DARK SHADOWS | British Board of Film Classification
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DARK SHADOWS <span>(2012)</span> artwork


Type Feature

Approx. Running minutes 113

Release dates 11/05/2012

Ratings Info Contains moderate violence, horror, gore, sex references and soft drug use

Genre(s) Horror, Comedy

Director(s) Tim Burton

Cast includes Johnny Depp, Eva Green, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jonny Lee Miller, Chloe Grace Moretz, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Lee, Alice Cooper

Cut All known versions of this work passed uncut.

  • Video release suitable for 12 years and over icon12

Ratings info

Ratings info publication date 01/05/2012

Note: The following text may contain spoilers

DARK SHADOWS is a fantasy comedy horror set in the early 1970s. It tells the story of a vampire who is released from his coffin after 200 years, encountering his modern descendants and the witch who imprisoned him. The film was classified '12' for moderate violence, horror, gore, sex references and soft drug use.

The BBFC's Guidelines at '12A'/'12' state 'Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context'. They also state 'Moderate physical and psychological threat may be permitted, provided disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained'. The violence, horror, gore and threat are all related, with the strongest moments coming near the beginning of the film as the vampire makes his first kill and during a climactic fight between the vampire and the witch. In the first scene, several construction workers are suddenly grabbed or lifted into the air by something unseen. Other than a brief bite to a victim's neck and sight of blood on the vampire's hand and face, almost nothing is seen in terms of gore or injury detail. There are some small blood spurts during the final fight sequence as the vampire is shot in the back by a police officer. By this time the witch's skin has developed a porcelain or eggshell-like quality and cracks appear in it during her struggle with the vampire. At the conclusion of the fight the witch reaches into her own chest and pulls out a glass-like heart that immediately shatters. The violence and horror occurs within a clearly established fantasy setting and is invariably accompanied by comedy. Despite the vampire theme and the occasional appearance of ghosts and a werewolf, the film is unlikely to upset children of 12 years or older.

The film includes infrequent moderate sex references and two scenes of implied sexual activity. In one scene, a female doctor drops to her knees in front of the vampire An expression of surprise passes across his face and it is implied that oral sex might be taking place, although this is not directly shown. The second scene is a comic sex sequence between the vampire and the witch. The vampire lies between the witch's legs but the couple then fly around the room, completely destroying it. No sexual activity is clearly shown to be taking place. There is also a scene in which the witch removes her knickers and places them over the face of the vampire as he lies chained and helpless in a coffin. However, nothing sexual occurs after this. The Guidelines at '12A'/'12' state 'Sexual activity may be briefly and discreetly portrayed'.

The soft drug use occurs as a group of hippies share a cannabis joint. The Guidelines at '12A'/'12' permit infrequent drug use, provided it is not glamorised or instructional.

The film also includes two uses of 'bitch' and some milder bad language, including the terms 'bastard' and 'shit'.

Parents can find additional information about the content of this film if they visit www.pbbfc.co.uk.



Cinema, IMAX, DVD
Warner Home Video Ltd,Warner Brothers Entertainment UK Ltd
Classified date(s)
Main language
BBFC reference
Note to parents
Some versions of this film are displayed in the 3D or IMAX format and some younger children may find them a more intense experience

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