Book Review - Dark Shadows: The Visual Companion
The “Cast” is the longest chapter, from pages 20 to 68. This focuses upon the main characters, with close-up photos of them and behind-the-camera photos of them being directed by Tim Burton. Other chapters include “The Sets”, “Costume – Hair & Makeup – Prosthetics”, “Cinematography – Stunts – Special Effects”, and “Visual Effects – Editing – Scoring”. All are full of beautifully posed publicity photos, and many show Burton’s sketchy preliminary designs of what he wanted the characters to look like.
Apparently I would not make a good cinematographer, because many of what I guessed while seeing the movie to be the special effects and the visual effects are described here as the reverse. The transparent ghost of Josette floating through Collinwood’s halls is a special effect, while Angelique’s face cracking like a broken doll in the climactic battle is a visual effect. AWN’s readers will be disappointed that so little space in this book is given to the special and visual effects. Still, Dark Shadows is a live-action movie, and this book delivers what its subtitle promises: it is an excellent “visual companion” and souvenir of the film for Dark Shadows’ many fans.
(Although it cannot be told from this book, the effective music by Danny Elfman is the closest to a traditional film score that I have heard for a Tim Burton feature. It should be noted that co-Producer Richard D. Zanuck died just after writing the Afterword to this book.)
Fred Patten has been a fan of animation since the first theatrical rerelease of Pinocchio (1945). He co-founded the first American fan club for Japanese anime in 1977, and was awarded the Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award in 1980 for introducing anime to American fandom. He began writing about anime for Animation World Magazine since its #5, August 1996. A major stroke in 2005 sidelined him for several years, but now he is back. He can be reached at email@example.com.