Book Review “Dark Shadows: The Visual Companion”

Author: Mark Salisbury
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Titan Books
Release Date: November 27, 2012

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

When I first saw Tim Burton and Johnny Depp’s “Dark Shadows”, I have to say I was a little let down.  I am very familiar with the 70’s Soap Opera series and I thought this would have been a perfect collaboration for them.  After my second viewing of the film, I enjoyed it a bit more.  Honestly after reading this visual companion, I am feeling very compelled (vampireget it?) to watch this film again. This book literally takes you through every aspect of the film from the characters to the score.  If you have your doubts about this film, I suggest you check out this book it will easily convince you to give the film a chance.

“Dark Shadows: The Visual Companion” is wonderful produced by Titan Books, yet another gem. Author Mark Salisbury was in close cooperation with Tim Burton and the production team during its creation.  It includes a very nice foreword by Depp, an Introduction by Burton and an afterword by the late producer Richard D. Zanuck.  I really enjoyed Zanuck’s words, it is sad that this was his last film but at least from his what he said it seems like he really enjoyed the experience.  Mark Salisbury is the former editor of Britain’s magazine, Empire, and has worked with Burton before including “Alice in Wonderland: A Visual Companion” (one of my favorites) and also on “Burton on Burton”.

Like the film itself, this book really took two going throughs in order to really wow me.  I did my usual quick flip through to see what catches my eye and I though it looked good but not great.  But when I really dug into this book, I realized that it was in fact a great visual companion, as it is titled.  It is jam packed with wonderful photos, concept drawings and production designs.  You really get to learn about the characters and their part in the film.  There are also some great interviews with the cast and crew.  All that would normally be good enough for me but there is still more.  They touch on the visual effects, creating the town of Collinswood and even the score from Danny Elfman.  There is not a detail left out here.  So if you whether you are a fan of this film or a curious party, I highly recommend picking this up.

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