Follow TV Tropes


Film / Dark Shadows

Go To
The vampire is the most normal one in this family.

"It is said that blood is thicker than water. It is what defines us... binds us... curses us."
Barnabas Collins

Dark Shadows is a film adaptation of the TV series of the same name directed by Tim Burton, with Johnny Depp realizing his childhood dream of portraying the Affably Evil vampire Barnabas Collins. Also in the cast are Eva Green, Bella Heathcote, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Helena Bonham Carter, Jackie Earle Haley, and Chloë Grace Moretz.

In 1776 Barnabas, the scion of a wealthy Maine fishing family, is turned into a vampire by Angelique (Green), a witch, for rejecting her love. He is locked in an iron coffin and buried alive. He escapes two centuries later, in the early seventies, and goes to help out his declining family's descendants and confront Angelique once more.

Released in the summer of 2012, the film is more comedic in tone than the series, similar to early Burton films such as Beetlejuice.


This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Laura Collins appears as a protective ghost rather than an evil Phoenix.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • Julia Hoffman, who has her own not-entirely-reputable reasons for "curing" Barnabas this time around.
    • Angelique was a much more tragic figure in the original series than the malicious bitch in the film. For starters, she only cursed Barnabas after he SHOT her in the original show, with the implication that she was not in her right mind, especially since she initially tried to undo the curse when she got better. She also did not murder Barnabas' parents, or curse Carolyn. Even though Angelique was responsible for Josette's death in the original show, she did not sadistically force her rival to kill herself against her will. She merely showed Josette an image of herself as a vampire, causing Josette to willingly kill herself in horror. It was never clear if her intention was to kill Josette or simply scare her, though she was happy with the end result. Also, Angelique herself had been murdered when it happened, so it could be argued that she was not in her right mind.
  • Advertisement:
  • Affectionate Parody: To the original Dark Shadows series, as well as soap opera twists and turns in general.
  • The Ageless: Angelique is perpetually young thanks to her witchcraft.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Angelique holding out her heart to Barnabas with tearful eyes can easily come across as this.
  • The Alcoholic: Willie Loomis, the manor's caretaker (Jackie Earle Haley), and Dr. Julia Hoffman, the live-in psychiatrist (Helena Bonham Carter).
  • And I Must Scream:
    • Barnabas is trapped in a coffin for 200 years ("Don't exaggerate. It was only 196"). He seems to have dealt with this nightmare by obtaining a twisted sense of time while he was imprisoned. The second time he's imprisoned in a coffin, however, he believes it has been years or decades while he was only trapped for twenty minutes.
    • In the final shot, Hoffman is revealed to be reincarnated as vampire, but sitting deep in the ocean, mummified in sheets and chains with a large weight tied to her.
  • And Show It to You: Combined with Beat Still, My Heart, Angelique pulls out her own heart moments before her death, when it stops beating and shatters. An attempt to prove that yes, she does indeed have a heart.
  • Anti-Hero: Barnabas is a Nominal Hero or a Villain Protagonist. While he is apologetic, he has few qualms about murdering numerous innocent people to satisfy his vampiric Blood Lust, or ensnaring minions in pursuit of his goals. On the positive side, he also has a strong sense of familial devotion, doing everything in his power to enrich and protect his relatives. And his love for Victoria is genuine.
  • Antiquated Linguistics: Barnabas converses in a most quaint and peculiar 18th-century verbiage.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Barnabas apologizes both times before murdering two packs of innocent people. He voices regret to at least one of the construction workers, but explains that after 200 years, he's very thirsty.
  • As Himself: Alice Cooper - though nobody accounts for why he looks 40 years older than he should have been. A bit of Self-Deprecation there: Cooper's cameo was originally supposed to be a CG representation of his younger self, but Cooper thought he looked uglier then than he does now, and decided to stand in himself.
  • Auto Cannibalism: Well, at least, drinking your own blood. When Barnabas drains Dr. Hoffman, she is transfusing herself with a bag of his blood, which quickly empties.
  • Badass Boast: Reminiscent of a line from Cellular:
    Barnabas: A stout man contains some 5 quarts of blood, which if you will forgive the boast, I can consume in a mere seven and a half seconds. But you, my dear little wisp, I dare say I will drink you to a withered husk in less than five.
  • Badass Family: The Collins all stand up against Angelique in the climax, with all their dark secrets.
  • Beat Still, My Heart: As Angelique is defeated by the ghost of David's mother, she plunges her hand into her shattered chest, pulls out her still-beating heart, and shows it to Barnabas in a last desperate attempt to make him feel something for her. It doesn't work, the heart evaporates and she dies.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Barnabas, Josette.
