Dark Shadows (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Tim Burton|
|Produced by||Richard D. Zanuck
|Screenplay by||Seth Grahame-Smith|
|Story by||John August
|Based on||Dark Shadows
by Dan Curtis
Helena Bonham Carter
Jackie Earle Haley
Jonny Lee Miller
Chloë Grace Moretz
|Music by||Danny Elfman|
|Editing by||Chris Lebenzon|
|Studio||Village Roadshow Pictures
The Zanuck Company
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Running time||113 minutes|
Dark Shadows is a 2012 American horror comedy film based on the gothic soap opera of the same name that was produced for television between 1966 and 1971. The film is directed by Tim Burton and stars Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, a 200-year-old vampire who has been imprisoned in a coffin. Collins is eventually unearthed and makes his way back to his mansion, now inhabited by his dysfunctional descendants. Collins also discovers that his jealous ex-lover, Angelique Bouchard, played by Eva Green, has taken over the town's fishing business that was once run by the Collins family (Bouchard is a witch who was responsible for transforming Collins into a vampire). Michelle Pfeiffer also stars as Collins' cousin, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the reclusive matriarch of the Collins family. The film had a limited release on May 10, 2012, and was officially released the following day in the United States.
The film was a box office disappointment and received mixed-to-negative reviews from critics, many of whom praised its visual style and consistent humor, but felt it lacked a focused or substantial plot and developed characters. The film marks Richard D. Zanuck's last as producer, as he died two months after the film's release. It also featured the final film appearance of original series actor Jonathan Frid, who died before Zanuck on April 14. He shared a cameo in the movie with former co-stars Kathryn Leigh Scott, David Selby, with Alice Cooper, and Lara Parker.
In 1760, the Collins family migrates to America from Liverpool and sets up a fishing port in Maine, naming it Collinsport. Sixteen years later in 1776 the son, Barnabas (Johnny Depp), has an affair with a maid, Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green), who is a witch infatuated with him since childhood. When he tells her he doesn't love or want her, Angelique kills his parents. Barnabas then falls in love with Josette du Pres (Bella Heathcote). In a fit of jealousy, Angelique bewitches Josette into leaping from a cliff to her death. Barnabas leaps after her in grief, but he survives because Angelique turns him into an immortal vampire. She rouses a mob to capture and bury Barnabas alive in a chained coffin in the woods and curses his family.
One hundred ninety-six years later, in the year 1972, construction workers accidentally free Barnabas from his coffin, who reluctantly slakes his two-century thirst by feeding on and killing his rescuers. He makes his way back to his manor to find it inhabited by his dysfunctional descendants and their servants—the family matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer); her brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller); her 15-year-old daughter Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz); Roger's 10-year-old son David (Gulliver McGrath); Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), David's psychiatrist; Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley), the manor's caretaker; and Victoria Winters (Heathcote), David's newly hired governess and Josette's reincarnation. Upon convincing Elizabeth of his identity by revealing a secret treasure room behind the fireplace, Barnabas is allowed to stay under the condition that he never reveal either the room or the fact that he is a vampire to the rest of the family. At breakfast, Elizabeth makes him out to be "Barnabas Collins III", a distant relative from England who has come to restore the family's business and reputation in town. Barnabas becomes very deeply attracted to Victoria, whom he briefly mistakes for his lost Josette, and immediately begins to pursue her romantically.
