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Dark Shadows - The Visual Companion Review

Review: Dark Shadows - The Visual Companion / Author: Mark Salisbury / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: Out Now

In the wake of Tim Burton's big screen adaptation of Dark Shadows comes this glossy making-of book. A landscape format hardback stuffed full of behind-the-scenes photos and with a smattering of well written text, it's very much like the film in that it's quite nice but nothing to go bats about.

Mark Salisbury does a good job of taking us through the early stages of the creative process – which involved two scriptwriters in regular sit-downs with the film's director and star – and there's also a slightly plodding survey of the major characters. But – as anyone who's seen the movie might expect – the most interesting chapters are the ones dealing with the sets, SFX and costumes, with Burton's regular production designer Rick Heinrichs emerging as the hero of this Gothic tale.

What do we learn? Some pretty cool stuff. Collinsport, that archetypal Maine fishing village, was built from scratch on the backlot at Pinewood Studios, a massive construction job covering in excess of an acre. The mechanical fireplace through which Barnabas descends into the hidden treasure vault was a fully working marvel of pneumatics. (Wonder where it is now? It would look awesome in Starburst HQ.) And so forth, enough to make you flicker an eyebrow half a dozen times. Not a book you'd want to burst out of your coffin in broad daylight for, but a diverting glimpse into the genesis of a Burton movie.

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