  • Bedsheet Ghost: Double Subverted. The first time Victoria sees a "ghost", it's very obviously David trying to scare her. The second time, when she thinks it's David again... there is a very real specter underneath the sheets. She's neither surprised nor scared though, since she's known this ghost since her childhood.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Victoria used one to escape the asylum.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Stacks of it with Barnabas and Angelique. They hate each other, but quite obviously lust for each other.
  • Betty and Veronica: Barnabas with Maggie/Victoria (Betty) and Angelique (Veronica).
    • Although unlike the original series it's always obvious that there was never a choice to be made there unless he gave into Angelique's blackmail; although he's incredibly physically attracted to her he also openly loathes her as a person.
  • Big Bad: Angelique.
  • Big Fancy House: Collinwood Manor was built to be one of these. It regains some of its charm in 1972 post-renovation.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family/Dysfunctional Family: The Collins in the 70's. Mostly because Angelique has been secretly messing with the family for nearly 200 years.
  • Birds of a Feather: This exchange happens prior to Barnabas biting Angelique and drinking her blood, kicking off the Final Battle once she blasts him away from her.
    Angelique: Go on, slaughter me. Show them who you are.
    Barnabas: No... I shall show them who we are.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Angelique.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Angelique is dead and Barnabas succeeds in turning Victoria/Maggie into a vampire so that they can be together forever, but Collinwood Manor and the fishery are burned to the ground and the Collins family are now even less liked by the townsfolk.
  • Black Comedy: What this mostly is, though there's also tragedy, horror and romance elements scattered throughout.
  • Blessed with Suck: Maggie, whose ability to talk to ghosts is misunderstood by her parents, leading to her institutionalization.
  • Body Horror: During the climax Angelique's body starts to fall apart like cracked porcelain and she moves like a twisted puppet. The overall effect is quite disturbing.
  • Bookcase Passage: You didn't expect a haunted old manor to have one of these, did you? Also discussed and lampshaded.
  • Book Ends: Barnabas begins and ends the movie with monologues about how blood is Thicker Than Water. Also leaping off the cliff after his love interest does the same.
    • One of the first scenes is of Barnabas with his parents watching Collinwood being built. One of the last scenes is the modern Collins watching Collinwood burn down.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Carolyn. Bratty, teen, and a werewolf.
  • Brick Joke: In the movie's prologue, the "M" in Mephistopheles' name looks suspiciously like the McDonald's "M." After Barnabas is unearthed in 1972, he looks up and exclaims "Mephistopheles!" as he sees a McDonald's sign.
  • Broken Bird: Maggie/Victoria. She gets better though.
  • Buried Alive: Well, Barnabas is a vampire so technically he's undead, but it certainly counts.
  • Burn the Witch!: Invoked by Barnabas, as an (empty) threat against Angelique.
  • Byronic Hero: Barnabas is an attractive male; he is intelligent and sophisticated; he is sensitive; the loss of his parents and fiancée haunts him; he is passionate and does not respect the social norms.
  • The Cameo:
  • Catapult Nightmare: Victoria dreams of being committed.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The movie starts off dark, then swiftly becomes more and more comedic until the final showdown, which is very creepy, dramatic, and almost devoid of humorous moments.
  • Charm Person: One of Barnabas' abilities. Also Angelique, who caused Josette's suicide with a spell. She uses the same spell on Maggie/Victoria at the end.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Barnabas intimidating Dr. Hoffman with being able to drain a woman in five seconds, as he manages to drain and turn Victoria while falling off a cliff before they hit the ground.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Angelique flaunts one as she says, "Hello, Barnabas. Remember me?" Honestly, she does this through the whole damn movie.
  • Chick Magnet: All the girls are attracted to Barnabas: Angelique Bouchard, Josette du Pres, Victoria Winters, and Dr. Julia Hoffman.
  • Composite Character: This film's Victoria Winters is both the original Victoria and Maggie Evans. Serves as a Mythology Gag as during the original series, both characters were identified as the reincarnation of Josette at different times.
    • Also, Angelique is both the original Angelique and Burke Devlin, who, in the first season of the original series, was building up a rival fishery to bring down the Collins family out of revenge. Of course, having had 200 years (and magic), Angelique is far more successful.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: Barnabas develops these when Angelique curses him to become a vampire.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Inverted. After having been smashed against a chandelier, the villainous Angelique dies in a crucifixion pose.
  • Cursed with Awesome:
    • Barnabas. Sure he can't endure sunlight, but he's gained immortality and vampiric powers.
    • Carolyn, who's been turned into a werewolf.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: While arguing at the table, David mentions that Carolyn touches herself and moans 'like a kitten'.
    David: Carolyn touches herself. She makes noises like a kitten.
