Monday, April 2, 2012

House of Dark Shadows - Now That's a Vampire Drama


I am a Dark Shadows newbie. I used to pass by reruns of this soap opera in the 80s and 90s and it would always be on in the background. I didn't really pay much attention to it.

Once I read that Tim Burton decided to create a film version of it, I decided to give it a chance. Tim was a fan of Dark Shadows and he'd speak of the show in such a loving and nostalgic manner.

I'd like to think that Tim and I have similiar tastes. Boy was I right. This show is sooooo adictive. I am most attracted to the acting and the overall eerie tone of this soap opera. In interviews, Burton mentioned that the appeal of the show is hard for him to explain, but I think I could try: Being a supernatural drama, the soap opera style acting the eerie music and the gothic background really helps to establish the other worldyness of it all. It's very easy to place it outside of the realm of reality and that's what appeals to me about this show.

I saw a few episodes, 210-226 to be exact, when I decided to look up the first of two feature films that were produced during the original broadcast of Dark Shadows.

House of Dark Shadows takes the tale of the popular character,  Barnabas Collins, and creates a very compelling film around his story. I consider myself a newbie to this world, but found this feature film to appeal to both fans and non-fans. The movie doesn't require  prior knowledge of any of the plots of the TV soap to enjoy. I am most interested to see what Tim Burton does with the material.

The movie plays as a slasher piece, a whodunnit mystery and a gothic romance as it follows the vampire Barnabas' journey and the strange murders that follow.

Like the series it's very atmospheric and allows you to get engrossed in this strange world before the poo hits the fan, and boy does it HIT the fan yo!!!

The bigger budget allowed for more blood and deaths as well as bigger set pieces. I love the soap opera for its theatrical quality, but House of Shadows is truly a feature film. For the moment it's only available as an iTunes rental, but it's worth the 3.99 rental ;-)

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