This Week in Bon Temps: A Lot of Bootin’, Not So Much Rallyin’

We’re five episodes Alan Ball’s deep into True Blood‘s fifth season, and it’s time for the show to stop vomiting on its own shoes for a couple minutes and decide what it wants to be. Is a winking self-parody, where every character is on the joke of living in a fictional universe full of "Supes"? (Supernaturals. Ugh. Don’t get me started.) 

Is it a dark satire, and if so, can someone please explain what it is that True Blood is satirizing anymore, now that we’ve covered America, religion, homosexuality, the media, rednecks, hippies, the word "Sookie"

Or is True Blood just a Dark Shadows soap opera, with the occasional pithy line acknowledging its own goofiness or "culturally relevant" plot development ("Now we have our own Smoke Monster…from Iraq!" – this show), attempting to keep viewer numbers up on a program that directly precedes The Newsroom?

Oh I get it. True Blood is an Aaron Sorkin show, but with vampires/werewolves/shifters/Ifrits! (That’s right. Ifrits. Google it. Because someone in the show actually says "I Googled it," in reference to True Blood‘s newest obscure evilness. It’s like a very surreptitious way the show gets its audience to do its homework for them.) Like an Aaron Sorkin show, True Blood simultaneously wants to be taken very, very seriously, while still having the "out" of reminding its audience, "Hey, this shit isn’t real, so just have fun and don’t worry about it!"

Okay, to push this analogy farther: when Sorkin was on Colbert last week, he made this big to-do about how The Newsroom was this idealized, fantasy landscape of news media, and that people should care about the show notbecause of the subject matter, but because of the interpersonal drama and the characters. When Colbert tried to call him on this new strain of evasive bullshit, Aaron Sorkin made some comment about right, how all high schools are exactly like Glee. Meaning: if Glee doesn’t have to strive for the gritty realism of The Wire, why should his shows? Do your best! 

So in Aaron Sorkin’s perfect world, it doesn’t matter what setting you put your fully-formed, three-dimensional characters (who all sleep with each other): it could be a sports newsroom, a regular newsroom, a courthouse, or on Mars. (As long as there are courts and newrooms on Mars.) That’s a strawman argument, because Sorkin’s characters are all earnestly invested in their beliefs about the world they inhabit (some might say too invested), so in order for his stories to work, a viewer also has to de facto give a shit about…the news. The White House. Facebook. Whatever. 

True Blood no longer cares if we care about vampires or Sookie or any of this made-up crap. Sometimes the dialogue will become Sorkin-esque, like Roman reminiscing about the chancellor he was forced to stake. "Drew was a good man…we signed the Vampire Right’s Amendment together," Christopher Meloni says with a straight face. Then two beats later, when Salome tells him that there are traitors in their midst, he replies "No shit." He is basically rolling his eyes with the audience at her over-the-top dialogue after delivering a totally over-the-top speech! You can’t do that on television! Well you can, but don’t expect anyone to get real invested in your plot when you can barely be bothered to yourself.

Same goes for Sookie, who throws up all over Alcide before she can give him a blowjob. She turns around to find that her ex-boyfriends, Eric and Bill, have vampire-appeared in her doorway to make snotty comments and tell her she has to help them find Russell Edgington. In a world where characters act in some manner that would make us care about them, Sookie would be mortified to be caught in the act like that. She would also probably be furious, seeing as the two loves of her life disappeared from town the night she told them she couldn’t date either of them, and then show up to be dicks and then demand she use her fairy powers to help them….not be killed?

But instead, this is what she says: "Must be a Thursday." Then she climbs out her broken front door, mumbling something about "boot and rally." 

So which is it, writers of True Blood? Are you doing that Eminem thing from 8 Mile where you are dissing yourself in your own lyrics so no one can make fun of you? Is that whole subplot where Jessica and Tara suddenly act like they are in an episode of Girls your version of telling the audience that you do have a friend named Cheddar Bob? 

Maybe it’s the fact that True Blood has the super highest ratings, and that means everyone in the writer’s room is allowed to smoke as much PCP-laced marijuana as they want. What else would explain the juxtaposing silliness of a human police presence in a town of supernatural beings with the horrific imagery of Jesus’ head on a platter, his mouth sewn shut, desperately trying to convey a message which only his ex-boyfriend’s schizophrenic mother can decipher?

