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.
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 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.)