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"My name is Barnabas Collins. Two centuries ago, I made Collinwood my home... until a jealous witch cursed me, condemning me to the shadows, for all time."
Barnabas Collins
Dark Shadows
Dark Shadows (2012).jpg
Title: Dark Shadows
Directed by: Tim Burton
Written by: Seth Grahame-Smith; John August
Produced by: Bruce Berman; Christi Dembrowski; Johnny Depp; Katterli Frauenfelder; Derek Frey; Nigel Gostelow; Tim Headington; David Kennedy; Graham King; Chris Lebenzon; Richard D. Zanuck
Music by: Danny Elfman
Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel
Edited by: Chris Lebenzon
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures; Village Roadshow Pictures; Tim Burton Productions; Zanuck Company
Released: May 11th, 2012
Rating: PG-13
Running time: 113 min.
Country: USA
Language: English
Budget: $150,000,000 [1][2]
Gross: $29,685,274 (Opening weekend) [3][4]
$76,901,560 (US) [5]
$233,701,560 (Worldwide)[6]

Dark Shadows is an American horror/comedy film of the vampire subgenre. It is directed by famed fantasy noir director Tim Burton and written by Seth Grahame-Smith and John August. It is produced by Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures in conjunction with Dan Curtis Productions, Inc. and Tim Burton Productions. It was released theatrically in the United States, Canada and the UK on May 11th, 2012. The film is loosely based on the original Dark Shadows Gothic soap opera, produced by Dan Curtis, which ran from 1966 to 1971. It is actually the third attempt at a remake project, following the 1970 feature film House of Dark Shadows and a short-lived 1991 Dark Shadows revival series. The film stars frequent Burton collaborator Johnny Depp as the tormented vampire Barnabas Collins. Depp's character was turned into a vampire in the late 18th century by the evil witch Angelique and imprisoned in a coffin beneath the earth. He awakens some two-hundred years later in the year 1972 and reunites with the Collins family only to find that the family legacy he once helped create is on the verge of ruin. Barnabas finds that his nemesis Angelique is still alive and using her power and influence to destroy the Collins family. Barnabas embarks on a quest to save his bloodline, while also taking the opportunity to sample the local hemoglobin quisine himself.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Meet Barnabas Collins.

In 1760, Joshua and Naomi Collins sail from Liverpool, England to North America. They etablish a fishing port in the territory of Maine called Collinsport, and also build Collinwood Manor. Their son, Barnabas Collins, grows up to be a wealthy playboy in the town. He breaks the heart of one of their servants, Angelique Bouchard, who is a witch and kills his parents in revenge and curses his family. He then studies dark magic to prove Angelique is in fact a witch, falling in love with Josette du Pres in the meantime. Angelique, in an act of jealousy, puts a spell on Josette, which forces her to leap to her death from a nearby cliff called Widows' Hill. Barnabas runs after Josette, but he arrives too late. He jumps over the cliff to kill himself, but Angelique has already turned Barnabas into a vampire before he reaches the bottom. Soon after, Angelique convinces the townspeople that Barnabas is a vampire, having them capture him and bury him alive in a chained coffin in the woods.

In 1972, a woman named Maggie Evans travels by train to Collinsport, responding to an advertisement to be the governess to a young boy, David Collins. While on the train, she decides to change her name to Victoria Winters to protect the dark secrets of her past. She hitches a ride with a van full of hippies to Collinwood Manor, where she meets Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, the matriarch of the family, and the family's servants, Willie Loomis and old Mrs. Johnson. It is explained that David's mother died at sea and he believes that her ghost speaks to him. Elizabeth takes Victoria on a tour of Collinwood Manor, which is falling into disrepair. While on the tour, Victoria meets Elizabeth's fifteen-year-old rebellious and provocative daughter Carolyn. At dinner, Victoria meets the rest of the dysfunctional family: Roger Collins, Elizabeth's brother and indifferent father of David, and Doctor Julia Hoffman, an alcoholic psychiatrist who had been hired to help David overcome his belief that he can speak to his dead mother, but thus far has been unsuccessful. David appears in a sheet to look like a ghost, trying to frighten Victoria. David talks of his mother speaking to him, and Carolyn calls him crazy, but Victoria states she believes in ghosts. After dinner, Victoria is in her room and believes she sees David again appearing under the same sheet. She removes the sheet, but sees the ghost of Josette instead, who remarks "He's coming", before hovering to the large chandelier in the foyer and falling as she did from the cliff.

