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That New Dark Shadows Pic = My Cry For Help

Fact: I have not completely adored a Tim Burton Movie since Ed Wood.

Fact the Deuce: I have not actively anticipated a Tim Burton film in pretty much the same amount of time. (And to that end, the last one that felt more or less like a worthwhile exercise in anticipation was Big Fish, which I seem to have enjoyed more than just about everyone.)

Fact Part Three: Dark Shadows aired on KDOC in Southern California in the late ’80s, and owing to my mother’s having watched it as a young newlywed and re-discovering it alongside me – the one with the burgeoning love of genre TV (even ones with flubbed lines and visible boom mikes, but copious amounts of style, man…) – I fell in love with it.


Photo: Entertainment Weekly/ (click to enlarge)

Look, I know that this EW “exclusive” image from Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows feature probably amounts to damage control after those set pics which leaked, making Johnny Depp look more a cast-off from one of his Willy Wonka wardrobe tests than the iconic Barnabas Collins, the original-emo-gangsta-vampire. He looks a lot better here, though they are still exaggerating those well-known jaggedy bangs slightly. Also, I’m a little turned off by the too-adolescent costume choice for Bella Heathcoate’s Vicki Winters. Everyone else is aces, even the age-regressed Carolyn (Chloe Moretz) and especially Helena Bonham Carter, who’s “Oh, Tim cast the missus again” stigma is completely negated by the fact that she looks SO MUCH like Grayson Hall, the original Julia Hoffman. Seriously, that’s fucking uncanny. If she channels Hall’s trademark batty hysterics, it will be worth the price of admission alone:

Look, the point of this blog is that I need one or more of you to hold my hand in the comments and convince me not to get too excited. We all know what it’s like to reach a point where you aim not to get too excited by a filmmaker who has let you down an number of times, and I’m pretty good about that generally. Someone tell me to lower the bar slightly and not get all giggity-pants about Jonny Lee Miller’s perfect smug Roger Collins sneer… or Michelle Pfieffer’s brittle Elizabeth Stoddard-like pout… or the fact that we’ve been promised cameos by four of the biggest actors from the original series, including original Barnabas Jonathan Frid. (And smokin’ hot werewolf relative Quentin, David Selby… and, seriously, put a boot in my ass before I start going on about how perfect Michael Fassbender would be as Quentin in a sequel. SWEET BABIES, STOP ME THIS INSTANT.)

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  1. Parnold says:

    Nothing will ever compete with the original material. It’s uniqueness and charm are based too much on the cast and the surrounding circumstances of the shows production (technology, the nature of running a daily show in the late 60’s/ early 70’s, etc.). No matter how great or awful, this movie will be a curiosity or run-off from whatever attracted us fans to the original. Similar to the way House of Dark Shadows is entertaining, but doesn’t hold the same power as the original series. (Which, by the way, is great in its own way. It’s like watching Dan Curtis bust money shots all over the place after holding it in during the series.)
    I don’t remember the last good movie Tim Burton made. Mostly I cannot stand his over-stylization. But who knows? Maybe it will work with this sort of original material. It seemed to work for Sleepy Hollow, though I suppose that was a while ago.
    Anyway, none of that really matters. I’m going to go see it when it comes out, hopefully leaving the theater content or even happy. But I’ll probably still find watching even pre-Barnabas more entertaining.
    Also, Michelle Pfieffer is in this movie and I have a hard time hating anything she does.

  2. @Gerry: I wouldn’t turn down Huge Ackman, either.

    @Countess Baltar: You had me at PotA and then lost me at BSG. 😉

  3. Vicky A. says:

    I must admit that I too felt an excitement build when I saw the cast photo in EW. I studied that photo and while not perfect, it is pretty damn cool!

    I’d been hearing about the remake, Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, blah, blah, blah, but I ignored it. Just completely put it out of sight, out of mind. Nothing was going to make this remake half as good as the experience of watching the original was for me as a kid.


