness one in the present, misfires and all. I'm sure there's plenty of folks who scoffed at some of Kurosawa's films with Mifune, Ford and Wayne, Hitch with Grant and Stewart in their times. Even not too long ago, people thought Casino was just Scorsese and DeNiro going through the motions, but everyone I know now loves that movie and puts it high in their list of Marty/Bobby films. Plus, I'll take all the Christopher Lee I can get.

  • May 11, 2012, 11:48 p.m. CST

    Must have gotten PWESENTS

    by Fritzlorrerains

  • File in the same drawer as his Prometheus script review...

  • May 12, 2012, 12:03 a.m. CST

    thanks harry

    by JaredP

    going to see the film on sunday at the troicana casino's IMAX theater in atlantic city. your good review makes me wanna see it even more

  • May 12, 2012, 12:07 a.m. CST



    Vastly prefer SLEEPY HOLLOW

  • May 12, 2012, 12:40 a.m. CST

    Bruno Delbonnel!!! this movie looks crap but ill rent it just for that.


    that man is a god amongst men! man his work on amelie and hp half blood prince blew my fucking mind

  • May 12, 2012, 1:16 a.m. CST

    ' I'm not a die-hard on the show, but I was raised aware of it'

    by paul burnett

    'Willie Loomis was always a fave character of mine ' How can you have a favourite character from a show you just said you never really watched? Oh and lets blame the guy who put the trailer together shall we? Coouldn't possibly lay the blame at the over indulged pairing of Depp/Burton...

  • May 12, 2012, 1:30 a.m. CST

    HELL HOUSE Ending...

    by film11

    ...was one of the dumbest, most ludicrous I've ever seen. They get rid of him by telling him that's he's short???? But pretty good up until then.

  • May 12, 2012, 2 a.m. CST

    So this movie is not the "trailer"....

    by kingoflight

    Sooooo i won't be watching it then till at least it comes on the movie channels. I realised the other day just how bad the cinema has gotten for watching movies. While i could talk at length about ticket and pop corn prices. There is nothing worse than having a movie either talked up or even misrepresented.

  • May 12, 2012, 2:44 a.m. CST

    How did so many talented people think that this script was good?

    by Kirbymanly

    That question is frustrating the hell out of me. It really is that bad.

  • May 12, 2012, 4:07 a.m. CST

    Haha tigh-fighter

    by Andrew Coleman

    Anyone who announces for no reason they "work in the industry" is obviously just a liar. You've made a short huh? Congrats you along with what 2 million who went through LA Film school who work at Coffee Bean now... Funding a feature huh? Right my kids cousin just made a movie with a flip video thing... Not really impressive. Also love guys who pull the "not coming here anymore" thing... Then change their name and post a day later on something else. This movie looks fine. Don't understand the hate for it minus the "It's cool to hate on Burton and Depp" thing going around now. This movie is just a goofy flick... Hating on it changes nothing.

  • May 12, 2012, 4:08 a.m. CST


    by Andrew Coleman

    I meant "My cousin's kid..." not "my kids cousin" oh well you got my point.

  • May 12, 2012, 4:53 a.m. CST

    The trailer for Drive painted it as an awesome car chase movie..

    by paul burnett wasn't, but was still a fantastic movie. Oh an i've never been keen on Depp or Burton. Ed Wood was the only time their sensibilities have helped a project instead of skewering the shit out of it. An fuck off with Edward Scissorhands, the minute something is purposefully quirky it negates the oddnes of it.

  • May 12, 2012, 5:59 a.m. CST

    Burton is nothing more than a glorified art director.

    by jamesonian

    Name one great performance from any of his films that wasn't the result of a great actor? His M.O. is to re-create the icons of his youth (Apes, Alice, Barnabas, Wonka, Ichabod Crane) and redesign them. The plots and acting are always secondary, which is why he relies so heavily on an actor (Depp) who needs no direction.

