Fans of the 1960s-1970s TV show "Dark Shadows" have been following with interest the production of the big-screen movie, due in theaters May 11. Actor Johnny Depp, a longtime fan of the show, plays vampire Barnabas Collins, and released photos of him smeared in white makeup have been much discussed online.
But many fans were working under the assumption that the film was a drama, or perhaps even a bit of a horror film. After all, the series featured vampires, witches, warlocks and more -- mixed in, of course, with soap-opera romance and intrigue.
But the trailer shows that the film is really a comedy in which Collins is freed from his coffin and is shocked to find himself in the year 1972. A Volkswagen microbus, lava lamp, disco ball and other signs of the era figure prominently, as does Collins' confusion about modern technology.
In one scene, he asks for a horse, only to be told, "We don't have horses, we have a Chevy." In another, he breaks a television that is featuring Karen Carpenter singing "Top of the World," calling out "Reveal yourself, tiny songstress!" And in another, when he's asked if he is "stoned," he replies, "They tried to stone me ... it did not work."
The movie blog I Watch Stuff wrote of the trailer, "If earlier, staid photos of 'Dark Shadows' had you thinking Johnny Depp might wear some refined dignity atop his plastered-down hair, this first trailer for the film should make clear how wrong you were. It is zany times! Specifically, it is zany time 1972 ..."
Even if it wasn't what fans expected, there's precedent for a TV drama turning into a funny big-screen comedy. The movie version of TV cop show "21 Jump Street" hits theaters Friday, and reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Critic Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars, and said while he didn't feel there was much call for a film version of the old show, "filmmakers have abandoned any pretense of being faithful to the series, and turned to a mashup of screwball comedy, action and "The Odd Couple" formula."
Perhaps "Dark Shadows" can have the same success, but the vampire soap opera has a large and devoted fanbase who may not be as forgiving as "Jump Street" viewers.
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