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Feature Film

Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” trailer

It’s not animation, but it’s Tim Burton. It’s also not Dark Shadows, but its does look like fun. Burton seems to have made a something combining Beetlejuice with a touch of The Addams Family. The original Dark Shadows I grew up with was cool because it was gothic done straight. What’s your opinion: Do you like the campy new approach, or is this sacrilege?

  • Dzonis

    it seemed silly in a not very good way. Looked just like every other Burton movie

    • Jason

      100% agree with you…

  • etoons

    I was little when I saw some of the Dark Shadows episodes in reruns around the time I first watched Doctor Who with Tom Baker. It was a good series from what I recall, though I doubt many of the people who will watch this film will have any knowledge of the original series. I really don’t know why Burton needed to use Dark Shadows as a basis for a horror comedy; but I guess everything is up for reinterpretation these days. Based on the trailer I’m guessing critics will rate it either 2 1/2 or 3 out of 4 stars. Still, looks fun enough to check out.

  • Matt B

    Now let’s see him fight Edward Scissorhands, winner takes all. Place ya bets!

    No, seriously though, it does look like good ol’ Depp & Burton fun. Actually, can we classify that as a genre yet?

  • As I see it, there are already two perfectly good film adaptations of Dark Shadows that are played straight. This should be a fun alternative.

  • Witches, vampires,and disco? I am so there! It looks like fun.

  • Andy

    No bad…

  • I was never a fan of the original Dark Shadows. That said, this looks like fun.

    • Aristede

      I am a fan of the original “Dark Shadows” and this cinema version looks like shit!

  • At some point when considering re-makes of these old TV shows, have they thought about maybe playing them straight?

    I mean, not that I have any great love for Dark Shadows, but cumon, this, Land of the Lost, 21 Jump Street, and the worst offender to my mind, Starsky and Hutch…

    I guess it’s easier to lampoon them than to update or adapt them.

  • Dave

    Answer: sacrilege. I, too, grew up watching Dark Shadows, having run home from school to see the last 15 minutes every weekday, just as Johnny Depp proclaims to have done. He and Tim Burton professed being fans of the show and said they were going to remain true to the spirit of it. Like many original DS fans have posted online in the past several hours, I feel completely let down. This is a complete misfire.

    Perhaps it will appeal to moviegoers who don’t know about Dark Shadows and simply see a Burton/Depp vampire comedy. If they enjoy it, fine for them. I wanted a movie that was gothic horror, or, at least, not a joke-fest with bad jokes such as these. This is Dark Shadows with window dressing…the look is spot on, but the tone is completely wrong. A big disappointment. The only good thing out of this for me will be Warner Brothers releasing House of Dark Shadows on blu-ray.

  • I don’t care if it’s camp or not as long as it’s entertaining and not preachy, something Burton latest 6 films are not.

  • uncle wayne

    Heyyyyyyyyyyyyy, it look fanTASStick. (And very funny!) (Plus the girl is a #($&@%@!ing knockout!) I’ll be there, bar NONE!

  • Hank

    burton hasn’t made a film worth seeing since Ed Wood.

  • I’ve never watched the original, so I can’t compare. I’m not sure about this one. The music and some parts make it look really campy and jokey but other moments look rather obscure. I can’t really be sure what kind of movie it is, but it does look similar to the Addams Family.

    Anyway it’ll probably be like all new Burton movies. You watch them once, they provide some entertainment, you never have the desire to watch them again.

    On an unrelated note you should have posted a talkback about The Muppets, even if it weren’t exactly animated, I think it’s close enough…although we already know what some posters thought about it.

  • Bob

    Well … the feelings most of us have for the original series is nostalgia; let’s not delude ourselves into thinking it was any good!

    I think guying our trashier pop culture past is the only way to go with the material.

  • TheDirtyVicar

    Coming from someone who also grew up with Dork Shadows, but considered it as ludicrous and unwatchable as any other soap opera, and who swore off Tim Burton forever after the execrable Alice in Wonderland – I have to admit this looks promising. The ’70s are an easy target, but this is still the only trailer besides The Dictator. that held my interest. Cautiously, very cautiously, optimistic…

  • As long as you’re writing about this, you might as well give Brad Bird’s new live-action film some coverage, too! I’ve missed seeing Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol mentioned here, not least as John Carter of Mars got two articles…

    • Cody

      Apparently you missed all of the Brew’s Bird-watching over the past year?


