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'Dark Shadows (Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack)'
(Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, et al / Blu ray+DVD / PG-13 / 2012 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: From the wonderfully warped imagination of Tim Burton comes the story of Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp), a dashing aristocrat who is turned into a vampire by a jilted lover and entombed for two centuries. Emerging from his coffin into the world of 1972, he returns to his once-majestic home, only to the few dysfunctional descendants of the Collins family who remain.

Blu ray Verdict: So, the BIG question is: Is 'Dark Shadows' a shameless mug of the original soap opera? And the answer is a resounding: No. Then again: Is it a great film? This answer: No. How about: Is it amusing, witty, well written, well directed and well shot? And so we now get: Yes. And the big one: Is it worth seeing. And, thankfully: Oh yeah!

But it is not worth seeing if you have preconceived notions about exactly what 'Dark Shadows' was or should be, almost 45 years on. This is no soap opera, produced on a string and started as a daytime television experiment, which outlasted it's shelf life by about 2 years. Burton's version is a well developed camp comedy, chock full of double entendres and dynamite characters. The actors in this picture are obviously having a riot, chewing up the scenery like a bunch of manic piranhas!

The secret to this film's success is that it takes the metaphor and irony of the original soap opera to it's camp zenith. Half of the fun of the soap opera was the production 'on the cheap' and all of the errors that went with it. Even as 12 year olds, we screamed with laughter at the collapsing scenery, head-bonking boom mike and Joan Bennett's glassy-eyed, forgotten dialogue. Though Burton's production is anything but cheap, he breathes the original improbability of the entire situation into every frame and makes the most of every minute, while maintaining the original's plot.

Those looking for a literal version of the original cheesy production need only see the revival produced in the 90's and not bother with this. You won't get it and more importantly, won't like it. This is a Tim Burton picture and not a 'Dan Curtis Production'. It's meant to be fun and dark, unexpected and provocative, witty and dry.

Indeed, for those of us who embraced the horrendous improbability of what was Dark Shadows, when we were 6th graders, Burton gives us the hilarious memories sans the forced maudlin drama of daytime TV or a serious rendition of a camp classic. Anything like that would've died a wrenching death.

There could've been nothing worse than making this amazing story a 'True Blood' or 'Twilight' redux, which was a petrifying possibility if anyone besides Burton had gotten ahold of the property. The casting is excellent and cinematography superb. If you love camp, this is one of your pictures! So come on it and enjoy :-) This is a Full Screen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, and has been remastered into a crisp Blu ray production.

- Becoming Barnabus
- Welcome To Collinsport!
- The Collinses: Every Family Has Its Demons
- Reliving a Decade - Angelique: A Witch Scorned
- Alice Cooper Rocks Collinsport!
- Dark Shadowy Secrets
- A Melee of Monstrous Proportions
- Dark Shadows: The Legend Bites Back
- Dr Hoffman and Elizabeth discuss Barnabas
- David and Barnabas discuss Dinosaurs
- Carolyn and Victoria
- Girl talk
- Police warn Willie and Barnabas
- Dr Hoffman offers Victoria help

'Dark Shadows' available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download 10/2!