Film review: Dark Shadows

posted at 8:01 am on May 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

In 1776, a witch cursed Barnabas Collins for rejecting her in favor of another woman, transforming him into a vampire, and caused him to be buried for almost 200 years. Freed when construction expands around the Maine hamlet of Collinsport — a town founded by his family in better days — Barnabas awakens to a much different world than the one he knew two centuries ago.  Can Barnabas restore his family’s fortune and honor, or will the same witch that cursed him destroy his family and Barnabas once and for all?

Based on the old soap opera, Dark Shadows takes a decidedly campy turn as a film.  Tim Burton once again finds an excuse for white facepaint, but unlike Edward Scissorhands, this isn’t a subversive swipe at the suburbs.  It does poke a little fun at small-town America, but not as egregiously as, say, Doc Hollywood did.  The film mostly contents itself in the first half with skewering the early 1970s, at least until the grudge match between Barnabas and the nearly-immortal Angelique begins again in earnest.  (To say that she still carries a torch for her vampire is a rather large understatement.)    Barnabas has to dispatch construction workers, hippies, and other assorted bit players, but he has trouble getting rid of his rival, and she has just as much problem getting rid of Barnabas … if that’s what she really wants to do.

Dark Shadows is an entertaining bit of fluff, but I suspect it may play to a limited audience.  Fans of the old soap opera are probably not going to appreciate the comedic treatment given to their stories, while those who don’t know the show may not be terribly interested in a vampire comedy.  However, even without knowing the old show, Dark Shadows is an entertaining, fast-paced film with plenty of laughs and not just a little suspense.  It’s as original as a movie based on an old TV series can be, and the climax really does pull out the kitchen sink in characterization, special effects, and plot twists.

Johnny Depp delivers his normal mannered performance as Barnabas, keeping the vampiric elements light.  Eva Green (Casino Royale) has a ball playing the evil Angelique, easily the most alive character on the screen.  Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter mainly get wasted in their roles, but Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen) plays a bumbling caretaker/henchman with some style.  Bonham Carter’s character feels like make-work; her character seems extraneous to the conflict and certainly to its resolution, and while her performance is good (as is Pfeiffer’s), there isn’t any reason for her to be there.  Bella Heathcote is mainly eerie but beautiful in a dual role.

Overall, if you’re looking for some laughs and escapism, Dark Shadows is a pretty good choice.  It won’t be on anyone’s top 10 list at the end of the year, but it’s fun and never gets boring.  Dark Shadows  is rated PG-13 for some drug references, sexual content (a hilarious, if nonsensical, scene that doesn’t include nudity), and — quelle horreur indeed — smoking.  We went with friends who brought their 17-year-old daughter, and there wasn’t anything that embarrassed us.  However, the after-movie poll had the two men approving and the three women saying, “Meh,” and as a result, the next time we all go out, we have to see a chick flick. Factor that into your calculations.


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Comment pages: 1 2

the TV show was my after-school treat if I finished my homework!

kelley in virginia on May 12, 2012 at 8:18 AM

does anyone remember the tv series re-make, I have seen zero references to it despite all the Dark Shadows news.

rob verdi on May 12, 2012 at 8:19 AM

Helena Bonham Carter lives with Tim Burton, so he puts her in his film.

Wethal on May 12, 2012 at 8:21 AM

does anyone remember the tv series re-make, I have seen zero references to it despite all the Dark Shadows news.

rob verdi on May 12, 2012 at 8:19 AM

It ran for one season between January and March of 1991. It started strong, but ratings fell off sharply due to repeated preempting for Gulf War coverage, and it wasn’t renewed for a second season.

gryphon202 on May 12, 2012 at 8:24 AM

“Meh,” and as a result, the next time we all go out, we have to see a chick flick. Factor that into your calculations.

Death first!!!!

BigWyo on May 12, 2012 at 8:28 AM

dang Ed, this is like 4 wks in a row that you’ve seen a movie.

Alas, I am not a Johnny Depp fan by any stretch–nor Tim Burton for that matter.

ted c on May 12, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Fans of the old soap opera are probably not going to appreciate the comedic treatment given to their stories

Truer words have never been spoken. I am not likely to pay to see this version.

Physics Geek on May 12, 2012 at 8:31 AM

I absolutely LOVED Dark Shadows when I was a kid.

When is the last time anyone in Hollywood had an original idea, anyway? Three decades ago?

Naturally Curly on May 12, 2012 at 8:32 AM

the TV show was my after-school treat if I finished my homework!

kelley in virginia on May 12, 2012 at 8:18 AM

I grew up in the Chicagoland area (CST) when the original series ran. It ran at 3:00 pm. My best friend lived a block from our school, so he could always make it home to watch it. I road a bus to school, so I never made it home in time to catch it. I was so jealous; it was a pretty cool show.