  • May 12, 2012, 7:19 a.m. CST

    If only they had made the film to go with that poster.

    by L. Ron Bumquist

  • May 12, 2012, 8:20 a.m. CST

    DS Superfan thoughts

    by Juliet Jones

    I have been watching the 60s Soap for about 3 years now. I traveled to Burbank California to meet the original cast at a convention. In short, I LOVE Dark Shadows. I liked this film, but didn't love it. I went to the preview and was a little hurt when Seth said that some ideas were Eva Greens. Sounds like a nerd who was blinded by her hotness. Writers---don't let bubble headed actors tell you how to tell your story. The end scene with her and Barnabas was totally out of character. One of the things that makes Angelique Bouchard so cool is her complete fury and evil. She is frightening in her scorn. She is a real witch. French from The West Indie island of Martinique. Barnabas has a fling with her on his travels away from Collinwood as a young man, but falls in love with Josette Dupres, the lady she waits on. It was my impression that Seth was not all that excited about the story (something his mother watched). He raved about Batman and Beetlejuice and I get how excited he was to work with Burton, but there was really something lacking---at least for the fans of the original series. Tim, couldn't you find a female writer? I know he couldn't include everything from the series, but I missed Josette's painting, the music box (Barnabas's engagement gift), and we don't get enough time at The Blue Whale (the local pub). The whole Alice Cooper thing was out of place. Sounds like these guys just slapped that one together to rock out...without much thought to their audience. This could have been better, so much better. Bella Heathcoate and Chloe Moretz were the best parts of the film. Depp was good, but I did think he should have played him a little more Scissorhands a little less Ed Wood. If you want to experience Dark Shadows watch the Dark Shadows episodes from the late 60's that introduce Barnabas. Sci-fi channel ran these episodes in the late 90's and that is when I became aware of the show. I'd also recommend the 1990's series (not too many episodes).

  • May 12, 2012, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Chloe...I'd hit it

    by Rupee88

    Once girls go through puberty, they are young women. Harry at least recognizes this. She is hot and sexy. And Eva Green is a quasi-goddess or at least was years ago..find that movie when she is naked through half of it and it will blow your mind if you have any testosterone in your body.

  • May 12, 2012, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Thinking a minor is sexy is one thing....

    by Felix

    but admitting you'd have sex with her is depraved.

  • May 12, 2012, 11:50 a.m. CST

    by Db

    Is anyone else of the opinion depp is a bit lost , the fella needs to back off for a few years maybe go for real roles instead of the same regurgitated performance every year

  • You guys call yourself GEEKS. You're just stupid idiots who once in a while see a superhero movie.

  • May 12, 2012, 12:43 p.m. CST

    I am going to go with the video review guy and avoid this one

    by torontoxic

    He broke down the good and bad without going over the plot or meeting anyone associated with the movie.

  • (which is really just a tiny fraction of historical human experience) allows us to live unnaturally long lives - so the human life cycle has been stretched quite a bit. That said once a girl's gone through puberty, and reached the age of 14-15 that's when nature has given the go ahead to start having babies. It might be depraved by modern standards and the ideals of equality between sexes, the fact that mental maturity comes years after sexuality development, it's completely natural to want to have sex with mid-teens.

  • May 12, 2012, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Chloe was still 13 when she filmed her scenes...

    by Chris Moody

    ...according to one of her interviews. Some of you guys are pedophiles. Seriously. She is still a kid.

  • May 12, 2012, 2:23 p.m. CST

    I disagree Harry, this film just plain sucked....

    by notcher

    It should have been called, "Going Through the Motions: The Current Careers of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp." Hated this movie!!!

  • May 12, 2012, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Do we get a Burke Devlin? He was my favorite.

    by sweeneydave

  • May 12, 2012, 5:55 p.m. CST

    Was pleasantly surprised...

    by ufoclub1977

    The marketing is really messed up on this one. They promote it like an "Adam's Family" movie. But it is really like "Death Becomes Her". It stays true to it's guns as a remake of the horror soap opera with jokes thrown in but NEVER out of character. The only part where it sells out a bit is on making a big spectacle ending with tons of effects. But the humor is actually fun in this one, there were some surprise gags. and it's a lot more the tone of "Death Becomes Her"... you know? Over the top characters being spiteful to each other with fantasy elements thrown in. Not at all like the trailers might make you think. It's definitely not a kids movie either. It's also got some great music, and joke elements in the symphonic score that pay homage to the 70's.

  • May 12, 2012, 7:16 p.m. CST

    Eva Green buck naked

    by electraglide

    Not sure if this has been. Posted but what the hell...

  • May 12, 2012, 8:50 p.m. CST

    @Tritanium, you are a sick bastard.

    by Felix

    Hope that defense keeps 6' 5" black guys from ass raping you in prison.

