‘Dark Shadows’: New Images & Tim Burton’s Conceptual Artwork

3 years ago by  

Just over two months are left until Warner Bros. releases Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows movie in theaters, and yet there’s no trailer (not even a TV spot) in sight. While that will almost undoubtedly change in the near future – assuming there’s no last-minute release date delay – in the meantime, we can offer more production stills from Burton’s adaptation of the strange Gothic 1960s soap opera, starring the filmmaker’s BFF (and bankable go-to leading man) Johnny Depp as the centuries-old vampire Barnabas Collins.

You can check out said new Dark Shadows images and stills in the gallery above – along with some of Burton’s conceptual artwork for the film, which is currently being exhibited overseas at the French Cinematheque – or scroll on down for more information (and analysis) of the latest cinematic helping of Burton-and-Depp-flavored madness.

Burton’s Dark Shadows movie was scripted by Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) and is shaping up to be very much like the cult TV series which inspired it: a bizarre supernatural ensemble piece which mixes melodrama with camp (here, intentionally). The film’s cast includes such familiar faces from the Burton-verse as Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns) and the director’s significant other (Oscar-nominee Helena Bonham Carter), along with fan-favorites like Eva Green (Casino Royale), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), and Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass).

Depp headlines Dark Shadows as Barnabas Collins, an 18th-century playboy who foolishly breaks the heart of the sorceress Angelique Bouchard (Green) and pays for his mistake by being buried alive – after he is turned into a vampire. Barnabas awakens in 1972 to discover “a very changed world” and that his once grand estate has fallen in disrepair, due to the dysfunctional behavior of his descendants.

For a better look at some of the central players in Dark Shadows – along with Burton’s early conceptual sketch for the Barnabas Collins character, as is being featured in the aforementioned Parisian exhibit of his work, have a look through the gallery below:

Smith has previously claimed there is a noticeable “absurdist element” to the operatic proceedings in Dark Shadows but – without having any footage available to illustrate that idea – it’s hard to know exactly what that means, especially since terms like “absurd” are all relative when Burton and Depp are involved. All the same, this flick still (so far) looks and sounds like something the director-actor duo’s hardcore fans should certainly approve of.

Dark Shadows will arrive in theaters around the U.S. on May 11th, 2012.


Source: Warner Bros. Pictures, cinevibe.fr [via Comic Book Movie]

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT: dark shadows


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  1. tired of burton. next.

  2. More than Ditto on that. I’m a huge DS fan, but won’t be watching this at all. If Burton can jack-up the central character so bad and the ‘public’ just goes ‘ga ga’ over his POS ‘Art’ then I’m out. I love his work, when it’s in place; and even when it’s called for with a bit of whimsey, but this interp of Barnabas is so far off the mark that I hope that this file ‘Tanks’ and ‘Tanks’ hard. I hope that Burton finally gets a clue. I doubt it, but I can hope………….. ~ Stark

    • I only enjoy burtons animated work.

    • I am the world’s biggest Dark Shadows fan; in fact, I just bought the entire series on DVD, plus have the 2 movies on VHS and the mini-series on DVD. I have met Jonathan Frid, and found him to be as polite, well-spoken, urbane and atmospherically cordial and wonderful as his character was in a dignified way. Now, having said that, tho, I can somewhat sympathize with Stark Industries’ comments. While I would hate to see a film tank, especially one affiliated with Dark Shadows, I do not like Burton’s work as director, or Depp’s acting; I do not want to see comedy (COMEDY?! I heard some rumor to that effect….) in this Dark Shadows production, as that does not belong in the same current with DS in any way, shape, or form. I do not want to see a Barnabas that looks like a punk-rock kinko version of Michael Jackson with big witchy-woman fingernails and a pasty-white face (how on earth would he blend in with the populace, one of Barnabas’ chief weapons when Frid and Cross played him?). And Alice Cooper, also? What on earth is that?! (AC is a nut, too…!) I have a hunch–God, please let me be so very wrong–that this version will bomb, besmirching the legend that is the original atmospheric Dark Shadows TV show and it’s spin-offs, and will destroy future efforts for the franchise to be taken seriously. One such example might be the pitiful and horrendous effort of Seth Rogan to destroy the wonderful Green Hornet character (the TV series in the 60s was the ultimate Green Hornet…wonderful and spot-on!). Rogan’s effort was a travesty that never should have happened. It now sounds like Depp will victimize The Lone ranger (another classic) soon, also. And when will we get a GOOD Doc Savage? And there was once a pretty poor Captain America movie, too, if I remember correctly. Happily, it looks like Marvel is (somewhat) trying to remedy this last example. Now if only someone could buy the rights to Green Hornet and Doc Savage and save their precious memories with a good tribute movie to each of them!! I love DS, but I have serious, serious doubts about this one (I will still probably buy the DVD–call me a sucker–because it is Dark Shadows, but…!!!). I will say that appearances by Frid, Selby, Parker, & Scott, even if not playing their original characters, will probably be a crowd-pleasing enhancement I welcome myself. So long-winded diatribe aside, I guess, Mr. Stark, I must reiterate that while I would hate to see anyone’s efforts fail, I agree that Burton, Depp, & company will have made their bed, whatever it may be, smooth or lumpy, and will have to lie in it when the results become known. I just hope it is comfortable.

    • In reply to Mr. Stark’s post:

      HEAR, HEAR!

      mac :]

  3. Burton’s live action work has been very hit or miss with me but all of his animated features have been spectacular. That is where he should be focusing his talent imho.

  4. I think I reserve judgement until I see a trailer.

    • It seems downright weird that we haven’t seen a trailer or footage or anything and the movie’s supposedly two months away. On the other hand, some folks have been reporting that it’s been rescheduled and it’s coming out next October, which would make a bit more sense considering the genre and stiff competition it’d face if it’s released in May…

  5. Nothing Burton has done over the bulk of the last decade has interested me, yet I admit that I’m intrigued by what little I know of this. This lack of a trailer is worrisome though if they’re keeping to a May release. Generally not a good sign.

    “What is it?”
    “It’s called an iPod.”
    “…Does it have blood in it?”
    Cue the music.

  7. Johnny is in it. Will be fantastic of course.

  8. Well the closer we get with no movie poster or movie trailer the move i worry about the film.Has Tim or the studio have such little faith in it.Being an ex Theater manager I know that no marketing materials is DEATH to any movie.And if tim truned Dark Shadows into a Comedy-that makes fun of a much beloved show-all I can say is -”STAKE IT AND STAKE IT QUICK.ONLY 59 DAYS UNTIL THE MOVIE OPENS.—But if the movie is great than shame on the poor marketing crew because poor marketing of a film will cause a quick demise.Does anyone remember Stardust.poor marketing to agreat movie.Well time will tell.

  9. Trailer debuts this Thursday, supposedly. Why they don’t push it back to a Halloween release I’ll never understand…