We cling to the idea of permanence

“Cars and computers break down. People move away, change jobs, grow up, grow old, get sick, and eventually die. As we look at our experience, we can recognize that we’re no longer infants or schoolchildren. We can see, and often welcome, other major transitions, like graduating from college, getting married, having children, and moving to a new home or a new job. Sometimes the changes we undergo aren’t so pleasant. Like other people, we get sick, we grow old, and eventually we die. Maybe we lose our jobs or the person we’re married to or romantically involved with announces ‘I don’t love you anymore.’

“Yet even as we acknowledge certain changes, on a very subtle level we cling to the idea of permanence: a belief that an essential core of ‘me,’ ‘others,’ and so on, remains constant throughout time. The ‘me’ I was yesterday is the same ‘me’ I am today. The table or book we saw yesterday is the same table or book we see today. The Mingyur Rinpoche who gave a talk yesterday is the same Mingyur Rinpoche giving a talk today. Even our emotions sometimes seem permanent: ‘I was angry at my boss yesterday, I’m angry at him today, and I’ll be angry at him tomorrow. I’ll never forgive him!’

“The Buddha compared this delusion to climbing a tree that looks strong and whole on the outside but is hollow and rotten on the inside. The higher we climb, the more tightly we cling to the lifeless branches, and the more likely it is that one of those branches will break. Eventually, we must fall—and the pain of that fall will be greater the higher we climb.”

~ Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, “Joyful Wisdom”, Chapter 5: Breaking Through, in the section labeled “Permanence”

Ghosts Come Calling


Ghosts come calling

In the quiet hours

Of the night

Reminders of paths not taken

Memories of dreams

Not chosen


Visitations unceasing

Creating questions better left unasked

Bury the past

Forward is the only direction left

No good comes

From the haunting


Only regret

And sadness

And awareness

Of just how foolish

One can be


Only thing to do

Vow to make better decisions

Next time around

Or not at all

Locking oneself away…

But that’s no answer

I wait for the rain to come

And wash me clean

As I begin again

In this web that is my own


Even if I found him

What would I say?

What could I say?


I am sorry for walking away

For disappearing

From the overwhelming feelings invoked

For disappearing

In front of your eyes

Without saying the words


For not saying words

I felt so deeply

But could not find

To tell you

What you most needed to hear

All the things I should have said

That I didn’t

All the things I should have done

But I didn’t


How could I tell you

That if I had a way

To travel back to that night

That my answer would be yes

And that kiss

That should have happened



But that’s not possible

And so all one can do

Is send that out into the universe

And hope it lands somehow

And carry on

Moving forward into the future that became

As a result of choices made

So long ago…

Looking back, you cannot see

Where you’re going…


And the winter’s chill

Seeps in past the barricade

Forming ice around my heart…

© James C 11-29-11


551436_931410270210402_6679193729120069281_n11/29/1981. I was in OK for Thanksgiving and had a ticket to the Stevie concert. Leaving mom behind at my sister’s house, Dad drove me back to Dallas for the concert.  Dad heard the album on repeat for 6 hours in the car. While I was inside the venue (the long lost reunion Arena), he was kind enough to wait for me in the car – where he took a nap, I later found. Long time to wait, but he was the kind of dad that would do that.We arrived at Reunion Arena Just in time.
My first real concert. I had bought the Belladonna album, because on the cover, she looked like Connie, a childhood friend. I quickly fell in love with the music and the poetry. I was curious enough to see what Stevie was like in concert, and had sworn to myself that if she had done any other albums I would NOT go out and buy them all, as I had with Bette Midler and other singers I liked (Sarah McLachlan, Loreena McKennitt, Judy Garland…).

That lasted until the opening chords of “Gold Dust Woman.” I was then utterly transfixed by the magic of Stephanie Lyn Nicks. I was 7th-row center, on the aisle. I made it close to the stage, and just before Rhiannon as in this show, I was overcome by the then unknown woody-smelling fumes, and yelled during a lull, “We love you, Stevie!” I was surprised, that was so unlike me. Amazingly, she heard, walked over to the mic, and said “Thank you… i love you, too.” She has written the stories i have lived, eerily accurately so at times. The magic continues to this day….
Thanks dad, for getting me there, and for your incredible patience while I was having a life-changing experience. And yes, friends have joked that if there was a recording of her belching, I would have it. True enough….

Outside the Pain

On January 3rd, 2012, after a coworker called me over to assist her – I was a training analyst at Williams Company through a temp agency – I made a joke, we all were laughing really hard, while laughing with the coworkers, I took a step backwards & got my feet tangled in the rickety legs of a floor fan that was a safety hazard and should have been trashed long before I arrived there, and fell backwards full speed, bashing my head against the corner of my boss’s desk. Everything went black. I came to minutes later, with my coworkers all around, saying “It’ll be ok, everything will be ok” over and over. I knew things were not ok – First off, I went to get up, and pain knocked me right back down. I tried to speak, and couldn’t. My head hurt like nothing I’d ever felt, and seemed wet. I put my hand back there, coworkers protesting, and it came away scarlet. Yeah, things would be alright, alright. The account above was part memory, part what I learned from coworkers after the fact. I can’t recall which is which anymore. There were several ER trips thereafter, during which i was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. I was eventually fired from my job where I suffered the injury as a result.

That moment changed my life, permanently. Short term memory doesn’t work so well- I had diaries and journals, but put them on a hard drive I locked with a password that was easy and simple to remember. I didn’t remember it, just typing it and thinking “This is a great password! Simple, easy to remember, hard to guess, and could be used at work as well.” Yeah. Haven’t recalled it yet, and I did that in November 2012. It’s  September 2016 now. I found a few old files, so I pieced things together as best I can.Typing is gone to crap; I deal with a constant TBI [traumatic brain injury] migraine/headache; I’m sensitive to light and sound (makes the headache worse); noise & crowds (causes confusion and difficulty focusing); I’m missing time (“Did I take a shower? I thought so, but… no.” Or, “I need a shower.” I do so, grab the towel, and it’s soaking wet. I had just taken one, and had no memory of doing so.). I’ve been left with balance issues and dizziness/vertigo. Still have troubles remembering to shave, or brush teeth, something I never had any issue with before the head bonk. Emotions are heightened, personality changed.Spine is wrecked from neck to tailbone. Nerve pain radiates from spine down arms to fingers, buttocks to feet – sciatica.  All from one instant in time.

Adding insult to injury, according to the neurologist, the injury made the multiple chemical sensitivity to fragrance worse – even a molecule’s worth of exposure causes trouble breathing, coughing, sneezing, burning eyes, migraine, nausea, vomiting – and it takes 6-72 hours for symptoms to subside, depending on exposure length. Doesn’t matter what brand, or how much it cost – perfume, cologne, scented lotion or anything, air fresheners, dryer sheets, fabric softeners, cosmetics – if it’s scented, it’s toxic. And there’s two components – allergic and toxic. I literally am being poisoned by the stuff, and the headache/migraine, nausea and vomiting is the body’s reaction to that.

Don’t hit your head. A “mild” traumatic brain injury is a misnomer. Nothing mild about any brain injury. Just because it’s a “closed head“ injury means nothing. (If you call three staples sans anesthesia in the back of my head ‘closed.’

The Abridged DARK SHADOWS Script

Sums up the film-watching experience quite nicely, and in a lot less time than it takes to lose 90 minutes sitting in a theater with jaw dropped in disbelief, shaking head constantly and the nightmare unfolding before your eye…"I see Burton's wig guy got to you too."

“I see Burton’s wig guy got to you too.”


The Abridged Script




Ah, how I enjoy being a happy-go-lucky old-timey Englishman, in love and looking forward to a life of innocent bliss! I sure hope some jealous psycho doesn’t have me imprisoned for-

(checks script)

Whoops, I’m doing Sweeney Todd. Should I start over?


Now Johnny, you know my Golden Rule when it comes to scripts.


“Who gives a shit”. Right, silly me.


Oh, how I obsessively love you, Johnny!


I, er, love SOMEBODY. Will that do?


Grr, if I can’t have you, I must destroy you! To begin with, I murder your parents and the woman you love, HA!


In that case, I murder the man YOU love, who is me! Ha HA!


