Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Dark Shadows (2013)

This is for real this time, no backsies I promise. Soap operas are another genre that seems to have passed me by. At one time I actually watched them, well, one of them. General Hospital was my favorite. I'm not quite old enough to remember the big 70s triangle of Luke, Laura, and Scott. So I'll make it short. Laura Vining was due to marry her love Scott Baldwin. However, in soap opera world, that's way too simple to keep people's attention. So, they introduced the character of Luke Spencer. He wasn't a good guy. He was a real bastard. But that doesn't keep the interest of soap opera watchers either. 

So to make things really, really interesting for people, some genius thought it would be just wonderful (and somehow romantic) to have Luke tell Laura he's dying, and on one drunken night, he raped her. How nice. Oh, but that wasn't the end. Although many women were incensed about what followed all people seem to remember is the freaking wedding.

You see, after Luke raped Laura, they made the rape sequence all dreamlike when she remembers it, complete with soft music, and Laura ends up falling in love with Luke, because obviously there's something seriously wrong with her. To add insult to injury, they made Scott Baldwin, her fiancé, the bad guy. So Luke did for rapists what Edward did for vampires. They sparkled. Okay, okay, Luke didn't sparkle, but the Luke and Laura wedding is still the largest soap opera event in history. How twisted is that?

Ohhh, THAT'S where he came from...
But ABC wasn't always that stupid. In 1966, they started a run of a Gothic soap opera that featured vampires, werewolves, zombies, monsters, witches, warlocks, time travel, and a parallel universe. Take that, Dr. Who! While Dr. Who was off in his TARDIS machine, Barnabas Collins (geez, it took a couple of weeks to realize I was calling him 'Jones' - I guess I was thinking of a certain geriatric detective), played by Jonathan Frid, was busy with his mixed family of semi-evil characters, some characters played by more than one actor.

Dark Shadows was unique. It was melodramatic. It had atmosphere. It had ambiguous morality. It had characters who could be good or could be evil. Although the original soap opera ran for a short five years, there were several attempts to revive it. That never seemed to pan out.

Then along came Tim Burton. A man who had had many successes with his film projects looked at Dark Shadows, shrugged and said, 'Why the hell not?' Well, Tim, let me tell you why not. You suck. Oh, you were the golden boy for a while, and your projects were eagerly awaited and your films seen by many. It was swell, but the swelling's gone down. Why do I have a problem with Tim Burton? Because he has decided, along with the rest of the film industry, that coming up with new material is just too damn hard. Besides, using pre-existing material is much cheaper.

Oh, and let's not forget the people who apparently are joined to him at the hip. Where there's Tim Burton, there's Johnny Depp. Where there's Johnny Depp, there's Helen Bonham Carter. When those three are together, there's gonna be music by Danny Elfman. We need to send these people off to different countries with no passports.

All right, on with the movie. They give you the back story of the Collins family. In the interest of keeping this review under one million words I'll try to make it short. In the 1700s, the Collins family who were very rich, came to the New World in order to make more money. 

They settle in Maine, and spend the next five years building a freaking castle (in the original soap opera, that was actually in Rhode Island believe it or not). Of course this movie was not filmed in Maine, it was in England, even though there are castles in Maine.

Anywho, Barnabas (Johnny Depp), has an affair with a maid. But he does not love her. In a furious rage, because, of course she's a witch, she has his parents killed. Barnabas, who apparently is thick in the head, remains clueless and falls in love with a girl named Josette. The maid, Angelique, bewitches Josette into jumping off a cliff. Barnabas, who, like I said, is thick in the head, tries to die with her.

Because this movie says so, I'm not sure how the story in the actual soap opera went, a witch is able to turn a man into a vampire with no biting, no blood, and no dying. She then accuses him of being a monster to the other thickies in the town, and they believe her. Barnabas is sealed in a coffin and buried for some reason. There he lays as the world turns around him.

Oh Lord, this is getting way too long already. But this movie was way too long anyway. At 113 minutes, this movie was at least an hour too long. It should have gone like this: Barnabas screws witch. Witch gets revenge. Barnabas wakes up in the 1970's. Everything is weird to him, including the descendants of his family, who currently reside in the now decaying castle. 

Sadly, some of our favorite 70's tunes are played by the original artists, but for some twisted, perverted reason, part of 'The Joker' was quoted by Johnny Depp (let me pause to wipe the vomit from my keyboard), and the last song at the end of the movie 'Go All The Way' was performed by The Killers. 

Wacky situations ensue. None of it is funny. Barnabas finds a woman identical to his lost love. The witch, who still lives, plots revenge once again. She fails. Barnabas embraces his extended family and all is well. The freaking end.

But no, we have to suffer through $150 million dollars worth of movie. And an appearance by Alice Freaking Cooper, who has to lip sync his own freaking song because he doesn't sound like he did in the 1970's. If you've seen the movie, you notice the camera doesn't get reeeal close to him either.

A lot of the torturous time we spend watching this thing, is spent watching Johnny Depp doing what Johnny Depp does in every movie; overact. With 100 layers of makeup, his version of Barnabas is still of a bumbling comical character, instead of the tragic one in the original soap opera.

They tried to throw in a subplot to fill up time. The Collins family apparently once owned the largest fishing company in Maine. In fact, the town itself is called Collinsport. However, with Barnabas in the ground, and the rest of his family being a general hot ass mess, the business is just about as decrepit as the castle. Now the largest fishing company in Collinsport is the Angel Bay Fishery. Take a big guess of who owns that business. Come on, you get three guesses and the first two don't count.

Besides the embarrassing appearance of Alice Cooper whom Barnabas keeps referring to as a woman, we get a small part for Jackie Earle Haley, a brief appearance by Christopher Lee, and special appearances by original soap opera cast members Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott.

And there, dear readers, is where I'll end this review because I like you. No one should ever have to sit through two hours of Johnny Depp in white makeup mugging for the camera. Oh hell! I've already done that once before this year! I watched the re-re-re-re-make of The Lone Ranger. Is it just me, or does Johnny Depp seem to like makeup, braids, and jewelry just a little too much?