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Dark Shadows Trailer Revealed

Mqrch 17, 2012 by Will Hoover

The wait is finally over.  Here's the first trailer released for Tim Burton and Johnny Depp's Dark Shadows.  Lots of great comedic lines here, but I'm not at all sure if this is really what long anticipating DS fans have been waiting for for so very, very long.

Although the trailer definitely makes it look as if the new film will be quite entertaining (if nothing else), its creation seems to have drawn more inspiration from classic shows that lampooned the monster movie genre, such as The Addams Family, The Munsters and even Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

I guess we'll soon see if Burton has delivered another high quality masterpiece or... yet another "re-imagined" mess like his 2001 savaging of Planet of the Apes.  Not that everyone was really happy with his treatment of Alice in Wonderland or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, of course.  Alice was pretty ignorable for me, but I found Charlie to be pretty fascinating to watch.  Depp's performance as Willy, though certainly not for everyone, is pretty remarkable as far as I'm concerned.

Hopefully, audiences will embrace this new Dark Shadows project.  Or not.  It would have been much nicer to have seen the original material treated in a much more serious way.  It may very well be too late for that now though.

Dark Shadows 8" Action Figures from Spectre Toys

November 29, 2011 by Will Hoover

I FINALLY got my hands on a set of these wonderful Dark Shadows figures from Spectre Toys!  The Spectre Toys website doesn't seem to be up and running at the moment, but Toys R Us is currently selling all 3 figures at a pretty fair price ($19.99 each).

They're all so nicely done, I would love to have a second set to display out of package. Spectre Toys is headed by Rick Phares, who also brought collectors 12" Dark Shadows and Battlestar Galactica action figures via Majestic Studios.

This first wave of figures consists of vampire Barnabas Collins, the titular character of the classic Dark Shadows series, Angelique Bouchard, the evil witch (who is actually the one who cursed Barnabas with vampirism in the first place) and werewolf Chris Jennings.

The Chris Jennings figure was originally unveiled as a limited edition Comic-Con exclusive, where 500 of the figures were made available for the first time ever.  Thus far, the going price of all 3 character toys seems to be pretty much the same on average from most retailers and they are also $19.99 per figure at Entertainment Earth.  My guess is that as time goes by, the werewolf will go up in value somewhat, though naturally, that remains to be seen.

Quite naturally, additional Dark Shadows characters have long been planned to be added to the 8" Mego-like series.  The beautiful card the first three figures are packaged on (with art by legendary MEGO artist Harold Schull) also features classic Dark Shadows icons Josette DuPres and Quentin Collins.  A prototype of Willie Loomis and at least one other classic original DS character were unveiled at the 2011 Comic-Con but that's mostly all that's been seen thus far.

I'm not sure at present, about the long term future of these wonderful figures, but my guess is that the line will continue in some capacity for some time to come, even if the company that manufactures them changes hands or transforms in some fashion (as Majestic Toys became Spectre Toys, for example).

The characters on the card art were wonderfully illustrated by Harold Schull

Joe Sena and Paul Clarke of EMCE Toys naturally had a hand in their production (with Sena being credited with package design) and the fact that the first series is currently available at emerging retailers such as Entertainment Earth is certainly a good sign.  Until we see more of these fantastic 1:9 scale figures, we can only hope that no new curses will befall the good (and not so good) folks of Collinsport, Maine.

Joe Sena of EMCE Toys/Fourth Castle designed the Dark Shadows packaging

Midnight: A Hush Falls Through
the Melancholy Halls of Collinwood

The immortal Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid)

Dark Shadows
, created by
Dan Curtis, originally aired weekdays on daytime television from June 27, 1966 to April 2, 1971 on the ABC network .

The basic premise of the show was created by soap opera writing legend
Art Wallace, and featured a recurring cast of supernatural characters such as ghosts, werewolves, zombies,  monsters, witches and other assorted heroes and villains of the decidedly macabre.

By far, the cult classic's most celebrated creature of the night was vampire
Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) created by regular series writer Malcolm Marmorstein.

Over the years, Dark Shadows has never quite left the public imagination, and still boasts legions of intensely devoted fans from all over the world, including notable celebrity devotees such as director
Tim Burton and frequent collaborator, Johnny Depp.

A short-lived, 12 episode Dark Shadows revival, starring Ben Cross and Joanna Going aired on NBC in 1991 and yet another version of the show was produced for The WB network in 2004, though the one hour telefilm was not picked up as a regular series and has subsequently only been screened at Dark Shadows festivals.

Victoria Winters (Marley Shelton) & Barnabas Collins (Alec Newman) of the 2004 Dark Shadows pilot

Most recently, the Warner Bros. film studio announced plans to bring the supernatural saga to the big screen, starring Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins - with Burton directing, of course.  Richard D. Zanuck, a veteran of such classics as Planet of the Apes (1968) and Cocoon (1985), will produce the film, with writing chores being done by Seth Grahame-Smith.  The film is slated to begin production in early 2011.

Below, producer Richard Zanuck discusses the newest Dark Shadows project directed by Tim Burton.  I'm not sure why Zanuck says that Johnny Depp "owns" the show, since everything I've read indicates that either Dan Curtis ProductionsWarner Brothers or both perhaps, are the current owners.  If you happen to know the precise legal status, then by all means, write and let me know.

Dark Shadows and all related characters, marks and images
are the exclusive property of Dan Curtis Productions and Warner Brothers
Dark Shadows theme music by Bob Cobert

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