Dark Shadows | Chicago Reader

Dark Shadows

Tim Burton is like a billionaire fanboy who buys Bela Lugosi's Dracula cape: he has a perfect right to it, but that doesn't mean it looks good on him. The director of Batman (1989), Mars Attacks! (1996), Planet of the Apes (2001), and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) has now gotten his hands on Dark Shadows, the supernatural soap opera that ran on ABC from 1966 to '71. Unfortunately, he can't think of anything to do but goof on it, juxtaposing its gothic moodiness with the flower power of the era: a typical gag involves vampire hero Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) intoning the lyrics to Steve Miller's "The Joker." The movie is fairly entertaining, but the high production values and shticky humor invert the dynamic of the show, which was played totally straight despite the fact that the sets were always threatening to fall down. With Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter, and Jonathan Frid, the original Barnabas, who's squandered in a wordless, one-shot cameo as a party guest.



  • Tim Burton


  • Johnny Depp
  • Michelle Pfeiffer
  • Helena Bonham Carter
  • Eva Green
  • Jackie Haley
  • Jonny Miller
  • Bella Heathcote
  • Chloe Moretz
  • Gulliver McGrath
  • Ray Shirley
  • Christopher Lee
  • Alice Cooper
  • Ivan Kaye
  • Susanna Capellaro
  • Josephine Butler


  • Tim Burton
  • Richard Zanuck
  • Graham King
  • Johnny Depp
  • Christi Dembrowski
  • David Kennedy
  • Chris Lebenzon
  • Nigel Gostelow
  • Tim Headington
  • Bruce Berman

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