Wednesday, May 09, 2012

DARK SHADOWS - at least the special effects are improved...

Back in 1968 I was a HUGE fan of Dark Shadows. I would come home from school and sneak over to the next door neighbor's house to watch it with Janice. She was a teenager and I was in second grade. 

I remember sitting in the armchair in the den and the second that eerie theme music started I would tuck my legs up under me and try to keep my shit together because Barnabas Collins, in all that fog, scared me to death and appeared in my frequent nightmares.

Years later when I watched reruns on some random cable station I laughed at the clumsy production and overwrought acting - even for a soap opera it was way over the top.

So last night when I attended a screening of Tim Burton's Dark Shadows, starring Johnny Depp, I was really looking forward to see what kind of fun would be had with such rich and cheesy material.

As usual, with a Tim Burton film, it was visually amazing.  The production design, art direction and special effects were spectacular. The casting combined with the costumes, hair and make up was spot on, especially Dr. Hoffman, the scheming psychiatrist and Roger, the disgruntled brother.

The issue was the story and the script. It wasn't that great. I'm sorry, it just wasn't. Don't get me wrong, there were great lines, and given what they were working with the performances were good, but I was ready to go home after 90 minutes and the movie went on for another 25 minutes.

I haven't read any reviews so maybe it's just me and my affection for the original that's disappointed, but I'm really glad I didn't fork over $15 to see the movie. That said it was nice to fondly remember all the gothic shmaltzy horror of my afternoons with Dark Shadows.

RIP Jonathan Frid.