As Barnabas helps revitalize the Collins' fishery and manor, he is approached by Angelique, who has used her powers to establish a successful rival fishery, called Angel Bay, and live through the decades by posing as her own descendants. She tries to win him back, later convincing him to make wild, passionate love with her, but he still rejects her, as he loves Victoria. He continues to restore his family's name by inviting the entire town to a party at the manor featuring Alice Cooper (whom Barnabas mistakes for a female due to Cooper's name), where Victoria reveals to Barnabas that her parents committed her to an insane asylum, (under her real name "Maggie Evans"), as a child because she could see and talk to an invisible friend, (Josette's ghost). They kiss and confess their feelings to each other, unknowingly enraging Angelique who has witnessed the scene.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hoffman has discovered Barnabas' true nature after hypnotizing him. She convinces him to try an experimental procedure to become a regular human again via blood transfusions using her own blood, but her real intent is to use his blood to become a vampire to avoid aging. Upon discovering this betrayal, Barnabas drains her to death and dumps her in the ocean. Barnabas catches Roger trying to find the secret room and exposes Roger's lack of interest in his son. Barnabas makes him choose between being a good father to David, or leaving the family with sufficient funding to satisfy his greed. Roger chooses to leave, deeply wounding his son's feelings. Immediately afterwards, Barnabas rescues David from a falling disco ball and stumbles into a beam of sunlight, burning his skin and exposing his secret to the horrified children and Victoria.
Later that night, Angelique calls Barnabas into her office, coaxes him into confessing Dr. Hoffman's murder, and traps him in another coffin that she leaves in his family's crypt until she decides to let him out again. She then burns down the Collins' canning factory and plays a recording of the murder confession to the police and gathered townsfolk, once more turning them against the family. Angie leads the mob to Collinswood to arrest the family, but Barnabas is rescued from the coffin by David and shows up at the manor, attacking her in front of the mob, thereby exposing both his and her true natures. As the townspeople disperse, Angelique sets fire to the manor and admits her role in the family's curse, including turning Carolyn into a werewolf and killing David's mother at sea. Barnabas and the Collins family fight Angelique until David summons his mother's vengeful ghost. The ghost gives a single scream which knocks Angelique into a chandelier.
Before she dies she pulls out her heart and offers it to Barnabas; he refuses the heart, trying to make her admit she didn't really love him, she just wanted to possess him, and it shatters as Angelique dies. Barnabas then discovers that Angelique has bewitched Victoria into jumping off of Widow's Hill, the same cliff Josette did. Barnabas arrives moments before Victoria is about to jump and breaks her hypnosis, but she reveals she wanted to fall. She pleads with him to make her a vampire so that they can remain together forever, but he refuses. She then casts herself off, forcing him to follow and bite her to save her life, and Victoria, now realized as Josette, wakes up as a vampire. As the two kiss on the rocks in the waves, the film ends with an underwater scene showing a school of fish swimming away from Hoffman, who suddenly revives due to managing to make it far enough into the transfusions.
- Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, an 18th-century vampire who awakens to the 20th century. Thomas McDonell also appears briefly in the film as a 6-year-old Barnabas. While an empathetic character aware of his sinister nature, Barnabas retains a vicious streak, never forgiving and relentless in the kill. His only loyalties to his family aside, he is a well mannered man consistently trapped in the mindset of an 18th-century Englishman.
- Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the family matriarch. Stern and strict, but loyal and devoted to her family, Elizabeth cares for every member of the household and tends to help them through their personal trials. To "endure" as they always have, she isn't afraid to stand up for herself.
- Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman, the family's live-in psychiatrist, hired to deal with David and his belief in ghosts. Somewhat vain and losing to her aging, she takes it upon herself to receive transfusions from Barnabas (under the guise of trying to cure him). She is often drunk or taking pills, Barnabas woos her into having a crush on him, often taking advantage of his naive nature without regarding the possible consequence of betraying him.
- Eva Green as Angelique Bouchard, a vengeful witch who plots a vendetta against Barnabas and his family. She wears a constantly false smile that resembles a feature like a porcelain doll and like glass, her face becomes cracked when damaged, revealing a possibly hollow interior. She had spent two centuries as her own descendents, using her immortal nature to ruin the Collins family name and give herself more power. She is loved by everybody (outside the Collins family of course).