And when this show isn’t trying to be an Aaron Sorkin production, it’s now trying to be Lost, which at least makes a little more sense, but is so obvious in its efforts that its a little sad. Like, it’s great to see the Smoke Monster getting work, but it’s a little heavy-handed to make the Ifrit part of the curse of a dying woman whom Terry Bellefleur shot in Iraq. Woof, right? 

You’d think Terry would remember something like that, but apparently he’s only now just remembered anything that happened during his tour of duty. Whatever, just explain it away with PTSD. The Hurt Locker. Pyromaniac ghosts. Google it. No shit.

On the bright side, Dennis O’Hare finally got a line, and Bill and Eric might be dead by sunrise if the nerd fromVeronica Mars wasn’t lying about their cross-bombs being activated. So there’s always next week to look forward to!

True Blood: Salome the Vampire, Pam the Whore

The other day I was talking to a friend about True Blood and how awful it was, and they were like, "Yeah, it sounds like our generation’s Dark Shadows." Which is sort of right. Except that Dark Shadows knew what it was: a campy soap opera with bats that bounced up and down and wires. (I’m referring to the ‘70s TV show, of course, and not the one where Helena Bonham Carter’s hair is an unnatural shade of orange and Michelle Pfeiffer’s face is an unnatural piece of plastic.) But True Blood has lost whatever sense of kitsch it had, and whenever it tries to bring it back, the attempts are so loud and pathetic that you can almost see the “INSERT TIMELY JOKE HERE” note that Alan Ball left in this week’s script.

Thanks to that note, this week we had an entirely ridiculous subplot involving Sheriff Bellefleur’s butt on Facebook. That’s right: the sheriff who knowingly presides over a town filled with vampires, witches, mind-readers, et shitera, spends the entire episode solving the very simple case of "Who took a cell phone picture of my butt and uploaded it to Facebook?" (It was Holly’s kids. Duh.)

Since he’s not paying attention to the town or his partners, loved ones, et al, Sheriff Bellefleur happens to miss the following:

  • His cousin Terry is leaving town to go kill one of his platoon members from Iraq because he thinks the guy is starting magical fires.
  • His partner, Jason Stackhouse, in a plot borrowed from Dawson’s Creek, is reminded of his first sexual experience was with his MILFy teacher who is now conveniently back in town. Although Jason all but forces her into bed, afterward he has the epiphany that their relationship had been inappropriate and most likely scarring to his psyche. Basically, this lady gave him all sex issues, because he thought he was only good at one thing in life. (Putting his penis in ladies.) To be fair, he’s not wrong.
  • The ongoing murder investigation of Debbie the Werewolf, whom Sookie killed but knows she can get away with it, since after reading the sheriff’s brain she can tell he’s super-preoccupied by this Facebook stuff, as she tells Lafayette, the only person in Bon Temps that could still roughly be called her "friend."
  • The fact that the cook in the only restaurant in town poured an entire gallon of bleach into the soup. Luckily, Lafayette looks in a mirror in the nick of time and sees the evil demon that lived in his ex-boyfriend Jesus’s body. Realizing that it’s now his evil demon—must be getting crowded at the Lafayette Hotel, since he can also channel dead people to take over his body—he pours the contents of the bleach-soup just in time. (Luckily for the patrons of Merlotte’s, I mean. Not lucky for us, who could stand to see a few of his characters die off from bleach poisoning.)
  • An undead Tara hanging out in the walk-in freezer at Merlotte’s, which is where the sheriff spends all his time investigating, since, as previously mentioned, it’s the only restaurant in town. Ipso facto, every suspect will eventually come to Merlotte’s to eat food. That is just good detective sense.

The reason Tara is hanging out in a meat locker is because that’s where Sam put her when she came asking for help. He has always been a good friend (read: fuck buddy) to Tara, despite the repeated demonstrations of her bitchabilities. Now that’s she a vampire, she doesn’t want to kill people (though she almost does to a lady whose car broke down in literally the worst part of the country, ever), so she shows up at Sam’s to drink as much True Blood as possible and then fall asleep in the food freezer. No bigzies. She can repay him with a blowjob later, provided that Sam and Luna don’t make up and she keeps her fangs retracted. 

Actually: can vampires ever give head? Since every time they get turned on their fangs pop out, it seems like the only oral sex you’d get from a vampire would be a lackluster blowjay.