Barnabas has a point to make.

That night, Barnabas is accidentally freed from his coffin by a group of construction workers. He feeds on them and makes his way back to Collinwood, finding his once-magnificent mansion in ruins. Barnabas convinces Elizabeth that he really is who he says he is, and asks her of the family curse and the story of how he died. She answers that nobody knows how he died, so he explains that it is because he didn't. Barnabas then shows her a secret room full of treasures as proof of his identity. She says he may stay with them under two conditions: that he tells no one else of the riches in the secret room and that he tells no one that he is a vampire, to which Barnabas agrees. Barnabas is introduced to the family at breakfast. Elizabeth explains that he is a distant relative from England and Barnabas explains he has come to help the family restore their business and family name.

Angelique, now a respected and successful resident of Collinsport, soon discovers that he has escaped his shallow grave. She wants to win him back so she visits the mansion and tells him to join her or he will regret it. He tells her he has no feelings for her and she leaves. He discovers that his family's fishing company is in ruins because of Angelique's business, AngelBay Fishery, and takes steps to revitalize and rebuild the company (and the mansion), gaining the trust of the family in the process. As the Collins' business enterprises begin to pick up, Angelique calls Barnabas to her office for a meeting, again offering that he either join and love her or she will destroy him and everything he loves. She manages to seduce him and they make love, destroying her office in the process. When they are finished however, he says that he can never love her as he has fallen in love with Victoria, again leaving. Barnabas turns to Carolyn for help as he tries to win over the heart of Victoria but doesn't know how. Carolyn explains he needs to be less "weird" and tells him he should get some normal friends. Later that night Barnabas goes out into the woods with the same hippies that drove Victoria to the mansion. They discuss love before Barnabas regretfully feeds on them.

Even a vampire understands the value of good hygiene.

The next day, Doctor Hoffman hypnotizes Barnabas in a therapy session and he confesses to being a vampire, as well as to the murders of the construction workers and the hippies. She is shocked and fascinated by him and runs to Elizabeth to ask why she keeps such a secret to herself. Elizabeth tells her not to tell anyone else of his secret. Doctor Hoffman offers to help turn Barnabas into a human via blood transfusions. At dinner, Barnabas decides to restore their name by having a ball. Carolyn retorts that they need to have a party instead, suggesting Alice Cooper as entertainment. Barnabas agrees and they throw a party for the entire town at their mansion, at which Alice Cooper performs. On a balcony outside of the party, Barnabas finds Victoria, to whom he expresses his love. She explains her troubling past to him through flashbacks. It is revealed that Victoria was sent to a mental hospital by her parents for talking to the ghost of Barnabas' love, Josette. She reveals about having electroshock treatment as a child, before escaping through the window using bedsheets some years later. They passionately kiss, afterward she says she feels like she has always known him. Angelique crashes the party and sees Barnabas and Victoria kissing and grows enraged.

The next day, Barnabas discovers Doctor Hoffman is not giving him human blood, but taking several pints of his blood instead to turn herself into a vampire to avoid growing old. Enraged, Barnabas presumably kills her by draining her dry and dumps her body in the ocean with Willie's help. He then discovers David's sleazy father Roger snooping around the study, trying to find the secret room. Barnabas gives him a choice: stay and be a father or leave; Roger chooses the latter. Right after Roger leaves, Barnabas accidentally stands in a beam of sunlight after saving David from a falling disco ball and his skin burns. His secret is revealed to the children and Victoria to the horror of all three of them.

Barnabas confers with Elizabeth.

Barnabas meets with Angelique that night and refuses her offer once more to cooperate with her to run the town, also refusing to return her love. While leaving her office, he is forced into a coffin waiting for him right outside her door, and Angelique then binds him with chains and drives him to the cemetery, leaving the coffin in a crypt and telling Barnabas she will destroy everything he loves and then come back for him in a few days. Just before driving to the cemetery, she blows up the rebuilt Collins canning factory by reciting a spell. While the fire is still raging, David learns from his ghostly mother that Barnabas has been locked up and where to find him. David goes to the crypt and frees Barnabas from the coffin. While the police and firefighters try to put out the fire, Angelique plays a cassette recording she recorded during her last meeting with Barnabas in which he confesses to being a vampire and killing the construction workers, the hippies, and Doctor Hoffman, revealing that the Collins family is harboring a murderer. This turns the townspeople against the family once more, leading them to the mansion.

