December 2012 Club
For the first time in over a year, the club selection was not a inspired by a book, but by a movie. Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows is a horror comedy based on the 60s and 70s cult gothic soap opera aired by ABC in the States.
Set in coastal Maine, the main vampire character played by the ever-charming Johnny Depp is Barnabas Collins, who makes his somewhat violent entrance from a coffin, having been buried for 200 years. Barnabas’s family started a successful fishing business in Collinsport in the 18th century, and he returns to find his descendants still inhabiting the gothic manor house he once lived in, until he spurned the love of a maid, Angelique Bouchard, who happened to be a witch and henceforth cursed him and all his loved ones to death or suffering.
The Collins family of 1972 is dysfunctional and the business is failing due to competition from rival fishery, Angel Bay, run by the revengeful Angelique.
The plot revolves around how Barnabas will defeat his arch-rival and save the family and business, but naturally, there are several subplots involving suicides from cliffs, a nanny who resembles his beloved Josette, draining blood to gain eternal youth (it’s a Tim Burton film – there HAD to be a part for Helena Bonham-Carter!), an Alice Cooper gig, a ghost and a werewolf.
Visually, I think the film works well in terms of balance of gothic darkness mixed with a retro 70s feel, but story-wise, I’m not so sure. I may be wrong, but I have a feeling there was a bit of over-indulgence in reminiscing about the original tv series.
For the semi-solid colourway, I choose a rich red – not too dark, not to orange, not too pink – to represent the red surrounding Barnabas Collins. His lips, his cravat, blood and Angelique’s dress.
For the variegated option, I used a different set of dyes to obtain a more muted effect. I had in mind the ocean scenes at Widow’s Hill and the painting of the seascape in the manor’s dining room – teal, storm grey, plum, faded red-pink and dark teal. The colour runs are short to medium with more teal and dark teal than the other colours.
I chose a luxurious merino/silk base, Lustrous, to reflect the stormy seas, the silkiness of Barnabas’s cravat and the metallic, shiny nature of blood.