BuckeyeSam on May 12, 2012 at 8:33 AM

does anyone remember the tv series re-make, I have seen zero references to it despite all the Dark Shadows news.

Ben Cross as the vampire and Joanna Going as Victoria Winters. Didn’t even have to look it up, although I might have misspelled something. :-)

I was disappointed when it didn’t get renewed, but I’ve gotten used to that feeling over the years.

Physics Geek on May 12, 2012 at 8:33 AM

“Meh,” and as a result, the next time we all go out, we have to see a chick flick. Factor that into your calculations.

plan a nap?

ted c on May 12, 2012 at 8:35 AM

Redbox in August…..

roy_batty on May 12, 2012 at 8:36 AM

The theme music from the tv series is now playing in my head.

Creepy – in a good way!

Naturally Curly on May 12, 2012 at 8:37 AM

Ben Cross as the vampire and Joanna Going as Victoria Winters. Didn’t even have to look it up, although I might have misspelled something. :-)

I was disappointed when it didn’t get renewed, but I’ve gotten used to that feeling over the years.

Physics Geek on May 12, 2012 at 8:33 AM

Don’t forget Eurohorror icon Barbara Steele as Dr. Julia Hoffman and Countess Natalie du Pres. She and Cross played off each other perfectly.

As for this version… I think I’ll stick my disc of Nightmare Castle in, instead.

cheers

eon

eon on May 12, 2012 at 8:42 AM

I loved this show as a kid and was disappointed that Burton and Depp were attached to the production. They didn’t respect the material. This would have been a great film if it had been played straight by people who cared.

IdrilofGondolin on May 12, 2012 at 8:45 AM

I was really hoping they’d go the serious route with this, but instead we get bland comedy. Might as well start the trailer with, “Meet Barnabas…”

Dongemaharu on May 12, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Jonathan Frid died a few weeks ago. He and a couple other cast members have cameos in the movie.

myiq2xu on May 12, 2012 at 8:54 AM

I probably won’t go and see it but it might be one of the only TV remakes that makes sense. Hollywood doesn’t seem to come up with anything very original anymore.

Cindy Munford on May 12, 2012 at 8:57 AM

It’s Tim Burton for heaven’s sake. The man single-handedly destroyed Willy Wonka and Planet of the Apes franchise.

I don’t even want to think about how he butchered DS.

Thomas More on May 12, 2012 at 8:58 AM

does anyone remember the tv series re-make, I have seen zero references to it despite all the Dark Shadows news.

rob verdi on May 12, 2012 at 8:19 AM

I rather liked it. I think I was in HS or middle school at the time.
Not sure I’d like it now.

I love Johnny Depp in anything. Even a sucky movie he could make palatable.
I am going to watch it no matter what.
But I do wish Hollywood could do something original.
This re-make $hit is really getting OLD.
Maybe it’s the Internet, but I really wonder, it seems people have lost their creativity.

Badger40 on May 12, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Sorry, Ed. The IMDb rating is 6.9 out of 10. Not bad but, as others have pointed out, not great either. Better to wait till it comes out on DVD, Netflix, etc.

Gladtobehere on May 12, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Here’s a real horror story for the libs: http://themorningspew.com/2012/05/09/the-tea-party-is-dead-not/

bloggless on May 12, 2012 at 9:10 AM

I was madly in love with this show. We rushed home from elementary school to watch it. :) When I hear a summary of the TV show’s plot it’s all news to me. I mean, I remember they jumped back and forth in time to when Barnabas was young, then to the present. I remember the name Angelique. But that’s about it. I was just crazy for it.

MAC1000 on May 12, 2012 at 9:13 AM

It’s Tim Burton for heaven’s sake. The man single-handedly destroyed Willy Wonka and Planet of the Apes franchise.

I don’t even want to think about how he butchered DS.

Thomas More on May 12, 2012 at 8:58 AM

I agree. And enough with Johnny Depp already. He’s nothing more than a one trick pony in eye make-up. I heard, believe it or not, that he’s supposed to be playing the Lone Ranger in a movie. And also that he is being considered in the remake of The Thin Man. Can Holly wood please quit destroying things.
As for this movie, sorry Ed, two weeks in a row I disagree with you. I loved The Avengers and I won’t even see this one because I enjoyed the original show.

Deanna on May 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Ed Morrissey. Movie critic extradinoire!

gerrym51 on May 12, 2012 at 9:17 AM

I think this one will be a miss on my part. Tim Burton has been churning out some real crap in recent years, and I’m no Johnny Depp fan. I may watch it when it comes to Netflix.

