movie review: dark shadows


there are men in the film also

I never watched the original series, but I was looking forward to seeing Johnny Depp play Barnabas Collins in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. Johnny Depp as a vampire, what’s not to like?

This was such a sweet film. Tim Burton often makes sweet films. It’s like Robert Smith has come whimsically together with Marvel Comics to make something, well, sweet and a little bumbling. I’ll let Wikipedia summarise, because Wikipedia is good at that:

‘Barnabas Collins is 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.’ [Dark Shadows (film), Wikipedia]

Yes, that’s right, fishing business. What of it? Sardine canning is totally gothic, right? Especially when one of the linch-pins is briefly and bafflingly played by Christopher Lee. Why not?? We all love a Christopher Lee cameo. Johnny Depp was his usual hapless, somewhat charming, Tim-Burton-character-acting self. I’m not sure what Eva Green (aka Vespa, James Bond) really had to do, except to look sumptious, which she very much did. If you enjoy the appearance of Eva Green, DO watch this movie. And the same went for Bella Heathcote, who seemed like she was going to be our hero, then kind of vanished demurely into a love story. Michelle Pfieffer is a magnificent lady. Full stop. And Helena Bonham Carter was … Helena Bonham Carter. She always is, and she’s a bit of an altsweetie. That’s like Alt Rock, only not exactly. Speaking of, we had Alice Cooper jokes and Alice Cooper ‘herself’. Awww.

Tim Burton’s work is full of fond reference to gothic pop culture. The silly, phallic, rising from the coffin scene, straight from Nosferatu, along with the long fingers pressed against the window. This time used for comic effect. Lots of little moments that show his fondness for all things genre. 

For the non-goth pop fans, and I know there are many, it’s worth it for silly little moments such as this where Barnaby tells his tale of woe with an inadvertent organ drum machine accompaniment. Beware, I needed to turn it way up, and I only have the hum of the fridge to contend with, but here it is, in all its sweet silliness:


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