    Elizabeth: (disgusted) David!
    Carolyn: (angered) You little shit!
    Elizabeth: Carolyn, David, enough! Both of you!
  • Deadpan Snarker: Barnabas.
    • Elizabeth too.
    (About Dr. Hoffman) "She's probably sleeping off one of her legendary hangovers."
  • Death as Comedy: Barnabas killing the hippies in the forest.
  • Death Glare: Angelique does this many times. As does Barnabas when he's really mad at someone.
  • Decoy Protagonist: After the prologue, the film proper starts off with Victoria on the train to her new job, and it appears she'll be the protagonist. In fact she plays an extremely ancillary role to the plot of the film.
  • Destructive Romance: Angelique's desire for Barnabas is ultimately what breaks her and leads to her demise.
  • Destructo-Nookie: Barnabas and Angelique trash the latter's office while making love.
  • Deus ex Machina: Not that David's mother's ghost doesn't get mentioned at all before her climactic appearance, but considering that ghosts aren't seen to be capable of doing anything apart from being seen and that she only appears at the climax it's hard not to consider her sudden appearance this.
    • Then you realise it's not a case of Deus ex Machina as she drowned. She's not a ghost. She's a siren who are known for luring people to death with their voices... which she does to Angelique.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Unless you picked up on the very subtle foreshadowing, Carolyn being unveiled as a werewolf probably came a bit out of nowhere.
  • Diegetic Switch:
    • The restoration of Collinwood and the family business is accompanied by a "Top of the World" soundtrack by the Carpenters. The scene eventually switches to a Collinwood TV set showing Karen Carpenter performing the song. Aghast, Barnabas attacks the TV, crying out, "Reveal yourself, tiny songstress!"
    • Played with in a scene where Barnabas, monologuing about his past, lays his arms on a '70s home organ, which plays a moody chord with inappropriately bouncy auto-accompaniment. Subsequent gestures generate ScareChords and other out-of-place sounds, until Elizabeth finally switches it off.
  • Disappeared Dad: Carolyn's dad is never seen or heard from, and Carolyn lampshades and invokes this on Elizabeth during the scene where Alice Cooper sings "Ballad of Dwight Fry", by speaking (on stage) the starting verse ("Mommy, where's daddy. He's been gone for so long. Is he ever coming home?"). Elizabeth is not remotely amused. Considering Angelique's cursing the family for 200 years, it's likely that Carolyn's father either abandoned her like David's father Roger, or was killed in some manner by Angelique, possibly by the same werewolf that turned Carolyn as a baby.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Barnabas was not locked in a box for 200 years, it was 196.
  • Dug Too Deep: Barnabas is released when his coffin is dug up by construction workers.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Both Barnabas and David Collins. And Victoria after being turned into a vampire.
  • Electric Torture: Maggie was treated by electroshock therapy when she was confined in a mental hospital.
  • Emergency Transformation: Barnabas bites Maggie and transforms her into a vampire to save her from a fall off the cliff at the end.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The final shot parodies the way soap operas end in cliffhangers; Dr Hoffman is shown underwater opening her eyes, implying she was successfully turned into a vampire. For fun, this scene recalls a shot of the drowned Shelley Winters, in 1955's The Night of the Hunter.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Angelique records Barnabas' confession of killing the construction workers and the hippies, and plays it out loud to the crowd gathering near the burning Collins factory (which she destroyed using black magic).
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Angelique has French origins, and boy is she straightforward in sexual matters.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French: Angelique's French origins may have something to do with her being presented as a smolderingly hot seductress.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Angelique is by far the largest ham in the movie.
  • Evil Versus Evil/A Lighter Shade of Black: Barnabas and Angelique are both clearly evil. Murder, mind-control, vicious mindset, and so on. Barnabas considers himself to be the lesser evil, arguing that all the bad things that Angelique does are her own fault... while all the bad things he does are also her fault, since Angelique's the one who turned Barnabas into a vampire. See also the Protagonist-Centered Morality example.
  • Fake American: Played with and justified in-universe. At the beginning, Angelique speaks with a French accent, but develops an American pronunciation to help her blend in the ever-changing society. Barnabas, on the other hand, missed out the last 200 years of the language's evolution in America, and still speaks like a Brit. It helped that his cover story was that he had just recently come from Britain.
    • Helena Bonham Carter plays this straight and does an excellent job with the accent. Ditto Bella Heathcote.
    • And Jonny Lee Miller.
  • Faked Rip Van Winkle: At the second time Barnabas Collins got out of a coffin he was sealed in, he was ready to believe he'd been there for decades. (Justified in that it took him 196 years to get out last time) The trope was averted as a relative of his tells him he was only there for a few minutes.
