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The silence–well the public silence, anyway–is broken
and Warner Bros. trailer for the Tim Burton/Richard Zanuck/Johnny Depp relaunch
of the beloved ABC cult soap opera DARK SHADOWS has been released...
Predictably, reaction from horror fans is a polarized one.
With its candy colored, purely Burton-esque cartoon macabre sheen, its broad
performances and wildly silly fish out of water 70’s pop music soundtrack,
Burton bashers have their knives out and a few scattered SHADOWS purists are in
This is not the straight faced DARK SHADOWS some have hoped
for. This is not a delicious gothic horror show. Or…maybe it is…
Well, as your fearless editor-in-chief and a devout lover of
all things Dan Curtis and DARK SHADOWS since I was but a wee laddie, let me
cheerfully voice my enthusiasm for this new, weird version of the show that put
my love of the macabre into sharp focus . You see, my love for DS is tied to
the rose colored nostalgia of my childhood. It was indeed a soap opera,
marketed to housewives and kids–the TWILIGHT of its time. And I loved it then
and love it now, with a degree of forgiveness for its impoverished production
values, teleprompter acting and cliffhanger frustration. Now, the mythology was
given a brilliant full throttle horror treatment in Curtis’ big screen
adaptation HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS (my third favorite vampire film) and even the
fantastic (but sadly prematurely aborted) 90’s version with Ben Cross and
Barbara Steele went for the serious chills and melodrama.
Burton loves melodrama, but he presents it from a child’s
point of view, with a naïve enthusiasm. He is Hollywood’s last true auteur, a
man who created a language and has stayed true to that language. A big kid who
loves toys, and with every degree of success he’s earned simply cashes his chips
in for bigger toys.
In the pages of the upcoming FANGORIA #313, you will soon
see that we talked to Burton, to legendary producer Richard Zanuck and to the
wonderful Burton muse and fearless actress Helena Bonham-Carter. In FANGORIA
#311 we spoke to screenwriter Seth Graham Greene. All of the participants are
adamant this is not a comedy. Warner Bros. wants to market it as such
because, well, they don’t know how else to market a blood dripping, hyper
gothic and absurdist soap opera fever dream except play up the camp.
But it’s Burton. He will always take horror and blend it
with his infectious child’s eye view of the macabre. Burton is AIP, Roger
Corman and Hammer Horror mashed with Tex Avery and that’s what makes him HIM.
So I, for one, am completely in, every inch, for this
picture. I say that as a DS purist too, and I say that as one who thinks some
cineastes take for granted just how important a filmmaker Burton is and how
talented and visionary he is. So witness the wild eyed trailer below. And then get ready
for some loving coverage of all things SHADOWS–past and present–in the next
issue of FANGORIA!
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