Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Dark Shadows

This isn't from movie
Dark Shadows - loved it in a Royal Tenenbaums Go Gothic sort of way. Be warned though, it is a summary of about 1000 episodes of daytime tv soap opera so subplots appear and disappear as mysteriously as the characters.

Example : the completely peripheral psychiatrist character and her hypnotism? In the tv series that was the plot device that warped the story into long flashbacks to earlier centuries.

Consensus among us was that this new semi-comic film version was the best Tim Burton film since Sleepy Hollow.

Just for once Depp gets a cast that it right up there with him, in fact Eva Green almost spirits the movie away on her own. 
From the trailers Depp seemed to be following up his fascination for the Fast Show by doing Barnabas Collins as Rowley Birkin, but thankfully for most of the movie he keeps it relatively straight.  
It opens with the best use of Moody Blues' "Nights in White Satin" I can ever remember (and best use of an existing track in a movie since King Crimson's "Court of the Crimson King" in Children of Men), over a sweeping credits sequence that introduces us  to Collingwood and is worth the price of admission alone. The well chosen score swoops in an out of an achingly beautiful movie with early 70s soulless sheen (see also The Ice Storm, Zodiac), making Burton's previous effort, Alice in Wonderland, seem even even more of a pointless computer generated cartoon.
The sartorial comment to vampire Barnabas Collins, "That wierd swinging London thing isn't working", got a big laugh in our cinema on Baker Street. Must say the Everyman cinema is a great little place and the beer does flow well (I'm still sobering up)

Some pub ranting after the movie compared Dark Shadows to The Adams Family and the Munsters. Dark Shadows was originally of course supposed to be serious.  And as it comes later into the cynical 60s and 70s features a far less nuclear, more fractured family. Again Ang Lee's Ice Storm comes to mind.

It perhaps works best as a pilot for another Dark Shadows tv reboot, though with the new Munsters, Mockingbird Lane, on the way (with Eddie Izzard as granpa) that seems unlikely in the short term.

Dark Shadows the original tv series was never shown in UK, the nearest we got to characters in Dark Shadows was trying to suck some kind of second hand menace from David Selby's villian in Falcon Crest. I imagine we never saw it because the cheap fantasy thriller slot in the UK was filled by Dr Who, which had already mutated from childrens scifi show into weekly Quatermass-lite.

With no Dr Who would Hammer studios have been tempted to create their own version of Dark Shadows for domestic UK tv market? What would that have been like? 

Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde meets Acorn Antiques most likely;

<Miss Babbs, totally naked, explores her body in a full length mirror. Mrs Overall enters>

Oh Miss Babbs, your very mysterious twin brother was in very late last night

Yesss.. Mrs Overall...I notice you've gone all hairy again

Yes Miss.. it's that time of the month I've afraid.. would you like a macaroon?

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