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'Dark Shadows' -- should you take the kids?

A film image released by Warner Bros. of

A film image released by Warner Bros. of actor Johnny Depp portraying Barnabas Collins in a scene from "Dark Shadows." Credit: AP

How did I spend Mother's Day? I took my 8-year-old son for part of it to see "Dark Shadows," which opened over the weekend.

We had been excited to see it since we first caught the trailer last month during "The Three Stooges." Harrison had no idea until I told him that it was based on an old TV show, but that didn't matter. He laughed out loud at Johnny Depp's funny lines, and seemed to delight in my delight over the idea that his vintage-horror-movie-loving mom could see a vampire movie that takes place in her favorite decade -- the 1970s.

I assumed the movie was OK for kids, being that it was advertised during the PG "Stooges" film. Besides, I have never been too prudish about allowing my son to see certain things. He is out in the world, and I feel that it is my obligation to help guide him through it in a calm, teachable way. We go regularly to see sometimes edgy art shows, he knows about curse words and how one should not use them in mixed company, we've had some discussion of the birds and the bees as that topic comes up, and -- OK, I mention this at the risk of ridicule -- he has seen movies or parts of movies that are not appropriate for children.

"Dark Shadows" was great, but I didn't know how to answer the question from friends of mine who are parents: Should I take the kids?

I admit that I told Harrison to cover his eyes during a few of the scenes. In one, it is clear that a woman doctor who is attracted to Johnny Depp's sultry Barnabas Collins violates that doctor-patient relationship. In another, Barnabas and his nemesis Angelique Bouchard, played in a super-sexy way by Eva Green, give into their violent desire for one another in an over-the-top supernatural scene where there is no nudity or anything else graphic but a lot of kissing and scratching as the two shimmy up walls, across ceilings and slam into things until the room is completely wrecked.

I can only explain what I saw and allow my friends to decide whether to see it.

Have you seen the movie and would you take the kids? Tell us here.


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