Depp plays the vampire playboy

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have been talking about their black comedy Dark Shadows. Apparently it’s the culmination of a long-held ambition of Depp’s to make a vampire movie

"I’ve always been attracted by horror films since I was a very young kid," Depp said. "I said to Tim we should do a vampire movie together." This being Tim Burton though, there had to be an element of morbid humour in the end result.

Dark Shadows is something of a gleeful pastiche, based on a wacky daily soap opera from the 1960s that boosted ratings by introducing a vampire called Barnabas Colllins, played by Jonathan Frid. Depp was obsessed by the character as a child and admits he learned a lot from watching Frid’s performances. The veteran actor, who died in April this year, even gets a tiny cameo in the movie.

Dark Shadows also pays tribute to one of the great screen Draculas, Christopher Lee, with the British actor also included in the cast. "It was a real treat getting to work with Christopher," Depp said. "The guy’s a complete legend. One of my favourite scenes is where I got to hypnotise Christopher. I got to hypnotise Dracula."

The trailer suggests a broad comedy, but Burton says that fascination with vampires goes beyond sheer thrills. "There’s great humour in it," he says, "but it comes out of very serious issues. By tapping into vampires, witches and ghosts, the reason they are powerful is that we all experience those feelings on some level. It’s something that remains in popular culture because strangely it remains part of our everyday lives."

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