Dark Shadows (2012)

By all rights, I should hate this movie, but I always end up watching it and enjoying it. There’s my confession.

I mean, it’s a Johnny Depp starring, Tim Burton directed and Seth Grame-Greene (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter) take on one of my favorite shows ever. I should be judgier.

Yet it does what it should do: it makes me return to the original series and savor it, missing those foam tombstones after seeing just how gorgeous Collinwood could be with an actual budget.

Fifteen years after Barnabas Collins and his family move from Liverpool to Maine — establishing the town of Collinsport and Collinwood — our hero spurns that affectoons of Angelique (Eva Green), who murders his parents and curses him to be a vampire, forever doomed to watch all whom he loves die. She then turns the town against him, who bury him as a witch after his fiancee Josette falls from a cliff.

Yes, Josette is the ancestor that Maggie Evans (who is kind of combined with the Victoria Winters character from the original show) is the reincarnated form of. She’s played by Bella Heathcote and feels drawn to become the governess of modern day Collinwood.

The family has fallen on hard times. There’s the matriarch, Elizabeth (Michelle Pfieffer), her rebellious teenage werewolf daughter Carolyn (Chloë Grace Moretz), her brother Roger (Johnny Lee Miller), his son David and live-in psychiatrist Dr. Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), here to treat David who keeps seeing the phoenix-like ghost of his mother Laura.

A construction crew digs up Barnabas’ grave and soon, he’s taken over Willie (Jackie Earle Hadley) as his servant and is back in the family, returning their fishing company to prominence. Of course, his old enemy and lover Angelique runs the town with her fishing company Angel Bay. Despite an initial rekindling of affections, she is soon trying to destroy the Collins family all over again.

This movie has a lot of fun parts, like a party with Alice Cooper playing multiple songs, Christopher Lee showing up as the king of the fishermen and best of all, Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott all making a quick cameo during the party scene. Sadly, Frid would die soon after filming his scene. However, the original cast would report that they were treated as royalty and Depp would say to Frid, “None of this would be possible had it not been for you.”

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