  • Fantastic Romance: Barnabas and Angelique/Victoria/Dr. Hoffmann.
  • Femme Fatale: Angelique, again.
  • Femme Fatalons: Angelique's. Barnabas has the male version.
  • Fetishized Abuser: Angelique kills Barnabas' parents and girlfriend and locks him in a coffin for close to two centuries. Doesn't prevent him from being attracted to her.
  • The Film of the Series
  • Final Battle: In which Carolyn is revealed to be a werewolf, Angelique is killed by the ghost of David's mother, and Collinwood Manor is destroyed.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Barnabas. His responses to the notoriously-tacky 70s is a major source of the movie's humor.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Dr. Hoffmann falls for her patient Barnabas. Later subverted, as it's revealed that she is more interested in his vampire blood than his personality.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Carolyn being a werewolf: The first time we see Carolyn she's wearing a very short dress and throughout the whole film Does Not Like Shoes (when she transforms her legs change so much they rip her tights); the second time she's eating under a painting of a full moon and her cousin says she makes animal noises at night. Angelique also refers to her as a "fetching creature". Also, the Scooby Doo episode featuring a werewolf and the secret passage features wolves howling at the moon. And on the night Angelique tries to get the Collins family arrested, there is a full moon in the sky, Carolyn senses this and eerily goes inside the mansion and closes both doors.
    • At one point, mention is made of the family curse: witches, vampires, and werewolves.
    • Dr. Hoffman becoming a vampire: She's always wearing red and she's always thirsty. After the transfusions begin she also stays away from the light and asks people to shut the curtains. She also gets noticeably paler, and when Barnabas bites her and she gasps in pain it's shown she has fangs. Also, when she's mentioned as being their psychiatrist, Barnabas asks if that's an American delicacy, hinting he'll end up biting her.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's hinted at the beginning of the film that Angelique's entire attraction and torture towards Barnabas is due to her being born a peasant, and how her mother ordered that she stop looking at Barnabas and "know her place"(being a house servant). Her entire goal seems to be an obsession to prove she can be better than the rich and noble Collins, and that she can have Barnabas despite her humble origins. Just watch when she first shows up in 70's Collinswood, how she basks on people addressing her with respect and reverence. While it doesn't justify everything she did to the innocent Barnabas and his family, it does explain why she's adamant on forcing him to love her. She's like a child that was told she can't have something because she "wasn't born good enough", so she tries her hardest to get what she wants.
  • Freaky Is Cool: Of all people, David likes Barnabas the most.
  • French Maid: Played with. 18th-century Angelique lacks the uniform, but has the flirtatious attitude associated with the stereotype.
  • Funny Foreigner: Barnabas comes off as this due to a combination of Fish out of Temporal Water and his Fake Brit accent.
  • Fur Against Fang: Played with. It's werewolf vs. witch, and the werewolf is fighting on the vampire's side.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Alice Cooper is the "ugliest woman" Barnabas has ever seen.
  • Genre Blindness: You'd think that everyone would realize that Barnabas was a vampire after he mentions that his hand should've burst into flames by touching the silverware and his declaration to focus his attention on family after 200 years at breakfast, or at least MAGGIE would've figured out it out after deep-kissing the damned guy, but you'd be wrong.
  • Get Out!: Two examples to Angelique, both in the climax. Carolyn, having just transformed into a werewolf, roars at her, "GET OUT OF MY ROOM!", and then Elizabeth orders Angelique to get out of the house while aiming a gun at her. Angelique simply mocks her and brings parts of the house to life.
  • Go Through Me: Humorously subverted when Willie tells Angelique this and she immediately flings him aside.
  • Go to Your Room!: For Carolyn mocking David's mother, her own, dead aunt, right in front of David, Elizabeth sends Carolyn to her room.
  • The Good Guys Always Win: Although would've been a Near-Villain Victory, if not for the ghost of David's mother.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Angelique wants Barnabus and anyone who gets in her way becomes an immediate target for her ire.
  • Haunted Heroine: Maggie/Victoria, quite literally.
  • Haunted House: Collinswood Manor, which is haunted by the restless spirit of David's mother.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Barnabas suggests the Collins family throw a ball. Cue "We always had the biggest, most wonderful balls" and "This family could use some balls".
  • Historical In-Joke:
  • Hoist By Her Own Petard: Angelique's scheme to turn Barnabas into a vampire, have Carolyn turned into a werewolf, and especially having David's mother killed and then come back as a ghost to haunt him certainly backfired and brings about her defeat.
  • Hollywood New England: Both flavors (refined but decaying "Codfish Aristocracy" and gruff fishermen).
  • Hot Witch: Angelique.
  • Identical Grandson: Maggie is probably a descendant of Josette's family, hence the resemblance between the two and the fact that Maggie can see the ghost of Josette.