- Jackie Earle Haley as Willie Loomis, the manor's caretaker. Barnabas' servant through hypnosis he retains his own mindset, but follows his master's will instantly, he is one of two caretakers at Collinswood, a house that requires a staff of 100 (As well as Mrs. Johnson, but "She's about as useful as a bucket without a bottom." according to him.)
- Jonny Lee Miller as Roger Collins, Elizabeth's "ne'er-do-well" brother. Larcenous and greedy, Roger often takes advantage of what he can through theft, trickery or bribery. When Barnabas catches him snooping around for the secret vault, he offers him a choice; to stay at Collinwood to be an exemplary father to his son David, or leave with the money to live on. The selfish man chooses the latter, hurting David at his departure.
- Bella Heathcote as Victoria Winters, David's governess and Barnabas' love interest. Heathcote also plays the role of Josette du Pres. Victoria and Maggie Evans' roles, separate in the series, were combined in the film, with Maggie choosing to adopt the name of Victoria (or "Vicky" for short) after seeing a poster for winter sports in Victoria, British Columbia while on the train to Collinsport. Prim and proper, though Carolyn suspects it is all just an act, she was sent to a mental hospital as a child for possessing the ability to see and speak to ghosts to the concern of her parents, only to escape and find refuge with the Collins family. She is from New York and has a very kind nature, she is mutually attracted to Barnabas, but recoils for a time when she discovers his true nature.
- Chloë Grace Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard, Elizabeth's rebellious teenage daughter. Isolated and rebellious, her mother and family could not fathom the secret she had in store. She offers Barnabas advice on love, music and an insight to the era he had stepped into. She wants to run away to New York when she turns 16, but her mother constantly forbids it. She also turns out to be a werewolf, as she was bitten by a werewolf sent by Angelique when she was a baby.
- Gulliver McGrath as David Collins, Roger's "precocious" 10-year-old son, who can see his mother's ghost, who was killed by Angelique at sea.
- Ray Shirley as Mrs. Johnson, the manor's elderly maid.
- Christopher Lee as Silas Clarney, a "king of the fishermen who spends a lot of time in the local pub, The Blue Whale."
- Alice Cooper as himself.
- Ivan Kaye as Joshua Collins, the father of Barnabas Collins.
- Susanna Cappellaro as Naomi Collins, the mother of Barnabas Collins.
- William Hope as Sheriff Bill of Collinsport
- Hannah Murray as Hippie Chick
- Guy Flanagan as Bearded Hippie
At the San Diego Comic-Con 2011, it was also confirmed that four actors from the original series appear in the film. In June 2011, Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott all spent three days at Pinewood Studios to film cameo appearances. They all appeared as party guests during a ball held at Collinswood Manor. Frid died in April 2012, making this his final film appearance.
In July 2007, Warner Bros. acquired film rights for the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows from the estate of its creator Dan Curtis. Johnny Depp had a childhood obsession with Dark Shadows, calling it a "dream" to portray Barnabas Collins, and ended up persuading Burton to direct. The project's development was delayed by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. After the strike was resolved, Tim Burton was attached to direct the film. By 2009, screenwriter John August was writing a screenplay for Dark Shadows. In 2010, author and screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith replaced August in writing the screenplay. August did, however, receive story credit with Smith for his contribution to the film. Filming began in May 2011. It was filmed entirely in England, at both Pinewood Studios and on location. Depp attempted to emulate the "rigidity" and "elegance" of Jonathan Frid's original Barnabas Collins, but also drew inspiration from Max Schreck's performance in Nosferatu.
