I've long been a fan of 70's and 80's Italian "Giallo" films. Filmmakers like Maria Bava, Dario Argento, and Lucio Fulci made these films where the killer was always portrayed as just a leather gloved, trench coated man whose identity stayed a secret until the final moments of the film. Usually we were shown the killers Point of View as he murdered his victims! Movies like the beautifully shot "Opera" and "Tenebre" truly fit the mold of "Giallo" where artistic flair and cool shots trump story. In fact the victims practically offered themselves up to the killer and barely fought back. The dialogue was always dubbed in and often made no sense but I still loved the movies. So for our next film project we decided on to do a homage to 80's Giallo films. We found a great location, Playland Bonkers!...

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Tim Burton and Johnny Depp sometimes go together like peanut butter and jelly. They compliment each other and taste delicious like in Ed Wood or Sleepy Hollow even. But other times… not so much. Dark Shadows is one of those “other times”. The story begins with a flash back to the 1700’s where Barnabus Collins rejects the servant girl Angelique who wants for his love and affection. She curses Barnabus with vampirism and hypnotizes his true love Josette to fall to her death on widows peak. Upon discovering that Barnabus is a Vampire, the townspeople chain him in a coffin and bury him deep in the woods. Fast Forward to 1972 when workmen stumble upon his grave and wake him from his long slumber.

Dark Shadows is a retelling of the TV soap from the some 40 years ago that I have never seen so I didn’t go into it expecting some familiar story. The first act of the film is a basic “fish out of water” premise. Barnabus returns to his stately Collinwood mansion to find the remnants of the Collins family surviving with a dwindling family fortune in the dusty decaying mansion. Michelle Pfieffer appears to be the only member trying to hold the family together. Her daughter, played by Cloe Moretz is a typical 70’s teenager and her brother and his son are dealing with death of his mother. There’s some good stuff to be had in the first half of the film, good 70’s music, some decent comedy bits which you’ve already seen in the previews, and some Burton-esque visuals that will feel familiar.