The Horror Honeys: Vampire Month ~ The Back-Patting Enablers Are at It Again.

Vampire Month ~ The Back-Patting Enablers Are at It Again.

A Revenge Honey Vampire Month Rage Review by Linnie


Did a five-year-old photoshop this poster?
Dark Shadows (2012)


Barnabas Collins: What is your age, if I may?

Carolyn Stoddard: Fifteen.

Barnabas Collins: Fifteen and no husband. You must put those birthing hips to good use at once lest your womb shrivel up and die.

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton... While the combination of their names now strikes terror into the hearts of horror fans far and wide, this wasn't always the case. Edward Scissorhands, Ed WoodSleepy Hollow... Once upon a time, the two men brought out the best in each other, encouraging creativity and true artistry in a genre that was often accused of being formulaic. But then something horrible happened.

These two former-artists became complacent... and possibly in hock to the bank for their respective islands. They became so busy patting each other on the back for being brilliant that they became boring. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a candy-coated mess, only mildly endearing because Depp seemed to be having so much fun. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was... okay. But there was no heart, and both Depp and Burton now seemed to be bored, of their blood-soaked madness and perhaps, even of each other. Alice in Wonderland was brutally unpleasant, and Depp couldn't even be bothered to stick with one accent for the whole shoot. As a fan of both men, you were likely left feeling something like this:


So what could possibly revive the director's and actor's floundering relationship? Why, a film adaptation of classic gothic soap opera/mini-series Dark Shadows, of course...


Written by Seth Grahame-Smith, author of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies...


And it was going to be... a comedy...


And thus, we enter the world of nope that is Tim Burton's Dark Shadows.

Willy Wood Collins, the Hatter.
The Story: In a bastardized version of the TV series and mini-series versions of Dark Shadows, vampire Barnabas Collins (Depp, looking like Willy Wonka, who looked like Ed Wood, but you know... a vampire) returns to his ancestral home of Collinwood Manor after being revived in 1972, two-hundred years after his live burial. There, he discovers a family full of pain-in-the-ass relatives, including Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer), her daughter Carolyn (Chlöe Grace Moretz), Roger (Johnny Lee Miller), Roger's son David (Gulliver McGrath), their live-in therapist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham-Carter), and the nanny, Victoria (Bella Heathcote), who just so happens to look exactly like Barnabas' one true love, Josette.

Still with me?

Good. Because there's more. Also hanging around Collinsport, Maine is Angelique (Eva Green), the witch who was in love with Barnabas and turned him into a vampire in the first place and then buried him alive when he spurned her advances. 

You are better than this in every way imaginable.
And this is the first problem with Dark Shadows the movie... There is too goddamned much going on. Grahame-Smith tried to cram an entire five-years worth of television plot and twelve-episodes of a mini-series into a two-hour movie. As such, the two-hour movie feels about five years long. Each scene is a new brand of primary-colored torture, filled to the brim with characters you can't help but hate. It doesn't help that Burton never seemed to decide whether he was making a drama or a comedy and as such, it's neither dramatic nor funny. It's just annoying.

Suck it, Depp. This is as much your fault for not stopping it.
But then, there is the CGI. The CGI that seemed to drive the story more than the script. It's as if Burton had a CGI budget and was left with such a surplus of studio money, that he began making decisions based on a desire to burn through cash. Apropos of nothing, we discover right near the end that Moretz's character is a werewolf. When she has not once behaved like a werewolf for the preceding two hours. But hey, studio CGI money!

"We have 2 mil left? Someone make me werewolf feet!"
"Shit... Still a million left huh? CGI some hair on Chlöe's face! Practical FX are for suckers!"
And then, Eva Green's character, who is a witch... cracks. She cracks like a porcelain doll. Because, CGI money.

"Oh goddamnit. $500 thou left huh? Uh... make Eva crack? Yeah. Sure.
No one will be paying attention by this point anyway."
So what is good about Dark Shadows? Nothing. There is nothing good about it. It's stupid and disrespectful of the origin material, which is pretty shocking given the love that the leads claim to have for it. It's ugly and boring, which are cardinal sins that should never be committed by any vampire film. It's tacky and utterly unwatchable, mostly because the color palette is totally muddled and off-putting. Dark Shadows is so bad, I don't even care enough about it to keep raging anymore. Let's just all mutually agree that this is the worst thing Johnny Depp and Tim Burton will ever do together and move on with our lives.

Awww, COME ON!

Revenge Honey Rating: 0 THAT'S ENOUGH TIM BURTONs out of 5

Dark Shadows is available, but watch the TV series and mini-series instead, all of which are available plenty of places, making it nearly impossible for you to claim it's too hard to watch the originals instead of this cinematic abortion.

When was the last time YOU loved Burton/Depp?
Tell me on Twitter: @linnieloowho