Ed watched this one so we don’t have to. :)

simkeith on May 12, 2012 at 9:17 AM

However, the after-movie poll had the two men approving and the three women saying, “Meh,” and as a result, the next time we all go out, we have to see a chick flick. Factor that into your calculations.

So if the men all say “Meh” and the women all approved after a flick, the next time y’all go out, you see a non-chick flick with car crashes and barely dressed women?

I didn’t think so.

WhatNot on May 12, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Depp is an enemy of America.

Pork-Chop on May 12, 2012 at 9:23 AM

My wife and I were at the Mall Of Asia in Manila earlier this week and wanted to see a show at the IMAX theater. I was hoping for Avengers, but only Dark Shadows was playing. After watching the preview on the monitor outside of the theater, we decided to have a nice Hong Kong style dinner instead. It is _not_ the Dark Shadows of my childhood. First Lucas ruins the original Star Wars with CGI, and then Burton/Depp do _this_ to Dark Shadows. It’s a conspiracy to ruin childhood memories of Americans everywhere.

Timothy S. Carlson on May 12, 2012 at 9:27 AM

Helena Bonham Carter lives with Tim Burton, so he puts her in his film.

Wethal on May 12, 2012 at 8:21 AM

If Christina Hendricks lived with me, I’d put her in my cubicle…

CoolCzech on May 12, 2012 at 9:31 AM

I heard, believe it or not, that he’s (Depp) supposed to be playing the Lone Ranger in a movie.

Deanna on May 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM

It’s even worse than that. He’s playing the indian sidekick, Tonto.

Timothy S. Carlson on May 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Fans of the old soap opera are probably not going to appreciate the comedic treatment given to their stories

As others upthread posted I watched the original and was extremely disappointed after seeing the trailers for this. I won’t be seeing it.

dogsoldier on May 12, 2012 at 9:44 AM

sexual content (a hilarious, if nonsensical, scene that doesn’t include nudity)

There’s a lot more to the sexual content than that, according to:

http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/dark-shadows.aspx

Disturbing what counts as PG-13 these days.

As Judge Bork wrote, we’re Slouching Towards Gomorrah.

itsnotaboutme on May 12, 2012 at 9:47 AM

I heard, believe it or not, that he’s (Depp) supposed to be playing the Lone Ranger in a movie.

Deanna on May 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM

It’s even worse than that. He’s playing the indian sidekick, Tonto.

Timothy S. Carlson on May 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Please tell me Burton’s directing that monstrosity as well. It will give me three reasons not to see it.

Thomas More on May 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Good review, Ed. We saw it last night, and in our family, there were 3 thumbs-up & 2 “meh”s. Depp was very good, as was the caretaker guy. The rest were just filler. I’m mad I didn’t know Jonathan Frid did a cameo, or I would’ve watched for it.

And enough with Johnny Depp already. He’s nothing more than a one trick pony in eye make-up. I heard, believe it or not, that he’s supposed to be playing the Lone Ranger in a movie.
Deanna on May 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Actually, I think he’s cast as Tonto, so you’ll be treated to more eye makeup! Depp is generally outstanding and anyone else in the Dark Shadows lead (in this campy version) would have been disappointing. The only time it seems he just phoned in a part was the 3rd Pirates movie, and I might have been biased because that flick was sooooo bad.

KS Rex on May 12, 2012 at 9:52 AM

I was in high school when my friends and I loved the original series. I still have the record album, which has music from the show, and Frid and David Selby (“Quentin”) reading poetry.

One of the most enjoyable things about the original show was its bloopers: The show was expensive, so they seldom re-taped mistakes. I believe there is one moment in which Frid became so annoyed by off-camera noise, he said “Stop tape!” — but they kept rolling.

I remember one character’s shoulder grazing the wall as he walked down the staircase — and the wall clearly wobbled.

My favorite moment involved a hatrack, which had a ring for hanging umbrellas. Frid was trying to remove his cane from the hatrack while saying his lines, but the cane kept getting caught. There for a second or two, it looked as if he was dueling with the hatrack. However, he didn’t flub his lines.

Maybe SyFy will run the original series again, because of the movie. I hope so.

KyMouse on May 12, 2012 at 9:53 AM

And enough with Johnny Depp already. He’s nothing more than a one trick pony in eye make-up. I heard, believe it or not, that he’s supposed to be playing the Lone Ranger in a movie. And also that he is being considered in the remake of The Thin Man.

Deanna on May 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Depp was fine in Ed Wood, which is a good movie (a love letter) dedicated to one of the worst directors of all time. It does have the Oscar winning performance of Martin Landau playing, maybe even channeling, Bella Lugosi. If you’ve ever seen any of Wood’s films: Plan 9 from Outer Space, Glen or Glenda, etc., then the movie becomes hilarious. Pick that over Dark Shadows.

