|The old cast meet the new Barnabas Johnny Depp with director Tim Burton. Jonathan Frid the original Barnabas had a cameo walk-on in the new movie, before his recent passing.|
Another thing I really like about this film is all the little references to other dark films, like a scene with Helena Bonham Carter which is clearly a reference to the Robert Mitchum classic, The Night of the Hunter. I won't spoil the plot, but if you know that film, which was totally misunderstood at the time, you will remember Shelly Winters final resting place.... the bizarreness of it, with her hair flowing slowly, hauntingly. Also the film Harold and Maude comes to mind. Harold always trying to scare off the girls his mother has picked for him to date by faking his own suicide in front of them. The black humor in that film, is very reminiscent in Dark Shadows with the youngest son, dressing up to scare the new Nanny. So if you love Tim Burton, and get all these film references, you will enjoy this film on many levels.
I must admit I only vaguely remember the original series, but seeing it again on Youtube, brings back that strange world of 'children of the night' that seemed to exist nowhere else. They have just released all 5 seasons of the original campy show, in a coffin shaped dvd box set. (what else?) And the first few hundred postcards of the original Barnabas Collins the Vampire were signed personally by Jonathan Frid himself. This film is a real homage to that original hammy yet mesmerizing cult 60's soap opera. You can briefly glimpse an elderly distinguished Jonathan Frid, as he enters the party scene. This lovely cameo was to be his last, as he only recently passed away. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp both loved the original, and have breathed new life into the story in a caring and generous way. Out of everyone I feel Michelle Pfeiffer as the Matriarch of the family Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, has a real feel for the pace and style of acting that the original Dark Shadows offered. She is calm and strong behind a mask of normalcy, that holds the eccentric family together. A really enjoyable romp, Johnny Depp is delicious, the film is a real treat.