Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Happy Hour

Best Happy Hour

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
San Antonio’s Transgender Community Shows its Pride

San Antonio’s Transgender Community Shows its Pride

The Pride Issue: Despite the common belief that it was transgender activist Sylvia Rivera who sparked the beginning of the modern gay rights movement by flinging her high... By Jade Esteban Estrada 7/2/2014
Cityscrapes: Local history pays the price for Briscoe deal

Cityscrapes: Local history pays the price for Briscoe deal

News: The annual City budget is a dense and often arcane thing, filled with “mandates,” “restricted funds,” and “special funds.” It isn’t the lightest reading... By Heywood Sanders 9/17/2014
Daniela Riojas’ Photographic Studies in Self-discovery

Daniela Riojas’ Photographic Studies in Self-discovery

Arts & Culture: Daniela Riojas explores ideas of the figure in art, Latin American rituals, letting go of the past, and Jungian archetypes in... By Tom Turner 9/17/2014

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Screens & Tech

'Dark Shadows' on losing end of newest Tim Burton, Johnny Depp collaboration

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Rule number one to be a vampire: You have to look mahvelous.

No matter if your family is as wholesome as the Cleavers from Leave it to Beaver or weirdly eccentric a la the Addams Family — kin, for better or worse, is eternal. It's especially true if one of those blood relatives is actually a bloodsucking vampire as seen in the newest Tim Burton/Johnny Depp collaboration Dark Shadows, an anemic and indecisive adaptation of the 1960s TV soap opera of the same name. Despite the original series' cult status over the years, this gothic mishmash of ideas and tones never develops into much more than a simple homage to its supernatural predecessor. Mix some cliché vampire parody and a cast of extremely underwritten characters and Dark Shadows deserves a sizable stake straight through its campy, undead heart.

In what is his eighth leading role in a Burton film, Depp stars as Barnabas Collins, an 18th century Englishman and benefactor of Collinwood Manor in Maine, who returns to his home 196 years after he is turned into a vampire and buried alive by his scorned lover and witch Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). Upon his arrival to the Manor in 1972, which is now inhabited by his struggling descendants, including matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer), Barnabas vows to return the family seafood business to its former glory all while fending off the bosomy charms of the witch who cursed the entire Collins clan.

Written by first-time screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith (story credit goes to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory scribe John August), who has also adapted his own novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter into an action/horror movie scheduled to hit theaters next month, Dark Shadows has no qualms about ignoring all the characters that don't possess paranormal powers. This story is exclusively about Barnabas and Angelique, right down to their fierce love-making scene that feels like a cartoony version of a True Blood episode. Other storylines short-changed in favor of vampire sexcapades include the hiring of a pretty governess (Bella Heathcote) to help care for the family's young wallflower (Gulliver McGrath), and a liquored up in-house psychologist (Helena Bonham Carter) whose only concrete reason for existing is to set up a possible sequel.

Like other Burton/Depp projects that have fallen short in the past (Alice in Wonderland), there really is no way one can put the blame on Depp's drastic transformations into the whimsical characters he portrays. Depp bleeds Barnabas for all he's worth like he's done before with the Mad Hatter and Willy Wonka, but the material provided by Grahame-Smith and Burton is unsubstantial.

Let's face it: Vampires today are a dime a dozen and most TV and film contributions are only produced to maximize on their popularity. If all a creative mind like Burton can give audiences is a vamp brushing his fangs and sleeping inside a cardboard box like it was a coffin, it's about time to bury the genre — at least until it's politically correct to strap a few nukes on Barack Obama's back so he can rid the world of vampire terrorists. •

★★ (out of 5 stars)

Dark Shadows

Dir. Tim Burton; writ. Seth Grahame-Smith, John August; feat. Johnny Depp, Bella Heathcote, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Moretz, Eva Green, Gulliver McGrath, Jackie Earle Haley (PG-13)

Recently in Screens & Tech
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus