Tuesday, October 02, 2012


In honor of today's release of Dark Shadows, the movie, on DVD, I re-post my original Apology to Tim Burton.

Plus, as an added bonus, an interview with Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie/Josette), and a photo of Ms. Scott with Lara Parker (Angelique) at Comic-Con 2012.

Please enjoy!

Originally posted on July 19, 2012

Dear Mr. Burton -

I apologize.  I admit it, when the first trailer for your latest movie, "Dark Shadows" came out, I bought into the hype and, right here on this very blog, took you to task, writing:

Last week's release of the first trailer of Tim Burton's/Johnny Depp's Dark Shadows feature film earned cries of foul from the original series' devoted fans. They assert they'd been led to believe the movie would be more along the lines of Burton's previous Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Sweeny Todd, gothic, atmospheric thrillers played more or less straight, when what they got appears to be closer to Bettlejuice.

And the Brady Bunch Movie.

And Dukes of Hazzard.

And Bewitched.

And A Very Brady Sequel.

In other words, laughing at, not with a beloved 1970s television show

Well, yesterday, a scant four months later (I have three kids and a half-dozen part time jobs I desperately attempt to cobble into a single, full-time one - in other words, I'm slow), for my husband's birthday, I actually saw your version of "Dark Shadows."

And here is what I have to say, Mr. Burton: It was wonderful.

Yes, it was campy.  But, campy in the very best way.  Campy like a classic soap opera written and acted at the top of its game, with both dedication and self-awareness.

And yes, it was funny.  But, not funny like a farce, not funny like a spoof, but funny like the way soap fans talk about their favorite show.  As the girls at Serial Drama say, "We mock because we love."

So, I apologize to you, Mr. Burton (and I transfer my wrath to your promo department, who I presume decided to sell the movie as a wacky, "Naked Gun" type parody.  I do wonder, though, what the people who came expecting to see said wacky parody thought once they'd handed over their ticket money).

And I urge soap fans who might have stayed away from the movie due to reasons listed above to give it a chance.  "Dark Shadows" is gorgeous to look at, it's solidly (I daresay, classically, plotted) and, most important, it's fun.

(A disclaimer for the purists, I realize that liberties were taken in places with the plot, the most grievous presumably the making of Victoria Winters and Maggie Evans the same person.  But, it worked for me in context.  I understand how others might have more trouble with it.)


Erica said...

With all due respect to you, Ms. Adams, you were right the first time. It wasn't wonderful, and it wasn't funny. It was a mockery, and it was DREADFUL.

Yes, I'm a fan of the original, and I'm a purist. And I literally wept when I left the theater.

John Voakes said...

I'm an original viewer, and a bit of a purist, and I absolutely LOVED the Burton/Depp version! It was a 2 hour love letter to Jonathan Frid, and it was perfect.

Robynne said...

I did not see the movie yet...and was an avid fan of the original tv series. I stayed away from the movie based on the promos, I even wondered why Mr. Frid wanted to do a cameo. Thanks to this "letter" I will give it a try. :)