A little more on the ball about the whole Debbie murder thing are her parents, who have apparently driven over from Twin Peaks. Debbie’s dad is such a Werewolf Leland Palmer. Anyway, they beg Alcide to find their drug addict daughter, which finally gets him on the case. He gets a lucky break early on when asking Sookie about why Debbie’s car was parked only four miles from her house or something. Which Jesus, seems like a stretch of logic. Isn’t there a cemetery, a King Vampire’s house, and a plantation worth of open field before you can reach Sookie’s? I’m just saying, it’s not like the car was parked in the driveway, so why Alcide and the Sheriff suspect Sookie being even remotely involved is a testament less to their sleuthing skills and more to the fact that things in this town are usually Sookie’s fault.

Anyway, right when Sookie is about to lie to Alcide’s face again, seeing as she’s our moral compass of the show and all, Tara comes out of the meatlocker and is all, "Sookie killed you girlfriend." Seriously. Just to be a bitch! Forget that Debbie was trying to shoot for Sookie, and that Tara died when she jumped in the way. Forget the part where your best friend literally killed a woman/wolf because she shot you in the head. No, what matters most is that you are a vindictive, spiteful, game-hating little c-word, Tara Thornton, and you have always been ungrateful and the worst. "Sookie killed your girlfriend, I’m going to go try to commit suicide in a tanning bed."

We wish Tara all the luck with that.

Alcide is mad that Sookie killed his ex-wolf partner, or whatever term they are using to describe ridiculous magical relationships that have recently ended. But he’s not that that mad. Like he yells and stuff, and I think he slams his car door, but at no point does he tell Sookie that he’s going to, like, stop being her friend or just hanging around the town despite the fact that he lives in Mississippi, or at least has his construction business there. Alcide has never had much of a personality; his appearance on the show really triggered the soap opera season since all he’s good for is looking good shirtless and sweaty. Maybe he and Jason Stackhouse should form a support group.

Jessica chases a young man because he smells super amazing, but he runs away and disappears into the empty field near Sookie’s before she can catch him. What? She wasn’t going to eat him! She was just running after him screaming "You smell delicious!!! Get back here!" Probably safe to assume that this guy’s a fairy, because they often smell delicious and the portal to their world is in that giant field area.

All horny, Jessica goes to Jason for some human dicking, but Jason’s experience with his ex-teacher has left him in search of a good a therapist to cure him of his sex addiction and soberly examining his motivations. He wants to take time off from having intercourse with every woman in town. “Look at your life, look at you choices.” This would be a great mantra for Jason.

Meanwhile Pam is still having flashbacks to her time with Eric when she was still a madame at a whorehouse in San Francisco. Mr. Northman, in his gallant gentleman ways, has already saved her from being murdered by a throat-slasher. But after witnessing Bill and Lorena feeding off of one of her women (this was during their hedonistic phase, when Bill was a completely different, and evil, sort of vampire), Eric reveals himself as the superior vampire in this little trio and demand that those two hit the town. First they need to apologize to Pam for eating her staff, which they do with the supplication of Paul Rudd picking up plates in Wet Hot American Summer. Learning that her new friend is a vampire makes Pam super wet, and she has sex with her new gentleman friend. Although impressed by her lack of fear, Eric—who at some point in the mid-20th century may have switched personalities with Bill—refuses, gentlemanly, to turn her into a vampire so she can follow him around and never get venereal diseases. For some reason, this amazing argument does not sway Eric’s judgment that vampirism is not to be taken lightly, so Pam goes to the table and slits her wrists, giving him the option of watching her bleed to death or turn her.

All this time, we have been led to believe that Eric and Pam’s relationship was built on a foundation of trust: she has been his second-in-command for the entire show. They own a business together, after all. But now we have to wonder about the sound judgment of letting some crazy, suicidal whore into your confidence because she threatened to kill herself if she didn’t get to spend the rest of eternity following you around.

Back in the present, Pam is speed-texting Eric, who is still not answering his phone! Looks like a century hasn’t done much for her codependency issues. Pam thinks Eric is just angry at her for trying to kill Sookie last season, but as we’ve been told over and over, the bond between Makers and their…uh…Makees (?) is very strong. Shouldn’t Pam be able to feel that Eric is in trouble? Let it go Jake, this is Bon Temps Town and look, there’s Hoyt dressed like a goth, trying to entice Fangtasia’s vampire population to feed from him. Pam almost sees something of herself in this young man, but this show can only be so long per episode; thankfully, this new relationship is side-stepped.  

