I’ve been optimistic about Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows. CHUD readers have been more cautious than I, but I was carried away with a rare burst of positivity.
Consider it shredded.
Eva Green chatted with the MTV Movies Blog and revealed Burton and Depp’s plans for the film. The first shocker is that their Dark Shadows will actually take place in the 1970s. On one hand, that’s sort of daring and funky, but it also strikes me as sterile and gimmicky. Burton has always paid homage to Hammer and 1970s horror, but he’s never actually gone and made a museum piece before. It’s sort of like he’s eating his own tail, or buying himself in his increasingly artificial world. It also screams Johnny Depp quirkiness in the worst possible way. We know this is his passion project, and how he playacted Barnabas Collins in childhood. To actually slap on Jonathan Frid’s sideburns is a level of weird that I find unsettling.
To raise more eyebrows, Green described the script as “The script is very powerful and funny. [Angelique’s] relationship with Barnabas, that Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf relationship, very love-hate — it’s very funny.”
Funny? Love-hate? Oh dear. Burton certainly puts dark humor into his work, but nothing about Dark Shadows should be campy or funny. I was hoping this would look like Sleepy Hollow or Sweeney Todd, but lack the winks, smirks, and twitches. Some camp is expected, I suppose, but I was hoping he’d steer it into mature, bodice-ripping territory.
Maybe my perception of Dark Shadows is skewed. (Possible. It has been a long, long time since I watched it, and I was young, Gothy, and impressionable.) Maybe Green has a bizarre sense of humor. (Also possible.) Or maybe this is just going to be exactly what we dreaded it would be.