Weighing in at a whopping 190 pages, this tome is dedicated to all things Burton. Having not seen the film, but hearing that it dived, I was a little sceptical as to who the book was being pitched at. Having looked through every one of its glossy, dark pages I can say that this book is a must for any fan of Tim Burton.
The book is divided into through main chapters. The first looks into the Cast, which is fairly interesting if slightly standard. The foreword goes into detail about the history of the project, which again was interesting, but standard. Where the book really takes off is Chapters 2 and 3; dealing with the Sets and Costume & Prosthetics respectively.
Fans of Burton and movie-making in general will be completely enthralled at the level of detail that went into the sets. The home, the fishing village and all of the interiors were built from scratch with miniatures. The detail that goes into the fireplace, the fountains and the chandeliers is all laid out here from Tim Burton’s initial sketches to the final product. It really makes me wish that these sets weren’t destroyed, but opened up to the public. They really are stunning.
No expense was spared in the production of the book either, which really stands alone from the film in its own right as a documentation of the film. As someone who loves DVD extras, director commentary and all that extraneous stuff, I thought the book was rich in production detail. It gives an accurate sense of Tim Burton, not just as a Director, but as an auteur with a unique and uncompromising vision.
I have to say, it all reminded me of my reaction to Game of Thrones. When I’d initially watched Season One, I though ‘meh, entertaining guff’. Once I’d watched the DVD extras and looked into how much work went into producing the series from the costumes, to the languages created and to the sets, I had a whole new level of appreciation for the series. That’s exactly how I feel about Dark Shadows having gone through the book. Having not seen the film, I couldn’t say where it went wrong, but the production details are so fantastic that I’m definitely going to give it a go, even if just to see the sets as they were designed to be seen, as part of the film.