Nuh uh, I put a curse on you so that instead of dying you just turn into a vampire, ha ha HA!


(smothered in fifteen pounds of white makeup)


A torch-wielding mob buries Johnny, but he gets out after TWO HUNDRED YEARS.


Crap, I guess this means I’ve got to do all those tired old “man out of time” gags. Oh well. Gadzooks, a land dragon! A tiny woman in a flickering box! What manner of witchcraft and so on and so forth.


Welcome to the present, Johnny. And by the present, I mean forty years ago.


The seventies, you say? Why? What impact does that have?


Eh, you know. Period clothes. The odd hippy. In terms of story and character, it’s a completely meaningless distraction.


So, exactly like That 70s Show. Gotcha.


Anyway, welcome back to Collinwood. I am your distant descendant, which is confusing because the prologue made it look like your entire family was wiped out.


I mean to reinvigorate the family business, mainly by pointing out some hidden treasure and saying, “use that”.


Excellent! In that case you may stay, only keep the vampire thing on the down-low, thanks.


To that end I will act as weird as possible at all times, make no attempt to blend in and occasionally make explicit reference to having lived centuries ago.


Close enough. Come, meet the other members of the household, of whom there are a few more than strictly necessary.


I’m Michelle’s daughter. In an original move for a fictional teenage daughter, I am sullen and snarky.


I’m Michelle’s nephew. I’m Troubled, which will be mentioned constantly in dialogue to make up for the fact that I act completely normal throughout the film.


(politely composed)

I’m Gulliver’s nanny, and I see dead people. Specifically, I see the ghost of your dead love.


Huh. Judging from your face, I would have guessed you were her, reincarnated.


(politely composed)

I think I might be that too? It’s…confusing.


I’m Gulliver’s doctor. Also a surly drunk, because if I go too long without playing a total bitch I FREAK OUT.


I serve no purpose in this movie. Feel free to forget I exist.


I’m the groundskeeper, as well as your token Renfield-cum-Igor, although you don’t really have me do anything. Mainly I’m here to be the creepiest-looking thing in the entire movie, as usual.


Bah, I’ll never remember all that. Let’s go see about that family business, hm?



There we go. Business reinvigorated.


Hm. I guess…we’re just killing time now until the inevitable showdown with Eva.

(drums fingers)

All right, what subplots do we have?




Yeah, they wouldn’t have jammed in so many characters if you didn’t all have your own stuff going on, right?




Don’t look at me, I got nothing.




Literally the only noticeable thing I do in this movie is pack my bags and leave.

(slinks off, nobody cares)


Oh come on, you can’t all just be warm bodies for me to act goofy at. There’s got to be more to this movie than that, surely. Troubled Kid, what have you got?


Well, I see dead people. Specifically, I see the ghost of my dead mother.


(politely composed)

Hey, fuck off and get your own paper-thin backstory.


You fuck off! You’ve already got the whole falling-in-love-with-Johnny thing to set you apart.


(politely composed)

Do I? Huh. My constant “hum de dum, waiting in line at the bank” facial expression kind of fails to get that across.


For God’s sake! Let’s throw a party just to have SOMETHING happen.


A party? As the one character allowed to make explicit seventies references, I advise you to get such party essentials as a mirror ball, and Alice Cooper!


A mirror ball AND Alice Cooper? Because…this party will have multiple identity disorder?

They throw a party. The plot fails to advance at all while the audience gets a migraine trying to pretend ALICE COOPER is TWENTY-FOUR YEARS OLD.


Goddammit Eva, can we have our fucking showdown already?!


Sorry, you’ve caught me in the “seduce” phase of my seduce/destroy cycle. Although we can still have a showdown…IN MY PANTS.


No no no no! Okay sure!

Johnny abandons his entire character motivation just long enough for a slapstick sex scene.


All right, that’s over, back to normal. BEGONE YOU WANTON SHE-DEVIL!


Grr, if I can’t have you, I must destroy you!

(checks watch)

But not quite yet. Fill in another twenty minutes or so and get back to me.


Gnar, how else can we pad out the time? Oh, Helena, you’re fucking the director, surely you got something resembling a plotline.


Okay, it turns out I’m hot for you despite – perhaps even partly because of – your monstrous tendencies. But, I’m also secretly betraying you!




(checks script)

Wait, no, that’s Sweeney Todd again. Sorry.


Seriously guys, as long as everything continues to look pretty, I couldn’t care less what you do or say.


Alrighty then!

(kills Helena)


Wait, that was almost a plot point. Story mode reactivated! Say Johnny, isn’t it curious how Helena “mysteriously disappeared”, ahem hem.


You got me. I spontaneously confess to her murder, as well as a bajillion other murders.


Bwa ha ha, BIG SURPRISE, I secretly taped that confession! Won’t you be horrified when I expose you to the whole town!


Well, no, you won’t, because I’m going to bury you again first and you won’t even ever know about it.


And by “bury you” I mean stash your coffin in an above-ground crypt that anyone can just walk into.


Seriously, I’ve had the whole movie to think of something, and this is the best I came up with.

She does this, and Johnny gets out in about five seconds. He then goes to the middle of town where Eva has exploded his cannery and is playing his confession tape to everybody.


Hear that five seconds of out-of-context audio that I promise you is Johnny Depp talking? The Collins family has been harboring an active mass murderer for their own financial gain!


HOW DARE YOU SPREAD SUCH SLANDER?! Or, not so much slander as perfectly accurate allegations which are every bit as bad as they sound.


Okay, arrest the entire Collins family! I guess I mean the kids too? I haven’t thought this through.



Grr, if I can’t have you, I must destroy you!


Oh Jesus fuck, could you stop establishing that?! We get it already!


Give me a break here, that’s all the characterisation I get.

They SMASH EACH OTHER ACROSS THE ROOM A BUNCH, which might mean something if they won’t both clearly MADE OF ADAMANTIUM.


Hey, I want in on this fight too! I’m a werewolf, rawr!


A werewolf?! Of course! This explains…um, nothing whatsoever. Kinda pulled this one out of our asses, really.


At least killing Eva gives me a reason to be in this movie at all!

(is hit, falls down, cries)


God, everybody sucks. Looks like it’s all down to my Ghost Mom, who apparently can physically attack people but chose not to until after Eva had already destroyed our business, our home and our reputation!



Hurk, this arbitrarily exceeds the limits of my ill-defined indestructibility! Dead now!


PS, Johnny, I bewitched Bella to throw herself off a cliff. This too was meant to happen after I already buried you forever. My plans are so fucking confusing.

Johnny rushes to the cliff and GRABS BELLA just before she jumps! Or, to be more accurate, STOPS TEN FEET AWAY FROM HER while she’s on the edge, and WATCHES HER JUMP AND DIE like a PUTZ. Or actually, she DOESN’T JUMP, she just sort of STOPS and STANDS THERE like she’s in no hurry at all.


Bella, don’t jump, pretty please! Yes, I’m trying to talk you out of being magically brainwashed.


(politely composed)

Eh, I might as well jump, since I couldn’t truly be with you unless you made me immortal too.


I would never force you to experience my curse!

Bella JUMPS.


Whoops, scratch that!

He leaps after her and turns her before she hits the rocks.


(politely composed)

Tada, now I’m your old love and not Bella! Or both at the same time! Or maybe we’ve always been the same person! It’s very unclear. Important thing is, now that you’ve made me a vampire to save my life, we can finally be together forever!


Oh, crap. You got Twilight in my Burton!


You got Burton in my Twilight!


(politely composed)

Two stupid tastes that taste stupid together!


Thanks to Craig, who wrote this.



This was too hilarious. A friend posted a play by play review as he watched the film. He caught some things I didn’t, and the commentary was spot-on to what I was thinking as I watched the film. I present it with his permission for your enjoyment…. – Jim


Okay, watching the intro part right now, and I ALREADY have a major problem. * *SPOILER* (not like anyone really cares here)* Barnabas flings himself off of Widow’s Hill after Josette and it totally fine?!?! Um, I know this is a supernatural vampire flick, but since when are vampires immune to physics? I don’t care how powerful of a vampire you are, you fall from that height on to jagged rocks, you’re gonna go splat like a Gallagher watermelon! Come on, Burton, at least give us SOME suspension of disbelief!