Gladtobehere on May 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM

My mother wouldn’t let me watch Dark Shadows after school – she thought it would give my little sister nightmares – I was a social pariah at school; all of the other kids would talk about it the next day, and I would just have to sit and wistfully listen.

We had all “outgrown” Gilligan’s Island by then, but that was considered tame enough for the sibling….

TeresainFortWorth on May 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Depp/Burton team-up? You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Tired of little Johnny Depp dancing around in mommy’s clothes and makeup. You call it good acting when he always acts the same?

P A S S

WhaleBellied on May 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM

I was a big fan of the original show back in my high school years. I was madly in love with Lara Parker’s Angelique. Yes, she was totally evil, but one look into those big blue eyes and I forgave her for everything.

One month ago I bought a limited edition set of the entire series and started watching from the beginning, at the rate of about 10 episodes per day (I’m retired, so I have the time to do this) and I’m enjoying it all over again (although I have yet to reach the point at which I started watching it in the first place in November 1967).

That being said, I saw the movie yesterday and greatly enjoyed it. The trailer made the mistake of focusing solely on the sillier elements of the film and skipping all the better parts. I found it to be far more respectful of the source material than the trailer indicated, with many references that only a fan would recognize (like young Maggie Evans getting carted off to Windcliff Sanitarium). Even the over-the-top revelations during the final conflict refer to some of the many weird storylines that occurred in Collinwood over the show’s run.

Dark Shadows is ultimately an inconsequential bit of entertainment, but it was a lot of fun and gorgeous to look at.

But there will never be an Angelique like Lara Parker, still beautiful even in her seventies as can be seen in the brief view of her entering the party along with Jonathan Frid, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott (also still very attractive).

Steve Keeley on May 12, 2012 at 10:14 AM

I watched the trailer for this and it struck me as the absolute worst possible thing that could ever have conceivably been done with this particular material. I’m not even a Dark Shadows fan, per se, but as far as I’m concerned this deserves to bomb and bomb hard.

Cylor on May 12, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Yep, I have heard bad things about this from friends who have seen it. They thought it was very mediocre which is the worst thing a movie can be, IMO. One can laugh at the horrible and feel that money has been well spent, but boredom means you are wasting the green.

As for Depp, I am tired of his acting. He does what he does very well, but I have seen him do it for far too many roles. Unfortunately, he still is somewhat popular with audiences, so he will have work for years to come.

McDuck on May 12, 2012 at 10:26 AM

I’m torn on seeing this one. I remember the old TV show. I can’t stand Johnny Depp. However, Alice Cooper is in this movie. Is it really worth it to see this movie for Alice, or just skip it? Maybe just wait for it to come on cable?

MeAlice on May 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Obligatory: Tim Burton’s Secret Formula (some f-bombs but they are bleeped out)

I used to love Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Now when I hear either one has a movie coming out I don’t get very excited. When I hear they have another one coming out *together* I just roll my eyes.

vermillionsky on May 12, 2012 at 10:34 AM

I heard, believe it or not, that he’s (Depp) supposed to be playing the Lone Ranger in a movie.

Deanna on May 12, 2012 at 9:14 AM

It’s even worse than that. He’s playing the indian sidekick, Tonto.

Timothy S. Carlson on May 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Please tell me Burton’s directing that monstrosity as well. It will give me three reasons not to see it.

Thomas More on May 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM

Depp, at least, makes a slightly better– or easier to document– claim to Creek or Cherokee ancestry:

…Depp had always been told his family was part Indian. “I guess I have some Native American somewhere down the line,” he says. “My great grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek.”

Cue the Warren jokes. He certainly has the cheekbones.

Unfortunately he also imagines the union that eventually produced him to be something along the lines of a rape. My own ancestors having settled in the Cherokee ancestral lands alongside the native inhabitants (Kentucky, George, north Alabama), I know from research that a lot of those unions– between Creek or Cherokee and the Scots-Irish and other European settlers– were extremely common, and quite friendly.

Lone Ranger director will be Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean).

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Did Elfman do the soundtrack?

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM

does anyone remember the tv series re-make, I have seen zero references to it despite all the Dark Shadows news.

rob verdi on May 12, 2012 at 8:19 AM

I remember watching it and liking it in high school, but I can’t remember the plot line of a single episode. I never watched the original show.

vermillionsky on May 12, 2012 at 10:43 AM

No Quentin? Sebastian? Suki? Ah well. This is still the movie husband and I will be seeing on Monday. Mr. Burton’s better looking alter-ego Johnny Depp is always a hoot!

