Dark Shadows (2012) Poster



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When Michelle Pfeiffer heard about an adaptation of Dark Shadows (1966), she called up Tim Burton to ask him for a part in the film, something she rarely does.
This is Tim Burton's eighth film with Johnny Depp, his seventh film with Helena Bonham Carter, his fifth film with Christopher Lee, and his second film with Michelle Pfeiffer (Pfeffer had starred in Batman Returns (1992) twenty years previously).
Alice Cooper was transformed into a younger version of himself through careful use of make-up and lighting. No CGI was involved.
The scene where Barnabas approaches Collinwood in 1972 is a direct copy of Barnabas's first scene in House of Dark Shadows (1970), where he approaches Collinwood from the shadows.
To prepare for his role as Barnabas Collins, Johnny Depp undertook a weight-loss regime and a diet of green tea and low-sugar fruit, getting his weight down to 140 pounds.
Anne Hathaway, Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for the role of Angelique.
Kathryn Leigh Scott reported at the Dark Shadows Festival in Brooklyn (August 19-21, 2011) that she, Lara Parker, David Selby and Jonathan Frid were treated "like royalty" when they arrived on set for their cameos during the first week of July 2011, and that Johnny Depp walked up to Jonathan Frid and said, "None of this would be possible had it not been for you" referring to Frid's original portrayal of the Barnabas Collins role and its impact on the success of the original series.
According to Johnny Depp, the filming of the sex scene resulted in a lot of trashed hotel rooms.
Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played Barnabas Collins, Angelique Bouchard, Quentin Collins and Maggie Evans/Josette DuPres in the original Dark Shadows (1966), appear at the ball at Collinwood Manor in two scenes: 1) when they are welcomed at the door by Barnabas, and when Alice Cooper begins his second number, Elizabeth is seen talking talking with Scott, Selby and Parker.
The producers scoured the UK and Maine to find an appropriate fishing village to film Collinsport in, but couldn't find one that fit. Thus they constructed the whole town from scratch in Pinewood Studios.
Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer were fans of the original Dark Shadows (1966), having watched it when they were young.
Tim Burton wanted the film to reflect the era of its setting, and showed cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel several 1970s vampire movies to help him understand the way the film should be shot.
Josette has blonde hair while Angelique has dark brown hair. When in 1972, this was reversed: Josette/Maggie has dark brown hair and Angelique is blonde.
For the sex fight sequence, the actors worked with stunt coordinator Eunice Huthart and wore harnesses that spun them through the air. Eva Green was not too fond of the sequence since she doesn't like heights.
At the Collinwood ball, Carolyn repeats the first lyrics of "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" to her mother, causing her to get tense. The lyrics ("Mommy, where's daddy? He's been gone for so long. Do you think he'll ever come home?") hint at a possible Dark Shadows (1966) storyline: Carolyn believes Elizabeth murdered her father.
When David first meets Barnabas, he looks at the ancestral portrait and notes the similarity, just as in Dark Shadows (1966). In the series Barnabas denied there being any connection, but in the film he proudly notes the likeness.
This was Jonathan Frid's last film.
In Dark Shadows (1966), , Dr Julia Hoffman was played by Grayson Hall, wife of the show's head writer Sam Hall. In an interesting parallel, Dr Hoffman in this film is played by Helena Bonham Carter, former partner of the director Tim Burton.
This is the third cinematic adaptation of Dark Shadows (1966) after House of Dark Shadows (1970) and Night of Dark Shadows (1971), and the third revival after Dark Shadows (1991) and _Dark Shadows (2005) (TV Movie)_
Shipped to theaters under the code name "Night Moves".
Chloë Grace Moretz (Carolyn Stoddard) and Gulliver McGrath (David Collins) were also both in the the film Hugo (2011) but shared no screen time together.
Eva Green described her role of Angelique as "Bette Davis and Janis Joplin mixed together."
With no time for rehearsal prior to filming, Tim Burton found a way to put his entire main cast in the mindset of their respective roles: He gathered them together on the set for a photo session in which they replicated the famous image of the original Dark Shadows (1966) cast all standing in the foyer of Collinwood. This image evolved into the film's teaser poster.
Tracy Curtis and Linda Curtis, daughters of "Dark Shadows" creator Dan Curtis, served as consultants on the film.
According to costume designer Colleen Atwood, she designed the 18th and 20th century costumes and then overlaid and blended in elements from both to create a smooth, similar feel that suited the film.
This was producer Richard D. Zanuck's last film.
The film is set in 1972, a year after Dark Shadows (1966) ended its run.
Makeup artist Joel Harlow applied several layers of custom greasepaint to create Barnabas Collins's chalk-white complexion.
A 33-foot-high miniature of Collinwood Mansion was constructed, measuring 1/3 in scale to the actual set of the Mansion.
During the sex fight sequence at one point Angelique had at least 4 arms wrapped around Barnabas.
Colleen Atwood created Josette duPres's dress from nylon and aluminum.
Angelique's car is a 1970 Plymouth 'Cuda.
Production designer Rick Heinrichs designed Collinwood to reflect its maritime heritage (the mansion was close to the ocean, and its owners have a background in fishing); ocean motifs like fish and mermaids are present throughout the house and its furnishings, including seahorses in the fireplace along with statues of the sea god Neptune.
Johnny Depp was a huge fan of the TV show when he was a child. When Warner Brothers acquired the rights to it from the estate of show creator Dan Curtis, they brought the property to Depp who then persuaded Tim Burton that this would be an ideal project for them to work on.
Angelique built up a rival fishery, Angel Bay Seafood, to bring down the Collins. This was done by Burke Devlin in Dark Shadows (1966)'s first season.
Christopher Lee stars with Jonny Lee Miller in this film; decades earlier, Lee had appeared with Miller's grandfather Bernard Lee in the 007 film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974), which was based on a novel written by Lee's cousin Ian Fleming.
Matthew Hall, son of Sam Hall and Grayson Hall (Dr Julia Hoffman from Dark Shadows (1966)), claimed he enjoyed the film but didn't like what they did with his mother's role: "My mother, short and fat and drinking anything besides black tea first thing in the morning? Sorry, you must have the wrong Dr. Hoffman!"
When Barnabas Collins wanted to throw a "happening", Carolyn Stoddard suggested inviting Alice Cooper. Barnabas then replied, "I seem to recall of such a name in my youth." This may be a play on Alice Cooper (who made guest appearance on the film), who took his stage name from a 16th-century girl who had been accused of witchcraft.
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The film takes place in 1760, 1776 and 1972.
This is the last film Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter worked on before their relationship ended in early 2014.
The comedic tone of the film found little favor with long-term devotees of the original TV series which was much darker and serious.
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During the opening monologue, when the Collins' are seen boarding a ship to the new world, the figure head on the bow of the ship is the likeness of Angelique.
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This is only the 3rd motion picture based on a daytime soap opera, 1st major motion picture & 3rd motion picture based on ABC's gothic daytime soap opera Dark Shadows (1966-1971)
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Lindsay Lohan had strong interest for the role of Angelique.
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John August wrote the first draft of the screenplay.
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The time line cited in the film appears to be accurate: 1760 (at around 1 min) + 1 year (construction of the Collinsport dock and the Joshua Collins Cannery) + 15 years (construction of Collinwood at 02:08) = 1776; 1776+196 (entombment at 43:20) = 1972, the year in which the bulk of the film is set. Also Barnabas' age of 6 years on leaving Liverpool (end credits) + 1 year + 15 years = 22 years when he was propositioned by Angelique. Early press releases state that the family left Liverpool in 1752.
Eva Green, Christopher Lee and Shane Rimmer have all appeared in Bond films; Green in Casino Royale (2006), Lee in The Man a With The Golden Gun (1974) and Rimmer in You Only Live Twice (1967), Live and Let Die (1973) and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
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Johnny Depp, Jackie Earl Haley and Alice Cooper have all appeared in Nightmare on Elm Street; Depp in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Haley as Kreuger himself in A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010) and Cooper in Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare (1991).
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Rick Baker: A decorator at Collinwood.

