A month ago I posted my interest in the then-upcoming Dark Shadows movie.
Well, yesterday, for the first time in my life, I actually went to a movie on its release day. Of course, that movie was Dark Shadows.
Now, to prepare, I'd checked out a couple of different sets of DVDs of the old soap opera from the local library, for, after all, I'd last seen the show before I started kindergarten, and my memory of it was understandably mostly "dark" and "shadowy." (Okay, baaaaad pun.) Thus, I was prepared to find differences, so bemoaned on the internet, between the old soap and the new movie.
The main difference, of course, was humor. The Depp/Burton creation is funny -- and genuinely creepy or scary in a few parts. There is also more actual violence. The old soap was mostly eerie and foreboding. Like the vampire in the old Bela Lugosi Dracula movie, Barnabus was never really shown in the messy act of sucking out blood. Depp goes around with blood streaked down his face in several parts of the movie, although the actual killing is still downplayed enough for PG-13.
There were changes to the storyline, too. Angelique, the witch, comes from England, instead of Martinique, as in the original tale. She also kills Barnabus' parents, while in the original version, it's Barnabus' own father who traps him in a coffin to keep him from harming people and because he cannot stand to put a stake through his son's heart. In the movie, Angelique puts Barnabus into the coffin. In the soap, a lunatic lets him out; in the movie, construction workers find him accidentally.
The acting is tons better in the movie, too -- especially for the female roles. But, then again, the soap hung onto traditional, passive roles for women (who had to be rescued or otherwise acted upon), while the movie utilizes the early bits of the 70s women's movement to make the females tons more active and interesting. (On meeting Victoria Winters, Elizabeth Collins asks her, "Do you believe in the equality of the sexes?" Winters answers, "Oh heavens no! Men would get out of control!")
And as for straight-up vampire sex appeal? Well, it's Johnny Depp, for crying out loud! Of COURSE he's sexy!
Okay, well maybe not so much in the scenes where he's out in the sunlight and he dresses up as Michael Jackson,
but other than that, he's awesome!
It is my sincere hope that at least a few of those silly women lusting after sparkly little Edward will have a look at a vampire that looks like a vampire and still find him as appealing as Lugosi was in his day. :)
At any rate, THIS longtime vampire fan LOVED Dark Shadows. In fact, I'm planning to go back to see it again!