Still more lazy thoughts from this one…

Opening Titles and Song: Dark Shadows (2012)


After mentioning his under-appreciated work in another post earlier in the week, I’ll conclude with the film’s opening titles. Just for the Hell of it. Tim Burton’s horror-comedy Dark Shadows (2012) shared a similar journeyed commencement for its credits sequence as that of his less denigrated Sleepy Hollow some thirteen (my favorite) years earlier.

Traipsing another New Yorker headed north into a path fraught with mystery and death by way of the filmmaker’s mix of gothic and quirk.

The movie’s titles only show up following the brief backstory of the family Collins, as traced from Liverpool to the haunted shores of Maine Stephen King made famous. The troubled Maggie Evans (Bella Heathcote), who fetches a striking resemblance to the love interest of the accursed son Barnabas Collins (Burton’s preferred, Johnny Depp) two centuries prior, prepares herself on the train.

Adopting the name Victoria Winters as her prime deception while crossing the eerie New England expanse.

The initial interior shot of the ethereal-faced character flows into Bruno Delbonnel’s superb overhead aerial cinematography before easing back into Victoria‘s scheming for the governess position up in Collinsport. Always heading ever northward, the entirety of the clip establishing her deceit. Even if the carefree (and soon to be short-lived) hippies who’ve picked up our beguiling hitch-hiker along the way don’t exactly believe her.

The credits dropped in sedately throughout the evocatively wistful Richard Morrison and Dean Wares-designed sequence.

The jaunt from New York to the steps of the now decrepit Collingwood manor, overlooking the seaport township bearing its name, forlornly intoned by a certain contemporary hit single as its musical accompaniment. Likely, the most famous song by England’s The Moody Blues, Nights in White Satin complemented the movie distillation of the original 60’s TV program lyrically.

Band member Justin Hayward’s autobiographic verse offered the corresponding emotionality befitting a soap opera.

Beauty I'd always missed
With these eyes before,
Just what the truth is
I can't say anymore.

Since the film’s soundtrack was laced with needle-dropped numbers of the ’60s and ’70s, the singer’s outpouring of consciousness — one of the more distinct of the period describing the end of one love affair and the start of another — was pitch-perfect. What better a ballad to ring in its 1972 setting. The yearning of it all came through like the hormone-soaked nineteen-year-old who wrote the tune.

Not only did it heightened the overall mood of the opening titles sequence, Dark Shadows‘ theatrical preamble as a whole set a passionate tenor for what Burton had waiting.

18 Responses to “Opening Titles and Song: Dark Shadows (2012)”

  1. Rick Ouellette

    This opening sequence was maybe the best part of the movie for me, overall I found it a bit disappointing. But this makes a great 5-minute YT clip, as does the Alice Cooper section and the Carpenters montage.

    Liked by 1 person

    • le0pard13

      As soon as you mentioned the Alice Cooper and Carpenters in your comment those sequences came instantly to mind, Rick. The contemporary songs dropped into this film a true highlight — although the closing ‘Go All the Way’ number remains a sore point for me. Unless it was a licensing issue, why insert ‘The Killers’ cover version instead of ‘The Raspberries’ original? Given its 1972 inheritage (which was time of the story), it’d have been perfect.

      But I understand this work by Burton’s doesn’t gather more universal acclaim among film fans. And some really despise the film. It’s only grown on me as the years have passed since it’s release. Go figure…and well, and having both Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green in the cast doesn’t hurt. 😉

      Thanks so much, Rick.


  2. Vinyl Connection

    Saw the new Jungle Book movie yesterday. The closing credits were very clever indeed. But the reason for mentioning this is that there was a trailer for Alice Through the Looking Glass that I think made reference to Mr Burton.

    Liked by 1 person

    • le0pard13

      Oh, I need to see it then. Opens this week here. Yeah, Burton is only producing the Alice in Wonderland sequel (he directed the 2010 version). Thanks for the heads up, Bruce. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • le0pard13

      Good to hear, Mark. Even though I remain a fan of his work, Burton has seemingly suffered a decline. I was kinda flabbergasted to learn recently his ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (2010) made a billion dollars for the studio in worldwide box office. Something the latest ‘Batman vs. Superman’ is not going to achieve for the WB. Thanks, my friend. Always appreciate your comments. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ruth

    I haven’t seen this movie yet. The reviews are mixed but I’m still curious as the trailer did make me laugh. Plus who doesn’t love Eva Green. This opening title is very cool too!

    Liked by 1 person

      • morlock13

        Aw, sure. I’ve become an entertainer for about five years here, writing, acting, comedy, drama, and it’s sad to find people can’t express themselves about what they enjoy like they once did. So I try to keep that part of me going. Lara Parker even wrote a great blog post about the film encouraging people to just say what they enjoyed. I so appreciated her doing that.

        Liked by 1 person


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