    • This trope is toyed with as well. Angelique does not age, so to avoid suspicion she pretends to be her own daughter, granddaughter, great granddaughter, ad nauseum as time passes. This causes the boardroom of identical portraits in the gallery of past CEOs.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Angelique pulls this on Barnabas in her office. Johnny Depp looks quite pleased at the invocation of the trope....
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Probably what Angelique was thinking when she locked Barnabas in that coffin; the first and second time.
  • I See Dead People: Maggie/Victoria and David.
  • If I Can't Have You…:
    Angelique: If I can't have you, I'll destroy you. And your family.
  • Immortality Immorality: Angelique is over 200 years old, perpetually young, and deeply depraved. Barnabas, although much less of a jerk, still uses very immoral methods (mind control, killing, etc.) to further his agenda.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The Collins family fell on hard times and couldn't even afford to keep the whole manor warm until Barnabas Collins showed them the secret compartment where his parents hid their valuables. It's unclear what became of them after the climax.
    • The treasure room was below ground and seemed framed by stone, so it had a more than decent chance of surviving. Certainly enough to work with if they ever decided to capitalize on the Sequel Hook at the end.
  • Interspecies Romance: Barnabas/Angelique; Barnabas/Victoria.
  • Is It Something You Eat?: Barnabas thinks a psychiatrist is an American delicacy at first. She becomes one.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Admittedly it's a Hidden Heart of Gold, but Carolyn counts. She spends most of the film acting bitchy and dishes out a nasty Kick the Dog to David, but deep down she's still a good person who does care for those around her when the time comes. She tries to give Barnabas advice on how to court Victoria despite obviously thinking he's a weirdo, shows sincere approval at his idea of a party at Collinwood and participates in the festivities and attempts to battle Angelique head-on in the climax.
  • Julius Beethoven da Vinci: Played with. To cover up her immortality, Angelique always poses as the head of the Bouchard family, changing names and appearances every generation or so.
  • Just for Pun: Carolyn, who is a werewolf spends much of the movie acting bitchy.
  • Just Train Wrong: An amusing example in the opening credits: While the interior of the Amtrak train is correct, even using old advertising and Amtrak's original logo, the exterior shots are of a modern-day train.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Angelique crosses the Moral Event Horizon by doing this, first by murdering Barnabas's parents, then Josette. And of course, continuing Barnabas's own suffering by turning him into a vampire and burying him alive.
    • Angelique does this to the rest of the Collins family too, by ruining their fishery with her own, killing David's mother at sea, turning Carolyn into a werewolf, and then, after they reopen their fishery, she destroys it again and turns the townspeople against them and Barnabas. Even though Barnabas did murder the construction workers, the hippies and Hoffman, he did not do it For the Evulz, as Angelique implies with her recording to the sheriff.
    • Carolyn does this by mocking the fate of her dead aunt, David's mother, right in front of David. Elizabeth sends her to her room for it.
  • Lady Drunk: Dr. Julia Hoffman.
  • Lady in Red: Angelique turns up to the Collins' Ball looking absolutely stunning in a sequined red dress.
  • Lecherous Licking: Made creepier by the fact that Angelique has a long, snake-like tongue.
  • The Lost Lenore: Josette for Barnabas.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Color-Coded for Your Convenience - Victoria (the light feminine) is usually seen wearing pastels, in contrast to Angelique (the dark feminine) who wears mostly black and midnight blue.
  • Line-of-Sight Alias: Maggie Evans thinks her real name will not impress the Collinses so she looks for another name, sees an advertisement for the Winter Olympics in Victoria, British Columbia, and renames herself Victoria Winters.
  • Literally Shattered Lives: Angelique seems to be made of some sort of ceramic and shatters progressively during the climatic fight. It's implied that her immortality has to be renewed in cycles, since she survived being slammed around a bit by Barnabas earlier.
  • Living Statue: In the final showdown, Angelique's sorcery animates the wooden carvings in Collinwood estate.
    • In that same battle, Angelique takes on this appearance, with her porcelain-like skin shattering to pieces.
  • Looks Like Cesare: Johnny Depp, as usual. Maggie/Victoria at the end.
  • Lovecraft Country: It's Maine. Nothing supernatural ever happens round here. Right, Steve?
  • Love Hungry: Angelique regarding Barnabas.
  • Love Makes You Evil/Love Makes You Crazy: Angelique.
  • Love Triangle: Barnabas is in love with Maggie/Victoria, but also has a sizzling relationship with Angelique, who is still in love with him after 196 years (cue the massive amounts of UST).
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: Josette and Victoria are the virtuous, conservatively dressed good girls. Angelique is the cleavage-baring, sexually aggressive villainess.