*SPOILER* WAIT… WHAT!?!?! So Bella Heathcote’s character is the character of Victoria Winters, renamed as Maggie Evans, who is pretending to be named Victoria Winters (a name she got from a skiing ad on the train) for… what reason exactly?! Why would the character need to lie about her name? She came from an orphanage right, so it’s not like anyone knows who she is anyway. That’s just dumb. Way to assassinate two characters at once! Maggie is SUPPOSED to be a resident of Collinsport, born and raised! Normally I don’t mind changes like this (like the changes in the 1991 revival), but this is just pointless and dumb! It serves no purpose other than to confuse the fuck out of everyone!

Only 9 and half minutes in and I already want to break things!!! Not a good start!

Okay so I’m up to the part where they unearth Barnabas. With the exception of “we hate physics; vampires are immune to falling damage” and the whole “I’m Maggie, no wait I’m Vicki, no wait, I’m Maggie… I’m too confused to understand what my name is”, it’s not terrible. Not great, but watchable. I’m waiting for the shit to hit the fan though… I know it’s going to any second now…

That whole Maggie/Victoria thing really bugs me though! Leave it to someone like Seth Graham-Smith to reduce Dark Shadows’ primary character to friggin’ Ski Resort! If that’s not an insult to Dan Curtis, I don’t know what is! Victoria Winters was who Curtis had a dream about that inspired the whole thing! She is not a friggin’ Ski Resort! Love the Maggie Evans character and all, but choose ONE for your main character; Vicki OR Maggie. Nope, instead the genius decided to combine the two into one in the most stupid way possible. Even his character concepts have ADD! *facepalm*

I really don’t mind the merging of the two characters either; it’s how they did it that annoys me. I just think it’s stupid that the name Victoria Winters came from a ski resort advertisement. They could have just chosen one name or the other instead of mentioning both. It’s also pointless. There is no reason for Maggie to lie and say her name is Vicki. What purpose does it serve, other than an attempt to be clever. Also, they really didn’t merge the two characters. Bella’s character is clearly Victoria Winters; they just used Maggie Evans as her name and reducedVictoria’s name to pointless stupidity. So if Maggie Evans is the governess from New York in this version, then who the hell works at the Collinsport Inn? I guess there is no Sam Evans either, since Maggie is the orphan in this version. They didn’t really merge the characters as they just lifted Maggie’s name and then dissolved the character completely. Sure Maggie is the governess in House of Dark Shadows, but we are not told her back-story in that movie; she could have easily been born and raised in Collinsport and then hired by the family as David’s governess (as opposed to being a waitress, which in that case, it’s only a career change).

Yeah, the whole “fish out of water” crap feels forced and cheesy. A person seeing a car for the first time would be more fearful of it than that, whether they thought it was “the devil” or not. This is just stereotypical Johnny Depp inserted into the roll to please his fans.

Another issue! * SPOILER* Barnabas reveals he is a vampire to Elizabeth. Never would have happened in the original. He is also too “out and proud” about it. In the original series, aside from keeping it a secret, he was always ashamed about his curse. I don’t get the sense he even feels like it’s a curse at this point.

‎”Wait… I know!Elizabeth, let’s totally keep this vampire thing a secret between you and I, then I’ll totally ruin it by mentioning how my hand would burst into flames if the silverware were really silver! BRILLIANT!!!” *double facepalm*

Okay. Angelique is WAY too evil in this one. Even more evil than the 1991 revival series. I also don’t believe she actually is in love with Barnabas. She comes off as more of a crazy obsessed psychopath. The original series Angelique, no matter how crazed and vindictive at times, you still got the sense she really did indeed love Barnabas. So far, Green’s performance falls flat.

Considering what we know of Jim Pierson’s musical tastes from the CRAIGG interview, I have a feeling the only “advising” he did as a consultant was “insert ’70s music here.” (NOTE: Jim Pierson represents the Dan Curtis Estate. Dan Curtis was creator and director of Dark Shadows TV show and the first two Dark Shadows movies, House and Night of Dark Shadows.)

Notice also, that all the stupidest scenes (toothbrush, cardboard box, etc.) happen during these 70′s music montages; much like in the trailers and TV spots. Pointless and unnecessary.

“Wait, I almost burst into flame when Angelique threw back the curtain to reveal sunlight before… a cloudy day however is totally fine to walk around in! Just some sunglasses, a hat, and an umbrella will totally save me. UV rays can’t travel through clouds or anything!”

Maybe he is wearing sunblock like the vamps in Blade? *triple facepalm* More suspension of disbelief ruined!

I gotta say though, the fact that so far all of the stupid scenes seem to lumped together in these montages is making it very tempting for me to make a cut with them completely edited out (anyone want to lend me a copy of Final Cut Pro?). Might make it halfway decent… though I didn’t get to the ending yet, so that might not be a possibility.

Bill Malloy: “And why does a Collins wish to speak with me?”

Barnabas: “Because the director and writer of this movie added another original character, for the sake of adding another original character, in an attempt to get fans of the original series in a seat at the box office, that’s why!”

And the most Dark Shadows thing aboutBurton’s Dark Shadows is…

… the occasional scenes of waves crashing against the rocks! Hey, got SOMETHING right after all, LOL!!!

This movie that WB marketed as a comedy just isn’t funny at all. The audience barely laughed. I’m going with the latter, and since that seems to be the case, there is no reason they couldn’t have been truer to the original storyline and tone, since their attempt at humor appears to be failing miserably.

I’m up to the “hippy scene” now and already I feel like this movie is headed nowhere. I’m supposed to believe that Barnabas is romantically interested in Vicki, but I don’t because they’ve shared all of about a minute (barely even that) on the screen together at this point. The reviews weren’t kidding when they said their romance falls flat.

It also feels rushed with the inclusion of too many story-lines at once. Yeah, fans of the original know what’s going on, but I can see someone who has never seen the original being totally confused. We just went from Barnabas killing hippies to Julia suddenly experimenting to cure Barnabas with no prior mention of her even thinking about that before this scene. Unless you know that’s from the original series it comes off and forced, contrived, and rushed. It’s like they are trying to do a cliff notes narration of the story though the dialog.

Oh no… She didn’t. Please tell me Julia Hoffman didn’t just go down on Barnabas! * Quadruple facepalm!!!* You’re right… it just got worse!

I can’t resist commenting here as this mess unfolds. It’s like a train wreck. Horrifying, yet I can’t look away…

Also, that whole Angel Bay Corp. thing is a contrived and forced plot. If Angelique’s issue was with Barnabas and she made him a vampire and then chained him up, why the hell does she have to take it further by trying to destroy the whole family? That’s just once again, too evil. No reason for her to hate the entire family for what Barnabas did to her. At least in the original series her vengeance was directed at Barnabas alone. She may have used other family members to get at Barnabas (like making Sarah sick) but it was always directed at Barnabas. Plus you always got the sense that Angelique did have remorse for some of the terrible things she did.

Michelle is great so far. Actually, with the exception of my issue with Victoria Winters being a ski resort ad, and Barnabas not becoming a Gallagher watermelon when he jumped off Widow’s Hill after Josette, the whole beginning (up to the point where they unearth Barnabas) felt like Dark Shadows enough to make me happy. Unfortunately it was all downhill from that point on.

She’s horrible! “Sure, I’ll admit that I was really angry at you for the first century…” But what, now you love him? Please! How about SHOWING me that you’re in love with him by ACTING it out, instead of forcing me to believe so through dialogue. Gods, and I thought the love scenes between Amidala and Anakin in SW: Attack of the Clones was painful to watch due to lack of chemistry… this is worse! Portman and Christensen had more chemistry than Green and Depp, and that’s REALLY sad!!!

Oh look, it’s another song from the trailer that we were told was only inserted to play up the comedy aspect of the movie (I’m up to the part of the movie where Barnabas and Angelique make love like it’s happening in The Matrix. WHERE IS THE ONE THEY CALL NEO?!! PLEASE SAVE US FROM THIS TRAGEDY!!!

Angelique: “I want your love… but only because it’s written in the dialog. Other than that I’m trying to get this role over with so I can ruin my next one!”

