The Critic – Dark Shadows

In 1966 Dark Shadows debuted on ABC as an afternoon soap opera about the Collins family who lived up on Widow’s Hill in Collinwood manor and Victoria Winters who after being ophaned as a child came back to Collinwood to find out about her eerie past. The young Collins boy, David, constantly tells Victoria about ghosts that he sees around the mannor. A year into the run they introduced the character of Barnabus Collins, a member of the family back in the mid 1700s, he comes to the family home and says he is  a distant reletive from England and takes up resedance in the manor with the family. This gothic soap aired for five years and has remained a cult classic since its run ended. On May 11th of this year a new vision of the legendary soap hit theaters to very mixed reviews.

The show starts off in 1760 as the Collins family moves from Liverpool to The New World. They land in Maine and build a fishing port and the town proceedes to build around the success of the their fishing company. They build Collinwood Manor and take up residance in the town. Their son Barnabus has a fling with one of the works at Collinwood but when he he falls in love with Josette, Angelique turns out to be a witch and sends Josette off of the top of Widow’s Peak to her death. Barnabus jumps off after her to his death but, after he hits the rocks, he, to his dismay, is fine, Josette had transfomed him into a vampire so that he would feel the pain of losing his love for eternity. Josette convices the towns people that he is evil and they lock him in a coffin and burry him deep within the woods of Collinsport.

Fastforward to 1972 when a young woman named Maggie Evans comes to Collinwood, changing her name to Victoria Winters and applies there as the governess for the Collins young son David. Meanwhile a construction crew is digging and come across a coffin, they cut the chains off and Barnabus is released back into the world. He goes to live with the Collins family and only the mother, Elizabeth Collins, knows his secret. The Collins family has fallen on hard times as a woman named Angelique, who is the same woman who cursed Barnabus, has taken over all of the fishing plants and boats. Barnabus swears he will help the family regain all of their wealth and the story takes off.

Dark Shadows was everything I really expected from a Tim Burton movie: laughs, dark comedy, a very particular style of which the whole movie looked. But that was my problem with it. It was a typicle Tim Burton movie, there was nothing special about the movie at all. It had an interesting plot and very funny moments, Johnny Depp gave a great performance, as always, and the whole cast did a great job of bringing these soap characters to life. I have no quarl with the acting or the story, all that bothers me is that it was typical Burton.

Oh yeah, he’s in this movie too.

Danny Elfman’s score was probably one of the best written ones he has ever done. The mixture of his orchastrated music and the 70’s music, The Carpenters and The Moody Blues to name a few, was very well blended and used throughout the whole movie. This was probably the best part other then Johnny Depp’s performance that is. The make up was well done and everything had that gothic feel that the movie was throwing at the audience. If you are going to see Dark Shadows because you watched the soap opera back in the 60’s and 70’s, go not expecting to see what you watched then, go to see a fresh new take on the show and forget as much as you can about the tv show while in the theatre and I’m sure that you will enjoy it.

Although Dark Shadows has receved mixed reviews it’s worth a watch, a matinee viewing maybe, but its worth the time to watch it. Bring your mom cause she’s probably seen the show and will enjoy it. I know my mom did. Filled with great performances, beautiful scenery and very cool makeup, Dark Shadows is a fun filled two hours.

I give Dark Shadows 7/10


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