Dark Shadows – Tim Burton meets Psychedelia

14 Sep

In August I’ve finally watched Tim Burton’s film Dark Shadows (2012) and it fulfilled all the expectations I have of this brilliant director.

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Always expecting the best from one of my favourite film directors – Tim Burton, I naturally had great expectations out of this film. My high hopes have happily been fulfilled for I am very pleased what this movie has to offer; it’s very Burton styled, it has witty dialogues, great costumes designed by Collen Atwood and most importantly for me – it binds together typical Burton’s gothic aesthetics with psychedelia of the 1972, that is, the year the movie is set in. That’s a perfect combination for me, and I confess that, since I love 1960s and early ’70s hippie fashion, I’ve often wondered how would Tim Burton combine it, and that I’ve seen what kind of costumes did Collen design I am very much inspired in fashion sense. What’s very funny to me in the movie is Barnabas’ mindset that is trapped in the 18th century and his first meeting with the completely different culture of 1972. is hilarious. Barnabas is fascinated with things that are completely foreign to him at the same time; music, television, cars and hippie (the unshaven young people, as he calls them).

Collinswood is such a lovely estate, I would love to have been able to grow up in such an old mansion, especially if its wooden carvings would also come alive at night. Aesthetics of the movie are very inspirational for me; from costumes to the amazing decorations and family portraits. Collinswood is a mansion whose grand halls I would love to wonder through, whose candles I’d enjoy lighting, from whose windows I’d gaze to the wilderness. I can imagine myself having Carolyn’s bedroom; a psychedelic style decorated room with yellow carpet, vivid purple walls covered with posters of Iggy Pop and various other musicians of the time. It’s very bright, groovy, colourful and inspirational.

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What’s also very interesting about the film are the characters that are all very personalised; they have minds of their own, and their fashion styles perfectly match their personalities. There are five femmes in the movie and all of them have a different fashion style, all of which I like except Angelique’s because hers is very bold and matches her evil, cruel personality.

Elizabeth Stoddard, Carolyn’s mother, is a Collins family matriarch and a very strong-willed and active woman, most of all loyal to her family. Michelle Pfeiffer was excellent in this role; she carried herself with dignity and elegance, while still being rather conservative, intuitive, stern and strict. Her fashion style goes in hand with her personality. Elizabeth certainly couldn’t be pictured wearing hippie garments her daughter is seen in, no, her style is quite the opposite; she almost all the time wears very 1940s revival dresses in solid colours. bishop sleeves and nice necklaces, accompanied by very stylish, also ’40s style, high heeled shoes.

Dark Shadows

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Dark Shadows

Elizabeth’s fifteen year old daughter Carolyn is a typical teenage girl; isolated, rebellious and misunderstood. She is usually found listening to music or dancing on s0me psychedelic tunes, dressed in colourful and groovy hippie clothes. I very much like her style; her vivid coloured tights, big leather belts, floral printed shirts and dresses that usually have an interesting cut.

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Victoria Winters is a polite, gentle, proper and introverted young lady, but only on the first sight. She actually has secrets of her own; she escaped a mental institution her parents placed her into because she had a gift of speaking with ghosts and is in fact some kind of reincarnation of Josette, Barnabas’ love from the eighteenth century. Victoria’s fashion style, again, reflects her personality; she’s usually dressed in neat, proper school-girl styled dresses and shirts.

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Julia Hoffman, played by Helena Bonham Carter, is rather vain and laid back family doctor, always sleeping one of her legendary hangovers. Her style matches the bohemianism and casual attitude connected to her personality and she’s often seen wearing interesting piece dresses, some of which resemble Biba style that was popular at the time in UK, combined with sunglasses, bold make up and sometimes a pair of knee high socks.

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2 Responses to “Dark Shadows – Tim Burton meets Psychedelia”

  1. Paul S 17th September 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    Although I’ve seen only a handful of the Dark Shadows tv episodes, totalling perhaps 1% of the total made, I do have vague memories of the characters and the basic mood of the show so when I first heard that Michelle Pfeiffer had been cast, I thought, “YES! She will be the perfect Angelique!” Turns out she was playing the matriarch Elizabeth Stoddard.

    However dressing La Pfeiffer in a dark Victorian style, a chunky necklace, and a butterfly-shaped belt was perfect. Classic, but with sheer in the mix and accessorised to modern day, her look was on point. Pfabulous even!

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Films with Brilliant Costumes | Byron's muse - 25th April 2016

    […] Gothic’ and Psychedelic aesthetics, and this film answered my question. I already wrote a post for itself discussing costumes and my opinion about this film, so I’ll quote myself: I can imagine […]

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