Wait… I feel like the movie is trying to attempt to be serious again. Too bad it ruined itself five times over already!

Josette’s Ghost: “Help Me!”

Victoria: “Help you what?”

Josette’s Ghost: “Help me… throw the original source copies of this horrible film into the depths of the sea, so nobody has to see it ever again!”

Also, did Helena Bonham Carter actually go out of her way to NOT be anything like Julia Hoffman. She just sounds like an annoying whiny bitch throughout the whole movie! “Jeez, can somebody shut the drapes!” Shut them yourself, bitch!!!

OMGS OMGS!!! It almost felt like Dark Shadows again for about two whole seconds! I swear!!! I saw Kathryn Leigh Scott, Jonathan Frid, David Selby, and Lara Parker! It was totally like Dark Shadows… except now it’s over (and there was still annoying ’70s music playing in the background). Back to this film being irrelevant.

Girls dancing in cages. Alice Cooper or not, Girls dancing in cages is about the last thing I’d ever expect to see in Dark Shadows movie. *Whatever comes after quadruple facepalm!*

Did he seriously just waste his power of Dominate to force David to watch Alice Cooper? Every Ventrue character in every White Wolf chronicle being run just vomited in their mouth a little! *EPICFACEPALM!!!*

What?! Who the hell is Roger making out with? That was totally left field. Let’s just insert random new character we haven’t met yet three quarters into the movie! I feel some more ADD plot line coming soon!

Quick! Before even resolving the awkward moment where Carolyn sings “Mommy, your brother is cheating on… who exactly because you’re siblings, not married, so why should you care?” moment, let’s cut to another scene of absolutely no chemistry between Barnabas and Vicky! Brilliant!!!

Oh IGETITNOW!!! She’s not even a real orphan! Her parents are just assholes! THAT”S why she wanted to change her name to something she pulled off of a ski ad! She is ashamed of her family name! HOLY-CONTRIVED-PLOT-JUST-TO-USE-MAGGIE’S NAME BATMAN!!!

Seriously… her parents put her in a mental asylum… for the sole purpose of her having a good reason to change her name from Maggie Evans to Victoria Winters in the beginning of the movie! I’ve played in table-top role-playing games that have had less of a contrived and forced plot! *whatever comes after epic facepalm!!!*

I’m starting to have trouble continuing any further at this point. There aren’t enough walls to smack my head into at the moment!

REALLY?!?! Julia wants to be a vampire! Okay, this movie is just failing on every single point now. I though this movie was gonna suck from the stupid comedy. It sucks more because of its ADD contrived multiple plots more than anything else at this point!

WHERE IS THIS MOVIE GOING?!?! (With the exception of down the drain!) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas made more sense then this movie does… and that’s SAD!!!

Hey look, more waves crashing against rocks… it feels like Dark Shadows again… oh crap, back to the terrible pointless contrived lack of plot!

Barnabas: “I am going to do something that sickens and repulses me to my very core.”

Roger: ‘What? Continue on in this piece of shit film?”

Damn!!! I was hoping Barnabas would just melt like the Wicked Witch of the West when they threw that bucket of water on him. No such luck!

Victoria: “No Barnabas, I can no longer love you! You were on fire, and I hate Barbecue! I prefer my men steamed!”

Crap I just realized… I haven’t even gotten to the panties scene yet! ARRRRRGGGGG!!!!

‎”Burn Baby, Burn” = what is happening to my eyes and ears right now!

Hey let’s totally rip off the Exorcist now!!! Pea soup vomit (what watching this crap is making me feel like)!

Hey Carolyn is a werewolf! Why? Because they can I guess! WTF!? This movie is ridiculous. No focus at all.

Hey look, Elizabeth is channeling Lieutenant Ripley from Alien now! “Get out of my house, you bitch!” Might as well have had her wearing the Loading Lift Suit… quick blow her out the airlock!!! LMAO!!! Seth Grahame-Smith = hack writer indeed!

Yeah wow, now it is “Death Becomes Her.” SGS = no originality what-so-ever!

Carolyn: “I’m a werewolf, OK? Let’s not make a big deal out of it.” *facepalm*

Or have a reason and well-written back-story for it… that might actually involve creativity and effort! I feel like this was written by five year old kids playing “pretend”, where there are no rules. “You can’t kill me; I’m a werewolf now, ha ha!”

Angelique is responsible for Carolyn being a werewolf AND the death of David’s mother! Wow. Just wow! Did they just make up the story as they went along? “Let’s make Carolyn a werewolf!” “Wait, how do we explain that?” “Just blame the witch! It’s easy and it’s been done a billion times, and it’s totally contrived!” “You think anyone will notice?” “Nah, the audience is simply meat with eyes, besides we just want their money!”

So the movie ends with Barnabas biting Victoria/Maggie turning her into a vampire to prevent her death on Widow’s Hill, but Barnabas is no longer a vampire but Victoria/Maggie/Josette is??? How dumb is that?

‎‎”Quick, we need an ending! I know, just have the ghost of David’s mother come and kill Angelique! No effort at all needed on writing this ending!” Christ, did SGS spend his entire life writing hack-and-slash Dungeons & Dragons adventures?! Actually I’ve played in D&D games that had better endings than this!

Seth Grahame-Smith lied!!! This movie is nothing like Beetlejuice or Sleepy Hollow… Beetlejuice and Sleepy Hollow were actually GOOD movies!


They were right about one thing though! The marketing WAS deceptive. Though, I think they were being deceptive and trying to market the film as a comedy to make up for shitty script writing and lack of a strong plot! “Oh shit, this movie goes nowhere and is totally contrived!” “Quick, market it as a comedy and hope nobody notices how bad the rest of it is!”

They were right about one thing though! The marketing WAS deceptive. Though, I think they were being deceptive and trying to market the film as a comedy to make up for shitty script writing and lack of a strong plot! “Oh shit, this movie goes nowhere and is totally contrived!” “Quick, market it as a comedy and hope nobody notices how bad the rest of it is!” Though in way it’s STILL a comedy. A comedy of errors! Many, many, many errors!


Dark Shadows 2012 Review

I grew up with Dark Shadows on TV, in fact, one of my first TV memories is Victoria Winters running into the house to find Elizabeth Collins-Stoddard, and reporting she’d seen a light in the window of an unused portion of the house. Liz tells her she’s imagining things, no one’s been in that part of the house for years! Next shot was the window and a light moving past it, accompanied by the three chord stinger. I loved the two films inspired by the series, “House of Dark Shadows,” and “Night of Dark Shadows.”

I was too young to note how disjointed “Night” was, due to the studio forcing producer and Director Dan Curtis to re-edit the entire film in 24 hours because they thought it too long to be commercial. I liked the 1991 revival. Since I heard Burton & Depp were doing this film, I had high anticipation for a big budget version. I had high hopes we would get a quality film. I really wanted to like it. The trailers gave me pause, but… I really wanted to like it.


I saw the movie (it’s most definitely a movie, NOT a film, and a comedy, NOT a serious re-visioning.) with about 17 other people. One of whom found the jokes funny, but only the ones seen in the trailer. This person also decided to sing the rest of “I’d like to teach the world to sing” long after the brief snippet in the film was over. So that kinda tells you who will enjoy the film.

I’ll get the cameos out of the way first. Blink, and miss both “cameos”, in actuality, ‘background extra’ appearances. Kathryn Leigh Scott (former Maggie Evans/Josette) does say “Thank you for having us.” And that’s about how long you see everyone, is the time it takes to say that. Jonathan Frid, the original and I dare say, unrivaled Barnabas Collins, sailed on in so fast, you’re better off looking at stills, you get a better view. I almost missed it, and I didn’t blink! (Now one person has said that Frid said something, possibly “Good Evening,” but if he did, I didn’t hear it. Others have said the same.) I barely saw Mr. Frid, and I was watching closely, and the soundtrack was LOUD, so I don’t think I missed anything. And you’ll have to pay me to sit through it again. That said, I would love to have heard Mr. Frid say “Harrumph! Some party, the door’s answered by a clown in drag!” That would have made it worth while.)