Oh, and I think he’ll make a fun Tonto. After all, he has far more Indian blood than Elizabeth Warren.

:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on May 12, 2012 at 10:45 AM

I loved this show as a kid and was disappointed that Burton and Depp were attached to the production. They didn’t respect the material. This would have been a great film if it had been played straight by people who cared.

IdrilofGondolin on May 12, 2012 at 8:45 AM

My sentiments, exactly. I like Depp, but Burton’s schtick has gotten old and tired.

4Grace on May 12, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Burton reminds me of Hitchcock, very loyal to a select group of people. Doesn’t venture far from using that core cast. See’s a production value to it the same way Hitchcock did.

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Did Elfman do the soundtrack?

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Yes. I think Burton has him on retainer.

vermillionsky on May 12, 2012 at 10:47 AM

I see Elfman did do the score.

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Burton reminds me of Hitchcock, very loyal to a select group of people. Doesn’t venture far from using that core cast. See’s a production value to it the same way Hitchcock did.

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 10:47 AM

Yup. Like John Ford. John Wayne only for a start.

Or Orson Welles. Starting with him, of course.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 10:54 AM

I only watched the original show sporadically but even that limited exposure was enough to convince me I wouldn’t be happy with this comedy take on the original. I’ll pass.

Rip Ford on May 12, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Okay, I’ll take on the role of descent. I think Burton is brilliant. The cinematography is always a treat to the eyes, the score is as fine as you can find, of course I’m a huge Elfman fan. The actors are top drawer. I will have to wait to see this work. Looks like it is getting mixed reviews. I see some here are referring to Burtons schtick , as if that is a bad thing. He owns this genre, so it may just come down to, no accounting for taste type of thing. Looks better than imagined from the trailer. Will look forward to seeing. ; )

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 11:03 AM

Plus it has Alice Cooper.

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Ed, I have noticed you have been taking some heat for doing these reviews, please continue. I enjoy reading you here over other critics elsewhere. Don’t forget to talk more about the scores. ; )

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 11:07 AM

and as a result, the next time we all go out, we have to see a chick flick. Factor that into your calculations.

Haha. I’m a chick and I don’t like chick flicks. Son is taking me to see this tomorrow for mom’s day, should be fun! Nice diversion, your reviews are refreshing.

scalleywag on May 12, 2012 at 11:12 AM

Plus it has Alice Cooper.

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM

Alice AND Keith Richards, now that would have been a treat! I can’t say I’ve ever seen Alice in a movie. Has he been in one? I have seen him in concert (yes, I’m that old).

scalleywag on May 12, 2012 at 11:14 AM

In the summer of ;69 Dark Shadows played a major role in a domestic murder in Queens NY. A husband was watching the Mets Cubs game during the Mets classic run to the pennant. His wife walked in the living room and turned on Dark Shadows with not so much as a by your leave. The husband got up and beat her to death and went back to the game. He was not honored by the Mets on Fan Appreciation Nite that September.

xkaydet65 on May 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 10:52 AM

Check out the Elfman score for Iris, the Cirque du Soleil show running at the Kodak Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 11:27 AM

I’ve been a huge Danny Elfman since his ‘slightly-scarier-than-Carrot Top’ stint as Oingo Boingo’s mad genius.

Remember his hit ‘Weird Science’?

And my personal fave: Dead Man’s Party (Dangerfield/Back to School)

:)

Ladysmith CulchaVulcha on May 12, 2012 at 11:37 AM

scalleywag on May 12, 2012 at 11:14 AM

You know to tell you the truth, I’m not sure, I am resiting searching it. I do know this, Alice was very good friends with one of my favorite painters. As a matter of fact I wouldn’t be surprised if Burton was also a huge fan. Dali. ; )

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 11:38 AM

resiting = resisting

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Check out the Elfman score for Iris, the Cirque du Soleil show running at the Kodak Dolby Theater in Hollywood.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Very cool. Danny is very busy. I’m very happy for him. He is a nice guy.

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

xkaydet65 on May 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM

But didn’t she later do a guest appearance on Dark Shadows?

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 11:42 AM

I get the point about Hitchcock, but the Burton/Depp films already number (at least) eight and show no signs of stopping. It is getting excessive. Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart each appeared in four Hitchcock films. I believe Grace Kelly did three. I can’t think of a famous actor that did more than four, but I am sure there must be an exception, so don’t hold me to that.

I would also argue that Hitchcock relied on a wider variety of top talent in general, not just with the acting. So much about a Burton film is entirely predictable as a result.

