If there’s anything remotely goth-flavored in our culture untouched by Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, just wait a while; they’ll get around to it. Their latest collaboration, Dark Shadows, checks off “vampire” on the Burton/Depp wish list, a mild disappointment for those of us who’d hoped to see them remaking London After Midnight someday. (People remake well-loved films all the time; why not remake one few living souls have ever seen?) Following the lead of its forebear, the 1966-1971 supernatural soap opera, Dark Shadows doesn’t stop at bloodsuckers; it also throws in a witch and — rather randomly, I thought, and with little explanation — a werewolf. It is not the loosey-goosey fish-out-of-water farce the ads lead you to expect, though it’s far from serious — this may be the only live-action film I can recall in which a climactic explosion is a perky magenta.
Indeed, the look of Dark Shadows is intriguing; it’s the
strangest-toned mainstream film out there right now. The stock appears
slightly faded, as if it were aping both the left-out-in-the-sun
graininess of ’70s cinema and the wretched video quality of the old
show. It all coalesces into a uniquely anti-goth palette (and the
opening credits, too, are bland enough to be part of the joke).
tackiness of 1972 comes Barnabas Collins (Depp), cursed to vampirehood
by scorned witch Angelique (Eva Green) two hundred years ago. Freed from
his coffin/prison, Barnabas shows up at Collinwood Manor, now occupied
by a dysfunctional family headed by disdainful matriarch Elizabeth