  • This story is one half of the first story arch of Dark Shadows, which lasted for years. Its not the best story of the series, yet amazingly its now been remade twice, once in the 90s series remake and now in Burton's movie. Better story to remake would be the time traveling to deal with Quentin Collins, the ghost of Rev Trask, Nicholis Blair, et al.

  • May 12, 2012, 9:13 p.m. CST

    Maybe this will get the series back on tv again.

    by Felix

    I hear a bunch of episdoes are on Netlix now. Maybe I should renew my subsctiption.

  • May 12, 2012, 10 p.m. CST

    So this mismarketed this?

    by Cruizer Dave

    Instead of going for the inherent goofiness of the concept of a vampire coming back to his old family manner in the 1970s, they made a serious film? I'd rather they made the funny one.

  • May 12, 2012, 10:59 p.m. CST

    thephantomcatlives: Netflix

    by MichaelH

    You'll get more on Youtube. Netflix stops when the series was just starting to get interesting with the first time travel of Vicky back to the 18th century. You barely get to see Angelique.

  • oh wait - its a talkback.

  • May 13, 2012, 2:02 a.m. CST

    Harry, you are SUCH a cop-out. Really.

    by LuminousBeing

    I just got out of the theater, and this movie was all kinds of a mess. There's not one bit of cohesiveness. Tim Burton is digging himself a grave of obscurity, and Depp's willingness to hop into that grave with him is strangling HIS career as well. Harry, your unwavering devotion to nostalgia is unreasonably off-putting, and tells me that you really, really hate who you are and where you are in your life right now. You dream of better days, when you weren't so overweight and unhappy, when you could look at a screen with child-like wonder and think EVERYTHING was great. I don't know that I've EVER read another critic who name-drops and references old shit more than you. Your FAVORITE pastime is to hearken back to yesteryear, and compare today's creations to fetishist cinema that your creepy father introduced you to as a kid. You need to snap out of it, man. When was the last time you saw something you didn't like? Your lack of perception and sense of spectrum are torpedoing your credibility as a film critic. If anything, you're just a baby-faced fanboy. Please...God...leave the reviews to the other staff members, and go pray at the alter of the Pre-90's.

  • May 13, 2012, 2:05 a.m. CST


    by LuminousBeing

    You're damn right.

  • May 13, 2012, 3:15 a.m. CST


    by LuminousBeing

  • May 13, 2012, 3:27 a.m. CST

    A few more ideas on Dark Shadows:

    by LuminousBeing

    - WHY IN THE FUCK WAS MORETZ'S CHARACTER SUDDENLY A WEREWOLF??? What the hell did that add to the movie? We are never even given a HINT that she's a werewolf, then she suddenly turns (without even a shot of a full moon), and then she growls and gets bitch-slapped, and she's down for the count. Her turn adds NOTHING. Done. She is not in a single, solitary shot in the rest of the movie. Why? Why? Why? - Victoria: WTF? She's sees ghosts? Or is haunted by the same ghost throughout her whole life? I can't tell, BECAUSE THAT SURE AS HELL LOOKS LIKE THE GHOST OF JOSETTE IN HER CHILDHOOD! WTF? And then the ghost is like, "He's coming..." referencing Barnabas' re-emergence...i guess? And she falls from a chandelier, and that's...that? Nothing else about ghosts? No other connections? And...are we supposed to care about her as a love interest? She has like 2 scenes with Barnabas. Get real. - David: I SEE DEAD PEOPLE In a re-imagining of Haley Joel Osment's character in "The Sixth Sense," lil Davey Collins sees ghosts. the same thing that Victoria does...but anyways....he see ghosts. But only of his mom. We get a handful of Dead Mom references, blah blah blah, and suddenly she shows up, out of the blue (pun intended) and banshee-yells at Eva Green so hard that her skin cracks? WTF? Lazy. - Eva Green's character uses witchcraft to make the house come alive and attack the collins family. As soon as she crashes into the chandelier, the spell is broken and the house goes back to being inanimate, presumably because she's injured. her spells are broken when she gets hurt or dies (which, she DOES die right after a lame soliloquy), WHY THE FUCK ISN'T THE SPELL ON VICTORIA BROKEN? WHY DOES SHE CONTINUE TO WALK TOWARDS THE CLIFF? Yeah, harry...this movie LOOKS pretty. But take a good, hard look at your definition of what it means to be a GOOD FILM, and you'll realize Dark Shadows is a big, sloppy mess of a film. Grow up and admit this to yourself. Stop being SO goddamn "Glass Half Full."