McDuck on May 12, 2012 at 11:47 AM

My own ancestors having settled in the Cherokee ancestral lands alongside the native inhabitants (Kentucky, George, north Alabama), I know from research that a lot of those unions– between Creek or Cherokee and the Scots-Irish and other European settlers– were extremely common, and quite friendly.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 10:38 AM

You forgot a huge hole in your Cherokee territory.

Tennessee.

I am Scots-Irish+dash of Cherokee myself, and still live in the area that Cherokee and Choctaw fought over, western Tennessee between the Tennessee and Mississippi Rivers.

Jackson, named for Andrew Jackson, is right in the center.

A little later North and South fought here as well, Chattanooga and Shiloh.

Don’t leave us Volunteers out of history, dang it! :)

Brian1972 on May 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM

I won’t be wasting my hard-earned dollars on this mess. As it was for many, Dark Shadows was an essential part of my 70′s childhood. I own the DVD of House of Dark Shadows, the terrific theatrical feature version of the series, and rewatch it every year or so. I’m not going to watch Tim Burton, who ran out of creative gas around 1994, after Ed Wood, ruin another perfectly good bit of movie nostalgia for me. Memo to Johnny Depp: you are not Marlon Brando, and you are not old enough to be coasting along on highly paid camp for the rest of your career, especially as you don’t have On The Waterfront or The Godfather for people to remember you by.

I did not care much for the Dark Shadows reboot, despite Steele’s alluring presence. No Jonathan Frid, no dice for me.

Dan Curtis, creator of Dark Shadows, was one of the most interesting figures of his era. He was the man behind the Night Stalker movies and series; he produced and directed a number of terrific movies for television based on the classic horror tales, including a solid version of Dracula with Jack Palance of all people in the title role; and he was the creative force behind the massive Winds of War/War and Remembrance mini-series. Interestingly, Barabara Steele was an associate producer on those shows.

The iconic Steele cut back her acting work significantly as the 70′s progressed, but would still show up in odd and interesting places if the role was good. She has a small but vital part in a little known but decent slasher from 1980, Silent Scream. She plays the entire part in silence, and is more mesmerizing staring into a mirror than Depp can ever be with all his face pulling and eye popping. As Burgess Meredith once said of Charles Laughton, “(Steele) can do more sitting in a chair doing nothing than most actors can do with an entire script.”

“Prey”, the third and final segment of Curtis’s Trilogy of Terror, a made for television movie from 1975, is a genuine horror classic, and one of the scariest memories of my youth.

Mr. Arkadin on May 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Bmore on May 12, 2012 at 11:41 AM

True story: used to be able to hear OB’s garage rehearsals in their “Mystic Knights” days. Had friends working on The Forbidden Zone, which was their first appearance in a film (written/directed by Danny’s brother. It’s raunchy, so proceed with caution.) Danny plays Satan.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 11:53 AM

You forgot a huge hole in your Cherokee territory.

Tennessee.

Don’t leave us Volunteers out of history, dang it! :)

Brian1972 on May 12, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Dang it, you’re right! I forgot! Dad’s from Memphis.
But you left out another important Tennessee site.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

“Prey”, the third and final segment of Curtis’s Trilogy of Terror, a made for television movie from 1975, is a genuine horror classic, and one of the scariest memories of my youth.

Mr. Arkadin on May 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM

So do you still have that same irrational fear of Zuni fetish dolls as I do?

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Saw it last night, was having serious flashbacks to the 70′s (and I never did drugs) I really liked it. I like some of Burton’s work though. I’m watching the original on Netflix instant view right now. I was too young for the original run.

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on May 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM

But you left out another important Tennessee site.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Yes, one of the great ironies is that Lynchburg, the home of Jack Daniel’s Distillery, is a completely dry county.

The only way to get alcohol in Lynchburg is to take the tour of the Jack facility, and you can get sampler shots.

Otherwise, over the county line you go.

Brian1972 on May 12, 2012 at 12:05 PM

I’m not trying to be a killjoy, and people watch what they want to watch.

But I have never understood the current appeal of endless goth-type films. I guess I don’t get the appeal of goth at all.

I truly don’t get it, and why young folks are flocking to stuff like this! In my opinion, the undending supply of goth and superhero films has been badly crowding the market, and I am seeing fewer and fewer films at the Redbox that actually look thought-provoking and different.

Sort of like when you go to a bar these day, you are faced with a massive wall of sports channels – always sports….. no alternative – no creativity. No Roadrunner cartoons – no South Park – no gator hunting – just terminally boring, meaningless college sports.

To each his own.

cane_loader on May 12, 2012 at 12:08 PM

just terminally boring, meaningless college sports.

To each his own.

cane_loader on May 12, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Even LSU Tiger football is boring to you?

Good grief, what kind of cajun is this?

