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Cool Ass Cinema Book Reviews: Dark Shadows 2012 Edition!
DARK SHADOWS: THE VISUAL COMPANION By Mark Salisbury 192 pages; hardcover; color Over the course of its 1,225 episode run (two theatrical movies and a 90s revamp), Dan Curtis' daytime soap opera known as DARK SHADOWS amassed a legion of fans that all seem to share similar memories regarding the series. That fans say they "rushed home to see it after school" is seemingly a unanimous proclamation among those who saw it during its original run between 1966 through 1971.
About six months ago, Warner Brothers released a new DARK SHADOWS movie under the guidance of Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp in the iconic role of vampire Barnabas Collins (played to perfection by Jonathan Frid on the TV program and first movie from 1970). Like any other remake, fans were extremely divided on this one, both before and after it came out. One's pessimism or disdain will rely on how dedicated a fan of the series they are; or one's thoughts on the remaking machine that's had Hollywood in a death grip for at least ten years now with no end in sight. After reading Mark Salisbury's DARK SHADOWS: THE VISUAL COMPANION, just out from Titan Books, it becomes clear that both Burton and Depp are devoted worshipers of the series. I've not seen the new film, but after reading, and skimming through the dozens of photos in this book, my interest has piqued to see this movie. Furthermore, this volume isn't exclusively about the new picture. The adoration and loving memory towards the original Gothic television series resonates throughout the 192 glossy pages found herein. This fondness for Dan Curtis' groundbreaking program is apparent in Depp's Foreword and Burton's Introduction. There's a near ten page History of the long-running program, including some rare behind the scenes photographs (especially memorable is an on set photo from the Barnabas-less NIGHT OF DARK SHADOWS ). The books five chapters all cover certain areas of the production such as the casting; which includes anecdotes from cast members. Other chapters cover the photography and effects work and set design among other technical aspects of the movie. The late Richard D. Zanuck (he died July 13th, 2012) provides an Afterword. Even if you didn't like the movie, it's obvious the makers had the best intentions in bringing DARK SHADOWS into modern times with this new version. Mark Salisbury's book does a fantastic job of putting that notion across with an impressive amount of interview excerpts, behind the scenes photos, movie stills and conception artwork that gives the reader a look into the filmmaking process.
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I've been a huge movie buff since childhood catching old horror and monster flicks on Shock Theater and kung fu movies at the drive-in during the late 70's and early 80's. I've had a long time fascination with, and appreciate all genres of fantastic cinema, good and bad. One fans cheese is another fans juicy steak. I like both equally and seldom find a film I truly dislike as I will find something of interest in just about anything. The bulk of the films or tv series' seen here are mostly from my childhood, or films I own in what has become an Amazing Colossal DVD collection.