Dark Shadows Trailer Unveiled

Finally. 

After years of rumors of a film adaptation, false production dates, and month after month of a single film still leaking one by one, an official trailer for Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows premiered on Ellen yesterday.

Take a look:

I’m still scratching my head.

The first thirty seconds or so of the trailer align most closely with the tone and story of the original series (and the 1990s reboot), but thereafter it is promoted as a comedy, something the original series certainly never aspired to be–although there are times when the original series was unintentionally funny, mostly due to the production constraints, and I think it endears the show. This is, of course, only a very limited glimpse of the film, and it is unclear whether this comic tone is emphasized in the trailer to attract a mass audience or the filmmakers simply took a lot of liberty with the source material. I hope it is the former.

While I reserve final judgement until I see the full film (and I have faith that it isn’t all bad because Kathryn Leigh Scott, Lara Parker, David Selby, and Jonathan Frid all participated in the project), I find this trailer very disheartening. Barnabas Collins, as portrayed by Jonathan Frid, was kind and caring, vicious and cruel; he was a reluctant vampire with a heart. These flashes of Depp’s portrayal show none of that. He is, quite simply, a weirdo. We’ll see, though.

Some additional thoughts:

  • Willie Loomis looks like he’s related to Peter Petigrew. I almost miss Jim Fyfe. Almost. Hey, John Karlen isn’t dead. WHY ISN’T HE IN THIS MOVIE?
  • “Tell me, future dweller, what year is this?” “You may strategically place your wonderful lips upon my posterior and kiss it repeatedly!” “What sorcery is this? Reveal yourself, tiny songstress!” Uhhhhh, who talks like that? Barnabas always enjoyed long poetic musings in the drawing room, but this dialogue is a bit much, even if it is slightly amusing.
  • “I am a vampire, madam.” WHOA. It appears that the Collins’ family secret isn’t such a secret after all. Okay…
  • Best character: Roger Collins. Woot woot! Let’s break out the brandy.
  • The portrayal of Angelique is over-sexualized with none of the venom, charm, and depth of Lara Parker’s portrayal. I recently finished reading Return to Collinwood (which I will gush about soooooooooon), and Lara Parker wrote that she discussed the character of Angelique with Eva Green, who also recognized the character’s multiple layers. I do not see that in this trailer, but I hope it transpires in the film.
  • Angelique threatens Barnabas if she cannot have him, she will destroy him and his family. And so it appears she is going to do that by destroying the Collins family business with a rival cannery. Hang on! Nobody ever worried about money or the family business on the original show (at least once Barnabas arrived), aside from the occasional mention of a business trip to Boston or Bangor from Roger.
  • I’m really excited for the disco party. ‘Cos it looks like fun. And I know some really cool people are gonna be there. And I mean really, really cool people. (Here’s a hint: one of them looks a lot like David Selby. A lot.)

Ultimately, I’m disappointed with the trailer, but I’m not completely losing hope. There will (hopefully) be other trailers. See ya on May 11! 

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