Depp lights up ‘Dark Shadows’

July 30th, 2007

How ’bout that — Depp gonna bite hisself some Barnabas of Dark Shadows.

 I probably got to Dark Shadows waaaay too late to find the charms, that I have been reliably assured are found there, but I failed to find any single one, the few times I’ve poked a toe there.

 But surely I am a minority re that, soze herez the newz, if you’all hadn’t heard.

 (I miss me my fish, my splendid, locally fresh caught, wild — not farmed fatty flabby fish fed on bio-engineered corn etc. — grilled to perfection, served with all that one would like with such fish, including the company of brilliant conversationlists in at least 6 languages, including 2 Créoles — and now, instead, I’m moving office in dirty, smucky air ….)

 Love, C.

26 Responses to “Depp lights up ‘Dark Shadows’”

  1. Lois Tiltonon 30 Jul 2007 at 9:39 pm

    Ah, Dark Shadows came before vampires were cliched as sexy and kewell. The production was cardboard and clumsy, but oh, the concept!

  2. Laurieon 30 Jul 2007 at 11:37 pm

    I wasn’t around for the original series, but I do remember seeing the 1991 revival and wishing I looked like Joanna Going as Josette. In fact, I wouldn’t mind that, even now. ;)

  3. jeanjeanieon 31 Jul 2007 at 10:18 am

    1991 Barnabas (as played by Ben Cross) was HAWTT. But still, he was no Johnny Depp.

    This news excites me.

  4. LauraJMixonon 31 Jul 2007 at 6:28 pm

    Ooh, I loved Dark Shadows, and I love Johnny Depp. That’s inspired casting.

  5. Constance Ashon 31 Jul 2007 at 8:10 pm

    How much influence do you all think Dark Shadows had on Buffy?

    Elsewhere I was reading a blogger’s memories of watching the entire soap opera as a kid, keeping graphs and timelines and so on of the characters and events.

    Barnabas, as a vampire who wanted to be good sounds like he could have been an Angel forefather, and the witch could have been Darla, almost.

    As I explained above, I never watched it myself, having come to it too late, and not liking soap operas anyway — though I do like the South American telenovellas.

    Love, C.

  6. Kevin Andrew Murphyon 01 Aug 2007 at 12:47 pm

    I think it’s good casting and Depp is an excellent actor. Moreover, he’s done tv before (anyone remember 21 Jump Street?) and finding a role for a character who’s sexy but not young and fresh-faced is a particularly hard one. More than that, Depp knows his strongest fan base is in the genre pieces and I also think he genuinely likes them. (His debut was I believe in A Nightmare on Elm Street.)

    I was really annoyed by the death of the Dark Shadows revival which died in no small part due to being upstaged/cross-programmed with Saddam bombing Israel. Reairing was badly announced and scheduled.

  7. Seaboe Emmon 01 Aug 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Kevin said:

    I was really annoyed by the death of the Dark Shadows revival which died in no small part due to being upstaged/cross-programmed with Saddam bombing Israel. Reairing was badly announced and scheduled.

    I was disappointed that it was (so I understood at the time) reusing the original scripts and not telling new stories. It was starting just about the time I was moving across country, so I didn’t have a chance to see much of it before it died.

    Seaboe Emm

  8. jeanjeanieon 01 Aug 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Constance asked:

    How much influence do you all think Dark Shadows had on Buffy?

    I’ve never heard anyone at Mutant Enemy cite DS as a direct inspiration, but I think you’re right that Barnabas was a forerunner to Angel. The influence might not have been conscious, but that show definitely pioneered the whole “broody vampire tries to overcome his evil nature” subgenre. I know it’s pretty much responsible for getting me hooked on that genre in the first place.

  9. LauraJMixonon 01 Aug 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Interesting question, Constance. I never put the two together in my own mind, though, to be honest. I’d be interested to hear what Whedon has to say on the subject.

  10. Lois Tiltonon 01 Aug 2007 at 11:25 pm

    I think DS cast a general influence over just about all vampire fiction since the 70s, even if the influence is indirect.

  11. Constance Ashon 02 Aug 2007 at 11:46 am

    Lois — You must be right about that. It must be obvious to those who watched the Dark Shadows show.

    But I’m confused by Kevin’s remark about Iraq bombing Israel upstaging a Dark Shadows — what a revival? a movie?, coz I couldn’t recall any Saddam bombs Israel. So I googled, but all that comes up is Israel bombing Iraq. Was this in the first Gulf war? Was it a missile strke or what?

    Love, C.

