SUMMARY: Three characters from a horror author's (played by Frid) vivid nightmares run amok in reality.
TRIVIA: The UK video, released in 1989, included almost 4 minutes of extra footage (IMDb). Also, it seems New World Pictures regular Mary Woronov may have claimed that this movie was produced entirely as cover for a money laundering scheme (per comments by poster of a trailer on YouTube). Perhaps this is at least partly the reason the Oliver Stone has disowned it.
Jonathan Frid has top billing in this movie, and appears in it a lot. It was Oliver Stone's first full feature film, and he has since distanced himself from this work. By all means, watch this film, but with somewhat tempered expectations.
I found watching this movie to be very disturbing. That said, I also found Seizure entertaining. It has some visual elements of classic horror that really worked. The plot offers a combination of shocking violence, while exploring philosophical and existential themes. A good portion of the violence was just twisted shlock, and the ponderous dialogue was a heavy weight on the struggling plot. But the story had the vitality to make it through, and I enjoyed it.
I loved watching Jonathan play someone besides Barnabas, especially in a movie, which (even more than television) demands subtle acting and softer dialogue, with no stage-trained vigilance in keeping his head and body facing the front of the stage. In a story of extremes, his acting is intimate, and his character development is paced and fluid, although Stone does not make the most of this, ultimately leaving his character, and thus the story about him, less than fully developed.
It is interesting that there were developed threads that dealt entirely with women and the existential traps they found themselves in.
Warner Brothers acquired the rights to the Dark Shadows franchise from Dan Curtis' estate in 2007. Filming began in May 2011. Most Dark Shadows fans view Burton's film as a shameless appropriation of the Dark Shadows universe.
Johnny Depp has stated that he based his character not only on Barnabas Collins from the TV series, but also on Max Schreck from the silent 1922 film 'Nosferatu.' Barnabas Collins was charming, confident, and socially very resourceful (manipulative). The vampire in 'Nosferatu' is a repugnant creature calculated to stir anti-semitism—and a horrified, grudging pity—in the viewer. To say these two divergent characters couldn't be any more different is vast understatement.
I wish Jonathan would have had a larger part in The Devil's Daughter. No doubt he saw it as a way to begin breaking into movies by hopefully getting beyond his stereotyped character from Dark Shadows. The makers of the movie were no doubt happy to add his name to the credits. I am guessing he enjoyed working with Oscar recipient, stage, TV, and movie veteran Shelley Winters.