:)

Brian1972 on May 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM

It’s Tim Burton for heaven’s sake. The man single-handedly destroyed Willy Wonka and Planet of the Apes franchise.

I don’t even want to think about how he butchered DS.

Thomas More on May 12, 2012 at 8:58 AM

I agree with this..:)

Dire Straits on May 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Interestingly, Barabara Steele was an associate producer on those shows.

The iconic Steele cut back her acting work significantly as the 70′s progressed, but would still show up in odd and interesting places if the role was good.

Mr. Arkadin on May 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM

For me she will forever be the doomed “Elizabeth” in Corman’s The Pit and the Pendulum.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Even LSU Tiger football is boring to you?

Good grief, what kind of cajun is this?

:)

Brian1972 on May 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM

My dad used to live in Tiger Stadium, in the early ’50s – literally – there used to dorms there.

I’m a contrarian Cajun. The LSU Tigers are so over-exposed that I actually don’t care

/ducks.

But the Saints now….. that’s another story :-)

cane_loader on May 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Even LSU Tiger football is boring to you?

Good grief, what kind of cajun is this?

:)

Brian1972 on May 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM

If it makes any different, I just don’t have the college-sports gene. For some reason, college sports to me is like watching paint dry.

Little-League, high-school and pro.

But not college. Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know.

cane_loader on May 12, 2012 at 12:18 PM

cane_loader, some of the recent superhero films have been of extremely high quality. Of course, people seem to show up in droves for the ones that stink as well, but I can’t say that I am entirely hating the trend.

I agree that there is almost nothing more boring than watching a sporting event at a bar, but to be honest, bars have never been my thing. I drink probably once every few months at most.

McDuck on May 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Otherwise, over the county line you go.

Brian1972 on May 12, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Try on this one: A county not far south over the Alabama line, Cullman, founded by German colonists in 1873 (the L&N needed train stops), was a dry county for years, until fairly recently. And still held an annual Oktoberfest. I think you had to be a member of the Knights of Columbus really to get anything out of it. Or make a run for Warrior.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM

I agree that there is almost nothing more boring than watching a sporting event at a bar, but to be honest, bars have never been my thing. I drink probably once every few months at most.

McDuck on May 12, 2012 at 12:22 PM

It’s the lack of creativity and the sameness that’s so terminally boring. I suppose the rationale is that sports is apolitical, universally “acceptable” background noise. Were they to show CNN or FoxNews there might be fistfights.

But at least some comedy or something – South Park, Stooges…. there’s just this suffocating sameness these days.

Drinking moderately lessens your chance of heart attack, by the way

cane_loader on May 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Alice Cooper? The guy that lit live dogs on fire for his shows while he stomps chickens to death? Yeah he’s a really great guy, makes me want to see Burton and Depp do the same crap again.

bernverdnardo1 on May 12, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Drinking moderately lessens your chance of heart attack, by the way

cane_loader on May 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Drinking un-moderately lessens your chances of a reality attack. :)

Brian1972 on May 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM

So do you still have that same irrational fear of Zuni fetish dolls as I do?

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 12:03 PM

I do. But even worse, I have an irrational fear of Karen Black.

For me she will forever be the doomed “Elizabeth” in Corman’s The Pit and the Pendulum.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Was Steele ever not great? I just gave one of my employees, a college sophmore who likes Gothic literature, a copy of Black Sunday. She loved it.

I’ve managed to track down most of Steele’s legendary Italian work, although most of it is very poorly represented on DVD. One of her most important early movies, Freda’s The Ghost, is completely unavailable as far as I can tell. I can’t think of anything in which she hasn’t been completely mesmerizing. Even in ludicrous green make-up, Steele is the only reason to watch the otherwise dire Curse of the Crimson Altar (well, Karloff is pretty good too); Cronenberg gave her a great role in Shivers; and she rocks in Caged Heat. Doesn’t she decorate the background of Pretty Baby? I haven’t seen that yet. Coincidentally, I’ve got the original Piranha in my Netfix queue. It has a long wait. Why wouldn’t it? Joe Dante did more with $1.95 than Burton can do with $100 million.

Nice to find a fellow movie obsessive on this site.

Mr. Arkadin on May 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

I’m actually kind of sad that Ed spends every weekend watching terrible films. And then wastes time writing inane reviews when a 15-second visit to the rotten tomatoes website would tell you all you need to know. Of course with a film like this, do you really need someone to tell you that it’s not worth watching?

Rusty Allen on May 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Looks hilarious….have been wanting to see this since viewing the trailer.

Had some older cousins who never missed this show when I was a kid. Will check it out next week.