  • Male Gaze: Endless shots of various elements of Eva Green's lovely figure. Angelique loves to use this to her advantage.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Upon first seeing Barnabas, Elizabeth warns Carolyn and David to stay away from him and vice versa. Understandable because at this point she doesn't know who he is. In the climatic fight, Elizabeth wields a shotgun against Angelique to protect her family.
    • The ghost of David's mother. She may be deceased, but if you threaten her child, she'll hit you with one hell of a banshee shriek.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Alluded to by Victoria at the end as an obstacle to her relationship with Barnabas.
  • Medicate the Medium: David ended up on medication after seeing his mother's ghost and Victoria ended up in a mental asylum after seeing the ghost of her earlier incarnation.
  • Mind Control: One of the perks of being a vampire is that you can do this.
  • Missing Mom: David's mother died at sea before the events of the film. Angelique was behind it.
  • "Mister Sandman" Sequence: Barnabas visiting Collinsport for the first time in 196 years, in 1972.
  • Monster Mash: Vampires, witches, ghosts, and werewolves.
  • Mood Whiplash: After a very serious opening, the film morphs into a Black Comedy. However, the film does switch back to a darker tone at times. Sometimes, it does this in a way that's very jarring. For example, when Barnabas finds a group of hippies, he grows to really enjoy being in their company, and opens up to them about his problems and feelings. The hippies, in response, are very supportive and nice to him, more than anyone else has been up until then, and Barnabas seems happier than he's ever been since he woke up in that century. Then he simply tells them that despite enjoying his time with them, he has to kill them all, and proceeds to do just that. It may be Played for Laughs, but it easily comes off as terrifying, even sad, that he would suddenly just do that to people that he had been bonding so well with.
  • More Hypnotizable Than He Thinks: Barnabas insists that hypnotizing him would be impossible. He goes under about four seconds later.
  • Move Along, Nothing to See Here: Said almost word-for-word by the sheriff when the supernatural stuff really shows itself in the final act.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Eva Green as the very sexy Angelique Bouchard. Even Chloë Grace Moretz has a scene where she shows some leg (her dress couldn't be much shorter).
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Angelique hypnotizes Josette and forces her to fall off the cliffs.
  • My Grandson, Myself: Angelique has been pulling this trick for at least 200 years to be able to continue running her fishery.
  • Narrator: Barnabas, in the prologue (and at the very end).
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: Angelique Bouchard wears a stunning red evening gown with a plunging neckline that just barely reaches her stomach.
  • Neck Lift: Barnabas has a tendency to do this.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailers play up the broad comedy and Fish out of Temporal Water aspects of the film and make Barnabas look more like a straightforward (if quirky) hero rather than Anti-Hero he is. The Maggie/Victoria plot is also never alluded to.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Barnabas frightens off David's father, adding to the poor kid's woes. His mother already dead, now his father abandoning him as well. There's no sign that Roger explains his actions either.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Barnabas and Angelique do not pull any punches during their climatic fight.
  • No Smoking: Barnabas links up with a group of hippies who pass around a joint; he makes a point of not imbibing. (Interestingly, for some reason one of the hippies refuses to pass the joint to a girl sitting right next to him, as well.)
    • A deleted scene shows Vicki smoking in Carolyn's room and giving the 15-year-old girl the cigarette to smoke from. Although Carolyn actually doesn't do so, it's very likely the scene was cut due to the smoking.
    • Other than the above examples, very few adult characters are shown smoking, despite it being 1972. Angelique is a notable exception, though of course the Surgeon General's warning likely wouldn't apply to her anyway.
  • Not Good with Rejection: After Barnabas rejects her love, Angelique goes on to Murder the Hypotenuse (see above), curse Barnabas to be a vampire, lock him in a coffin for almost 200 years, and spend those consequent 200 years sabotaging his family for revenge.
  • Nothing but Hits: Even if several of the songs heard were performed well past 1972.
  • Not Too Dead to Save the Day: David's mother.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: Angelique is shown to be wearing one back in the late 18th century as she is casting the spell to cause Josette to fall from Widow's Peak.
  • Oh, Crap!: Elizabeth when Barnabas tells her who he is, as it also means he's a vampire. However, it diminishes pretty quickly when he tells her he will not harm her or anyone else in Collinwood, since they are family.
    • Barnabas definitely thought this after he rejected Angelique's offers and left the room, only to see a coffin on the other side of the door.
    • Angelique has a moment when she encounters Carolyn as a werewolf.
