Dark Shadows
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FAQ Contents

A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Dark Shadows can be found here.

The official plot synopsis from WB:

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy, until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Brouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles. Also residing in the manor is Elizabeth's ne'er-do-well brother, Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller); her rebellious teenage daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Chloe Moretz); and Roger's precocious 10-year-old son, David Collins (Gulliver McGrath). The mystery extends beyond the family, to caretaker Willie Loomis, played by Jackie Earle Haley, and David's new nanny, Victoria Winters, played by Bella Heathcote.

No. Dark Shadows is based on the television soap opera 'Dark Shadows' (1966-1971). The screenplay for the movie was developed by American screenwriters Seth Grahame-Smith and John August. Paperback Library published a successful series of Gothic-themed novels based on Dark Shadows in 1966. The 32 novels, plus the novelization of the film House of Dark Shadows (1970), were written by Canadian author Dan Ross, using the pen name Marilyn Ross. The paperbacks are currently out of print.

Will this be in 3D?

No, Burton has confirmed that Dark Shadows will NOT be released in 3D, but in IMAX.

Yes. Here are a couple of them:

Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) is an 18th century gentleman businessman from just before the Revolutionary War, who was transformed against his will into a vampire and buried in a tomb for two centuries. After he finally emerges, uncovered by construction workers in the year 1972, he seeks out his descendants as well as some long-ago foes and a possible lost love. He has been alive this whole time, very hungry, and with no idea what's going on outside. Barnabas is one vampire who is just as frightened of our times as we are of him, says producer Richard D. Zanuck. Two-hundred years later, he's suddenly walking into the town he saw being built and seeing girls in skirts and cars for the first time. Despite his confusion, he's still a ladies man. In some sense he can be a terrifying killer; on the other hand, women have a weakness for him, and he has a weakness for women. He can be a well-mannered, well-meaning vampire most of the time, until his stomach is empty or someone challenges his beloved Collins family.

Here's that family:

Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), prim and proper psychiatrist, who has taken up residence with the Collins family to care for their troubled youngest boy David. She's been there for years, working with him. He still claims he sees ghosts and talks with his dead mother. Hoffman is crazy but brilliant. She's eccentric and definitely likes a drink or two. She's definitely a little bit off her rocker and is a woman with a lot of secrets herself.

Carolyn Stoddard (Chloë Grace Moretz), a cousin to David Collins, is your typical early-1970s teenager. She likes her music and magazines and does not like anyone in her family. She likes to keep her door closed and keep to herself. She's pretty normal, but appearances can be deceiving.

Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green) is a witch who has known Barnabas since the 1700s, when they had an affair that went sour. She is the one who cursed him to be a vampire and locked him in that box. Since he has been away, Angelique has made it her life's mission to destroy the Collins family. When Barnabas turns up again after all these years, she's not very happy to see him.

David Collins (Gulliver McGrath). Lonely, confused, and neglected by his pompous father, David has no one to confide in except his bizarre psychiatrist and the dead people he claims to see.

Victoria Winters (Bella Heathcote) arrives to become David's new governess, only to find herself swept up in the vampire-witch melodrama. When Barnabas meets Victoria, he is instantly reminded of the woman he lost in the 1700s, before he was cursed to be a vampire. Is she the reincarnation of his doomed lover Josette du Pres?

Mrs. Johnson (Ray Shirley), the mostly blind and deaf maid, has been with the Collinses for decades. You might find her polishing a piece of silverware with a slab of baloney because she thinks its a polishing cloth.

Willie Loomis (Jackie Earle Haley), groundskeeper, is a slightly more competent servant than Mrs. Johnson, but that's not saying much. He's the guy who takes out the trash, mows the lawns, and fixes the cars, except he's usually so drunk and so disinterested that he doesn't take his job seriously anymore. The lawn is overgrown, the house has fallen into disrepair, and all the cars are on cinder blocks. His heart is definitely not in the job anymore.

Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller), scion of the once-great Collins family, is one of the main reasons the aristocratic clan has fallen into such disgrace. He's a creepy, self-centered guy who likes to order Willie around and pretend the family is still on top of his game. Not only is he a bad father to David, but he is a poor manager of whatever meager wealth the family retains. When Barnabas shows up and has some very specific ideas about how to make things right, the two are obviously going to bump heads.

Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer), mother of Carolyn Stoddard and mother-figure to David, is the one adult member of the Collins clan who is at least slightly competent. Elizabeth is the rock of the family, the matriarch. She's the keeper of the Collins history and a fierce protector of what remains of her family. She's the one who insists on the best care for the children, even though money isn't what it used to be. She's a very strong woman who unfortunately has been dealt a very difficult deck. With a witch perpetually trying to destroy her and a long lost vampire relative turning up to reclaim control, there's a lot for her to handle.

Dark Shadows will mark their eighth collaboration, the other seven being Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Corpse Bride (2005), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), and Alice in Wonderland (2010).

The general consensus is that these are leaked pictures showing one scene of the movie where Dr. Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter) has temporarily cured him of his vampirism, but he still can be weakened considerably by the sun. Depp has been described by Kathryn Leigh Scott as looking 'gorgeous' as Barnabas.

Yes, it's been confirmed that he is. Though he does not use the original theme, he does briefly sample a section of the piece "The Secret Room" from the television series throughout the film.

It began on May 18, 2011, and filming wrapped in November 2011.

It was shot at Pinewood Studios in England, and exterior shots are being filmed at Beckenham Park.

Alice Cooper appears as the entertainment for the party thrown for the townspeople performing a rendition of "No More Mr. Nice Guy".

Are there any trailers?

Yes. The first one was released March 15, 2012. You can watch it here. An alternate trailer consisting of scenes with Alice Cooper can be watched here.

The overall tone of the series was serious and melodramatic, in the style of 19th century Gothic horror and romance literature. Due to the low budget, hectic daily production schedule, and the fact that the network would rarely allow for second takes (effectively making the show "live"), there are unintentionally funny moments when actors forget or flub lines, sets fall apart, or crew members accidentally step into frame, sneeze, cough, etc.. The over the top soap opera acting and dialog, combined with occasional plot holes, did lend a certain degree of campiness to the series.

(1) Superfly by Curtis Mayfield, (2) Bang a Gong (Get It On) by T.Rex, and (3) My First, My Last, My Everything by Barry White.

It will have a good bit of humor in it, according to the previews that have been released. It will probably be along the likes of Tim Burton's other gothic movies with a mix of comedy, drama, and horror.

"Nights in White Satin" by The Moody Blues. The complete list of songs can be found here with corresponding scene descriptions.

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