Johnny Depp was not able to translate a campy vampire into the same kind of success he enjoyed as a campy pirate. The failure probably had more to do with the concept of basing a campy vampire movie on a sincere soap opera that only became campy in retrospect. Maybe Tim Burton and Depp would have enjoyed a bigger audience if instead of "Dark Shadows" they had looked to these campy vamps as remake fodder.
Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter
Besides featuring one of the hottest cult actresses ever, Caroline Munro, "Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter" contains plenty of material that makes it worth checking out. The movie feels like a western, but the vampire hunter brandishes a sword. Kronos has a companion who is a hunchback and the action moves inexorably toward a gothic castle. There is even a scene involving leeches used to drain blood. In short, "Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter" has all the comedic potential that "Dark Shadows" never had.
Originally titled "Vampira" the film quickly became refashioned as "Old Dracula" in wake of the success of a much better movie called "Young Frankenstein." You want camp in your vamp? You have to tread far into the reaches of Middle Europe to come up with something less sincere than this one. The opportunity to explore the raging vampire fad in Hollywood with a remake of "Old Dracula" is so much more fecund than "Dark Shadows." In the first place, the film posits the notion that while vampires may be immortal, it doesn't mean their bodies are not still subject to the ravages of aging. Hence, a Dracula who is too old to go chasing around after victims and must open his ancient castle for tours in order to lure in new victims.
Love at First Bite
Why not? "Love at First Bite" is only about ten years younger than "Dark Shadows" and who wouldn't love seeing Johnny Depp take a stab at channeling the spirit of George Hamilton. The most stimulating reason for remaking this campy vamp flick is that this time around it could be made without the inclusion of a bona fide candidate for worst song of all time: "I Love the Night Life." A remake of "Love at First Bite" would be nothing less than moral crusade that reason alone. Besides, Depp's vision of Barnabas Collins seems to have much more in common with Hamilton's vampire than Jonathan Frid's.
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