I have been in Australia since before the Dark Shadows film opened. I did get to see it before I left. I had made a trip over to London and Pinewood Studios during filming. I got to spend time with Jonathan Frid, and that was special because we had such fondness for each other. Jim Pierson worked very hard to put it all together. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp from Kentucky, along with the rest of the cast and crew, were very good hosts. Tim came to the film with an open heart and mind for the spirit of Dark Shadows. . . of what he had stored away as a child. As Tim told Jonathan, “If it weren’t for you, there would be no movie. None of us would be here.”
In the film, Tim does not shy away from the big things, the largeness of our lives. . . when we do not edit ourselves, when our dreams and inner beings take us to that other world where the shadows can be stark and dark. Barnabas awakes to a world he did not choose — rather he erupts with the defensive, frightened, fierceness of a Tasmanian Devil, finding himself on the frontier of the new age of technology, trying to make sense of it all. He is determined to restore the mansion to its former glory. The passions of Dark Shadows are played out on a big canvas with the mystery of life in all its strangeness, its weirdness. The vivid colors of our imaginations, pounding, pulsing. . . where love, the hunger for it and what it is like to not have love, to not feel love, is played out raw. When Barnabas gives Roger the choice to stay or go, Roger makes the easy choice and goes. The revenge of bitter love, of unanswered love, the dirty reptile that arises in revenge is there careening off the walls. . . the act of going from one horror to another and how we survive as children by going home to another world, to escape if you will to a world of our making. . . to a place where love is not only promised but given fully. Oh, how much we will sacrifice for love.
Tim looked at fate, at destiny, at reincarnation, at morality and the vengeance of a mother protecting her cub. He gives us mortality and the price for those who want everlasting life. What is Doctor Hoffman pondering when she opens her eyes? Finally, there is the cleansing of fire, which will bring new beginnings and new growth.
Tim and Johnny have used their huge talents to let us view a world that has meant so much to so many. . . a world that is still in orbit.