Johnny Depp will return to theaters in the familiar form of Captain Jack Sparrow this weekend with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Those that prefer their Depp more on the creepy and Gothic side will have to wait until next year, which marks the arrival of his latest team effort with director Tim Burton, Dark Shadows.

Production has officially commenced on the Dark Shadows movie, which is a cinematic adaptation of the cult 1960s supernatural soap opera about vampires, werewolves, witches – and all the emotional baggage those creatures have to deal with.

Here is the official synopsis for Burton’s Dark Shadows from Warner Bros.:

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—or 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.

Rounding out the Dark Shadows cast are the likes of Chloe Moretz as Matriarch Stoddard’s authority-hating teen daughter, Carolyn; Jackie Earle Haley as the family’s trouble-making caretaker, Willie Loomis; and Bella Heathcote as the Stoddard clan’s put-upon nanny, Victoria Winters.

At this point, a lot of people have grown weary of Depp and Burton working together; however, there are clearly plenty of moviegoers who still can’t get enough of this particular actor-director duo (see the box office returns for their last several joint efforts for the proof of that). Danny Elfman is also once again working with Depp and Burton on their new darkly kooky cinematic endeavor – which is all the more appropriate, seeing how Elfman’s collective work is often said to be reminiscent of the musical score for the original Dark Shadows TV show.

Dark Shadows was scripted by first-time Burton collaborator Seth Grahame-Smith (author of the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies novels), who appears to have structured the film as more of a character and atmosphere-heavy piece than a plot-driven vehicle. That may not seem like a substantial observation, but Burton is generally at his best as a director when working on the former, rather than the latter (Alice in Wonderland arguably would’ve been better had it gone that route, like the original novel did).

Numerous vampire-related movies are due to hit theaters in the future – and just about every one of them is positioning itself as the anti-Twilight, in the hopes of capitalizing on certain fans’ disgust for how that franchise portrays creatures of the night. Dark Shadows, however, is one such project that actually seems to have more than just that to offer.

Dark Shadows is scheduled for theatrical release on May 11th, 2012.

Source: Warner Bros.