      • Ermy

        Mission Impossible:Ghost Protocol got a couple of posts talking about its trailers, but the film release never got a proper discussion post. I was curious what others in the animation community thought of the film.

      • Ermy: Yes, likewise. I’ve read all the posts that Cody mentioned, but they were very superficial, and I definitely think Brad Bird’s (highly entertaining and beautifully directed) live-action debut deserves a discussion post here. Frankly, I’m a little disappointed that Cartoon Brew hasn’t done one yet.

  • Phaeton99

    Just watch: it will prove to be bad marketing and it will in fact be be straight, grim and humorless… (^ ω —)

  • Mike

    Reminds me of the Brady Bunch movie from the ’90s. Whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’m not sure yet….

  • Tim P

    You can never step in the same river twice. Recently watched “Headless Horseman” not his best work.

  • I like it, but mostly because it will honk off “serious” DARK SHADOWS fans, and the raving of honked-off fans is great fun to see

    • TheDirtyVicar

      I’ll second Frank Panucci; If there IS such a thing as a “serious” Dark Shadows (*colloquially known as “Mic Shadows,” for its notorious production bloopers*) fan, they’re in need of some judicious “honking off.” It was NO classic – far from it. “Unintentionally funny” is the adjective I’d have chosen, along with “tedious.” The rampant bellbottoms and muttonchops alone are screaming for parody. The show no more deserves a piously respectful treatment than 21 Jump Street does, (or Twilight, for that matter.)

  • I’ve never heard of Dark Shadows before this trailer, but even without any knowledge of it’s derivative content it still looks really silly for a burton movie for what it started with. I could see myself enjoying this film, but if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t be surprised. I like how Depp’s character looks, but that’s just because of Depp’s list of different looking characters to compare to. I’m just surprised helena bonham carter isn’t the witch.

  • I found the original Dark Shadows on Netflix recently having been a big fan of the show when it was originally broadcast. I was very much as I remembered it. Genuinely spooky and melodramatic and still enjoyable as such.

    Of course, Tim Burton has his own take on the material and that is what make his films unique and almost genre unto themselves. It would have been shocking if he had tried to make it a straight horror film. Yet, I am still curious to see it!

  • Toonio

    Depp+Burton at it again. Although it’s a proven formula think they got way too comfy with each other and they both have lost the edge.

    I’ll wait for it when it comes out on Netfix.

  • ‘Weirdos vs. the Norms’ is precisely the magic theme that made Tim Burton a Hollywood Hallelujah back in the late 80s/early 90s. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Edward Scissorhands, Batman Returns and Ed Wood all shared a similarly satiric take on oddball outsiders interacting with everyday dupes. Does this mean that Dark Shadows will be anywhere as awesome as the aforementioned flicks? There’s no way to know. But it gives me hope. Hope! And hope is a wonderful thing for something so simple as a trailer to deliver.

  • Am I the only one tired of see Johnny Depp do the same thing over and over again? And I agree, Ed Wood was Burton’s last good film. Think I’ll wait for the reviews on this one.

  • Norton A

    The sequel will star Dan Curtis coming back to avenge the desecration of his literary property.

    • Sacrilege. Dan Curtis’ greatest achievement is as executive producer of the world’s forgotten masterpiece, Supertrain.

  • Jason

    If it wasn’t for Tim Burton’s black & White paint over this, it would just be another summer-comedy movie, heck it even has that midway trailer rock music that plays in every trailer

    Please don’t support Tim Burton anymore, he’s dead. Move on

  • AaronSch

    Many of us mirrored Johnny Depp’s experience as a child running home after school to watch Dan Curtis’ cult favorite, “Dark Shadows” in the late 60’s and early ’70s. That shared experience gave me hope that Johnny Depp’s life-long desire to play the character, Barnabas Collins would mean that a faithful, updated, big-screen adaptation of the original series would finally be produced. Unfortunately, both he and Tim Burton decided to parody the unintentional campiness of the original series rather than delivering a moody gothic horror tale like “Sleepy Hollow.” Though I admire most of Tim Burton’s work, his attempts at “re-imagining” existing properties has been a mixed bag. His take on “Planet of the Apes” has to be one of the worst remakes ever produced.