    That picture made me shiver. It was just too good. So I, like you, am trying not to get too excited because I’m destined to see this when it is released and I don’t want to have any expectations. I won’t be disappointed. I refuse to be. And I will keep telling myself that until I actually believe it.

  4. jenny says:

    Not loving this photo at all. Thinking I’m waiting for cable for this one. sorry 🙁
    And I usually like Tim Burton’s work, craziness and all. I know it can’t be like the original, but Vicki Winters looks like 13 yr old. Creepy, people, just creepy. As for Depp’s makeup…ugh!

  5. jenny says:

    Not loving this photo at all. Thinking I’m waiting for cable for this one. sorry 🙁

  6. Countess Baltar says:

    You really don’t want to get too excited?

    Think of Tim Burton’s “Planet of the Apes”.

    Why should “Dark Shadows” be allowed to escape the curse of re-makes that are joyless, tedious, FX showcases? (Yeah, I’m still mad my favourite hysterically funny 1978 space opera was trashed by Ron Moore & Co.)

    Expectations lowered now?

  7. Quinn K. says:

    Big Fish is in my top 5 favorite movies EVER!!!
    *nerdgasm commences*

  8. Jeff says:

    I normally shy away from being an asshole on the internet, but Nicole said she needed some help as to not get too excited about this movie. So here it goes…

    This looks like it might be the horror/Burton equivalent of star-packed flops like “He’s Just Not That Into You” or “Valentine’s Day”. Most movies need two stars, maybe three, to get people interested. When directors start casting five, six, seven LEADING actors, it could hint to problems with the script.

    Then again, this may be due to the fact that this is a remake of a TV show, most of which are multi-protagonist. Like “The A-Team”, “or “The Mod Squad”, or “S.W.A.T.”, or “G.I. Joe”. And we know how those stories end.

    So, if I were to guess, the story is crap, the dialogue is crap, the acting is alright, but there’s no real movie here. Just a bunch of big names and semi-recognizable characters.

    Then again, I just made up all of that on the spot. I’ve never even heard of the show until now. This movie might be the greatest thing ever. I doubt it, but I truly have no idea. That’s the beauty of message boards; little to no expertise or knowledge required.

  9. Jazz says:

    Sweet Babies, Michael Fassbender…. Gah!

  10. Wade says:

    Why does Hollywood keep vandalizing the things I love?

    Blech. Shame on you for hyping it even a little.

  11. Shhted says:

    I liked Big Fish, as well as Sweeney Todd. Even Willy Wonka had some redeeming qualities to it. I’ll most likely see this, but just because Tim Burton always has potential. Sometimes it’s Filet Mignon; looks good, smells good, tastes good. Other times it’s White Castle; seductive, appetizing, suddenly gives you uncontrollable diarrhea.

  12. Christina says:

    Giving away my age…I watched it’s first run. I was about 5 and would sneak watch it. I loved it! I still have a paperback with Frid on the cover full of bad vampire jokes. Think it was from the early 70’s. Did not like the re-boot they did. The only thing that gives me hope is that Depp and Burton are fans of the original. Still, that doesn’t mean it will be good. Trying to be optimistic.

  13. Gerry says:

    Fassbender … eh, maybe.

    Hugh Jackman would be the ultimate actor for Quentin Collins in a new series of Dark Shadows films.

  14. David says:

    I remember watching the 60s (original) in the 80s and then the version in the 90s so, hopefully if will be good.
    The remake is the “in” and “hot” thing in Hollywood these days.
    I don’t know, it’s like someone lined all these producers up and
    used that flash thingamajig from Men in Black and said ” you will
    remake a movie from sometime in the last 30 years”

  15. my name is victoria winters says:

    I can’t totally lose faith in Burton yet either, but I’m trepidacious. I don’t know if this series can ever work for me without Joan Bennett’s amazing line-forgetting and the obvious pressure of live performance. The 90s version didn’t engage me for more than 3 episodes, despite Gordon-Levitt. This might be fun if it were a Garth Marenghi/Black Dynamite approach, but I’m afraid after all is said and done the original will still be unbeatable.