    • During the scene of Barnabas with the hippies, they get one of these when they realise Barnabas is about to kill them.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: One of the hippies who give Victoria a lift early in the film persists in calling her "Veronica" even after being corrected.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: Dr. Hoffman exploits this with Barnabas in order to get a sample of his blood in order to try and become a vampire herself.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Barnabas fits the classic definition. Sunlight and silver make him spontaneously combustive.
    • However he can endure sunlight if sufficiently covered or keeps to the shadows.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Carolyn takes on a mostly human form with big hairy wolf legs, sharp teeth, golden eyes, and claws. Also, it seems she can transform at will, and is able to control herself rather than attacking anyone and everyone.
    • Or the final fight probably happened during a full moon.
  • Overly-Long Tongue: Angelique.
  • Papa Wolf: Although the Collins family are not his direct descendants, Barnabas takes their safety very seriously and will defend them whatever the cost.
  • Parental Abandonment: After witnessing Maggie talking to what they think is an Imaginary Friend (the ghost of Josette actually), her parents sent her to a mental hospital when she was a child.
    • When Roger tries to find Barnabas' hidden treasure, Barnabas catches him, reveals his strength, and gives him two options: become a decent father to David or leave. Roger chooses the latter.
  • The Patriarch: Barnabas feels honor-bound to protect his family and ensure their prosperity, and tries to assume this role. Of course, Elizabeth Collins Stoddard is filling this role as The Matriarch before Barnabas arrives.
  • Pivotal Wake-up: Barnabas from his coffin.
  • Politically Correct History: Apparently, Angelique managed to successfully run a business for 200 years despite all legal limitations and social prejudice placed on woman entrepreneurs. Justified since it's implied she has the same power to charm and entrance people like Barnabas does. Also, it is never stated that she didn't use puppet "husbands" and "brothers".
  • The Power of Blood: Unsurprisingly, a major theme.
  • Product Placement: Lampshaded beautifully when the first thing Barnabas sees upon release from his coffin is the iconic McDonald's Golden Arches:
    Barnabas: Mephistopheles!
    • Wheaties are awfully prominent on the Collins's breakfast table.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Angelique is portrayed as evil for the way she terrorizes Barnabas and his family, but Barnabas' unethical actions (such as mind control and murder) tend to be glossed over, though Angelique does call him out on it.
    Angelique about Julia's murder: Aren't we being a tad hypocritical? Lying and stealing blood are things that come very naturally to you.
    • Also may have something to do with the fact that Barnabas' evil actions only happen because of Angelique. Had she not turned him into a vampire out of a truly amazing level of petty spite, he wouldn't be able to hypnotize anyone, and he wouldn't be forced to kill to survive.
    Barnabas: "Yes, I killed Dr Hoffman, and those workmen, as well as some very nice unshaven people. For every life I take, a piece of my wretched soul dies! But I kill, only because I am COMPELLED to.. by your witchcraft. By your curse..."
    • However, while Barnabas is compelled to kill he seems to have some control over who and when. The fact he never harms any of his family members is proof of that. He slaughters Julia even though she did him no harm and a bunch of people who were nothing but kind and accepting towards him. Yet he spares Roger's life despite ample proof he's an asshole. Also he never looks at ways to get blood without killing anyone.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: Angelique compels Josette to kill herself with a spell so she'll have Barnabas all to herself.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Angelique can be seen to be wearing one as she excuses herself to march into Collinwood Manor and face off against Barnabas in what would be the Final Battle.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Angelique and Barnabas are over 200 years old.
  • Reincarnation Romance: Barnabas finally ends up with Maggie, in whom Josette is apparently reincarnated.
  • Remake Cameo: Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played Barnabas Collins, Angelique, Quentin Collins, and Josette DuPres in the original Dark Shadows, appear in the ball at Collinwood Manor (they are the group of people Barnabas greets as they arrive for "the happening"). This was the last role for Jonathan Frid, who died less than a month before the film opened (too late for the film to include a memoriam caption for him).
  • The Renfield: Willie the butler becomes this after Barnabas hypnotizes him.
  • The Reveal: The climatic fight reveals that Carolyn is a werewolf.
  • Revenge by Proxy: Angelique has spent the last two hundred years ruining the Collins family as revenge against Barnabas for spurning her. When he escapes his coffin, she steps up her efforts.
  • Rule of Drama: Invoked by Angelique. Many of the ways in which she tormented the Collins family over the years were, by her own admission, done just to make things more dramatic and interesting.
    Angelique: Liz, your perfect Collins pedigree lacked a bit of substance. So, I sent the werewolf who bit Carolyn in her crib! Just like I made David no better than a bastard when I sent his mommy to the ocean floor to have tea with the tuna! <turns to Barnabas> And as for you, my love, I killed your mother and father. I cursed your family, my Barnabas.
  • Scenery Porn: Copious beautiful shots of woods, lakes, and cliffs. Also the interior of the mansion.
