If you were alive during the 1960s, you may remember a day-time Gothic soap opera named Dark Shadows. The show featured werewolves, zombies, ghosts, witches, time travel, parallel universes, warlocks, man-made monsters, and all sorts of other supernatural Halloween costumes. Although the show originally aired in 1966, it did not attract true mainstream attention until one year later, when vampire Barnabas Collins joined the cast of characters.
Due to the show’s day-time schedule, the show amassed more episodes (1,225) in its five-year lifespan than most other science-fiction/fantasy genre television shows, including Doctor Who and the entire Star Trek franchise. In 2007, Dark Shadows ranked #23 on TV Guide’s Top Cult Shows Ever list.
Now, nearly fifty years later, the series is set to see a silver-screen revival, with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp leading the theatrical project. This is another of many films Burton and Depp have worked on together, previously including: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), and Alice in Wonderland (2010).
The Dark Shadows cinematic release is scheduled for May 11, 2012 – so only just around the corner. Not much is known about the actual plotline of the film, other than the general plot synopsis: “A gothic-horror tale centering on the life of vampire Barnabas Collins and his run-ins with various monsters, witches, werewolves and ghosts. Based on the cult TV series.”
And, of course, Depp has again taken to visually transforming himself for the role of a character. We saw him become madness and mayhem as the Mad Hatter, eccentricity and genius as Willy Wonka, and horror and despair as Sweeny Todd. Now Depp brings us the sophisticated elegance of a Victorian vampire, as Barnabas Collins.
But Depp’s thrill of becoming a character goes further than merely playing dress-up. In fact, Colleen Atwood, the woman behind Depp’s Barnabas Collins costume, says, “[Depp] has it in contract that he gets to keep all his costumes.” Each and every costume Johnny Depp has ever worn for a film is archived in his Santa Monica showroom.
Will the silver-screen adaptation of Dark Shadows attract the same cult status as the original series? Come May 11, 2012, we’ll find out.