Thursday, October 27, 2011

Maggie's Mug

We recently ran a prize draw for Kathryn Leigh Scott's novel Dark Passages, asking readers the place where Maggie Evans worked in Collinsport. The answer, of course, was the diner at the Collinsport Inn, which prompted Keith Dunmire to write in and share a picture of this treasure – an original cup and saucer used on the set. Keith takes up the story. "We acquired them some years ago from a prop department in New York. Kathryn autographed them a few years ago and recognised them immediately."

The pieces were part of the Desert Tan range produced by Stirling Vitrified China of East Liverpool, Ohio. The company was a major supplier for restaurants from the 1940s onwards, and pieces from this range still occasionally surface on Ebay. "I couldn't resist sharing the photo of our Collinsport dinnerware," says Keith. "It's hard to look at them and not think about who may have handled them."

Monday, October 24, 2011

Chloe Moretz Talks Dark Shadows

Chloe Moretz has been busy promoting her new film Texas Killing Fields, but her role as Carolyn Stoddard in the new Dark Shadows feature film has dominated much of the press material. "It's a very weird, weird, weird character," she tells NBCMiami. "In the beginning you'll be like, 'Why is she doing that?' But then you'll realize at the end that it makes sense."

"This movie is one of the most special things," Chloe enthuses in the Chicago Sun-Times. "I had never heard of Dark Shadows, but my mom says it was one of her favorite shows as a teenager." She is also full of praise of Johnny Depp's performance as Barnabas Collins: "Johnny is so phenomenal as this character. He's so cool. He's like the weirdness and quirkiness of Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow with Edward Scissorhands thrown in with a little bit of Sweeney Todd and the tone of Beetlejuice."

The chance to work with director Tim Burton was a long-time ambition, Chloe tells Collider: "Tim Burton has always been one of my dream directors to work with. When I got a call and they said, 'Tim Burton wants you to be in his movie...' it was a lot to take in. My mom and my brother didn't even tell me. They kept it from me until everything was done and secure. Working with him really did live up to all of my expectations, and actually went beyond everything I expected him to be."

"My brother, Trevor, is my acting coach and we came up with a lot of weird stuff... So, I went to Tim with all these ideas and things to do, and he literally was just like, 'Oh, my god, that sounds perfect! I love that you just came to me with all of those ideas. You're not afraid to just tell me.'"

The all-star cast of Dark Shadows was also a particular enticement: "The first day I came on set, it was a dinner or breakfast scene... literally the whole cast, sitting at this gigantic dinner table, eating. For me to walk in and sit at this table with some of the most phenomenal actors, and then have one of the most amazing directors in the corner of the room, it was so, so, so surreal. They have their own little circle, and they just let you into it with open arms."

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Picture of the Week: Barnabas Visits The White House

We're getting in the Halloween spirit as we take a trip back to 1969, when Jonathan Frid appeared as guest of honour at a UNICEF party for underprivileged children held at the White House. Joining Barnabas to meet the crowds was first daughter Tricia Nixon.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

LACMA To Host Tim Burton Event

LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is to host a special event celebrating the films of director Tim Burton on Friday October 21. The museum is currently hosting a major exhibition of Tim Burton's artwork.

Bringing Burton's World to Life will feature a panel discussion with key Tim Burton collaborators composer Danny Elfman, production designer Rick Heinrichs and costume designer Colleen Atwood, all of whom have been working on the new Dark Shadows feature film. For more information on the event, click here.

Danny Elfman was recently interviewed by the MTV Movie Blog, where he said how work on the music score for Dark Shadows was progressing: "I just sent them some stuff so they can play with it while they're editing." Discussing his approach for the project, he revealed: "I think we might keep it [the orchestra] small. Tim's first thought was to make it very small, but having said that, maybe we'll make it big. I think this will be a little wilder than Edward Scissorhands, but... I really don't know what to expect until it's done."