There’s a brief second where Michelle Pfeiffer looks at the stage when Carolyn speaks the first lines of an Alice Cooper song. For a moment, you can see David Selby (original Quentin), Lara Parker (original Angelique), and Kathryn Leigh Scott (Original Maggie Evans/Josette). Blink, or sneeze, it’s gone. Alice Cooper’s cameo lasted a lot longer. Two song’s worth, as a matter of fact. The originals were given short shrift.

If you’re paying to see this film just for the original’s cameos, don’t bother. You want to actually see the cameos? Look at the still photographs and watch the first featurette on Youtube at the 1:56 mark. It’ll last longer and be a lot more satisfying. It was quite clear this was just a publicity stunt so BurtonDepp’s press people could point to this and say “homage” and “tribute” without meaning it. Frankly given their overuse of the terms, I think they’ve forgotten what they mean. “To make a mockery of” is NOT the definition, boys.

It’s “Dark Shadows” in name only. The title and character names are lifted from the series. They followed the original’s storylines as in taking the names of characters and title of the show and that’s pretty much it. Oh, there is a vampire and a werewolf and a witch and an old house and a fishing village. And that’s about what they have in common. Any further resemblance ends, even to the octopus Depp used as a wig. Frid was dead right when he said “too many curls.”

In a new invention for Barny, his cane now sports an ivory dog’s head, since silver now burns vampires. Where the hell did THAT come from? For all practical purposes, this is “Dark Shadows: The Sitcom.”

That particular headache aside, let’s tackle the other ones: The first 20 minutes were… OK. “Not bad” is about the best I can say, as it encapsulated the Collins family history in 5 minutes, Angelique’s, Barnabas’, and Josette’s back-story in about 5 minutes, the cursing bit and Josette’s death in another 5 minutes, and the boxing of Barnabas by the angry mob led by Angelique (a la Frankenstein) in the final 5. And Barny is a master of magic as well.

A major anachronism, which also happens to be a joke setup, as well as product placement to the nth degree, is when a McDonald’s logo shows up in an allegedly ancient book of magic as revealing the name of Satan as Mephistopheles. I assume that’s meant to be a clever insult to McDonald’s as well as product placement. And as seen in the trailers, yes, the McDonald’s sign is one of the first thing seen after he flies from his coffin like Peter Pan on speed and slaughters the hapless workmen who dug him up.

Then, 1972. Maggie Evans Bella Heathcote is on a train to Collinsport to answer an ad for the governess position. She sees a poster for ski trips to Victoria, B.C. and apparently, in that moment changes her name to Victoria Winters. That has to be the most arbitrarily thrown in afterthought of a plot device I have ever witnessed in a film outside of “Dracula Dead and Loving It.”

She hitchhikes into town with hippies in what I guess was supposed to be a funny scene. This sets up the scene where Barny (That’s what I call him in this version, Jonathan Frid was Barnabas. Depp only deserves Barny) communes with the badly played hippies waxing euphoric about love and apologizing (as he does almost every single boring time) before the slaughter. Yeah, apparently, that “apology serves as the reminder that “I am a guilty vampire.” It reeks of insincerity and being tossed into the script just for the sake of reinforcing the idea. Much like everything else in the film.

As for Bella Heathcote’s Maggie/Victoria/Josette, the character’s given such short shrift, other than another arbitrary moment that felt like it belonged to another film entirely when her back-story is revealed as a girl who talks to dead people (like David) which seemed all too “sixth sense-y) whose parents put her in an asylum as a kid, then she escaped and a ghost pointed out the ad for governess.

She walks up to Collinwood (the most successfully atmospheric sequence in the film, all 30 seconds of it), and arrives at the door, suitcase in hand, expecting to be given the job, which she is – after the briefest and oddest job interview sans reference checks ever seen. Would you let a stranger be your live in sitter without checking references? I imagine the name change would have been really easily caught out. But in Seth Smith’s script, this is the sort of thing that jars you back into realizing, “I’m watching a badly written movie.”

Maggie/Vickie falls off a cliff of her own free will in the ending, Barny bites her on the way down (long fall) and turns her magically into a vampire in 30 seconds. Which makes me wonder where the construction guys and hippies are, if that’s all it takes? And she turns into a She-Deppire at the last moment, which I guess is supposed to make you cheer, but just left saying “What?”

Johnny Depp’s balmy Barny Collins… (Jonathan Frid was Barnabas Collins. Depp deserves the diminutive form.) Yeah, no. He keeps standing in the sun, sometimes to no ill effect, others being singed, and even catching on fire without even noticing, in what’s supposed to be another joke. No one laughed. I just shook my head. Apparently, burning doesn’t hurt. And at other times, he stands in it, and it doesn’t seem to bother him. Could the filmmakers not make up their mind? Idiotic. I did have to admire the art department, who airbushed abs and pecs onto his body.

Depp plays it for yuks, and we can all say the punch lines along with him. That will make this the “Rocky Horror” of its time, with screenings where folks will dress up and repeating the jokes with the actors. Funny how after repeated hearings, even the amusing ones aren’t funny anymore. To me, anyway. And they weren’t really that funny to begin with. And there are plenty of others, drawing cricket chirps from myself and the audience I was sitting with.

The repeated “sincere apologies” before every suck rang so false, it was clearly the one plot device they had to show he’s a “reluctant vampire.” He seemed to have no problem killing masses of people once the “sorry” was uttered. The hippie scene was a waste of screen time. Jonathan Frid was able to convey remorse successfully without the repeated “OK, I am apologizing! Note me apologizing! OK, now that we’ve established I’m really sorry for this, dinnertime!” And some still say it’s not a comedy. It certainly felt like an Adam Sandler movie. The hippie slaughter scene? Total waste of screen time.

And Johnny… it’s werewolves that have the silver allergy, not vamps. As for his interpretation “staying close to Frid?” No. Not anywhere close. Frid was compelling from his first appearance, and he made Barnabas someone you care about, even when he was doing nasty things. You wanted him to be whole again. Depp? All the appeal of a cardboard cutout, painted white; with an obsession for birthing hips, regardless of age.

And he’s released, flying about like Peter Pan on crack, sucking construction workers dry, then there’s a ridiculous montage where he manages to be quite obtrusive walking around town staring at modern people with blood dripping down his clown white face, yet no one ever sees him. Yeah, buying that! Then, having arrived at the mansion and invited himself in, he’s accepted as a vampire in about 5 minutes with no doubt whatsoever, because he knows where the secret treasure is. Even house of Dark Shadows had more plausible character development than that. And it’s shorter.

And “House of Dark Shadows” makes more sense. In Dark Shadows 2012, for instance, Barny knows Maggie as Vicky, and that deceptive plotline is dropped with no explanation, so he loves someone who’s lying about her identity, and he thinks she’s Josette at times anyway; but she’s not, until she comes back as a vampire and he says “Vickie…” And she replies, “Josette.” – complete with Depplike clown-white face and black eyeliner and fangs. So I have no idea who the hell she actually was supposed to be because that was never resolved. I wound up with a migraine after watching this film, not just from the overly loud soundtrack.

Eva Green (EvahGreen? How clever.) as Angelique is as superficial a character as they come, and you feel nothing for her. Barny’s right when he says she has no idea what love is. You don’t feel she’s loved him for a second. She’s killed by a group effort of the Collins’s, and is finally done in by David’s mother screaming at her briefly. Really? That’s all it took after all that?

Of course, she’s not quite dead yet, but has turned to hollow porcelain, in a deep allegory to being hollow (I guess, it’s never explained, like so many things in this Deppsaster). She finally dies when she removes her heart, which is a purple and red glowing and throbbing piece of jelly, which she offers to Barny saying “Take it!” He looks at it in disgust, and then due to oxidation, I guess, it turns to glass, blackens and crumbles. And why does she crack like porcelain doll at the end? No reason is ever given, no rationale explained.

The whole Angie/Barny thing is problematic. He says he can’t do her, then does. Several times. He’s found his true love (in record time, I might add), yet he can’t resist doing Angie again? Really? He’s a cretin, whom one feels no sympathy for whatsoever as a character.