Additional crew members and Burton regulars are production designer Rick Heinrichs, costume designer Colleen Atwood, editor Chris Lebenzon and composer Danny Elfman. French cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel — known for his work in Amélie, A Very Long Engagement and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince — worked on the project.
|Dark Shadows: Original Score|
|Film score by Danny Elfman|
|Released||May 8, 2012|
|Dark Shadows music chronology|
|Dark Shadows: Original Score|
|1.||"Dark Shadows Prologue" (Uncut)||7:52|
|3.||"Vicki Enters Collinwood"||1:21|
|6.||"Is It Her?"||0:43|
|7.||"Barnabas Comes Home"||4:18|
|10.||"Killing Dr. Hoffman"||1:14|
|11.||"Dumping the Body"||0:58|
|13.||"Burn Baby Burn / In-Tombed"||2:49|
|15.||"The Angry Mob"||4:40|
|16.||"House of Blood"||3:38|
|18.||"Widows' Hill (Finale)"||3:47|
|19.||"The End?" (Uncut)||2:42|
|20.||"More the End?"||1:55|
|21.||"We Will End You!"||1:09|
|Dark Shadows: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Released||May 8, 2012|
|Genre||Progressive rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock, pop, R&B, orchestral|
|Label||WaterTower Music, Sony Music|
|Producer||Various, Tim Burton|
|Dark Shadows music chronology|
The soundtrack features a score of several contemporaneous 1970s rock and pop songs, along with others from later and slightly earlier, including "Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues, "Top of the World" by The Carpenters, "You're the First, the Last, My Everything" by Barry White, "I'm Sick of You" by Iggy Pop, "Season of the Witch" by Donovan, "Get It On" by T. Rex and "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath. Alice Cooper, who makes a cameo in the film, sings "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and "Ballad of Dwight Fry". A cover of the Raspberries' song "Go All the Way" by The Killers also plays over the end credits. The soundtrack, featuring 11 songs (including two score pieces by Danny Elfman, and Depp's recitation as Barnabas of several lines from "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band) was released on May 8 as a download, and on various dates as a CD, including on May 22 as an import in the United States, and on May 25, 2012 in Australia. Songs not featured on the soundtrack that are in the film include "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield, and "Crocodile Rock" by Elton John.
- Included next to each track is the year of the song's original release, excluding the score pieces.
|Dark Shadows: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|1.||"Nights in White Satin" (1967)||The Moody Blues||4:26|
|2.||"Dark Shadows – Prologue"||Danny Elfman||3:56|
|3.||"I'm Sick of You" (1972/1973)||Iggy Pop||6:52|
|4.||"Season of the Witch" (1966)||Donovan||4:56|
|5.||"Top of the World" (1972)||The Carpenters||3:01|
|6.||"You're the First, the Last, My Everything" (1974)||Barry White||4:35|
|7.||"Bang a Gong (Get It On)" (1971)||T. Rex||4:26|
|8.||"No More Mr. Nice Guy" (1972/1973)||Alice Cooper||3:08|
|9.||"Ballad of Dwight Fry" (1971)||Alice Cooper||6:36|
|10.||"The End?"||Danny Elfman||2:30|
|11.||"The Joker" (original song from 1973)||Johnny Depp||0:17|
The film grossed $79,727,159 in the United States and Canada, along with $165.8 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $245.5 million. For a Burton film, Dark Shadows achieved below-average domestic box office takings with many commentators pointing to the domination of The Avengers as the reason why. However, the film was popular overseas. The film came second to The Avengers in most countries in regard to opening box office takings.
Dark Shadows has received mixed to negative reviews from film critics, with a "rotten" percentage of 38% and an average rating of 5.3/10 on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 221 reviews. The sites consensus reads: "The visuals are top notch but Tim Burton never finds a consistent rhythm, mixing campy jokes and gothic spookiness with less success than other Johnny Depp collaborations." Metacritic gives the film a score of 55% based on 42 reviews.
Some critics felt that the film lacked a focused or consistent plot or genre (as either horror, comedy or drama; with several also questioning whether it intended to reflect the feel of the soap opera or not), pointing to Grahame-Smith's script; and that its jokes fell flat. Some further claimed that Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's collaborations have become tired, and that Depp overacted in the film. Many of the same, and other reviewers, however, noted its visual style was impressive.
