I have to admit I’m disappointed that the big screen version of Dark Shadows didn’t do very well with the critics, or at the box office.
I still dig the original show, and have quite a few episodes, but maybe today’s audience just doesn’t get it, or it looked too goofy from the trailers for audiences to connect with.
As expected, Dark Shadows is hitting DVD and BluRay on October 2. Personally, I can’t help but wonder if a number of potential viewers were waiting to rent or buy the film for a few bucks instead of watching it in the theaters.
In any event, the screenwriter of Dark Shadows, Seth Grahame-Smith, especially took a pounding this summer because he adapted the movie for the big screen, and the adaptation of his novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, also tanked.
As the L.A. Times points out, Smith and Damon Lindelof, who wrote Prometheus, were both on a Comic-Con panel called The Art of Being Despised. Guess vampires weren’t as indestructible as we thought, although they should be right back on top with Twilight in November. (The last Twilight, thankfully…)
Dark Shadows fandom runs in my family, my aunts watched it after school, much like the cast of the movie did when they were young, and one of my relatives felt that goofy humor aside, it’s very close to the original show. Dark Shadows was live, and even when she was young, the gaffes were glaringly obvious, like when someone would shut a door and the whole set would shake.
Reading some reports, I got the impression this generation may not be that tuned into Dark Shadows, that it’s from too long ago for many today to care, or it could be too niche of a pop culture phenomenon for mass appeal today. A lot of times, the whole reasoning behind remakes is people are too lazy to go back to the originals in the first place, but in the case of something like Dark Shadows or Speed Racer, audiences have to understand what was so cool and fun about the originals in the first place.
In the meantime, Smith is working on a stop-motion film which Tim Burton may direct called Night of the Living, and he’s also working on the sequel to Beetlejuice. (The Times reports that Burton’s not sure what his follow up to Frankenweenie will be yet). Smith also manages a company called Katzsmith with David Katzenberg, and one of the projects they have in development is the remake of Stephen King’s It.
So indeed, Smith took a beating with the one-two punch of Dark Shadows and Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter, but as Burton told the Times, “There’s no such thing as a sure thing. If anybody goes into something thinking that, it’s not accurate… It’s kind of the great thing about film, it’s still a chemistry, it’s not an exact science.”