  • From his last few movies, I'd say that's about right. And Johnny Depp is his friend, so he did it. And the rest of the cast jumped onboard to work with Johnny.

  • May 13, 2012, 6:22 a.m. CST

    if I had to get all Kevorkian - I choose death by Eva Green

    by melonman

    Best thing Harry's written for ages. Rest of review sucks though…

  • May 13, 2012, 6:23 a.m. CST

    The Johnny Lee Miller Curse

    by Cobb05

    Everything the man is in tanks. We're lucky Dexter didn't get the axe after he did a guest spot on it. Johnny Lee Miller and Stuart Townsend are box office poison.

  • May 13, 2012, 12:24 p.m. CST

    so it's better than the weak ass trailers?


    maybe I'll go see it, but who knows if Harry is right lol.

  • May 13, 2012, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Apparently, "Angel" fans are in an uproar because...

    by Kirbymanly

    ... the "tiny songstress" bit was taken practically verbatim from a Wheadon-written episode. Their God has been violated!

  • May 13, 2012, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Depp Becomes Her

    by Lao_Che_Air_Freight

    Saw it this morning and that sums it up pretty well. -Sympathetic Male Lead surrounded by bitchy women -The Ball scene reminded of the party scene where all the incognito people gather. -The whole end with Angelique stumbling around in various states of decomposition -Gothic castle/mansion finale. I absolutely despised Death Becomes Her, this was a step up for sure, certainly more watchable. Loved the first half hour. Middle hour was okay, the last 20 minutes was an incomprehensible mess. I did get into the whole melodrama/soap opera style though - that worked, and the music was great, so that saved a lot of it for me. Christopher Lee's part was all of 45 seconds, but nice.

  • May 13, 2012, 5:24 p.m. CST

    harvey kietels first acting gig was on this show!

    by paul burnett

    The internet eh?

  • May 13, 2012, 5:41 p.m. CST

    Eva Green ...

    by tim hager

    If Eva Green tried to throw Harry across the room, it would be the way SHE went out. Fat fuck.

  • May 14, 2012, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Eva Green raking Harrys back...

    by BookhouseBoy

    ...and sticking splinters up his ass. I actually laughed out loud when I read that! Then I masturbated...furiously.

  • May 14, 2012, 10 a.m. CST


    by phifty2

    "...probably get's all Clay Shaw before dawn." That made me smirk. Good one.

  • May 14, 2012, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Seeing a Burton movie = you all get what you deserve.

    by grendel69

    Seriously, the guy has made how many decent films in his career? Ed Wood, PWs Big Adventure.... uhhhhhhh...... I guess Big Fish.......

  • May 14, 2012, 12:23 p.m. CST

    something more akin to Pacino in the GODFATHER Part 2.

    by Tyler_Durden_69

    Really? I mean cmon now. Let's not be completely retarded here

  • May 14, 2012, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Really? People are doubting the source?

    by Amber

    IMDB search. Jonathan Frid. Lara Parker. David Selby. It was originally a daily soap that even was popular enough to produce novelizations in the late 1960s (My mom still has them in her house) I first found it in reruns on a local station where I grew up in the early 80s but I got really into it when it was released on home video around 1988-1989. YouTube has all the bloopers. Search for the #2 Bloopers and you can hear Roger Collins talking about his incestors, no ancestors!

  • May 14, 2012, 3:13 p.m. CST

    I agree about the trailers

    by Mike

    It's marketed as a comedy, but it really is much more serious than that. Much truer to the soap opera format than the trailers lead you to believe. Here's my review:

  • May 14, 2012, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Tritanium is absolutely right...

    by Krinkle

    ... The laws of nature and man's laws don't always jibe.

  • May 14, 2012, 3:47 p.m. CST

    Tim Burton kicks ass, always has

    by Krinkle

    I don't like PLANET OF THE APES much, but otherwise every film he's made has value to me. I think he's one of the very best mainstream film directors.

