Off the bat, let me say that I have NOT seen the current incarnation of this story done by Tim Burton. The trailers looked goofy beyond belief, and since his abysmal Alice in Wonderland, the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory mess, the Corpse Bride and Sweeney Todd which I felt were lackluster as well, I’m a bit put off of Mr. Burton as of late. I’m just tired of him shitting all over stories I usually enjoy.
When I heard a long while back that there would be a remake of this story, it inspired me to refresh myself on the remake from 1991 with Ben Cross and Joanna Going, and then begin the task of watching the original 1960’s afternoon soap opera starring Jonathan Frid and Joan Bennett.
For those who have not seen the original: Is it campy? Yes. Unintentionally funny? Yes. Is there also some good acting mixed in and an interesting storyline? Yes and yes. Things slowed down a bit when a key character was eliminated from the show after being the major source of conflict, but I’ll have to see how it evolves and develops other conflicts. It seems like these shows were done on a very tight schedule because there are line-flubs in every episode which went uncorrected. Also, something about the way it was filmed (or is it video?) makes all the candlelight and firelight have a strange “black aura” around the flames, which is both eerie and distracting. Overall it’s an enjoyable little soap for fans of the supernatural and macabre. I hear that in later seasons they add werewolves, zombies and more to the vampire-ghost mix.
I have similar feelings for the 90’s version. It was fun, campy, good acting mixed with bad (check out a laughable performance from a very young Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Many of the “night” scenes were obviously filmed in California daytime sunshine with sorely inadequate light filters. Unfortunately it was cancelled after one season and never got a chance to get better.
If you enjoyed Dark Shadow’s 90’s reboot, check out Werewolf–a late 80’s primetime drama which was great fun and reminded me a bit of the Incredible Hulk. Happy horror-shows!