Director Trademark 

Tim Burton: [Jack Skellington] Jack's face appears on the scarecrow amongst the pumpkins at the manor when Willie first meets Barnabas.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

There are indications of Dr Hoffman being on her way to becoming a vampire:
  • she's always wearing red and she's always thirsty (when the transfusions begin this takes on a new context)

  • she asks someone to close the curtains, displaying an aversion to sunlight

  • she becomes noticeably pale throughout the film

  • and when Barnabas bites her, she is seen to be bearing fangs.

Carolyn Stoddard is the fourth werewolf in the "Dark Shadows" saga, but the first female one ever.
According to Tim Burton, the last scene of Dr Hoffman's revival was in keeping with "the soap opera structure of the story" (Burton is noted for not doing sequels).
As a child Victoria/Maggie (Bella Heathcote) was committed by her parents to Windcliff Sanitarium. In the original series, Maggie Evans (Kathryn Leigh Scott) is sent to Wyndcliff Sanitarium, which was run by Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall), after Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) kidnaps her and attempts to brainwash her into thinking she's Josette du Pres.
Dr Hoffman turns herself into an immortal with transfusions of vampire blood from Barnabas Collins. This is the reversal of a Dark Shadows (1966) storyline where she turned Barnabas human with transfusions of human blood.
The character of Victoria Winters in this film is based on her Dark Shadows (1966) incarnation (a governess at Collinwood Mansion), but also incorporates elements of Maggie Evans (an lookalike of Barnabas's old lover Josette duPres, who spent time in an asylum and who can see and communicate with ghosts). However, each girl throws herself off Widow's Hill, the same fate as in the original show.
There are indications of Carolyn Stoddard being a werewolf, long before it is revealed:
  • she is seen dining under a picture of the full moon

  • Barnabas's wolf-headed cane is a prop seen in "The Wolf Man" films

  • the mechanism that reveals a secret passage features clockwork wolves howling at an image of the full moon

  • Angelique compliments her as growing into "a fetching creature."

  • and Barnabas watches the Scooby Gang on TV exclaim about a werewolf.

According to Dr Hoffman, David believes his mother is an immortal entity. In Dark Shadows (1966) Laura is described as a Phoenix, a fire-based immortal.
Body count, 12.
Although this movie is mainly about vampires, Chloe Grace Moretz plays a werewolf. However, she did portray a vampire in the 2010 horror film "Let Me In".
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The figurehead made in the image of Angelique, from the ship the Collinses travel to America on, can later be seen as wall decoration in Angie's conference room.
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At the end of the movie when Victoria jumps into the sea from Widow's Hill, Barnabus jumps after her, catches her, then bites her neck just before they hit the rocks far below. This couldn't happen as it's well known that all objects fall at the same velocity, no matter what their weight or mass (Terminal velocity: 195 km/h /118 mph) Therefore, in order for this action to happen, over that height, they would both have to jump at exactly the same time.
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