Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Guilty Pleasure: Dark Shadows

It's Halloween again and I have a fun recommendation for you. It seems that I'm finding more and more dumb, guilty pleasures these days. Either my sense of guilt has become more acute while I become ever dumber or I have more to feel guilty about. Probably the former. Anyway, I've really come to enjoy one of Johnny Depp's overlooked treasures Dark Shadows. Tim Burton directed it but it doesn't scream "Tim Burton" at all. -Which is kind of effective, I think.

I've probably watched it a dozen times and I don't know why. Perhaps it's because, sometimes, I feel like "I've been locked in a box for 200 years." -Probably look like that too sometimes! Eva Green as Angelique the witch is really funny and sexy.
Michelle Pfieffer is also great as the classy but put-upon matriarch of the Collins remnants in circa 1970 Maine. There is something about her character as she does the books at night for a dead business. Or when she insists on looking great to greet a hated caller to the manor even as Collinwood is falling apart in neglect and decay. Insisting on remaining classy can be futile and thankless, I guess. Chloe Grace Moretz  is perfect as her 15 year old daughter. They must have had a lot of fun on the set because those two seem so like real mother and daughter in the film. She seems kind of rebellious and immature in a way (I have a 15 year old daughter) but I guess that's understandable as she lives in a dark, empty mansion in 1972 Maine where she releaves the boredom by listening to music like T-Rex and Alice Cooper in her bedroom. Kids really were just less mature and more restless than today, right? I certainly was.
Johnny Depp is excellent, of course, but he really doesn't give a tour-de-force performance like Captain Jack Sparrow or is as over-the-top as Willy Wonka. It's more restrained but still funny and good.
Australian actress Bella Heathcote is quite appealing as mysterious Victoria Winters. She's kind of a cross between Susan Dey dressed like Marlo Thomas' That Girl and Pamela Sue Martin's Nancy Drew. Nice. The opening credits with 'Victoria Winters' on the Amtrak train rolling through Maine gives me shivers. Normally I'm not one for hippie oldies but "Nights in White Satin" just seems so right in that sequence. Thanks Danny Elfman.

No comments: