Danny Elfman taps ‘retro pallet’ for score to Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows

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Dark Shadows Original Score by Danny ElfmanThe unholy alliance of Johnny Depp, Tim Burton and Danny Elfman continues with the long-awaited big-screen adaptation of the classic gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. (In fact, it’s the 14th collaboration between director Burton and composer Elfman, if you must know.)

The movie’s trailer makes it clear that this is not your father’s Dark Shadows. But will the new film’s musical score, at least, live up to the iconic, drama-dripping eerieness of the original opening theme (presented below)?

The Oscar-nominated Elfman shares some of the thinking behind the new score in a statement:

“Tim had some specific ideas about the music on Dark Shadows. I knew that the bigger dramatic scenes would be played in a rather grand theatrical manner, but the real treat was tapping into the retro pallet Tim had imagined. He wanted something that payed homage to both the original TV series and other ’70s horror genres as well. For that we kept it minimal, eerie, and atmospheric with only electronics and a few solo instruments carrying the melodies.”

The Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures release, described as a “gothic comedy,” is in theaters May 11, but on May 8 you can snag both Elfman’s original score from WaterTower Music as well as the motion picture soundtrack, which contains 11 songs featured in the film.

In the year 1750, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. 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 and the dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets.

Warner Bros. Pictures, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, presents an Infinitum Nihil/GK Films/Zanuck Company production, a Tim Burton Film Dark Shadows in theaters and IMAX on May 11, 2012.  “Dark Shadows” stars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Eva Green, Jackie Earle Haley, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloë Grace Moretz, Bella Heathcote and Gully McGrath.

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Jayson Peters

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