Positive reviewers, on the other hand, opined that the film did successfully translate the mood of the soap opera, also acclaiming the actors—most notably Depp as Barnabas, who several said was the stand-out character due to his humorous culture shock, as well as Pfeiffer—and their characters; and further, that the film's '70s culture pastiche worked to its advantage.
Roger Ebert said, "[The film] offers wonderful things, but they aren't what's important. It's as if Burton directed at arm's length, unwilling to find juice in the story." Ebert later noted that "Much of the amusement comes from Depp's reactions to 1970s pop culture," eventually concluding that the film "begins with great promise, but then the energy drains out," giving it two and a half stars out of four. Manohla Dargis, writing for The New York Times, said that it "isn't among Mr. Burton's most richly realized works, but it's very enjoyable, visually sumptuous and, despite its lugubrious source material and a sporadic tremor of violence, surprisingly effervescent," and opined in a mostly positive review that Burton's "gift for deviant beauty and laughter has its own liberating power."
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers gave the film a mixed two and a half stars, claiming, "After a fierce and funny start, Dark Shadows simply spins its wheels," and adding that "the pleasures of Dark Shadows are frustratingly hit-and-miss. In the end, it all collapses into a spectacularly gorgeous heap." In The Washington Post, Ann Hornaday dismissed the film, awarding it just one and a half stars, explaining that "Burton's mash-up of post-'60s kitsch and modern-day knowingness strikes a chord that is less self-aware than fatally self-satisfied. Dark Shadows doesn't know where it wants to dwell: in the eerie, subversive penumbra suggested by its title or in playful, go-for-broke camp."
Richard Corliss in Time pointed out that "[Burton]'s affection is evident, and his homage sometimes acute," and reasoned: "All right, so Burton has made less a revival of the old show than a hit-or-miss parody pageant," but praised the star power of the film, relenting that "attention must be paid to movie allure, in a star like Depp and his current harem. Angelique may be the only satanist among the women here, but they're all bewitching." Peter Bradshaw, in the British newspaper The Guardian, weighed the film in a mixed write-up, giving it three stars out of five, and pointing out his feeling that "the Gothy, jokey 'darkness' of Burton's style is now beginning to look very familiar; he has built his brand to perfection in the film marketplace, and it is smarter and more distinctive than a lot of what is on offer at the multiplex, but there are no surprises. There are shadows, but they conceal nothing."
|Young Artist Award||Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor||Gulliver McGrath||Nominated|||
Dark Shadows was released on both Blu-ray and DVD in the United States on October 2, 2012, the date confirmed by the official Dark Shadows Facebook page, and the official Dark Shadows web site. The film was released on both formats several days earlier in Australia; in stores on September 24, and online on September 26, 2012. The film was released on October 15, 2012 in the UK.
The DVD includes just one featurette, "The Collinses: Every Family Has Its Demons", while the Blu-ray contains a total of nine short featurettes and six deleted scenes. Several worldwide releases of both the DVD and Blu-ray contain an UltraViolet digital copy of the film.
On December 7, 2011, Michelle Pfeiffer told MTV that she is hoping sequels will be made for the film. On May 8, 2012, Variety reported that Warner Bros. may want to turn Dark Shadows into a movie franchise. On the same day, Collider.com mentioned that the ending lends itself to a possible sequel. When Tim Burton was asked if he thought that this could be a possible start to a franchise, he replied, "No. Because of the nature of it being like a soap opera, that was the structure. It wasn't a conscious decision. First of all, it's a bit presumptuous to think that. If something works out, that's one thing, but you can't ever predict that. [The ending] had more to do with the soap opera structure of it."
There have been two other feature films based on the soap opera Dark Shadows:
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- Official website
- Dark Shadows at the Internet Movie Database
- Dark Shadows at the TCM Movie Database
- Dark Shadows at Box Office Mojo
- Dark Shadows at Rotten Tomatoes
- Dark Shadows at Metacritic