Novel Reprint Covers Revealed


Tor Books have unveiled their new cover designs for the forthcoming reprints of Lara Parker's (Angelique) novels Angelique's Descent and The Salem Branch. As reported earlier this week, both books will be reissued in April 2012. To pre-order at a discount price, click on the hyperlinked titles.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Johnny Depp on Barnabas Collins

Johnny Depp has been busy promoting the release of his new film The Rum Diaries, but conversation has turned to his role as Barnabas Collins in the Dark Shadows movie. Speaking to Larry King on a CNN special this weekend, he spoke about once again about his childhood fascination with the original series:

"I had watched it as a kid, you know. Religiously. I remember sprinting home from school to see it. Didn't want to miss, like, a minute of it. Ironically, you know, [director] Tim [Burton] had gone through the same experience. We were doing Sweeney Todd a couple of years ago... One day we're just sitting there talking, and I said, 'You know, we should do a vampire movie sometime. Let's do a vampire movie.' I went, oh, Dark Shadows, man... And then one thing led to another."

In an interview with MTV's Movie Blog, he discussed the inspiration for Barnabas' new look: "Over the years, these vampire movies have come out... vampire TV shows and stuff like that, and you go, 'Well, nobody looks like a vampire, man. What happened?'" The new Barnabas promises to be a thoroughly traditional vampire. "I adored Dracula, still do... from Bela Lugosi to Christopher Lee. It was an opportunity to sort of go into what really doesn't exist [on-screen] so much any more, which is classic monster makeup and a classic monster character. So that was really the inspiration Tim and I talked about."

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dark Shadows Novel Reprints Announced

Tor Books have announced that they will be reprinting actress Lara Parker's (Angelique) Dark Shadows novels, to tie in with the release of the forthcoming feature film.

Angelique's Descent was first published in 1998 and told the story of the character's origins in Martinique, while 2006's The Salem Branch delved into the past of Angelique's alter ego Miranda DuVal and her role in the Salem witch trials.

Both titles will feature revised cover designs and Angelique's Descent will also include a brand new epilogue chapter not featured in the original book. Lara is currently writing her third Dark Shadows novel, which is due to be released by Tor in 2012; The working title is The Curse of the Full Moon.

Angelique's Descent and The Salem Branch are due out in April 2012 and can be pre-ordered at a discount price by clicking on the hyperlinked titles.

Picture of the Week: Heading Off

With Halloween fast approaching, here's the cover from the final issue of the Gold Key comic book, featuring a flaming jack-o-lantern and a headless horseman. As the popularity of the Dark Shadows line waned, the publisher downgraded the covers from painted images to simpler line drawings. Despite the best efforts of the artists, these clean ink outlines were no substitute for the brash, frenetic brushstrokes of the early issues – far too neat and spare to conjure up the spirit of Dark Shadows. From issue 35, The Missing Manuscript, published in February 1976.

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Empire Magazine Highlights

This month's issue of UK film magazine Empire features a report from the set of the new Dark Shadows movie, including quotes from screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, producer Richard Zanuck and actress Chloe Moretz (Carolyn Stoddard). "It was actually Johnny [Depp] who wanted to make this movie," reveals Zanuck. "When they were younger, he and Tim [Burton] would both rush home, at opposite ends of the country, to watch this show every day. Johnny, quite independent from Tim, acquired the rights, because he had such a passion for the show."

Writer Olly Richards reports that the massive set for the Collinwood mansion is "festooned with marine details, like merpeople sculptures that will come to life, and an enormous chandelier entirely constructed of crystal-like squid tentacles." Zanuck explains that: "You could make most of this with CG [imagery], but it's not the same. A lot of the mood is in the sets, in the detail... Tim likes to work on live sets, and it's better for actors too. And it's always worth it. It shows in the final film."

Seth Grahame-Smith, reflecting on the original Dark Shadows episodes, says: "I wasn't actually alive when it aired... It reminds me of Twin Peaks, in that it was so ahead of its time, and when you look back it's so anachronistic and daring. It's taking stories right out of Edgar Allan Poe and putting them in a soap opera..."

