Vampire films have a mixed success rate in Hollywood. Breaking Dawn Part 1, though a critical bloodfest, raked in the money. Fright Night, more charming toward reviewers, did poorly. True Blood still draws in fans while 2007’s Moonlight barely scraped out a season. But the vampire genre hasn’t retreated back to the shadows. At least two vampire flicks are coming out in the first half of 2012: Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows and Russian director Timur Bekmambetov’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Fans of older TV shows may know of Dark Shadows, a gothic soap opera from the 60s. Easily the most popular character was Barnabas Collins, a vampire by turns courageous and callous. In Tim Burton’s adaptation, slated for May 2012, Barnabas is (oh so surprisingly) played by Johnny Depp. Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green and Helena Bonham-Carter co-star. Though the series focused on an entire family, the film appears to be more Barnabas-centric.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is adapted from the 2010 novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. In the story, Lincoln has a side job as a slayer of the undead, with a chip on his shoulder ever since a vampire killed his mother. The novel received mixed reviews, some praising it for its satire, others calling it a clunky mash-up about the evils of slavery. Regardless, the book was popular. Some may know Timur Bekmambetov as the director of the crazy Russian urban fantasy films Nightwatch and Daywatch. Benjamin Walker plays Lincoln, alongside Dominic Cooper and Rufus Sewell. Look for it in June 2012.
The films already have their skeptics, and neither has a trailer. The films do, however, have production ties. Tim Burton is one of the producers of Abraham Lincoln, and Seth Graham-Smith wrote the screenplay for Dark Shadows.
At the moment, Twilight and True Blood corner the market on vampires. These upcoming films offer some variety. With Burton and Bekmambetov, they look to be colorful additions.