Carolyn shows some 'tude.

At the mansion, Angelique is shocked to see that Barnabas has escaped. Barnabas offers to be arrested in place of the family, but then grabs Angelique, prompting a policeman to shoot him several times. Revealed as immortal, he then shows the townspeople Angelique is a witch: as he squeezes her, her skin cracks like porcelain. The townspeople run away from the mansion in horror. Angelique sets the mansion on fire, and brings the wooden statues and portraits to life, as well as making blood run down the walls of the living room and splintering the wood of the mansion. Carolyn, who is revealed as being a werewolf (because Angelique had sent a werewolf to bite her as a baby), fights her, but is beaten back. Elizabeth, armed with a shotgun, stands up to Angelique, and David summons the ghost of his mother Laura (whom Angelique admits killing), who throws her into the chandelier. Angelique, her porcelain skin fracturing, literally offers her heart to Barnabas, insisting she did in fact love him, but he refuses, telling her she isn't capable of love and only wanted to control him. Upon being rejected by Barnabas, her heart literally breaks and she dies.

Barnabas then looks for Victoria, who hasn't been seen since it was revealed that he was a vampire. David tells him that his mother said she is headed for Widows' Hill. Barnabas catches up with her there, but Victoria tells him that they can never be together as she lives in the light and he lives in the shadows. Angelique's spell makes Victoria jump over the cliff. Barnabas jumps off after her and bites her on the way down, turning her into a vampire to save her life. Afterward, Victoria tells Barnabas to call her Josette, and Barnabas narrates that his curse has ended. The film then ends underwater, with a school of fish swimming away from the body of Doctor Hoffman, who opens her eyes, revealing that she too is now a vampire. [7]

Cast[edit | edit source]

Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The tagline for this film is, "Every family has its demons".
  • Dark Shadows grossed $29,685,274 over it's opening weekend. It ranked at number 2 at the box office over the May 11th weekend, second only to the summer action blockbuster The Avengers. It was screened in 3,755 theaters, averaging $7,906 per showing. [9]
  • This is the eighth film directed by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp. The two also collaborated on Edward Scissorhands in 1990, Ed Wood in 1994, Sleepy Hollow in 1999, Corpse Bride in 2005, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, also in 2005, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 2007 and Alice in Wonderland in 2010. Of those, Burton's longtime paramour, Helena Bonham Carter, appeared in four of the films: Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Alice in Wonderland, making this her fifth film with actor Johnny Depp.
  • Actor trademark, Johnny Depp: Shrinking away and making amusing hand gestures at something he doesn't understand or feel comfortable with. Depp has also done this in the Pirates of the Caribbean films as Captain Jack Sparrow and in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as Willy Wonka.

Entertainment Weekly (May 2nd, 2012 issue).

  • Rock and roll legend Alice Cooper makes a guest appearance in the film as himself. He performs two songs in the film, but he is actually only lip-synching to his original studio tracks. Obviously, Cooper looks much older in the film than actually did in 1972. Cooper has appeared in other genre films as well such as Monster Dog, Prince of Darkness and Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. Songs performed by Cooper in this film include "No More Mr. Nice Guy" and "Balld of Dwight Fry" by arrangement with Warner Music Group Film & TV licensing.
  • This is the second film directed by Tim Burton to co-star Michelle Pfeiffer. She also appeared in the 1992 superhero movie Batman Returns as Selina Kylea, aka, the Catwoman.
  • There is one recurring trope found in the film, which has never been addressed in either the original series, the revival series or House of Dark Shadows. The movie shows at length how Barnabas is suffering from severe culture shock after spontaneously awakening in the 1970s after spending nearly two centuries underground. Things such as electricity, motor vehicles, televisions, neon signs and hippies are completely alien to him. In previous incarnations of the character, Barnabas never seemed to have any trouble at all adapting to modern times.

Setting[edit | edit source]

  • The early flashback scenes from the film take place in 1760 into 1761. Scenes of Barnabas as a young adult appear to take place some 12-15 years later or so, though the year is never given.
  • The main storyline takes place in August, 1972. The year is established in the film itself. The month can be surmised by the fact that the movie Deliverance is shown being played at the Roxy Theater in Collinsport. Deliverance was released in the United States on July 30th, 1972.

