Warner Brothers is bringing another classic vampire story to the big screen, viewed for years on daytime soaps as Dark Shadows. Johnny Depp will star as the iconic chief vampire, Barnabas Collins; Pride and Predjudice and vampires, what could be a more exciting mix for Jane Austen and Twilight fans, in the ongoing intrigue for the vampiric macabre? Yet, the soap’s once cult-like followers are offended and perceive Depp’s fish-belly white portrayal as comic.
Directed by the masterful Tim Burton, the Dark Shadows movie also stars Helena Bonham-Carter as Dr. Julia Hoffman, the alcoholic psychiatrist, and Michelle Pheiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard with Chloe Moretz as Carolyn Stoddard. Although Bonham-Carter, who in real life, is partner to Burton, thinks the new rendition of the vampire soap is “a return to vintage Tim Burton,” who directed Edward Scizzorhands, Alice in Wonderland, Sleepy Hollow, and Batman, she also states very plainly, “it’s going to be very hard to sell…it’s a ghost story. It’s a vampire story..it’s a soap opera…hopefully it will be funny.”
MTV reviewer, John Mitchell writes: “Burton is at his best when his material runs Gothic and Shadows looks like the perfect return-to-form vehicle for the director.”
The confliction seems to lie in Burton’s plan for Collins’ role on the big screen and cult-followers’ long-held ‘respect’ for the old soap’s chief vampire. Depp’s garish white make-up as the 200-year-old Collins is being panned by 60-70’s classic soap fans as “too cartoonish.” Loyal fans of the once “ground-breaking soap” claim Barnabas Collins played by Jonathan Frid is a “cartoonish mockery” in the Dark Shadows movie. “Depp’s ‘look’ actually seems to be poking fun at the great soap!”
True to form, the soap and the movie, filmed in Devon, England, have similar Gothic coastal settings. “Dark atmospheric seaside setting” has special meaning for Rhode Islanders, in that the original setting for the 1960’s television soap opera, was filmed in Newport on Ruggles Avenue at Seaview Terrace, a French Renaissance-style chateau,”The fifth largest of Newport mansions, Seaview Terrace includes a chapel, whispering gallery, an Etsy organ, and Dutch 16th century stained glass.”
Screenplay for the Dark Shadows movie is written by Seth Grahame-Smith. It is due to release May 11, 2012 at IMAX theaters nationwide. Dark Shadows, the song, “Barnabas Collins” is written by Andrew Bayuk.
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