  12. lyssabitson 02 Aug 2007 at 12:33 pm

    But isn’t there a vampire who tries to overcome his true nature in almost every good vampire story? I mean, it’s sort of the natural way for the vampire myth to evolve, once you get past the idea that vampires are mindless killers.. Maybe they’re all inspired by Dark Shadows (having never seen it, I can’t say for certain) but there are so many iterations of that theme. You get it a bit in Interview with a Vampire, Vampire Hunter D too, although D is only half-vampire, so in that case it’s more his human side warring with his vampire side, but like in Blade this makes him the natural choice for a vampire Hunter, so he battles both externally with them and internally with his own dark urges. The Silver Kiss protagonist reminds me very much of Angel what with the falling in love with a human girl.

  13. Charleson 02 Aug 2007 at 12:52 pm

    Constance -

    But I’m confused by Kevin’s remark about Iraq bombing Israel upstaging a Dark Shadows — what a revival? a movie?, coz I couldn’t recall any Saddam bombs Israel. So I googled, but all that comes up is Israel bombing Iraq. Was this in the first Gulf war? Was it a missile strke or what?

    This was during the 1st Gulf War. Starting on January 18th, 1991 Saddam lobbed 39 scud missles into Israel to try and widen the conflict. This was a big deal on TV at the time.

  14. Constance Ashon 02 Aug 2007 at 12:53 pm

    Aren’t the titles you mentioned post- Barnabas?

    The ‘good’ vamp vs. the ‘bad’ vamp would be a natural evolution in vampire literature, of course, once we moved on from the concept of vampires being an isolated solitary or very few and very faraway, to actual vampire alternate culture to the mundane world culture. It makes for that all important conflict = drama.

    Vampire Junction
    has an extensive bibliography of vampire literature, fiction and non-fiction. Almost all of it is published post 1966 – 1971, the years Dark Shadows ran. Though it probably ran constantly in syndication? (The information gaps one has, living without a television!) and then was revived in 1991. Which, presumably would have been watched by the creator(s) / writer(s) of Buffy — and doubtless, the original core fan base for Buffy?

    Interview With The Vampire was perhaps the first post-Barnabas? It came out in 1976.

    Love, C.

  15. Constance Ashon 02 Aug 2007 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks, Charles. As mentioned unto boring everyone into a coma, I don’t own a television ….

    But I was reading the newspapers at the time! So that explains why I connected it to the first Gulf war.

    Also, CNN got good and going and I was surrounded by people who watched the war day-and-night and who thus thought they were being patriotic or something, and I thought, “This is not a good thing. Watching television is not the same as being in the army or getting bombed.”

    Love, C.

  16. Kevin Andrew Murphyon 02 Aug 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Well, I wasn’t watching much at the time except Dark Shadows, but the bombing of Israel occurred 20 minutes or so into the broadcast here on the west coast so all the channels of course covered that.

    The rather entertaining show Veritas: The Quest had the unfortunate start of being programmed at the same time as the start of this current war, which I think helped with its cancellation as well. Of course, the last scheduled episode was pre-empted by a rebroadcast of the “Michael Jackson’s nose falls off” interview or whatever it was called.

  17. Constance Ashon 02 Aug 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Of course, the last scheduled episode was pre-empted by a rebroadcast of the “Michael Jackson’s nose falls off” interview or whatever it was called.

    Gee, just look at all I miss by not having a television!

    Love, C.

  18. Lois Tiltonon 03 Aug 2007 at 2:05 pm

    iirc, the vampire thread didn’t take off until DS had already been on the air for a while.

  19. Constance Ashon 04 Aug 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Lois — That’s very much how it feels to me too. When Ann Rice followed DS with Interview, and then the 1983 The Hunger‘s very sophisticated and hopefully elegant David Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandan film, we were really off to the races.

    Love, C.

  20. rettersonon 16 Sep 2007 at 6:22 am

    Yumm… Depp as a vamp, yes. As Barnabas? Squick!

    I was a mere infant (no, wait! I don’t I was born yet) when DS aired and I remember rushing home from school to be in front of the tube just in time for cue-creepy-music.

    It was an awesomely kewl show at the time but I can’t see how it has stood the test of time. After all, it was a soap opera, pure and unabashed. Only difference was the predators and prey were, eh, really predators and prey. I don’t recall any real depth to it. (But then I was watching it before I was apparently actually born.)

    As someone who has seen all episodes of Buffy more times that I care to admit, I’m finding it difficult to see where DS could have had much of an influence on Buffy. I’d guess that JW and the writers all shared a love of vamps, werewolves and witches, and probably ran home from school to catch the latest hijinx (or drool over Quentin who is, in my mind, a much better predecessor to Angel than Barnabas every could be — talk about tortured!). But beyond that, my imagination fails me — DS was entertaining and fixating in the way soap operas are, but lacked the depth, wit and running social commentary of Buffy.

