Dark Shadows

When the opening credits played to Nights in White Satin, I was done in! To have a creative pair like Johnny Depp and Tim Burton collaborate again is like getting a big gift with a bow on it. We couldn't wait to open it and see what treats we had in store! This time it's a high-concept comedy.

Late in the 18th century, handsome young Barnabas Collins was the object of unwanted affection from a witch who, out of spite, turned him into a vampire, had him enclosed in a chained casket and buried for 196 years in the New England woods. After a construction crew unearths the casket and cuts the chains in 1972, he is free to vamp about and quench a powerful thirst! Along with seeing that his once-grand family estate has fallen into ruin, Barnabas is nonplussed by horseless carriages, McDon- ald arches and asphalt. There are endless opportunities to show that our hero is indeed, a stranger in a strange land.

These folks make it fun:
  • Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd") is courtly and confused. He has lost the love of his life, so he isn't above a little diversion with that seductive witch.
  • Michelle Pfeiffer ("New Year's Eve") is the current lady of the house, trying to hold together the family traditions and a nearly bankrupt fish-packing company.
  • Eva Green ("Perfect Sense") is that evil witch who was deter- mined to have him for all eternity, now she will settle for ruining the Collins family fortune and reputation.
  • Helena Bonham Carter ("The King's Speech") is the tipsy doctor/ counselor/psychiatrist (I couldn't tell) who seems to live in the Collins mansion.
  • Bella Heathcote (''In Time") is both Barnabas' true love from his youth and the family governess in 1972.
Some samples: Because they chose to set this production in 1972, the movies on the local marquee are Superfly and Deliverance. Karen Carpenter sings Top of the World while Barnabas tries to see how she got into that accursed box! He finds a lava lamp endlessly fascinating and is shocked to see that one secret chamber in the family "pile" is full of macramé. When Alice Cooper is hired to entertain, Barnabas takes one look and says "That's the ugliest woman I've ever seen!" As a red con- vertible approaches the Collins' mansion, the theme from A Summer Place sweeps through the theater.

This is a reminder that the Depp/Burton team is alive and well, despite some third-act problems which they camouflaged with lots of CGI and blowie uppie stuff. The screening audience was noisy, appreciative and highly entertained, so the sequel that seems to be hinted at, will also do well.
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Here is a link to a bit about balls:
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