And her “Burn baby burn” line? That was the phrase allegedly coined by DJ Nathaniel Montague, known as “Magnificent Montague.” Montague says he came up with the phrase in 1962 while working at a station in New York. He was given a copy of Pickett’s new song, “If You Need Me,” and he fell in love with it. It was a custom to say “buuurn” when music was moving. “Something hit me, and I said, ‘Burn, Baby, Burn,’” Montague said. Then he asked his listeners to call in and experience it with him. Magnificent Montague took his show — and his hot catchphrase — from New York to Chicago, and from Chicago to Los Angeles, where he arrived three months before the August 1965 Watts riots.

By then, “Burn, Baby, Burn” had caught on inLos Angeles and quickly became the battle cry for those taking to the streets after a white highway patrolman arrested a black motorist on suspicion of drunken driving. It was a hot night in the Watts neighborhood, and the scene soon escalated into a confrontation between police and nearby residents. Tensions between the black community and police boiled over, and a week later 34 people were dead and more than 1,000 were injured. More than 600 buildings were damaged or destroyed. Just thought you’d like to know it was more than a 1976 disco song. Hence, Angelique’s usage of it before burning the Collins cannery down.

Helena Bonham Carter’s Dr Hoffman… Ugh. The chain-smoking, boozaholic Hoffman who’s more allergic to daylight from hangovers than Barny is. Hoffman doesn’t love Barny, she just wants to stop the aging process, so her plot device departure from the original series is to claim she’s trying to cure him, when in reality, she’s stealing his blood and giving it to herself to be a vamp. And yes, she succeeds, not at curing him, but transforming herself, though Barny does drain her dry and drop her in the bay when he finds out. No cure for Barny.

Helena Bonham Carter is annoying as usual, though I do have to say, her loud, headache inducing American accent is pretty good. As for her acting, it’s every bit as bad as she claims the soap opera was. The scene in which it is clearly implied (oxymoron?) that she gives Barny a blowjob in the name of “client-patient confidentiality,” sinking down below camera view as his face registers surprise is another thing that left me shaking my head. Barny didn’t protest. By the end of the film, I had a sore neck, though NOT for the same reason Dr. Hoffman might have. Ick.

The snippet of Barnabas in the trailer talking about “Collins’ holding the largest most wonderful balls?” That’s the tip of the iceberg for ball jokes, most of which again, fall flat. And the best one. Pity we’ve heard it so often it’s no longer funny.

In the trailer, at the party when you see the disco ball fall, and Barny moves out of the way and say “Missed me?” That’s a cleverly edited segment comprised of two scenes. The first is after the party, the ball is being taken down and falls. David is underneath the falling ball, and Barny saves him just before it crashes on the floor. Later, Angelique has invaded Collinwood, which has come to life and is attacking the Collins’s, and She confront Barny, spewing a jet of green pea soup at him. He moves and says “Missed me” at that point, Then gets hit in the face with a second jet of ‘vomit.’ Cue laugh track for the “Exorcist” ‘homage.’

Michelle Pfeiffer turns in a good performance as Liz, the matriarch; but as with the other character’s, she’s Elizabeth Stoddard in name only. And as a person, I respect her. She was the only one who was honest enough to say, “If you like the TV show, you probably won’t like this.” One of the issues I have with this movie is  the question the script, of course, never answers: If the Collins’s are so down on their luck, how does she afford a live-in psychiatrist for David when she can’t afford to keep the mansion from falling down? No sense is made there.

Chloë Moretz’s mumbley, surly Carolyn has a totally arbitrary out-of-left-field, explained-in-a-sentence werewolf turn at the end. Angelique says “Who do you think sent the werewolf to bite her when she was a baby?” Which was so out of place as to be even more ridiculous that the numerous levels of ridiculosity already attained. It’s just… there.

Gulliver McGrath ‘s David, in spite of his masturbatory line at the dinner table, is the single likeable character in the film. And hands down, the best actor. Angelique was responsible for his mom, Laura, dying at sea. She’s still around, except that until Maggie/Vickie arrives, he’s the only one can see her.

The rest of the folks in the film are wasted and forgettable in this tribute to excess. Ray Shirley as Mrs. Johnson… why even bother? She’s just used for a few stupid silent sight gags that weren’t funny.

Jonny Lee Miller’s Roger was another “Why is he even there?” character who didn’t contribute a thing to the film. Roger in the series was a rogue, but a likeable one, thanks to Louis Edmonds. Miller’s version is just a rogue, a jerk, and a thief; and when Barnabas kicks him out, you merely wonder why Elizabeth hadn’t done it before the film started. Not his fault, it was the script.

Most of the non-trailer humor fell even flatter (for most of us) than the now-tired and memorized jokes in the trailers, most of which were lifted wholesale from “Dracula Dead and Loving It.” (Don’t believe me? I have the Youtube addresses of some clips of both; I can show you at least two examples.) The “birthing hips” and “I must apologize for ripping your throat out now” running gags are equivalent to the “enema” running gag in DD&LI, and about as funny. The sex scene with Barny and Angie? Buffy, season six. Buffy and Spike, without the comedy. The big fight between Barnabas and Angelique? “War of the Roses” And “Mr. & Mrs. Smith.“

Seth Grahame Smith is not the most original writer on the block. Dan Curtis may have stolen material himself, for Dark Shadows, but at least it was from classics. Not so Smith, whose script is barely coherent, rushed, and provides nothing to care about. Boy genius? I think not. Seth Grahame-Smith was clearly out of his league, writing Dark Shadows as a modern sitcom – it felt more like his audition piece for writing “Beetlejuice 2.”

Where Dark Shadows TV was an ensemble piece, here it’s merely an ego assuaging star turn for Depp. As for direction, there doesn’t seem to have been any.Burtonseems to have lavished more care on the house coming to life and attacking residents homage to “Beetlejuice” than anything else.

It’s one thing to update, but the changes made to streamline the story (thus making it a sketch of a story) were ridiculous. Barny’s parents being killed by Angie before he becomes a vampire? What made you care about the situation in the original was that his family was alive and affected by his transformation. His father found out about it, was dismayed, but Barnabas was still his son (Now that plotline resonated with a large number of fans for what should be obvious reasons). Barnabas requested that his father stake him, dad couldn’t, and thus had him chained in the coffin. Josette was still alive and Barnabas, tormented by his love for her (much more credible than Depp’s Barny, who can’t make up his mind between love and a good screw), almost made her his vampire bride, but Angie tricked her into throwing herself off the cliff. Without these ingredients, the plotline of the new film is anemic. You just don’t care about the story unfolding, or the people in it.

The big problem with the movie as a whole: it’s an outline of what might be a really good film, sans the badly written and played humor and “wink wink, nudge nudge, I made a joke” forced camp quotient. In short, the script sucked, and not in a good way. No character development, just character sketches. Other than Depp and Green, the others may as well not be there. They are, but only as arbitrary plot devices that you feel nothing for. In fact, if you didn’t know the series, this just seems like an overlong cartoon.

Burton has more character development in his cartoons than in this film. None of the characters give you anything to care about, they’re just sketches, not fully fleshed out or realized. Barnabas in particular, and I know Depp can act.

Screenwriting 101 tells you that the big rule for movies is show, don’t tell. Most of the movie is someone telling us about people and things that happened, in a bare bones sketchy kind of way, with a few visuals to illustrate it. Everything’s undeveloped montages surrounded by vignettes, which leaves you feeling most of the movie is missing something.

Logic, for one thing, is missing.  That was one of the things Seth Grahame Smith left out with the rest of the template for how to make a movie. Things like if Angelique killed Barnabas’ parents, given there were no siblings or other relatives in evidence, then where did the future Collins spring from?

And as far as I could see or hear, Maggie/Victoria never told Barny she was really Maggie, not Victoria. And then she said she was Josette when he vamped her in 2 seconds during the fall at the end. It made no sense at all! And love based on lies like that is not love at all, just a bunch of illusions that’ll crack like Angelique’s skin the day after!

In another example of credibility left at the door, Julia says she might be able to cure him. She begins her “treatments.” We then see the montage (the movie is one long series of montages). During these montages, he’s out and about during the day, in the sun. Yet, we come to find out the ‘treatment’ is a sham so Julia can drain him and drink his blood to make herself a vamp, which she does. So then, if other scenes show him singed and on fire due to sun exposure (which was really lame and stupid the way they did it), how did he manage to be just fine in the other sun scenes? This film asks you to leave your brain at the door. But already, there are people overlooking things like this, and everything else, proclaiming the thing a masterpiece.

