Dark Shadows is Tim Burton's eighth film with Johnny Dep, after Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, and Alice In Wonderland. Depp's vampire references Nosferatu (rising from his coffin), but also Michael Jackson (with umbrella and shades); he has flashes of violence (like Sweeney Todd), and the naivety of Edward Scissorhands (adjusting to modern suburban life).
Like Depp, Helena Bonham Carter (playing a kooky psychiatrist) and Christopher Lee (in a cameo role) are also Burton regulars. The cast also includes Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Catwoman in Burton's under-rated Batman Returns, Chloe Moretz (from Hugo and Kick-Ass), and Burton lookalike Alice Cooper.
Compressing a soap-opera into a feature film results in an over-abundace of characters. There's a suitably Gothic atmosphere, especially in the historical flashback sequences, though there's more camp humour than horror or pathos.