    I believe the majority of “Dark Shadows'” aging fan base will be appalled by the trailer. To me, it is a lost opportunity for Warner Bros. to create a new franchise and likely to be the last chance for fans who watched the original series to see a faithful adaptation. I am now even more dismayed that Johnny Depp also intends to adapt Dan Curtis’ other vampire series, “The Night Stalker.” He’ll never fill Darren McGavin’s shoes as Karl Kolchak—Bryan Cranston “owns” that role. I was looking forward to this but I won’t be slappin’ down my hard-earned bucks unless reviews prove my fears are wrong. Oh well, the original series lives on via DVD and digital download.

    • So is it safe to say… you’re honked off?

      • AaronSch

        Pretty much… but I’ll survive.

  • Pedro Nakama

    Looks fun.

  • It doesn’t have Will Ferrell in it, so it can’t be that bad…

  • Joe

    With Johnny and Tim again it’s a sure fire money maker! Does it look like a good movie?


    It’s a sure fire money maker!

  • OtherDan

    Looks fun to me. Also, seems Burton is more focused on the cinematography, humor, and compositions than the actual story. Half the time I think that about his work. But, whatever he does is always interesting and fun on some levels.

    • Nipplenuts McGurk

      You’re absolutely right. I’ve seen the movie…and while it’s pretty funny and entertaining – the story is all over the map. Things happen “just because”, characters are introduced then ignored so elements of the climax don’t quite pay off. Most of the humor is derived from the cliche fish out of water element…however, Depp is so good it carries the movie…I mildly recommend it. I ***LOATHED*** Alice in Wonderland, so I came in with low expectations.

  • I’m kinda getting tired of the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp variety hour, but this seems okay…

  • crtoons

    Seriously, I’m SO done with the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp film pairing! I think Depp is a very talented actor and Burton certainly has shined as a director many times, their best pairing, for me, being “Ed Wood”, but with this one I’m thinking it’s one TOO MANY!

    I’m sure it’s because I remember the original so well, even with all it’s soap opera production limitations, but to do it justice and call it “Dark Shadows” I feel they should have played it more in line with the feel of the original, or at least called the movie something else because clearly, from looking at the last 3/4 of the trailer, the only thing reminiscent of “Dark Shadows” is the title and nothing more.

    That’s my two cents.

  • I remember watching Dark Shadows as a kid, and being bored out of my mind, waiting for the afternoon cartoon shows.
    Unless the werewolf guy was on. He used to scare me silly!

  • what_in_the_cel

    yep, you’re right. it’s not animation.

  • I still think Tim Burton is great. I’ve never seen the original Dark Shadows series, but this film looks like fun.

  • Ha ha, oh this looks terrific! It’s nice to see Burton back in “Beetlejuice/Mars Attacks!” mode.

  • Glowworm

    Oh–so this is the trailer my boyfriend just so happened to tell me to look up today to see if it was something I wanted to see with him. Right now I’m kind of confused as to what exactly I’m looking at…

  • I have never seen the original Dark Shadows so I can’t compare, but this looks like the best stuff Tim Burton has done in 13 years.

  • tbfan94

    for those of you who bash on all of tim’s movies, screw you. he’s one of the most talented directors of all time. and every movie he made with johnny depp was fantastic. and if you don’t respect him or like him, just don’t even bother commenting.

  • Malcom eX-lax

    When I was a kid and stumbled across Dark Shadows I never could make heads or tails of it. Black and white with the production values of a cable access show run by enthusiastic teenagers who were trying to make a show that married As The World Turns with a high school production of Dracula. Nothing about it worked for me. Give me Night Gallery any day.