Took my nine-year-old daughter and her friend to see Avengers last night (second time for dad)…..they had a blast. Two little girls yelling “Hulk Smash” through dinner afterwards was hysterical.

Tim_CA on May 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Count me in the small minority of those who are not impressed by neither Depp nor Burton. Don’t misunderstand: if they produce products that people enjoy, more power to them both.

But as an actor, Depp is “just there”. He does nothing for me. And as for Burton, he’s one of the worst directors I’ve ever seen. I get his visual flair, but dammit, he simply can’t direct a story out of a wet paper bag.

Burton bored me with “Batman”, “Mars Attacks” and “Nightmare Before Christmas”. He infuriated me with his “Apes” remake. People try to get me to see some of this other works and I simply say, “No thanks.”

SnarkySam on May 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

It’s Tim Burton for heaven’s sake. The man single-handedly destroyed Willy Wonka and Planet of the Apes franchise.

I don’t even want to think about how he butchered DS.

Thomas More on May 12, 2012 at 8:58 AM

I agree with this..:)

Dire Straits on May 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM

This, double-plus good.

SnarkySam on May 12, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Small correction for film geeks. The Ghost is not the great lost Barbara Steele film. That is The Horrible Dr. Hichcock. The Ghost, readily available on DVD and Youtube in blotchy prints, is the mediocre sequel.

Mr. Arkadin on May 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Oh and Ed forgot the gratifying way in which the hippie culture was portrayed in the film. Gratifying if you are a conservative that is. I don’t think OWS would appreciate it. For me though THAT quick few scenes was worth the price of admission!

-Wasteland Man.

WastelandMan on May 12, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Nice to find a fellow movie obsessive on this site.

Mr. Arkadin on May 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Any friend of Guy van Stratten’s is a friend of mine. And we can thank Ed for his weekly Saturday matinee QOTD. (Thanks, Ed.)

They used to have that thing on display at Universal Studios, before it was overrun with thrill rides. It’s as scary close up in a vitrine as it was in the Trilogy.

Sorry to say, this is as close as I ever got to seeing Karen Black on display.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM

I’m jealous that you got to see that thing up close. The designer should have won an Emmy.

Black is a great actress, but I could never accept her in “serious” drama after seeing Trilogy of Terror at such an impressionable age; to me, she always looks like she’s ready to pull out the knife and use it. Curtis directed her in a fairly scary theatrical feature, Burnt Offerings, which seems to have been one of Stephen King’s inspirations for The Shining (he’s a big Curtis fan). Oddly, Kubrick seems to have lifted his limp ending for the film version of Shining (vastly different from King’s) from Burnt Offerings. Burnt Offerings is worth watching for a variety of reasons, including a grinning, cadaverous chauffeur who haunts Oliver Reed’s dreams; Burgess Meredith doing his usual scenery-chewing cameo; and Bette Davis showing this pack of young actor punks how it is done during a sweaty, hysterical death scene. Davis and Black did not get along.

Did you ever post at the old Libertas site, or Dirty Harry’s Place?

Mr. Arkadin on May 12, 2012 at 2:47 PM

I was bummed to find out a week ago they had made a comedy out of this. I was thinking it would be played straight like the TV series and movie. Pass.

tommyboy on May 12, 2012 at 2:59 PM

While Tim Burton should be knocked for many of his more recent films, he does have some good ones in his resume. Besides Ed Wood, which I mentioned in a previous post, I saw Big Fish last year. Besides a great cast which includes Albert Finney, Jessica Lange, Danny Devito, Ewan McGregor, Marion Cotillard and Billy Crudup, you have a very good story involving a son learning how to deal with his dying father. Yes, there’s plenty of weirdness and Helena Bonham Carter (the two go together), but it mostly works very well. I expect many people to feel more kindly to their own family after watching this one. Highly recommended.

Gladtobehere on May 12, 2012 at 3:31 PM

I’ll second the recommendation of Burnt Offerings.

Loved it as a kid and it holds up well.

I sorta want to see Dark Shadows, but the trailers are horrible. I like the original but would enjoy a parody. This one just doesn’t look funny at all.

Bobby Shandy on May 12, 2012 at 4:53 PM

Dark Shadows is not a chick flick?

InterestedObserver on May 12, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Dark Shadows is not a chick flick?

InterestedObserver on May 12, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Does your chick like gothic comedy?

Gladtobehere on May 12, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Did you ever post at the old Libertas site, or Dirty Harry’s Place?

Mr. Arkadin on May 12, 2012 at 2:47 PM

No, this is the only place I’ve ever posted. But I visited Hog’s Breath Inn a few times when he owned that.

Ditto Burnt Offerings. Not sure I’d want to hold a wedding there.

de rigueur on May 12, 2012 at 5:24 PM

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