Finally, we’re at the part you’ve all been waiting for: on reprieve of the true death, provided they kill Russell Eddington, Bill and Eric both get fitted with the vampire equivalent of a bomb vest (it has a silver crucifix that will shoot straight into their heart should they misbehave). The scene is weird, because again it has this lighthearted, Joss Whedon-y quality thanks to the appearance of Mac from Veronica Mars as the Authority’s resident tech geek. It’s all jokes and adorkability over here!

Then both Bill and Eric fuck Salome. Yes, that Salome. Turns out she is a vampire! And somehow escaped the axe of Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, whom we know from a different piece of pop culture ephemera was also dealing in the dark arts. (History is fun!)

A Surprising Appreciation of ‘Dark Shadows’

I have a confession to make: yesterday I saw Dark Shadows, the new Tim Burton joint featuring, predictably, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as well as fresh Burton cast members like Chlöe Grace Moretz, Jonny Lee Miller, and Eva Green. I predicted that it would be awful, and most critics seemed to prove all my points: that Burton’s weird big-budget goth epics have gotten stale and stupid. But still, something drew me to the film—maybe vampiric mind control? And, um, I kind of really enjoyed it!

Like most people my generation, I have never seen Dark Shadows, the extremely popular daytime soap opera that ran from 1966 to 1971. A quick jaunt onto the show’s extensive Wikipedia page reveals it was like a late ’60s version of True Blood: there were vampires, ghosts, werewolves, and witches and was considered a gothic, campy masterpiece—just without the current vampire drama’s gratuitous sex and political subtext. It seems like the perfect source material for a Tim Burton movie (he has, after all, professed that he was a fan of the show, as did Johnny Depp), which, judging from his recent creative pursuits (Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, to name a couple of cinematic clunkers), would surely be a big old CGI mess.

And it was, let there be no doubt! But that was also sort of its charm? I concede that it makes absolutely no sense, is all across the board with a bunch of different bizarre subplots including reincarnation, surprise eleventh hour werewolves, fishing politics. It was somewhere in between the movie version of The Addams Family—lovingly showing the divide between an appreciation for straight-forward gothic sensibility and the modern, normal world—and Jan de Bont’s shitbox remake of The Haunting that featured a CGI-heavy scene in which a haunted fireplace murders Owen Wilson. Yes, the creepy old house that is at the center of Dark Shadows eventually attacks its residents at the hands of Eva Green’s sexy witch, but (spoiler alert!), the scene also has Michelle Pfeiffer shooting Green with a shotgun LIKE A BOSS, and then Green’s body breaks apart in a Death Becomes Her sort of way. It’s the best ’90s movie to be released in the second decade of the new millennium! 

Let’s talk about what makes this shitshow so great: it takes place in the ’70s. It’s so super stylized with ridiculous clothes, wigs, and accessories (I have never seen so many turtlenecks under corderoy blazers); it’s the best ’70s costume design I’ve seen since The Ice Storm, and we all know that the only way that Ang Lee masterpiece could have been improved is if Joan Allen was a witch and had the gumption to punish her cheating husband with dark magic. And the music! The Moody Blues, T-Rex, Barry White. Even present-day Alice Cooper makes a cameo as 1972 Alice Cooper! That is the most stupidly brilliant thing that I wish I could have thought of myself. 

So basically Dark Shadows is a gigantic disaster that entertained the hell out of me. Let’s compare it to another pile of garbage that has captured the hearts and minds of hate-watching Americans this year. As Tara Ariano writes of the NBC musical theater drama, "Smash is the worst TV show I’ve ever loved; it might be the worst thing I’ve ever loved." Well, Dark Shadows is my Smash. I’m not proud that I loved it, but I’m not ashamed, either. 

‘The Avengers’ Will Make Another $100 Million This Weekend

Hunger Games, schmunger games! After a record-shattering $207 million three-day opening last week, Disney’s superhero blockbuster The Avengers made an estimated $29.1 million yesterday, which puts it on track to do a mind-boggling $100 million in its second weekend.

If predictions hold up, The Avengers will finish the weekend with a record-breaking 10-day cume of about $355 million. Worldwide? $1 billion!