    The Burton/Depp re-imagining looks entertaining if not at all frightening. But seriously, since when has a “horror” movie come along in recent memory that has inspired any actual horror in anyone over the age of 10? As a genre Horror is tapped out, has been for as long as I can remember. I would rather watch and entertaining farce than a disappointing one.

    • AaronSch

      Your recollections are a bit off base. At the time “Dark Shadows” aired, television was still in its infancy. Most American households didn’t even own a television set until well into the 1950s. The truth is, “Dark Shadows'” production values may seem a bit “dated” by today’s standards, but considering its vintage, 1966-1971, it boasted some impressive set design, costuming and special effects—hardly what you describe as “production values of a cable access show run by enthusiastic teenagers.” That’s just plain silly. Early on they didn’t have the luxury of editing and many of the 30 minute episodes were shot “live,” five days a week—so occasionally the “bloopers” were actually broadcast. Many of the actors who were cast on the show were from the stage and imbued their characters with memorable qualities and personalities. Jonathan Frid created an iconic character in the vampire, Barnabas Collins. The original is fondly remembered for good reason.

      • sigh

        To each his own recollections.
        I recall watching with friends in the 60s and we’d be on the floor every show laughing at how cheap and silly and overwrought the show was. To attempt a “faithful recreation” of something so utterly cheesy to begin with would be box office suicide. What better way to remind us that what we thought was great art when we were teens was just schlock.

      • My opinion lies in between joy and despair. I still love Dark Shadows and have watched the series all the way through twice (that’s 1,225 episodes) in addition to partial runs of the series in the earlier days.

        No one connected with the original series would kid themselves that they were doing great art, but they were all extremely committed to the show and what it was trying to accomplish. Yes, it seems cheesy by today’s standards, but it was a five-day-a-week half hour produced on with a limited budget yet much bigger ambition to a garden variety soap of the day.

        The Barnabas storyline — a vampire with regret and tragic loss — has been copied numerous times in other novels, films and TV shows, but it really started here. However, the original series was not above “borrowing” from every gothic and horror story as well, from Frankenstein to Turn of the Screw, in its constant need to come up with storylines over the five year run.

        The cast was a blend of talented young actors and seasoned veterans who always played it “straight” but knew they were doing “high camp.” If you followed the series (and all the episodes are on DVD and Netflix), you’d see this remarkable stock company take on numerous roles as the storylines shifted between centuries, parallel time and alternate situations. Half the fun was trying to keep track of it all.

        There was nothing like Dark Shadows and there never will be again. As someone already wrote, the basic Barnabas storyline has been told repeatedly (in the original series, the 1970 movie and the ’90s series). Perhaps the new version is an attempt to bridge the ghoulishness with the foolishness. We’ll have to see the final, finished film upon its release to see if it works.

        Anyway, the original series was much more than bloopers, fuzzy videotape and balcony acting. Despite its limitations, it was an extraordinary experience. For those of us who enjoyed it as kids, what we saw beyond the jittery gravestones and the visible boom microphones and filled in the gaps with our own imaginations.

  • Emily

    This looks great! The writing seems good, great role for Depp, and personally don’t feel the 60’s-70’s live sitcom is anything we need to “not touch.” Not as if it’s Wizard of Oz ;) I also like the tone: a nice mix of horror, humor and sex.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I don’t think Dark Shadows was ever shown on tv here in Australia. The first time I ever saw anything about it was in an issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland in 1976.
    The new DS movie trailer looks very amusing and very Burtonesque.

    That said,there are two projects I’d love to see Burton tackle: A remake of The 5000 Fingers of Dr.T with either
    Christopher Lloyd or Kelsey Grammar as Dr.T,and a new version of Something Wicked This Way Comes with Johnny Depp as Mr.Dark.

  • Ray Ray

    If anyone can out-camp camp, it’s Johnny and Tim. Looking forward to this!

  • Mick Collins

    I watched the original DS a little back in the day, but I was never that big a fan. I think I can agree with everyone who says that this looks fun, but it’s not really “Dark Shadows’. I also totally agree with Andrew Kieswetter’s suggestion that Burton & Depp should do (or in this case, should have done) “Something Wicked This way Comes”.

