The story of “Dark Shadows” is relatively new to me, since I have only heard of the original TV series.  Despite knowing too little about it to call myself a “Dark Shadows” fan, early news of the film version starring Johnny Depp was enough to rouse my curiosity.  It seemed like a long time passed until its theatre release, but was worth the wait.

*** SPOILER ***

Special effects are film elements that I’m always interested in and I thought those in “Dark Shadows” were great.  Of course, the effects incorporated the usual lore of vampire traits represented even back in the classic horror “Dracula” starring Bela Lugosi.  The appearance of Josette’s ghost brought to mind those tales of hauntings in which a spirit is said to repeat an action from a tragic time in life or even the moment they died.  From those examples of vampire lore and ghostly tales, the special effects were impressive not only in how they looked but in terms of spooky traditions.

During the scenes in when Angelique (Eva Green) is in the meeting room, her take-charge manner reminded me of  certain scenes from the movie “Mommie Dearest” (1981).  If you’ve ever seen that, it’s the scenes in which Faye Dunaway, as actress Joan Crawford, is in boardroom meetings with studio higher-ups that came to mind.  There was that same “I’m in control, here” demeanor toward the opposing character / characters in the meeting room scenes of both movies.  It’s just a thought that occurred to me, during both in the business meeting scene and later, when Angelique and Barnabas exchange words.

The cast of “Dark Shadows,” as listed by IMDB, also included Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Bella Heathcote, Chloe Grace Moretz, Gulliver McGrath and Jonny Lee Miller.  Along with Depp and Green, everyone was great in their respective roles.  Moretz’s character had a surprise in store and the appearance of a certain rocker with a trademark dark image was another unexpected element.

Somehow I hadn’t seen the whole cast list for “Dark Shadows” before seeing the movie, so it was a great surprise when Sir Christopher Lee appeared.  He’s a legend in my opinion. I’ve always loved those classic horror movies in which he and others like Vincent Price, another legend of the horror genre, have starred.

Also, I love historic details of homes and other buildings.  So the Collins’ estate, from its creepy, vine-covered gated entrance to the imposing mansion itself, was another favorite “Dark Shadows” element.  My own dream home is of one historic architectural style, such as Victorian.  Of course, it has to have modern amenities set up for computing in our social media world.  That past-meets-present theme sort of reminds me of the Barnabas Collins character, coming from the distant past and encountering curious objects of 1970s culture.

As for Depp, he’s been one of my longtime favorite actors.  One movie I’ve seen on TV a lot lately is “Cry-Baby,” which I love for his cool 50s-era bad-boy character.

But his many quirky characters are my favorites as well.  Out of the movies and characters listed on Johnny Depp’s IMDB profile, here is a list of the ones I like the most.

  • Cry-Baby Walker – “Cry-Baby” (1990)
  • Edward Scissorhands – “Edward Scissorhands” (1990)
  • Sam – “Benny & Joon” (1993)
  • Don Juan – “Don Juan DeMarco” (1994)
  • Ichabod Crane – “Sleepy Hollow” (1999)
  • Jack Sparrow – “Pirates of the Caribbean” (2003)
  • Mort Rainey – “Secret Window” (2004)
  • Willy Wonka – “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (2005)
  • Sweeney Todd – “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007)
  • John Dillinger – “Public Enemies” (2009)
  • Mad Hatter – “Alice in Wonderland” (2010)
  • Barnabas Collins – “Dark Shadows” (2012)

These are the ones I’ve seen so far.  I was going to do a top 10 list, but there are so many movies I like starring Depp and he has played a lot of great characters.  What are your favorites of Depp’s characters and movies?