Dark Shadows 2012 has the bones of a movie that could have been so much better than it is. I could SEE the basis for a really good film underneath the mess they made of it. That made it harder to watch than anything, because there was so much potential that was just crapped on for a few yuks.

The two things they got right: Scenic and set Design. Flawless. I did like Danny Elfman’s score. He used Robert Cobert’s “Secret Room” cue from the original soundtrack album (track 10), and did an excellent job of creating a moody, atmospheric score. Pity it was wasted on this film.

The 70’s music soundtrack? Miss. Mainly due to more anachronism, which is just sheer laziness after such a fuss was made over setting DS 12 in 1972, and those of us who were there would notice. “I’m Sick Of You” – Iggy Pop? 1980. Punk wasn’t even thought of in the early 70’s. “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything” – Barry White, 1974. “No More Mr. Nice Guy” – Alice Cooper, 1973. You can stretch it here and say it might have been performed in ’72, recorded in ’73. A stretch, but… maybe. I’d have to ask Mr. Cooper. Or Miss, as Barny keeps calling him a woman. And go-go girls dancing in cages were a thing of the early 60’s. Nitpicking? Maybe. But if you’re gonna do it, do it right.

I knew it would not be the same as the TV series, or the two Curtis films. How could it? I expected different. That’s fine. But I also expected good, and didn’t get it. It could have been a really good serious, “Sleepy Hollow” or “From hell” like film with a few moments of comedy, or, it could have been a really funny parody. But we got shafted with this in-between thing that wants to be a family film, a love triangle, and a Universal “House of Dracula” type monster movie all at once. Too much ADD. It left me feeling sad for what it could have been, on its own terms, not merely as a recreation of a past series.

Dark Shadows 2012 gave me a migraine, to the point where sitting through the end credits was impossible, so I have no clue if Mr. Frid got his memorial credit or not. I can’t imagine someone not knowing anything about the “Dark Shadows” TV series coming into this film and leaving anything but confused about the monster mash they just saw. Dark Shadows 2012 just left me cold, and wishing it had been locked away in a box. Burrton’s not a director, he’s a designer and should stay in the design department where he belongs. It is Depp Shadows, and it is most certainly not a Dan Curtis Production.


Some folks are now wondering what Dan Curtis, creator and producer would think of this new work. We can only guess from the following:

Ben Cross: “Dan Curtis insists that Barnabas Collins doesn’t have a sense of humor.”

Q: “Mr. Cross, you say the vampire has no sense of humor, and yet, last night he described his career to someone as “all consuming.” Was that unintentionally funny?”

Dan Curtis: “He has a slight sense of humor. A little irony when he lies.”

According to Matt Hall, he and his father pitched Depp’s name  to Mr. Curtis for the revival as Barnabas. Curtis emphatically said no.

The filmmakers are pointedly avoiding mentioning the series is currently available, so for those wishing to know what the fuss is about regarding the original, check out the following from MPI home video: For the budget minded, there are samplers: “Dark Shadows: Best of Barnabas” and “Dark Shadows: Fan Favorites.” There are edited storyline sequences such as how Barnabas got cursed and became a vampire locked in a coffin: “Dark Shadows: The Vampire Curse” and the Quentin origin story, “Dark Shadows: The Haunting.” The entire series, as individual DVD collections; or in a deluxe box set of the entire run.

The two Dan Curtis Films (“House of Dark Shadows” and Night of Dark Shadows”) are not yet on DVD, and are owned by Warner Brothers; though you can watch them on Amazon digital video. At the time of writing, Darren Gross, who found the missing footage Dan Curtis cut under studio pressure, has told me that all dialogue for the lost footage (there was no sound on the footage)  has been re-looped except for Grayson Hall, they are auditioning voice actors, and awaiting a budget for restoration apparently contingent on the success of Dark Shadows 2012.


I wasn’t the only one.

Note: There may be duplications on the list, sorry. i tried not to do that, but as you can see it’s a long list. Let me know if you see any, and I shall fix it.  Copy and paste… sorry.









Dark Shadows an Hour Too Long



“Sinking to new Depps” LOL: http://www.sundayworld.com/entertainment/index.php?aid=11419












Film: Dark Shadows? Worst movie of the year

Dark Shadows (2012) Review












Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows’ fails to rise out of its coffin















Aside from the bit slamming gays, agreed with the article. Please don’t insult gay readers by using homophibic description to describe Johnny Depp. It’s an insult.http://artsforum.ca/film/at-theaters/at-theaters-2

Dark Shadows favors camp over story














Yep – http://www.examiner.com/review/dark-shadows-is-void-of-entertaiment







Dark Shadows and the Death of Tim Burton








“Dark Shadows”: Dark comedy or comedic tragedy




More ego and hubris, and a big arched eyebrow and an “oh, really?”

Dark Shadows Johnny Depp: I’m more manly than Twilight’s Robert Pattinson



Dark Shadows and the Death of Tim Burton





In an amazingly inappropriate display of hubris and ego, 

“‘Dark Shadows’ star tells Robert Pattinson that “there’s room for two vampires on this block.”









Cinementals: http://thecinementals.org/2012/05/review-tim-burtons-dark-shadows-2012/






http://www.eonline.com/news/avengers_assembles_1_billion/315839?cmpid=rss-000000-rssfeed-365-topstories&utm_source=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_topstoriesDark Shadows also fell short when judged against the Twilight movies, which, to date, each scored bigger opening days than the Depp film’s opening weekend. 

ABC: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/entertainment/2012/05/review-dark-shadows/

Mark Rainey, author of “Dark Shadows: Dreams of the Dark: http://stephenmarkrainey.blogspot.com/2012/05/moments-of-shadow.html














(Disagree with the statements regarding the series, but he never saw it, so he’s going on the misapprehensions fostered by Depp, Burton and film cast comments.)


Fan Boys of the universe: http://www.fanboysoftheuniverse.com/index.php/site/comments/movie_review_fangs_for_nothing/

My personal favorite: http://news.moviefone.com/scott-mendelson/huff-post-review-dark-sha_b_1506607.html

Chet and Rhett: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oTNrhrb3eXU

NPR: http://www.npr.org/2012/05/10/152369187/dark-shadows-a-vampire-returns-without-his-bite

The Mormons: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/lifestyle/54065012-80/burton-depp-dark-shadows.html.csp


The Scotsman: http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/film/film-review-dark-shadows-12a-1-2284389

Film Journal: http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjournal/content_display/reviews/major-releases/e3ib842f7c18a27685d3606edd4dbb8940a”You’d think by now the pair would have figured out how to get things right, but Dark Shadows is actually their first outright failure, and by a large margin.”

Toronto.com: http://www.toronto.com/article/727178–dark-shadows-bites-off-more-than-it-can-chew-review

Californian: http://www.thecalifornian.com/article/20120510/ENTERTAINMENT/205100301/-Dark-Shadows-doesn-t-shine-brightly


“Turning “Dark Shadows” into a 1972 period comedy adds nothing to this movie (it sidesteps any direct mention of Nixon, Vietnam, Watergate or any other major touchstone). It winds up as a hodgepodge of horror clichés, generic special effects, flat jokes and characters unworthy of our concern and sympathies. Even the score, by longtime Burton composer Danny Elfman, is a pale echo of the creepy, over-the-top Robert Colbert music that helped define the original “Dark Shadows” experience. And the part where a simple lava lamp frightens Barnabas? Priceless (as in “not worth anything”).”




Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/movies/2018176316_mr11dark.html?prmid=head_main

Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/movies/sc-mov-0508-dark-shadows-20120510,0,4747332.column

Miami Herald: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/10/2792730/dark-shadows-a-waste-of-gifted.html





Roger Ebert: http://www.rogerebert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20120509%2FREVIEWS%2F120509983


I love the title on this one – Sounds like something I might write, had I seen the fright too light for the night. Though I have to take exception with “The original show was a campy classic, but only because the actors played it straight. It was more like The Addams Family, with the cast as serious as if they were in Rebecca. Everyone knew it was a comedy; they just let the audience work it out.” But they’re Australian, so i’m guessing they’re not going on firsthand knowledge, but have listened to Johnny and Tim giggling over the mishaps that accompanied live taping, and got the wrong impression. Ot got the impression the TV show must have been a sitcom from the film, which was what many fans of the TV show and Dan Curtis films were afraid would happen.  