  • Ship Sinking: Barnabas and Angelique, when she dies after being attacked by the ghost of David's mother.
  • Ship Tease: A lot between Barnabas and Angelique.
  • Shout-Out:
  • "Shut Up" Kiss: Angelique gives Barnabas one in an early scene between them, leaving a lipstick mark around his mouth.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Bella Heathcote gets a few seconds as Josette and none as Victoria.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Angelique lights up afterwards.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Barnabas, with emphasis on sophisticated:
    "Goest thou to hell, and swiftly, please, and there may Asmodeus himself suckle from your diseased teat."
    "I have already prepared my counter-proposal. It reads thusly: You may strategically place your wonderful lips upon my posterior and kiss it repeatedly!"
  • Stealth Pun: Crossing over with Fridge Brilliance when Angelique first sees Carolyn and says she's growing into "Quite the fetching creature." Carolyn is later revealed to be a werewolf.
  • Supernatural Proof Mother: Elizabeth, to the point of hiring a psychologist to examine David. And then came Barnabas...
  • Supernatural Floating Hair: Josette's ghost has this, perhaps connected to her watery end.
  • Table Space: Carolyn eats at the far end of the table.
    • Later on, Barnabas does this as well, primarily to remain out of the sunlight.
  • Title Drop: Once, by Barnabas.
    "I have spent the last two centuries locked in a box, with nothing to keep me occupied but a glimpse into the dark shadows of my soul."
  • Time Skip: From the 18th Century (in the prologue) to 1972.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Angelique does this to Barnabas, making the town population descend upon him. Twice. He makes threats of doing the same thing to her, and have them Burn the Witch!. However, it is unlikely that they would have listened to him.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Collinsport. The curse surrounding the Collins family is, however, unknown to the townsfolk.
  • Trash the Set:
  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The movie was released in 2012 but set in The '70s. The series it was adapted from ran from 1966 to 1971.
  • The Unsmile: Angelique's Cheshire Cat Grin reeks of this, someone who smiles that wide constantly, would have some really sore cheek muscles.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: No other way of putting it.
  • Vampire Vannabe: Dr. Hoffman is using Barnabas' blood to turn herself into a vampire in order to stop her aging. It works.
  • Vampires Are Rich: In his life, Barnabas was the heir of an affluent colonial family. Over time, the family fortune dwindled, but fortunately Barnabas' father left behind some treasure in a secret room.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Barnabas used to be quite handsome and knew his way with the ladies. His undead appearance may be freaky and creepy, but he still has romantic encounters of varying depth with three female characters.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Angelique, to the point that she would have been a Hero Antagonist if it wasn't for two little details: That she is totally unapologetic about having turned Barnabas into the bloodthirsty monster he is, and that she in various ways goes out of her way to establish herself to the audience as being truly evil.
  • Visual Pun: Angelique is a walking one, especially around the point of the Final Battle. She's a hollow shell. Her beautiful veneer cracks and shows the real her. She tries to give Barnabas her heart, but when he turns it down because he doesn't feel the same, it breaks.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Angelique vomits green, bug-filled slime onto Barnabas a la The Exorcist.
  • Wall Bang Her: And ceiling, couch, and floor bang her.
  • We Can Rule Together: Angelique tells Barnabas several times she likes the idea of the two of them ruling over Collinsport together as two super-powered immortals, but he refuses.
    Angelique: I'm going to offer you a business proposal, Barnabas. My final offer; either you agree to rule this little pond of mine side by side, partners and lovers...Or I put you back in the box.
    Barnabas: I have already prepared my counter-proposal. It reads thusly: You may strategically place your wonderful lips upon my posterior and kiss it repeatedly!
  • Weakened by the Light: Barnabas actually catches fire when exposed to the sunlight for a relatively short period of time.
  • What Year Is This?: Uttered verbatim by Barnabas.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Barnabas can't endure the idea of seeing Victoria age and die, so he asks Angelique to turn him back into a mortal. She refuses, naturally. The problem is solved at the end, when he bites Victoria to save her from a fatal fall.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Angelique is a witch, and hasn't aged a day in 196 years. Well, her boobs haven't anyway.
  • Woman Scorned: The entire plot is put in motion by Barnabas refusing Angelique's love.
  • Yandere: Angelique. Good lord, Angelique. She sets out to ruin an entire family simply because her beloved dumps her for a woman of higher class.
    Elizabeth:'Hate? No, if she merely hated you, she would have killed you. A curse takes devotion.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: Willie tries pulling this on Angelique during the climax. However, she simply knocks him aside without even breaking her stride.
    • Carolyn (in werewolf form) tries this late in the fight, with a bit more success before finally being beaten.