We defy you to watch this first trailer for Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows starring Johnny Depp and not burst with costume excitement. Go on, try it.
If the tone is even close to this perfect balance of eerie and stupid, Dark Shadows will be Mars Attacks style laughs with Beetle Juice’s heart and a hint of Edward Scissorhands’ melancholy. Colleen Atwood’s costume design leaps out from the screen, tickling your funny bone and hopefully twitching a latent 1970s revival of gaudy prints and check poly-blend sports jackets.
Based on an American soap opera that ran from 1966-71, Dark Shadows the movie takes its daft premise of resurrected vampire Barnabas Collins (Depp) waking up in 1972 Maine among a defective family of Collins descendents living in his mansion and celebrates every inch of its zaniness.
What appears so intoxicating, apart from Depp finding his new Jack Sparrow, is the blending of two costume eras simultaneously; Barnabas’ mid-18th century Garrick overcoat with the early seventies experimental mess of manmade fibre suits and daywear that resembled upholstery. Standouts from the trailer include Eva Green in a red sequin disco gown, Michelle Pfeiffer in purple and green Bill Gibb crossed with Laura Ashley, and only slightly less wacky than usual Helena Bonham Carter wearing a diamond pattern dress, matching scarf and giant plastic Polaroid sunglasses. It is not era specific 1970s but rather a celebration of all the decade has to excrete condensed into one household.
If Dark Shadows cannot reach the potential it so optimistically promises in this trailer then at least we will always have those costumes. Bonham Carter in multi pink spots dress and a backcomb? We are there.
Dark Shadows is released on 11th May.
You can watch Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter in Sweeney Todd – The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at LOVEFiLM.com.
© 2012, Christopher Laverty.