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Entries in Dark Shadows (3)

Friday
May112012

Movie Review: "Dark Shadows"

Warner Bros.(NEW YORK) -- “They say blood is thicker than water.”  Those are the first words we hear from Johnny Depp’s Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows, as Collins narrates the beginning of his story, starting as a child in 18th century Liverpool, England.  At that moment, however, I was utterly distracted by Tim Burton’s stunning baroque rendering of the Liverpool seaport.  Then Collins said something about his family moving to America, where they started a fishing business, and…wow, look at Johnny Depp!  He looks so young!  And Eva Green…gorgeous! 

Why is Tim Burton ruining his glorious visuals with a voice over cliché that middle school students use in public speaking classes?  “They say blood is thicker than water?”  Puh-LEEZ.  But, it’s Tim Burton and Johnny Depp -- let's give it a chance.

Dark Shadows, of course, is based on the 1960s cult-classic horror daytime soap of the same name.  Screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith manipulates the mythology for big-screen appeal, and fans of the series will notice some differences.  Not being one of those fans myself, let's focus on the film.

Back in the day, Barnabas spurns Angelique (Eva Green), who happens to be a witch.  Bad news for Barnabas, because once he crosses her, she becomes a raging witch, killing his parents and casting a spell on his true love, Josette, who walks off a cliff. Unbeknownst to Barnabas, Angelique also has put a spell on him, turning him into a vampire. Angelique then rallies the town against Barnabas, now considered a monster, and leads an angry mob to his house where they take him away, chain him in a coffin and bury him. One hundred ninety-six years later, a construction crew unearths Barnabas, whereupon he violently vanquishes the crew beneath a McDonald’s sign and promptly delivers the best joke of the entire movie.  Very early in the movie.

It's no surprise that Johnny Depp is fantastic as the anachronistic Barnabas, and much of the film's fun comes from his struggle to relate to 1972 America.  He also attempts to court Victoria Winters, the young woman with a mysterious past who takes care of nine-year-old David, who himself is the great, great, great, great, great…um, somethingorother, I’m not really sure…of Barnabas. In fact, since Barnabas never married before he was buried and apparently had no brothers and sisters to speak of, I’m not sure how any of these Collinses could possibly be his descendants.  But I digress.

Johnny Depp as Barnabas is enjoyable to watch, even when the rest of Dark Shadows is putting you to sleep.  And believe me, it will put you to sleep.  Depp and Tim Burton once were like that fantastic young couple who couldn’t keep their hands off each other.  We looked at them and thought, “Wow, those two are amazing together.”  After a while, though, their PDA grows predictable and unimpressive, to the point that you wish they’d just break up already. 

After eight films in 22 years, beginning with 1990's Edward Scissorhands, I think it’s time for these two immensely talented artists to break up. Maybe after spending a decade of romancing other actors and directors, Depp and Burton can get back together for one last fling of passionate movie-making.  Maybe by then, their act won’t seem so tired.

In an interview, the late Jonathan Frid, who played Barnabas Collins on Dark Shadows, the TV show, said of the soap ending after just five seasons, “we kind of ran out of gas.” Funny, that’s also what happens with Dark Shadows, the movie.   Like Depp and Burton's professional collaboration, it starts out promising, some of the stuff in the middle is OK, and then it just fizzles out.

Two out of five stars.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May112012

"Dark Shadows" Opens Nationwide Friday

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Johnny Depp's latest collaboration with director Tim Burton opens nationwide Friday.

Dark Shadows, based on the 1966-1971 TV series of the same name, stars Depp as Barnabas Collins.  In the 1700s, Barnabas is transformed into a vampire and buried alive by a witch whose heart he broke.  He escapes from his tomb in 1972, and discovers that his wealthy estate and his family life are not what they used to be.

Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jackie Earle Haley and Jonny Lee Miller also star in Dark Shadows, which is the only movie opening in wide release this weekend. It is rated PG-13.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr192012

Report: 'Dark Shadows' Star Jonathan Frid Dies

Pictorial Parade/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former Dark Shadows star Jonathan Frid has died, according to various reports.  He was 87 years old.

Frid is of course best-known for playing the dashing vampire Barnabas Collins on the Gothic 1960s daytime soap Dark Shadows.  Actress Kathryn Lee Scott, who co-starred with Frid on the show as his vampire love, Josette, writes on her blog in a lengthy tribute, "I am so grateful to have worked with Jonathan, and to have known him as the charismatic, entertaining, complex and plain spoken man that he was. What fun we had working together! He was irascible, irreverent, funny, caring, lovable and thoroughly professional, and in the end became the whole reason why kids 'ran home from school to watch' Dark Shadows.”  She ends with, "I love you, Jonathan.  Rest in peace."

The website Digital Spy is reporting that Frid died of natural causes at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, but ABC News Radio has been unable to confirm that.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Frid was a classically-trained stage actor known for his stage work before he undertook the role of Barnabas Collins in 1977, playing the vampire until the show's demise in 1971, as well as in the 1970 film House of Dark Shadows.  He largely retired from television acting in the 1980s though he remained active in theatre.  He also was an enthusiastic presence in the Dark Shadows fan world online and at conventions.

Most recently, Frid joined fellow Dark Shadows cast members David Selby, Lara Parker and Kathryn Lee Scott in England's Pinewood Studios to film cameos in director Tim Burton's upcoming Dark Shadows movie, in which Johnny Depp plays Collins.

Scott writes on her blog, "I won’t ever forget the moment when the two Barnabas Collinses met, one in his late 80s and the other in his mid-40s, each with their wolf’s head canes. Jonathan took his time scrutinizing his successor’s appearance. 'I see you’ve done the hair,' Jonathan said to Johnny Depp, 'but a few more spikes.' Depp, entirely in character, replied, 'Yes, we’re doing things a bit differently.' I took that moment to thank Johnny Depp for his very generous comments about Jonathan Frid and the iconic character of Barnabas Collins that Jonathan had created. Both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp responded: 'But we wouldn’t be here without you.'"

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio