Greetings, future dwellers! Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton are at it again, this time bringing the modern day gothic world of “Dark Shadows” to theaters.
In the 1700s, vampire Barnabas Collins (Depp) is sent into a deep sleep, only to awaken to the polyester and lava lamp-infested future of 1972. There, he returns to the Collins Estate in New England, occupied by his upwardly mobile descendants.
When it was first announced that Hollywood was adapting the beloved ’60s cult TV series for the big screen, many fans cried foul, but the more we see of Burton’s comic take on the material — written by Seth Grahame-Smith (“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”) — the more hope we have.
Here are nine reasons we think “Dark Shadows” won’t suck.
1. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp: Together again.
Sure, some of their films together have been less-than-stellar (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Alice in Wonderland”), but together the two have given us “Sweeney Todd” and two great Edwards (“Scissorhands” and “Wood”). “Dark Shadows” seems to be a perfect match for their lifelong match-up. In the first clip (above), Barnabas enlists Jackie Earle Haley (“Watchmen”) to be his hypnotized help.
2. Its dry, fish-out-of-water humor
While the original series was hardly a laugh riot, the new version is a much cheekier take on the material. As an 18th century vampire with old-fashioned (to say the least) values, Barnabas sticks out like a sore thumb, and it appears that Depp, Burton and Grahame-Smith enjoyed milking the character’s temporal dislocation for all its worth, as seen in this scene.
3. The ageless beauty of Michelle Pfeiffer
in her first collaboration with Burton since 1992’s “Batman Returns,” Pfeiffer plays the modern-day matriarch of the Collins brood, who seems to be under Barnabas’ spell. Burton’s mate Helena Bonham Carter, up to 11, is more freaked out by the new house guest’s nocturnal habits. This scene evokes the original show’s soap operatic tone.
4. Eva Green. Meow.
The former Bond babe (“Casino Royale”) is looking her best as a blonde, playing Angelique, the witch who cursed Barnabas to a two-century-long nap.
5. Chloe Moretz can be Burton’s new Winona Ryder/Christina Ricci
In Tim Burton films of yore, Ryder (Edward Scissorhands,” “Beetlejuice”) and Ricci (“Sleepy Hollow”) played the goth-looking teens who, already jaded and bored with the ordinary world, would bond with whatever weirdo Johnny Depp (or Michael Keaton) was playing. Minus the black hair, Moretz (“Kick-Ass,” “Hugo”) seems to fit the bill nicely here as Carolyn. Watch Carolyn and Barnabas speak of balls, happenings and Alice Cooper:
6. There’s still a romantic angle
What the trailer never alluded to was the fact that Barnabas has fallen for a mortal woman, Victoria Winters (newcomer Bella Heathcote).This clip is still largely played for laughs, but hints at an old-fashioned romantic subplot.
7. Danny Elfman
Yeah yeah, another day, another Tim Burton-Danny Elfman score, but the composer often does his best work when holding hands with the director, and we hope “Dark Shadows” will conjure up that ol’ “Batman” feeling. Also, is that the Heart of the Ocean diamond in this scene? So that’s where Rose was hiding it!
8. The super-sounds of the ’70s. Can you dig it?
It’s 1972 after all, so not only will we hear chart-toppers like The Carpenters (“Reveal yourself, tiny songstress!”) and Barry White, but also perennially hip acts like T-Rex and Iggy Pop. In this scene, Barnabas displays his woefully outdated views on mating and matrimony, while Carolyn would rather listen to Sabbath.
9. There will be blood
Although none of these clips offer much in the way of supernatural mayhem, the final one hints at the sort of vampire vs. witch action glimpsed in the trailer.
“Dark Shadows” opens nationwide May 11. Are you excited for the film?