Exclusive New Dark Shadows Pics

Burton & Depp's latest Gothic effort

It's Johnny Depp and Tim Burton's eighth collaboration, a big-budget film based on a TV show that no-one remembers (at least outside the US) and which features a motley crew of vampires, witches and supernatural weirdos. Dark Shadows, in other words, is a perfect subject for both star and director, and from these photos it looks like we can expect more of their particular brand of off-kilter charm.

Empire was on set, and learned a little about the 1972-set film version. The story focuses on Barnabas Collins (Depp), who was transformed into a vampire by a jilted lover (Eva Green's witch Angelique) way back in the 1700s and buried. He's just been dug up, and attempts to reintegrate with his descendants, led by Michelle Pfeiffer's Elizabeth and Jonny Lee Miller's Roger - despite the fact that Angelique is still around and still not in a forgiving mood.

Said screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith, "Tim and Johnny took a long time explaining exactly why it had to be 1972. 1969 was too early and 1973 was too late. 1972 is right at the time when the hippie movement and all its peace and love is dying out and being replaced by this me-me-me generation in the '70s who are all about showing their wealth and having everything."

There's also good news for those who didn't love Alice In Wonderland's 3D - this will be firmly 2D. Says producer Richard Zanuck, "We discussed this quite a bit. We didn't want to be categorised as another 3D extravaganza, because this isn't. We have action sequences, but mostly it's interaction between characters, and that's where the humour and the story come from."

Dark Shadows is out on May 11, 2012, and you can read more about it in the new issue of Empire, out in stores this Thursday.