I haven't done movie reviews before because they're not necessarily a part of the esoteric world even when employing the art of illusion. Movies appeal to the things people wish were true. They are dreams that producers and directors make into a motion picture reality. I have always loved movies with magic and witches in them; more so if they show metaphysics in a positive light. People believe a lot of what is in the media nowadays, and sending out the right information matters. Although Dark Shadows doesn't do this, I still enjoy the romantic aspects of being a vampire and finding yourself lost in a sea of emotions for years without really knowing what to do with them.

Dark Shadows has been anticipated by my boyfriend ever since the posters came out. I didn't watch the trailer before I went in, so I didn't really know what to expect. However, I trust Tim Burton's work so much that I don't need a trailer to know I will enjoy his films. We're both raving fans of his, so the experience proved to be pretty vivid for us. It was particularly nice not to have children yelling in the room we were in. We were lucky.

The cast is excellent. The flaws of the characters make them feel real enough to connect with, and makes it much easier to love or hate them. Even though some of the side stories felt a little cramped in some places, in general the movie does a great job of unfolding and revealing to the general public. The aspects I enjoyed most were visual. There was something oddly satisfying about watching Johnny Depp shield himself from the sun with a stylized black umbrella. It makes me wish I saw more people that are this strange — or crazy — where I am from. Everyone in Puerto Rico is starting to look the same to me lately. Did anyone else see it as a direct reference to Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies?

Something that I feel can be appreciated is the mild violence. I'm really tired of watching people getting hacked to pieces or bleeding to death because it's so rugged. That's part of why I enjoyed the glamor that they dressed death up in. Angelique Bouchard, the witch, looked stunning as she met her picture-perfect death. The event was sugarcoated with stylistic poses and gestures, and contrasted with white. She was a cross between a human doll and my beloved Lady Gaga. I'm really looking forward to pinning the stills from this scene to my mood boards in the future, and won't be surprised to see Nicki Minaj, Kerli and a ton of cosplayers alluding to this scene in the near future.

I didn't like the fact they dramatize the life of a witch and focus on the negative aspects of the craft. People watch these movies and adopt the opinion that witches are greedy and toxic to keep around. It's already hard enough to dispel the initial negativity that comes with

The deep blues and red accents reminded me of the Bohemian Gothic Tarot by the Magic-Realist Press. The general tone of the movie is of decadent beauty and tasteful darkness as it fuses with the world as we know it today, or perhaps knew it 40 years ago. The prevalent themes are dark romance and high magic, which have always been of interest to me. Dark romance is a lifestyle and an aesthetic, I see it as an umbrella term under which I feel most comfortable. I dare say that I identify with this subculture niche. That could be why every time I read with this deck, I wince back at the messages that it delivers with painful precision. Every time this deck is used, it washes over the bright colors of life with hues of melancholy and sadness. It serves as a good reminder that not everything can be sugarcoated, and that sometimes it is necessary to hear things that are unsettling. There is a truth hidden in the shadows, all it takes is a highlight to remind us that it's there.

The movie starts with the introduction of the protagonist since he was a child, the lavish surroundings that he was raised in, and in the pride of the family name. Barnabas Collins, played by Johnny Depp, is an aristocratic man whose life dates back a little over two centuries before our time. Over the years he developed a fondness for beauty, both of the world and the flesh, but he wasn't very good with expressing his feelings. That got him in trouble very fast, because he didn't have to do much to win the heart of a witch that adored him in secret. I love the undertones of obsession and possessiveness, because it makes this movie a staple of dark romance. The media has grown very used to frilly, flirty superficial love, and it often overlooks the beauty of dark romance.

When Barnabas Collins manages to come out of his imprisonment, he embodies the Judgment card. He is setting out for a second life in another time period, but his moral values and interests remain the same. In joining with his family, he is met with melancholy and new-found worth for his possessions. It is subtly implied that the objects used back then are more practical than the objects we use today. His reactions to the abrupt change from his own to ours is quirky and says a lot about the way our society has developed into what it is now. His suggestions are more practical and sustainable than the quick fixes that we use. My particular favorite is when he asked for them to prepare the horses, and he was met with the reality of a car.

The prevalent theme of love and the proper way to court a lady is enjoyable for those that miss the way it used to be done. The movie depicts openly the shades of jealousy that cripple the soul. It reminds us the harm of taking love away from others and manipulating them for the sake of a hidden agenda. Angelique pays the price for love and jealousy after her attempts to win Barnabas over with superficial passion. The characters had enough substance to relate the message of what happens to people that can't make the difference from needs and desires. I drew some connections amongst the characters and my own waking life. It was a worthwhile exercise to compare and contrast what others do around me, and how I have behaved before under the same effects of jealousy. Once the spell wanes, the jealous aggressor is left alone and empty on the inside. Even now, when I look back at my most recent cases, I shudder a little at the thought of getting caught in the mundane web of a bad romance.

This is a romanticized tale of witches, vampires and werewolves with many contemporary twists. It takes the monsters that I grew up fond of and it sheds a new light on their fascinating lives, extending the magic for a couple of more hours. I thoroughly recommend it!

With Dark Shadows now showing, it's a good time to find some dark romantic themes to spice up your personal life. I leave you with a make-up tutorial by Charisma, and a few songs by the industrial vampires, Blutengel. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Dark Shadows Inspired Makeup Tutorial (NYX Face Awards) by Charismastar.

Blutengel — Children of the Night.

Blutengel — Nachtbringer.
Thank you for taking the time to read my review! This post is in anticipation to a review of the Bohemian Gothic Tarot. Consider it a sneak peak to the world of vampires, witches and werewolves of the Magic-Realist Press.


  1. thanks for the review. As a long time fan of the original I know there are SO many things they could do wrong... :)
    Johnny is too young to play Barnabas, but once he reels you in you know he could play anyone.
    Looking forward to seeing it myself.

  2. Hi Sharyn,

    Thanks for stopping by! I have passed by your blog before and enjoy it. Particularly the decks I already know and love!

    Maybe since you know more about the series than I did you will have a better idea of what it should be like. I'd love to hear your impressions of it!