On the film's 1970s setting, Grahame-Smith explains: "Tim and Johnny [Depp] took a long time explaining exactly why it had to be 1972. 1972 is right at the time when the hippie movement... is dying out and being replaced by this me-me-me generation... who are all about showing their wealth and having everything. Barnabas, who was very much me-me-me in the 1700s is now realizing that family and love are what matters most and going in the opposite direction to he rest of the world."
The article also confirms that Alice Cooper, previously reported to be making a cameo appearance, will be playing himself, and that Christopher Lee's role is "a sort of king of the fishermen" who spends time at The Blue Whale, the Collinsport pub featured in the original series. IMDB is listing Lee's character as Bill Malloy, who featured in the show's earliest episodes. Originally played by Frank Schofield, Malloy was the manager of the Collins family fishing fleet.

Friday, October 14, 2011

New Dark Shadows DVD Sale

Halloween is just around the corner, and for a limited time Amazon have the entire range of Dark Shadows DVD box sets on sale, with savings of up to 50%. Each volume contains four discs of original episodes, with bonus interviews and additional features. Here are ordering links:

Dark Shadows: The Beginning (pre-Barnabas episodes): Collection 1, Collection 2, Collection 3, Collection 4, Collection 5, Collection 6

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Victoria Winters' Book Club

Site reader Bill Branch emailed to share this scan of the book jacket from America Sails the Seas, a title that Victoria Winters was seen reading in episode six of Dark Shadows.

Generally when the show featured any printed matter prominently on screen, a fictional title would be specially created by the Dark Shadows props department. However, on this occasion an actual book was used, resulting in this low-key example of product placement.

Written and illustrated by John O'Hara Cosgrove II, America Sails the Seas was first published by the Houghton Mifflin Company of Boston in 1962. "Starting with the most simple canoes and moving through history all the way to the atomic submarines, the author's beautiful illustrations and text explain the role that each ship played in the development of America," said the publisher.

The book is long out of print, but if you'd like to find out what had Vicki so engrossed, a selection of second hand copies can be found on Amazon by clicking here.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Picture of the Week: Portrait of a Vampire

This week, it's a solemn early portrait of Jonathan Frid as Barnabas Collins, complete with some covert branding from ABC-TV peeping in from the sidelines.

As the show's resident fiend, Jonathan was always keen to play down the perception of Dark Shadows as a campy show: "You can't kid me that people watch the show month in and month out hung up on the camp aspects," he asserted in a 1969 chat with the Montreal Gazette. "Sure, there's a kind of university following in the dorms... This team came up from the University of Miami to interview me the other day. They were pretty cool about it all. Certainly didn't treat it as camp."

Well, that's that cleared up, then.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

New Classic Comics Collection For February

Hermes Press has announced that they will be releasing a fourth hardcover collection of classic Gold Key comic strips. Dark Shadows: The Complete Collection – Volume Four will feature over 200 pages of digitally restored strips, along with commentary and other bonus features.

Dark Shadows: The Complete Collection – Volume Four is due out in February 2012 and can be pre-ordered at a discount price by clicking here. Hermes' reprint of the classic 1970 Dark Shadows Story Digest has just been released can be ordered online by clicking here. Look out for a review on this blog soon.

Hermes will also be hosting a Dark Shadows panel at this month's New York Comic Comic con, with original series actresses Lara Parker (Angelique) and Kathryn Leigh Scott (Maggie) in attendance. The event takes place on Saturday October 15. For more information, visit the event's official website.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's a Wrap For Dark Shadows!

On Friday September 30, principal photography concluded on the new Dark Shadows feature film, bringing to an end over five months of filming at Pinewood Studios. Local newspaper the Buckinghamshire Advertiser revealed that the Dark Shadows crew also completed location work at the county's Black Park earlier in the week. The woodland area, which adjoins Pinewood, has featured in numerous productions, including the Harry Potter series.

UK newspaper The Observer reported on Friday's shoot in a feature on the studio's 75th anniversary, saying that: "It was the last day of filming on... Dark Shadows," and that director Tim Burton and star Johnny Depp had been unable to attend the studio's birthday celebrations as "filming was still going at an intense pace."

A wrap party for the cast and crew was held on Saturday evening, with attendees including Tim Burton, Helena Bonham Carter (Dr. Julia Hoffman) and Eva Green (Angelique). Dark Shadows will now progress to post production, ahead of its May 2012 release date.