Friday FabOoolousness – The Boo Factor: Dark Shadows

We don’t go to the movie theater often.  When we do actually go to the cinema, we rarely pick a flick on its opening weekend.  But at least once a year there is a movie release that I absolutely can’t miss — a film that I have been anxiously awaiting for months.

Readers of my blog know that I love scary movies – horror, slashers, psychological thrillers, classics, B-rated films, etc.  These are “my movies” according to my guy, and he usually insists that I see these with my girlfriends.

Two years ago, the film was the Nightmare on Elm Street remake starring Rooney Mara, Katie Cassidy, and Thomas Dekker.  My girls and I rushed out early on a Saturday morning to witness the “new” Freddy Krueger terrorize the teens of Springwood, Ohio.

In 2011, we again met at the theater for a Saturday morning viewing of Colin Farrell as the sexy vampire Jerry Dandridge in the remake of Fright Night – in 3-D no less.  As with Nightmare, this vampy flick put a new twist on the popular original which is exactly the kind of remake I appreciate (in most instances, not in The Clash of the Titans’ case).

But I digress…

Around December of last year, I knew exactly which film my girlfriends and I would see on its premiere weekend this year – Dark Shadows.

Dark Shadows is not new; it has been around for decades, literally.  In the ’60s and ’70s, Dark Shadows aired on the ABC network as a soap opera.  Dan Curtis’ melodramatic soap put the supernatural on the map – vampires, ghosts, werewolves, zombies, witches, etc.  It also featured time travel and aspects of parallel universes, something that is extremely popular on TV today.

The soap opera launched into a phenom craze of its own, and MGM released two feature films based on the popular hit in the ’70s: House of Dark Shadows and Night of Dark Shadows.  Since then, the Dark Shadows franchise has grown to also include magazines, comics, and books.

In 1991, Dark Shadows aired on NBC as a primetime drama as a reimagining of the original series (also created by Dan Curtis).  The “new” Dark Shadows didn’t last past its freshman year, but the story grabbed a certain teenage girl in Midland, Texas who never missed an episode.  Yes, I’m talking about me…  Even today, I have my DVR set to record the ’91 series anytime it airs in syndication on SyFy or Chiller.

The Dark Shadows television series was almost brought back to life in 2004 by the WB, but the network passed on the pilot starring Alec Newman and other familiar faces: Marley Shelton (Valentine), Jessica Chastain (The Help), Alexander Gould and Martin Donovan (Weeds), Kelly Hu (Nash Bridges), Ivana Milicevic (Head over Heels), and Blair Brown (Fringe).  I am seriously bummed that this series didn’t make it.

So what makes Dark Shadows special?  Vampire Barnabas Collins

As if it wasn’t enough that Tim Burton is bringing Dark Shadows to the big screen, he cast one of the best actors of our time in the role of Barnabas Collins — the fabOoolous Johnny Depp.

Barnabas Collins, 2012

I’m a fan of vampires in general (the dark kind, not the lovey-dovey kind – yes, I’m referring to Twilight here).  The trailer has me worried that the film will be a bit “campy” for me, but I’m putting all preconceived notions aside and am looking forward to my movie date this weekend.  After all, Mr. Depp isn’t the only star cast in this cult classic: we also have Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloe Moretz (Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass), Helena Bonham Carter, and Jackie Earle Haley (the “new” Freddy Krueger) to just name a few.

It’s also rumored that a few of the soap opera stars from the ’60s and ’70s will play a cameo in the film, something I truly appreciate.  Did everyone notice Chris Sarandon’s cameo in Fright Night (2011)?  Loved it – the “old” vampire Jerry killed by the “new” vampire Jerry.  Brilliant!

I don’t know what to expect from this movie, but I know I’m looking forward to it.  With the exception of The Rum Diary (in my opinion), everything Johnny Depp touches turns to gold.  Surely Dark Shadows will be another of his masterful character pieces and will leave all of us applauding him once again.  The man is simply fantastic.  Partnered again with Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, how can it fail?

Are you a Dark Shadows fan?  Did you prefer the soap or the ’91 retelling?  Do you plan to see the movie?  I’d love to hear from you!

9 Replies to “Friday FabOoolousness – The Boo Factor: Dark Shadows”

  1. Watched the soap. Johnathan Frid portrayed the vampires torment perfectly. The gothic pall that hung over the original might not sell today. Johnny Depp will put his stamp on the role. An 18th century man adrift in the 21th century, with that blood drinking problem.

  2. I have to say I never heard of Dark Shadows – but how fun this movie is created from this old show. Now I’m intrigued more to see it. I do admit though that Johnny Depp always freaks me out in his numerous Tim Burton guises. I like him as plain ol’ Johnny, not even in Pirates of Caribbean. Give me Johnny, plain and sexy! I look forward to your review of this!

  3. Now you’re talking about a show after my own heart. 🙂 I’ve been watching the old 1960’s episodes on Netflix lately. (They only have 160 episodes…a fraction of the 1225.) I used to come home from school and watch it with my grandmother who was a big soap opera fan. She loved Dark Shadows as much as she loved Edge of Night. Barnabas Collins is the vampire that started my love for such creatures. He was no lightweight. He could kill without blinking an eye. I wonder if my grandma ever considered that at 7 years old, I shouldn’t be watching that. LOL.

    When I found out there was to be a movie starring JOHNNY DEPP, I was so excited. I was expecting something along the lines of the original. I should have known when I heard Tim Burton was involved, I was not going to get the movie I wanted. However…I think I can watch it with a different attitude, knowing kind of what to expect, and enjoy it as something different. I’m still really disappointed that they “cheesed it up” instead of leaving it as dark and haunting as it should be. 😦

  4. I had no idea this was a soap before! Wow. I’m totally looking forward to this movie, not just for Johnny, but the story, the (and please don’t hate me here) camp, the cast, all of it just looks like it will be a rollicking good time! I probably won’t see it this weekend so let us know what you think. I hope it’s as good as I want it to be…

    Enjoy the time with your friend!

  5. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of Johnny Depp, especially since he started doing films for Burton (not a fan of anything after Nightmare Before Christmas), BUT I do want to see and plan on seeing Dark Shadows…so please let us know if it’s worth seeing on the big scree or wait for it to come out on cable!

  6. I adore Johnny Depp as you know, and I’m campaigning to see this. We don’t go often, either, and we just saw The Avengers in 3d. Twice, lol. So not sure when I’ll get to see this, but looks like classic Tim and Johnny.

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