    • sigh

      No need. Can’t possibly top Jonathan Pryce’s classic scene with Jason Robards in the town’s library from the 1983 film.

      • Yeah, but the rest of that movie was such a misfire. huge disappointment.

  • This reminds me of Burton’s “Mars Attacks”– an attempt to parody a ’60s pop culture junk phenomenon. Like that film, this looks strained and smart-alecky, leaving out all the dark wonder that thrilled innocent kids at the time, and actually belittling the source.

  • wgan

    to me there are only 2 Burton movies,

    Ed Wood,
    the rest

  • Tak

    “Burton, who put his bizarrely charming stamp on “Alice in Wonderland” in 2010, is in talks to direct a Warner Bros.-produced big screen, live action adaptation of Pinocchio.”

    My honest opinion of this… please stop bastardising & Dark-re-imagining everything you lame stupid overrated talentless hack! Go to Hell!

    • The good thing about Pinocchio is that it will probably be written by Bryan Fuller and everything he has done so far is brilliant. Unless he suffers a transformation simmilar to Burton’s I think his script could be the saving grace.

  • I dig the Madeline Kahn impersonation. :D

  • IMO Big Fish is Burton’s best film. Everyone who’s had a straining relationship with his father can relate to it; and I cry at the end every time I watch it.

  • Jeff

    This is really disappointing.

  • I never saw enough of Dark Shadows to cry ‘sacrilege’, but from what I’ve seen of that and this trailer, I just have to ask:

    If you’re changing the tone so drastically (I can at least tell that much) you’re only going to annoy the people who remember the show… and younger people who never watched the show won’t be going to see the movie based on any kind of ‘brand recognition’–they’ll be coming in fresh no matter what…

    So why not just call it something else? I don’t see the advantage.

  • sigh

    If you’re the kind of person who has been holding vigil these past 40 years waiting for the proper homage to that show you vaguely remember watching all those years ago then it really doesn’t matter what you’ll think about this film or Tim Burton…ar anything, for that matter.
    Life passed you by a long time ago.

    It’s still not too late to catch up, though.

    • I don’t ‘vaguely’ remember the show. It was a huge hit and permeated pop culture for a number of years. Though I’d seen some of the Universal monster films by then (I was 10 in 1969), DS firmly embedded the iconic monsters in my young, impressionable mind. The paperback series of books based on the show also influenced me.

      I have been far from holding vigil, unless that’s what you call having the occasional fond memory.

      What people who are responding negatively to the trailer are disappointed in is that Depp and Burton indicated in previous press and interviews they were remaining faithful to the original, which didn’t include disco, sexual innuendo, and Johnny Depp looking like Eddie Munster.

      It ain’t the end of the world, but it’s a disappointment. Just like we’d all be disappointed if you posted something on here that didn’t involve making fun of others less intelligent, sophisticated and oh-sooo-snarky as you.

      • sigh

        Thanks for agreeing with me. ;-)

  • Russell H

    I was 12 years old when the DARK SHADOWS TV series was at its peak, and I remember all the boys in class being disgusted with all the girls all swooning over Jonathan Frid and trying to parse all the storylines. We’d mock them with the same kind of snarky humor I see in this trailer. So I’d say perhaps the intended audience for this film is snarky 12-year-olds. I’ll pass; I went through that once and don’t feel a need to pay to do it again.

  • Zeus

    FYI: The original Dark Shadows series is streaming on Netflix. Though based upon this trailer, you’ll likely enjoy one or the other better without having seen it…

  • mike schlesinger

    Chalk me up as another kid who ran home from school everyday to watch it. I’ve been looking forward to this since it was first announced: ideal director, unbeatable cast (including cameos from four original cast members plus Christopher Lee–what we’d all give to see the 60s’ two iconic vampires, Frid and Lee, sharing a scene) and real sets with minimal CGI. I see it as TWILIGHT for baby boomers.

    The trailer? Looks fine to me. Yeah, a lot closer to “The Addams Family,” perhaps, but what’s wrong with The Addams Family? Still stoked for it and will be hauling my fat ass to the real IMAX theatre when it opens.