  • May 14, 2012, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Lisa Marie....and that sewn on dress...

    by Darth Macchio

    Yep..they had to sew her dress onto her body for her role in Mars Attacks...that movie is almost worth watching for that reason alone. She was one moment away from taking the last "Horror Movie" hottie without being known for B-movie horror acting like the legendary Linea Quigley. Marie was, I think to maybe a minor extent, the last 'heir apparent' of the likes of Elvira, etc. I think she used to host USA's old monster/horror movie night or something back in the day. Hate Burton's films or not, he does know how to goth a woman up so very nicely.

  • May 14, 2012, 4:36 p.m. CST

    Burton and Depp are entertaining even when working with a weak script


    I liked Alice in Wonderland just for it's visuals and charm. Story/script wasn't too hot. Same with Willy Wonka. But this one looks like it will be a low point in his filmography, I'm not too excited to see it.

  • May 15, 2012, 7:09 a.m. CST

    "giggle worthy"?

    by Skankardly

    please grow a penis...that is all.

  • May 15, 2012, 7:13 a.m. CST


    by Skankardly

    I don't know about that. My old Saturday morning hangover cure was plenty of ice water, Bollywood station and MSTK3000. The Bollywood stuff I watched had smoking hot chicks dancing all over the place. Maybe you got the "alternative life style Bollywood channel" on your cable?

  • May 15, 2012, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Er, the film I saw was EXACTLY what was presented in the trailers.

    by brokentusk

    In other words, a mess of a film that changes its tone every five minutes.

  • May 15, 2012, 2:08 p.m. CST

    "well that's sort of exactly what I feel Tim should be doing"

    by whooooooop

    THIS IS THE PROBLEM! "well that's sort of exactly what I feel Tim should be doing." what even honestly gives one human the idea they should have the right to judge another like this? Its evil. He should live his life, as no other can do it for him.

  • May 15, 2012, 3:20 p.m. CST


    by NudeandAroused

    The movie is basically for old farts like me. I grew up watching the show after school. Look at how Frid played Barnabas. You can see that Johnny Depp is playing Jonathan Frid, playing Barnabas. Michelle Pfieffer is channeling Joan Bennet. You can see Joan rolling her eyes at all the shitty lines that came out of the show. Grayson Hall had a drinking problem and that is what Helena Bonham Carter was showing with Julia being hungover. Not completely fair, but not inaccurate either. The movie is basically a modern version of the TV show with all its hamminess and goofy lines., It brought me back to the early 70s. Not a masterpiece, neither was the show, but both were fun.

  • ... she could sit on my face for hours and I'd not breathe a word of complaint.

  • May 17, 2012, 11:14 a.m. CST

    So, Eva Green was a witch, or a cyborg?

    by Bass Ackwards

    That shotgun stuff at the end seemed straight out of T2. Also, I don't get the Bollywood reference at all. Seems like a really lazy attempt at making the film (or Harry) seem more ambitious then it actually is. Then again, was there a musical number? I honestly don't remember it if there was.

  • May 19, 2012, 8:14 p.m. CST

    Did that excuse work on the cops?

    by Sarah

    considering girls are reaching puberty younger and younger these days due to both scientific and sociological factors you cant really lay it at the door of nature and say "oh she can make babies i will shag her then". puberty may have hit later in very early times. perhaps teens having sex with teens may be natural, dirty old leery men (tritanium) waiting outside the bushes to jump on a poor teen girl because you have some pretty fucked up standards is not natural. i @ Harry-wtf do you know about teens girls? actually dont answer that i dont want to know O_O

  • May 20, 2012, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Plesantly Surprised

    by JohnMcD348

    I'm not a big Depp fan or a Burton fan either. I watch them but their campiness annoys me at times. I was expecting a Scissorhands/Wonka bastardization of the old series at the most but figuring it would just be Dark Shadows in name only. I thought it carried a very balanced storyline that included both rather well. Just enough of both to compliment each other. I was actually glad for once that my wife drug me to a film of her choosing.

  • May 20, 2012, 8:42 p.m. CST

    Sarah_Connor - Saying is not acting

    by MrD

    Sexual drives are primitive things. When a girl hits sexual maturity (physically, not mentally - you know that whole "you're a woman now"schtick?) most male brains will notice. And again, throughout most of recorded history, that was the age at which they would be married off and become sexually active. I don't see anyone her suggesting that those impulses should be acted upon, but it is impossible to ask men not to notice, especially the way she is often presented in the film.

