Dark Shadows Reboot Picking Up

In the spirit of Hollywood’s obsession with reboots and re-imaginings, Warner Bros. will bring cult gothic soap opera Dark Shadows back to life. Unlike some dismal remakes, I don’t see how this one can fail. With Tim Burton directing, Johnny Depp to play iconic vampire aristocrat Baranabas Collins, and Eva Green (Casino Royale) just signing on to play intriguing witch Angelique, this reboot looks to pack some preternatural punch.

Word has it that Bella Heathcote is being courted for the role of Victoria Winters (the love-interest for Barnabas). Recently Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen) has been attached to the project, potentially filling the role of Willie Loomis. Author of the unique horror/comedy novel “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” Seth Grahame-Smith, is writing the script. If his fiction is any indication, the new Dark Shadows should be full of witty dialogue and genre-bending themes.

In the late 1960s, Dan Curtis brought his vision for a gothic soap opera to life. The moody and atmospheric series ran for five years, and became a cult hit. Based in the tempestuous Maine town of Collinsport, the old and rich Collins family found themselves embroiled in strange occurrences and mysterious deaths. The TV series broke ground with the supernatural themes, showcasing vampires, werewolves, witches, ancient curses….you name it. Of course it was still daytime TV, and had a shoe-string budget, so a modern cinemaphile revisiting the series would think it ridiculous and provincial. Curtis tried a reboot in the early 90s with the short-lived Dark Shadows revival, starring Ben Cross. It had a sleeker, night-time soap opera feel, and kept true to the gothic themes and supernatural elements of the original.

Who better to stay true to the spirit of Dark Shadows then the master of the macabre, Tim Burton? His artistic vision (when it works, and even when it doesn’t work) is unique and has a dark, strange sensibility. Johnny Depp, in a refreshing change, will present a Barnabas Collins who is actually attractive, sexy and (no offense to the original Barnabas, Jonathan Frid) can act. And Depp is very excited about this role. According to Deadline, Depp loved the original series and has been obsessed with playing Barnabas. Given the numerous Burton/Depp collaborations, audiences can bet this film will be memorable, whether good or bad.

Filming starts in April, if not pushed back again. I, for one, am looking forward to this reboot. Not yet tired of vampires and the macabre in film, I look forward to seeing some great storylines live again Burton-style (without the cheesy dialogue, terrible acting, and numerous bloopers of the original TV series…eek).

Comments (15)

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  1. The original Dark Shadows, no edited, no retakes, filmed live. I wonder could any actors today be able to do it, only few hours to memories their scripts.

  2. this could be interesting! 🙂

  3. Caseysays:

    Excuse me. But Jonathan Frid was a wonderful actor. And his Barnabas was attractive and sexy. Why do you think people are still watching Dark Shadows 45 years later? Depp has huge shoes to fill.

  4. Lisasays:

    Jonathan Frid is the reason people are still watching the show 40 plus years later! His portrayal of Barnabas Collins saved the show from cancellation. Jonathan was an excellant actor,not to mention sexy and attractive.

  5. SciFiHorrorFemsays:

    I’ve been a fan of the original series since the day Barnabas Collins was released from his coffin for the first time and will be a fan for life. Daytime tv back then was a wasteland of illegitimate children, divorces, marriages, affairs and the like. Dark Shadows brought a touch of the gothic, macabre and supernatural into livingrooms across America. Soap opera actors work hard and have to put up with a lot. Jonathan Frid and the rest of the cast of Dark Shadows did a bang up job, in my humble opinion! Frid was and is a very handsome man and could/can act! Why do you think Johnny Depp loved the show so well, was so obsessed with Barnabas Collins and has wanted to portray the reluctant vampire all his life and finally has the opportunity?!?!?

  6. Sunnisays:

    Johnny Depp should thank his lucky stars if he gives a performance one quarter as memorable as Jonathan Frid did. Frid’s Barnabas has lived in people minds and hearts for over four decades. If that’s not being an outstanding actor I don’t know what is.

  7. Nmoglesays:

    I’m appalled by what whoever wrote this (*where* is the byline???)!! I don’t blame the author for wanting to remain anonymous. Jonathan Frid MADE Dark Shadows. He had to carry the show because he was in so many episodes. If he couldn’t act, was not sexy, was not attractive, could not act, would there be “Dark Shadows” festivals, an active fandom, to this day? Whoever wrote this probably wasn’t even born, or was sucking on their pacifier, when “Dark Shadows” ran. The writer doesn’t know what he/she is talking about. Joan Bennett was the matriarch of the clan; I guess the moron who wrote this thinks she couldn’t act. John Karlen went on to win an Emmy; Kate Jackson didn’t have a shabby career. David Selby didn’t either. I’m amazed this article got so many “like” votes. To the writer: you weren’t there, you don’t know what this show meant to the original viewers. Back in those days, the “Dark Shadows” people were doing ground-breaking things that helped lead to the technical effects you see in today’s movies. Would you be so harsh regarding the silent films? Techniques have to evolve. What a pompous little a** you are.

  8. Emeraldsays:

    Saying Barnabas Collins, as played by Jonathan Frid, was unattractive and unsexy is rather like saying rain isn’t wet or the moon isn’t bright. Did you ever even see original Dark Shadows?

    1. Marksays:


  9. SciFiHorrorFemsays:

    It says in very pale grey type that Amy Curtis authored the article, NMOGLE, but I agree with everything else you had to say in your comment. I hope many more people who grew up with the original Dark Shadows write articles about the upcoming movie and loved the original show as much as we did. I have checked back nearly everyday since I first received the link to this article in an email a few days ago in a Dark Shadows group I am on. Thanks again!

  10. Josettedupres2says:

    The bloopers are what endears that show to fans of it everywhere! and Jonathan Frid is a wonderful actor. I think you could of written this without insulting him.

  11. Heheheheh!!! oh dear, a new generation has claimed the turf. I bow, and clear the way. My mother understood when I ridiculed her Slim Whitman records, so I now I have the wherewithall to say, enjoy your dreams, for I have mine. & I never gave an inch either!!! God bless.

  12. Conroebellesays:

    This looks to beworth seeing, very intriguing with a great cast.

    1. Joshysays:

      agreed, the cast alone has me interested

  13. Bethsays:

    I loved the remake from the 1990’s, my friends and I would gather in front of our college tv to watch. I hope tim doesn’t make this new one too weird!

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