Some more interesting tidbits, courtesy Nikki Finke at Deadline:

Yes, the biggest North American movie is getting still bigger and still setting records. Playing very wide with 4,349 theaters, The Avengers looks like around $29.1M for Friday and approaches a gargantuan $100M second weekend. This will be far-and-away the highest second domestic weekend in box office history (passing Avatar‘s and The Dark Knight‘s $75M records). That means the holdover will drop only 53% after its record-setting opening. Coming into Friday Avengers was scooping up 75% of all tickets sales at online Disney says its superhero worldwide juggernaut will cross $300M domestic on Saturday in a record of only 9 days. (The previous record was 10 days.) Through Sunday its domestic haul should be around $355M. So what’s the total overseas so far? Its international gross is $533.3M for a global cumulative of $888.3M.

The weekend’s biggest newcomer, the Tim Burton-directed, Johnny Depp-starring Dark Shadows, opened to a rather anemic $10.5 million on Friday and is on track to finish the weekend with about $28 million. Which doesn’t sound so bad… until you compare it to The Avengers. Then it really sucks. :

Movies Opening This Weekend, in Order of How Much We Like Their Trailers

Some people judge a movie based on reviews, other will go see something just because it features a favorite actor. Here, we’re judging this weekend’s offerings based solely on what we see in the trailers and ranking them accordingly.

Hick: Chloe Moretz plays a runaway kid on her way to the bright lights of Vegas. On the way she meets a cast of ne’erdowells including Eddie Redmayne, Blake Lively and Juliette Lewis. It’s a story we’ve seen before, but this trailer is exciting enough that seeing it again doesn’t sound so bad.

A Bag of Hammers: This SXSW-approved indie comedy follows two con men who pose as valets as they steal their way into audience’s hearts. The introduction of a kid promises to schmaltz up the joint and might lead to a saccharine ending, but any trailer that uses The Cure so well is alright by us.

Dark Shadows: Tim Burton and Johnny Depp take on the beloved 1960s and ‘70s daytime creepfest with their signature Goth-lite touch and a cast featuring Michelle Pfeiffer and, as always, Helena Bonham Carter. The trailer doesn’t sell exactly the vampire movie we want to see, but it’s the one they’ve got.

Where Do We Go Now: A subtitled foreign number about women who are attempting to keep their village safe from a religious war and the men who can’t seem to help but start one. This won’t take care of your car-chases-and-explosions needs, but if you’re feeling brainy it could be satisfying.

Dragon Eyes: When a town plagued by drugs and gangs gets a new citizen in the form of martial arts master Ryan Hong… well, you know what happens. The fight scenes promise to be sickening, the rest will be boilerplate.

Girl in Progress: A coming of age story about a kid obsessed with coming of age stories and her immature mom. Eva Mendes had better be making this movie to pay off some sort of debt, because she should know better.

Is Johnny Depp Hollywood’s Sexiest Vampire?

The latest Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaboration, Dark Shadows, won’t open until May 11, but today a featurette on the film hit the web, showing off some never-before-seen footage and giving us a glimpse into Collinwood, the mansion Depp’s movie family, and the characters played by a supporting cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Chloe Moretz, Eva Green, and Jonny Lee Miller.

But despite the excitement another Burton-Depp collaboration — the pair’s eighth — brings, this isn’t the first time we’ve all been to the sexy vampire rodeo. Take a walk down memory lane with us, will you?

There’s, of course, Alexander Skarsgard’s Eric Northman on HBO’s True Blood, perhaps the hottest bloodsucker—sorry, Vampire Bill—to ever cower from the sun.

And naturally, we have Robert Pattinson’s Edward Cullen in the Twilight films, if you’re into that sort of thing. If not, he has enough brothers, sisters and fake vampire parents that one of them has got to get your blood boiling.

Whether it’s Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt who’s your favorite, it was impossible to walk out of Interview with the Vampire without hoping to end up with one of these fangers clamped onto your neck.

Wesley Snipes’ titular character in Blade might have only been half vampire, but he was all hunk.

Like your vampires more New Wave? Keifer Sutherland and company, in 1987’s The Lost Boys offer eternal evil and Wayfarers. It’s a winning combo.

He might not be the megastar he once was, but Colin Farrell’s flesh-eating neighbor from the recent Fright Night reboot can come over and borrow a cup of sugar from us any time.

Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, More in New Clips from ‘Dark Shadows’

Johnny Depp has been all over the movie news world for the past couple of weeks now, and his two upcoming, much-hyped starring roles in Dark Shadows and The Lone Ranger have a bit in common. They’re both film reboots of popular television programs the Baby Boomers watched as kids. They both involve Depp wearing dramatic makeup.

Instead of the gothic vampire soap opera of the 1960s, the 2012 Dark Shadows, which sports the usual triumvirate of Depp, director Tim Burton and fellow Burton muse Helena Bonham Carter, seems like a ghoulish comic romp served with a side of ’70s cheese. Depp assumes the iconic role of Barnabas Collins, the heartthrob-without-a-beating-heart who the late Jonathan Frid made popular in the original show; Bonham Carter plays Dr. Julia Hoffman, the Collins family’s live-in therapist called upon to deal with the family’s long-lost undead relative. Michelle Pfeiffer stars as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, with Jonny Lee Miller (Dexter) playing Elizabeth’s brother and Chloe Moretz (Hugo) playing her daughter.

Nine new clips from the upcoming Dark Shadows were released this week, including We’re introduced to Elizabeth and Julia, who have a Bechdel test-defying discussion over whatever they shall do with Barnabas, as well as the Collins children, most notably Carolyn (Moretz), who advises Barnabas to book Alice Cooper for a "happening" at the house. There’s also a really creepy scene in which Barnabas asks Carolyn about why she’s 15 and doesn’t have a husband yet, but we digress.

Dark Shadows hits theaters May 11th, but you can check out some of the new clips after the jump.

Morning Links: Jennifer Lawrence Sees Hunger Games Everywhere, First Look At ‘Dark Shadows’

● As Jennifer Lawrence sees it, Kim Kardashian’s very public divorce is basically The Hunger Games already upon us. "That’s a tragedy for anyone, but they’re using it for entertainment, and we’re watching it," she explained to Parade. "The books hold up a terrible kind of mirror: This is what our society could be like if we became desensitized to trauma and to each other’s pain." May the odds be ever in your favor, BlackBook readers… [Page Six]

● Hot leading ladies Megan Fox and Zoe Saladana are teaming up for Paramount’s Swindle, a vehicle for the two women that will be developed by Moneyball producer Michael De Luca and developed by Enzo Mileti and Scott Wilson. [Deadline]

● Rihanna — incidentally, the only voice not yet heard on the subject — has finally come forward to defend her "Birthday Cake" duet with Chris Brown. "The hottest R&B artist out right now is Chris Brown. So I wanted him on the track," she explained on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show. "It’s music and it’s innocent." [RapFix]

● The watermelon smashing comedian Gallagher was rushed to the hospital after suffering a "mild to serious" heart attack. The prognosis is good, but he will remain in the hospital until he has recovered. [Us]

● Bar band meet bar: Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn is launching his very own microbrew named Full Hearts, after his recent Friday Night Light‘s riffing release, Clear Eyes Full Heart. [RS]

● At last, a trailer for the Tim Burton-directed and Johnny Depp-starring vampire comedy, Dark Shadows. [HuffPost]

Johnny Depp Gets Gothy (Again) for Tim Burton’s ‘Dark Shadows’

We’ve yet to see a trailer for Tim Burton’s upcoming Dark Shadows, a film remake of the campy horror soap opera from the late ’60s, but we do have the first look at Johnny Depp’s very angular look as the protagonist, Barnabas Collins, a vampire who has spent 200 years buried alive before breaking out to take on the fast-paced world of the early ’70s.

The movie boasts a huge supporting cast, including Helena Bonham Carter (of course), Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Chloe Moretz, and Jackie Earle Haley. Collider offers a bit of information regarding the plot:

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet—or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive.

Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles.

Sounds spooky! And also hilarious! Sadly, Tim Burton’s had a habit of turning things that could be both creepy and hilarious and removing as much of the joy as possible and replacing it with exhaustive CGI and an Hot Topic aesthetic (see: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd… pretty much everything he’s done after Sleepy Hollow). Does that mean we won’t hope for a soapy movie with a groovy ’70s soundtrack? Get on it, Danny Elfman. There’s no way a serious, dramatic score can be matched with Johnny Depp’s ridiculous Liza Minnelli bangs.