  21. Patrick Lynchon 10 Oct 2007 at 4:26 pm

    Having both seen Dark Shadows as a child and again as an adult, I’d have to say there is indeed a lot of depth to the show and if one gets past the production values of the era does stand the test of time. It wasn’t your standard fare, and every soap that tried to copy it failed for one simple reason. It wasn’t about the fanging, the ghouls and the werewolves. It was about one person whose only desire was to go home to his beloved and to his family. Imagine waking up in 1967 after being locked in a coffin since 1795 and you see a world that is both alien and familar. Faces that you know inhabited by the souls of strangers. You want to find a place in this new life, and you don’t want your family to know what you’ve become. You were a good person driven by forces that sicken you even as you find it almost impossible at times to stop what you’re doing. Just as you almost completely lose your conscience, the one person you love even more than Josette saves you–your little sister Sarah. With many mistakes made along the way, you choose a path back to being who you used to be even if a cure for vampirism is never quite permanent.

    Not only do you have to learn the customs of the new era but also how to trust again, how to rise above your fears, how to find a way to love that doesn’t invite destruction. Dark Shadows sails in the waters of universal human experience and does not let itself become distracted by what is going on in the world outside of Collinsport. That is why it stands the test of time for me.

    I loved the revival series for streamlining the original story and for the improved production values. I’ve seen quite a bit of both Buffy and Angel. I’d still choose the original DS over all of them.

    With regards to Anne Rice: I think she owes DS a huge debt. Late in the original soap opera,there was a storyline involving parallel universe Collinwoods. In one of them, Barnabas enters it thinking it would cure him of vampirisim. It doesn’t. In this universe, Willie Loomis is a writer who imprisons Barnabas and makes him tell his life story for a book he’s writing on that universe’s Barnabas Collins. So the original interview with the vampire happened on ABC in 1971.

    I have trouble picturing Johnny Depp as Barnabas. I hope he does him justice. I second the suggestion of Anne Hathaway as Josette, but there might yet better even better casting possibilities if I gave it some thought.

  22. Constance Ashon 10 Oct 2007 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you for that thoughtful and informed commentary, Patrick.

    This in particular:

    Imagine waking up in 1967 after being locked in a coffin since 1795 and you see a world that is both alien and familar. Faces that you know inhabited by the souls of strangers. You want to find a place in this new life, and you don’t want your family to know what you’ve become. You were a good person driven by forces that sicken you even as you find it almost impossible at times to stop what you’re doing.

    Love, C.

  23. Patrick Lynchon 11 Oct 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Constance, I was one of those millions of kids who ran home to watch Dark Shadows back in the day. I didn’t see the show again until the mid 1990′s when I started buying the video tapes. I recently acquired a 1960′s black and white TV set and hooked up an old VCR and would run the tapes while I worked in my studio on paintings quite possibly influenced by DS. Watching the show on a 1960′s TV set is very interesting. The colour episodes translate back to black and white very well and give it a silent movie era look. Seeing the show at the screen resolution it was designed for is quite appealing to me.

    Even as a child, I was more fascinated by Barnabas’s travails looking for Josette than I was being scared by werewolves. But having said that, there was a lot going on that I didn’t pick up on until I saw the show again on video thirty years later. I now enjoy the show far more than I did in the 1960′s. I can only hope that Johnny Depp truly gets it and brings it to the screen in a way that conveys something of the original magic.

  24. Constance Ashon 11 Oct 2007 at 4:04 pm

    Patrick — Your website’s url showed up in my box, though it doesn’t here. I’d post it here, but want to be sure that’s o.k. with you. One should never presume or assume about such things.

    I looked though, and can see why this would work out so well for you:

    I recently acquired a 1960’s black and white TV set and hooked up an old VCR and would run the tapes while I worked in my studio on paintings quite possibly influenced by DS. Watching the show on a 1960’s TV set is very interesting. The colour episodes translate back to black and white very well and give it a silent movie era look. Seeing the show at the screen resolution it was designed for is quite appealing to me.

    Have you seen the Guy Madden2002 film, Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary? This is a silent, ballet film. I wrote about it extensively here. You can find the Introduction plus 5 installments, I think there are, here, if you click on the Vampire link here on the right column. I do not know if the intra-hyper links are still working since the last re-vamping of this board.

    It’s too bad this is so far down the line now. I think people would really like to know about your paintings.

    Love, C.

  25. Patrick Lynchon 11 Oct 2007 at 5:59 pm

    Constance, it would be fine with me to post my website’s URL. I haven’t seen the Guy Madden film but it sounds very interesting. I will definitely have a look.

    It has only been in the last few days that I heard about the new Dark Shadows film, and while searching for articles on the production found this blog. To see people still talking and caring about the Dark Shadows story was gratifying.

    kind regards,
    Patrick

  26. Constance Ashon 11 Oct 2007 at 7:55 pm

    So here’s Patrick Lynch’s website.

    There are very likely many of us here would like these paintings.

    Love, C.

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