Chicago Sun-Times: http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/12431403-421/johnny-depps-fancy-pants-act-has-become-tiresome.html










huffington post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marshall-fine/movie-review-dreadful-ida_b_1502294.html

Ed Gross, Blog of Dark Shadows: http://www.blogofdarkshadows.com/2012/05/09/blog-of-ds-editor-ed-gross-reviews-dark-shadows-warning-spoilers/

British Film Board Classifaction: http://www.bbfc.co.uk/AFF288423/ (Click on ‘show details’)


Fangoria: http://fangoria.com/index.php/reviews/movies/7043-dark-shadows-movie-review

The Village Voice: http://www.villagevoice.com/2012-05-09/film/vampires-all-of-them-on-dark-shadows-and-god-bless-america/


Forbes:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerfriedman/2012/05/09/dark-shadows-with-johnny-depp-is-a-mess-resembling-nothing-of-the-tv-series/


Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/rogerfriedman/2012/05/08/is-dark-shadows-the-next-big-hollywood-flop/

Variety: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118053697

Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/dark-shadows-film-review-johnny-depp-tim-burton-321675


Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/review/dark-shadows-falls-short-of-remake-expectations


Central Wisconsin hub: http://centralwisconsinhub.wausaudailyherald.com/article/20120508/WDH0503/120508114/-Dark-Shadows-mere-shadow-its-campy-self?odyssey=nav%7Chead



Screendaily: http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/the-latest/dark-shadows/5041427.article?blocktitle=Latest-Reviews&contentID=1479




1st Brit review:

Miami New Times: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/2012-05-10/film/dark-shadows-johnny-depp-as-vampire-family-man-in-tim-burton-s-latest/

I find the eloquence in this one astonishing. I guess this is representative of the people that will like this film:

The first real review I saw of the film, in full because it was a Danish new paper which pulled American access a few hours after it was posted:

It looks like Tim Burton got lost in his own shadow | The Copenhagen Post

April 26, 2012

by Arun Sharma

What’s that Johnny, one and a half stars? What the hell, it’s Friday and I’m in love – we’ll give you two

THERE WAS a time when a new Tim Burton film was something to get unreservedly excited about – a rewarding journey into the richly imaginative and fertile mind of a master purveyor of adult fairy tales and a true auteur of fantasy. However, in recent years, the quality of his work has become so unpredictable that going to see one of his films has become the cinematic equivalent of trick or treat, and not just due to his penchant for horror and fancy dress. Treats such as Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood and Big Fish were interspersed by the tediously tiresome trickery of Planet of the Apes, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd and any Batman incarnation you care to mention. Unfortunately, most of these disappointments have occurred quite recently, leading to the worrying conclusion that Burton’s razor-sharp edge may have been blunted for good.

Enter Dark Shadows, offering only more rusty nails for Burton’s once titillating coffins. Based on a gothic soap opera that originally aired on ABC from 1966 to 1971, this hugely groundbreaking series featured man-made monsters, werewolves, zombies, witches, warlocks, time travel, and a parallel universe. On paper therefore, this source material would appear to be right up Burton’s darkly-lit street: a depraved, gothic, twilight-blue setting, a plethora of emotionally twisted and scarred characters, a structure that favours mood and spectacle over plot, and once again and again and again, a pair of plum roles for both his favourite acting partner Depp and bed partner Bonham Carter.

It is 1752 and a young family are seen embarking on a sea voyage from Liverpool to the New World. In coastal Maine they establish a successful fisheries business, build a grand, gothic mansion, and become lords of all they survey. Twenty years pass and their son Barnabas (Depp) is all grown up and an inveterate playboy reaping the sexual rewards of his status and wealth. He breaks the heart of his childhood sweetheart by electing to marry another, only to find out that his jilted lover is a witch who hypnotizes his bride into committing suicide. A devastated Barnabas follows suit, is summarily resurrected as a vampire by said witch, swiftly buried alive, and finally resurfaces (literally) two centuries later in the 1970s, disturbingly resembling an ageing member of a Goth boy band.

All this might seem like a spoiler, were it not for the fact that this entire sequence of events occurs within the first five minutes of the film – leaving this particular viewer gasping for breath, exhausted and utterly confused – and what follows is equally, if not more bewildering. The temperament of the film changes totally, switching inexplicably from a straight-faced gothic fantasy horror to a farcical spoof comedy that relentlessly and basely incorporates every 1970s fad imaginable for an out-of-sync Barnabas to offer inane jokes about. Barnabas’s dysfunctional descendants – all of whom hide dark and horrifying secrets that are only alluded to in the film –  are no more than a series of cardboard cut-outs introduced as sounding boards for Depp’s shockingly poor stand-up routine.

Certainly the humour is intentionally slapstick and tongue-in-cheek, and there is pleasure to be had in seeing a VW camper van full of hippies slaughtered mercilessly, but balancing  horror and comedy is no easy task, and here the result is reminiscent of the dire Death Becomes Her. There is thus absolutely nothing dark about this film and the only thing lurking in the shadows is a huge amount of wasted potential. A man-made monster may well be a feature retained from the original series, however in this case the man is Burton and the monster is Dark Shadows.

Dir: Tim Burton;  US comedy, 2012, 113 mins; Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter

Premieres May 10


Stick with this:


If you want a real laugh, watch this latest TV spot, 5/10/12:

As for the score being “dark and serious”, used as an argument before release to say the film is not a comedy, Danny Elfman: “Tim is always going to play the comedy straight with the music, except maybe with PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE (1985) or something like that. His attitude is to play it melodramatically, dramatically or play it straight but let the comedy just be itself. Don’t try to help it. If you start playing the humor in the music, it will start pushing it over the top.”


For fun, interview with Matt hall, son of Sam Hall (DS lead writer) and Grayson Hall (Julia hoffman)


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SPOILERS (avert eyes now):

The violence and horror occurs within a clearly established fantasy setting and is invariably accompanied by comedy.

Victoria Winters is really Maggie Evans.

Barnabas kills Hoffman because she steals his blood because she wants to be immortal. Her eyes pop open at the end.

Roger is barely there and Barnabas kicks him out because he’s a bad father to David.

Carolyn’s a werewolf.

The film includes infrequent moderate sex references and two scenes of implied sexual activity. In one scene, a female doctor drops to her knees in front of the vampire An expression of surprise passes across his face and it is implied that oral sex might be taking place, although this is not directly shown.

final fight sequence: “the vampire is shot in the back by a police officer. By this time the witch’s skin has developed a porcelain or eggshell-like quality and cracks appear in it during her struggle with the vampire.” Angelique is killed by the ghost of Laura (not a phoenix) and she accomplishes this by “screaming” at her, “At the conclusion of the fight the witch reaches into her own chest and pulls out a glass-like heart that immediately shatters. ”  Much like Stuart Manning’s 1st four DS comic bookes, just porcelain, not stone.And it really is “Barnabas: Dead and Loving It.” That’s where they got most of their jokes from! No, seriously, look for yourself:

DS 12: Barnabas and Angelique’s boob joke 1:27

inspiration for the boob bit at :47

DS 12: “Look into my eyes”:

at 4:20, you see where they came up with Johnny Depp hypnotizing Willie.

The “birthing hips” running gag is equivalent to the “enema” running gag in DD&LI.

The sex scene with BarnyDepp and Angelique? Buffy, season six. Buffy and Spike, without the comedy.The big fight between Barnabas and Angelique? “War of the Roses.” And that Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie film where they’re assassins hired to kill each other. Domestic violence as comedy…

There’s probably more I haven’t found yet. I’d have to watch the whole movie to do so, and I just.. can’t. That’s more than enough.Yeah, Dan Curtis stole plotlines, but he ‘stole’ from CLASSIC literature. Not bad comedy films that flopped!

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