Differences from the series[edit | edit source]

  • The overall tone and temperament of the film is a radical departure from the original television series. While the 1960s Dark Shadows was certainly campy and known for arbitrarily inserting random supernatural creatures into it's storylines, it was never intentionally humerous.
  • The physical look of Barnabas Collins is more macabre in the film than in the TV show. In the original series, Barnabas' vampiric appearance consisted of little more than a pair of fake fangs, heavy eye-shadow and some impressive lighting techniques. In the film, Barnabas is extremely pale, almost albino-like, and he has long, clawed fingers reminiscent of F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu. Also, he is portrayed as being extremely eccentric and aloof in the movie whereas Jonathan Frid's interpretation of the character was much more mild-mannered. The film version of Barnabas was born in England and did not come to the United States until he was a young man. The TV version of Barnabas was born and raised in Collinsport. He did however, use the cover story that he had gone away to England in the late 1700s, thus explaining his sudden disappearance after he was chained to his coffin.
  • In the original series, Maggie Evans and Victoria Winters were two separate people. In the film, Maggie uses the name Victoria Winters as an alias. Neither of the original characters had a penchant for communing with spirits (though everybody in the show at one point or another probably witnessed a ghostly apparaition of some sort) and neither of them spent time at Windcliff Sanitarium. In the original show, Victoria Winters was eventually killed off and was one of several such women to take the plunge off the cliffs of Widows' Hill, but unike her film counterpart, she was not resurrected as a vampire.
  • In the film, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard is the only family member (initially) who knows that Barnabas Collins is a vampire. In the TV series, only Doctor Julia Hoffman knew this for a fact. The TV version of Liz bore little physical resemblance to the version portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer. Most importantly however, the original Elizabeth Collins Stoddard would have never, EVER brandished a shotgun - not even to protect her family.
  • In the film, Roger Collins abandons his son and leaves Collinwood in exchange for a healthy sum of money. The original Roger Collins never did anything quite so brazen, but considering his relationship with David Collins in the early episodes of the show, it would not be uncharacteristic of him to do such a thing.
  • The original Julia Hoffman was not an alcoholic, and although she occasionally enjoyed a cigarette, she was not the chain smoker that the film presents her as. Moreover, the original Julia never tried to steal Barnabas' blood or turn herself into a vampire. In fact, she actually labored to cure Barnabas. The TV version of Julia Hoffman never died through the course of the series, and as such, was never resurrected as a vampire either. They both did have red hair though.
  • The nature of David's mother, Laura Collins, is slightly ambiguous in the film. She is referred to as having a "cyclical immortality", which is in keeping with her character being a phoenix as demonstrated in the original series. The film however alludes to the idea that she might actually be a banshee.
  • On the TV series, Barnabas' parents, Joshua Collins and Naomi Collins were not murdered by Angelique. Naomi took her own life in 1796 after discovering that her son was a vampire and Joshua lived out the remainder of his natural lifespan.
  • In the film, Mrs. Johnson is seen as a senile, dottering old woman. In the TV series, she was middle-aged and more than capable of maintaining the upkeep of Collinwood all by herself.

Home Video[edit | edit source]

Dark Shadows was released on DVD and Blu-ray by Warner Home Video on October 2nd, 2012. Both versions include an Ultraviolet digital copy and includes the documentary feature, "The Collinses: Every Family Has Its Demons". The Blu-ray includes the following special features.

- Becoming Barnabus
- Welcome To Collinsport!
- The Collinses: Every Family Has Its Demons
- Reliving a Decade - Angelique: A Witch Scorned
- Alice Cooper Rocks Collinsport!
- Dark Shadowy Secrets
- A Melee of Monstrous Proportions
- Dark Shadows: The Legend Bites Back
- Dr Hoffman and Elizabeth discuss Barnabas
- David and Barnabas discuss Dinosaurs
- Carolyn and Victoria
- Girl talk
- Police warn Willie and Barnabas
- Dr Hoffman offers Victoria help

Galleries[edit | edit source]

Recommendations[edit | edit source]

The year in film[edit source]

Other films that were released in 2012 include:

See also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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Includes films relating to the Dark Shadows television franchise.

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