  • May 21, 2012, 4:21 a.m. CST

    If we're arguing about Moretz in DS, just wait till 'Hick'

    by ReportAbuse

    I've seen the trailer.

  • May 21, 2012, 4:34 p.m. CST

    It was OK

    by Jonas

    It was about what I come to expect from a Burton film these days... looked great, tone and story were all over the place. Biggest issues: - Johnny Lee Miller's character could have been played by anyone, what was his deal? He's supposed to be related to Barnabus but had no interaction with him and Barnabus seemed like he could care less (even tho he came back to take care of his family!?). Totally pointless role. - The wolf transformation for Chloe - as mentioned in an earlier post - made NO SENSE. There was no story tied to it, no reason for her to change, had no back story WHY she changed, and then she just gets her ass kicked and we don't see her the rest of the movie. (FYI, give Chloe 2-3 more years and she'll be a knockout - still in that awkward teen phase right now) - When Barnabus lights on fire (from the sun) - and the kids freak out. You're telling me they DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS A VAMPIRE before that!? WTF did I miss? Thought it was pretty bleedin' obvious to everyone that he was a vampire. - So, all you have to do to make a vampire is bite them and not drain their blood/kill them? - The almighty Ghost Shriek is what it takes to kill/hurt a witch?

  • Definitely it's less of a comedy as the ads portray it, and it chokes on levels of sub-plots by trying to cram an entire series worth of storylines into a 2 hr movie, and Harry's "tonally, it's all over the place" is right. But I didn't hate HATE HATE it. Only just a tiny bit. But, overall, yeah, one of the weakest Burton flicks in awhile which is a shame cuz I wanted to see him return to comedy after Pee Wee & Beetleguse.

  • May 27, 2012, 8:03 p.m. CST

    YellingFire has a really funny review up for Dark Shadows

    by Devin

    So funny and so true:

  • May 27, 2012, 9:38 p.m. CST


    by Mary

    I was frankly disappointed with it. The one sentence "Tonally the film is a bit all over" is an understatement. It was so all over that it threw me out of the story over and over. I had little expectations from Dark Shadows, but I did think it was going to be very good. It wasn't very good. I think you had a good point that it would have been better released near Halloween, but unless it was edited and made more unform in look and feel throughout, it still would have been less of a movie. Just...disappointing.

  • June 1, 2012, 10:47 p.m. CST

    Not "underage"

    by squarebird

    Historically and even today through most of the world, other than puritanical regions of white, Yankee America, girls became women when they hit puberty, whether that be 9 or 19. This actress has hit puberty. The concept of "teenager" is a purely American invention and came about only when America extended the length of formal education from 6th grade until 12th. Now that college is the norm, the age of childhood has increased to 21 (eg drinking age). For much of the 20th century, the education in Yankee land crept up towards 12 years while remaining closer to 6 or 8 in the old Confederacy. That is why Jerry Lee Lewis rose to fame in the South with no one thinking it strange that he married a 13 year old .. only until he went to Great Britain that the Yankees noticed and started insisting that the whole country conform to their culture. Blacks and Whites in the South still start their sexual lives much earlier than the Puritan-descended Yanks. And if it weren't for teen parenting being the norm down here, neither myself nor many of my friends would be alive .. and before someone gets on their high horse, you better first check that none of your own ancestors were "under-age" when they bore their progeny. Apply your own standards to your own family and not one of you would be alive today - if you are willing to die for that principle, then more power to you.

  • Oct. 20, 2012, 7:57 p.m. CST

    I Really Liked This Dark Shadows!

    by Real Deal

    I'm sorry I didn't see this in theaters and waited until home video. This is a very difficult subject to approach all of these years later and Burton's dramady hit the mark. 90 % of all of the elements were there. Depp's performance was great. I remember some lines where he really did sound like Frid. Carter's Julia Hoffman ws great. She had it down to the really bad eye makeup of the time to her pinkish / orange lipstick ( I noticed during the party scene where she was just sitting there with that wide eyed open mouthed stare that Grayson Hall used to have. Alice Copper! The music alone in this movie was a treat. I had to crack up when I heard " Nights in White Satin " during the opening credits. Some how it really seemed to fit. A lot of the music took me right back to that time. The cameos also were special ( I'm glad I got to see Frid one more time before he passed ). Also a certain bearded sea captin was a real surprise. I really got what Burton was going for in this one. A good take on an old favorite.