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Dark Shadows [2012] [PG-13] - 4.6.4



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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A witch (Eva Green) is angry that a rich man (Johnny Depp) spurned her, so in retaliation she puts a spell on him in 1772, burying him alive as a vampire. Then he's accidentally dug up in 1972, and finds out that his descendants on the family estate are so dysfunctional that the matriarch (Michelle Pfeiffer) pays a live-in psychiatrist (Helena Bonham Carter). The vampire aims to set things straight. Also with Christopher Lee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Gulliver McGrath, Jonny Lee Miller and Jackie Earle Haley. Directed by Tim Burton. [1:53]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A woman kisses a man against his will and a fight ensues as she continues to pursue him in several subsequent scenes: she grabs his hand and places it on her breast, then blows in his ear and grabs his groin when he shouts, "How dare you put your wicked lips upon me," and the woman climbs on top of the man and licks his neck and chin with a long and forked tongue (sex is implied); she claims to love him, but he says she only wants to possess him. A woman moves off-screen below the waist of a vampire and it is implied that she performs oral sex on him when his eyes widen.
 A man kisses a woman passionately in a coat check room, takes her shoulders in his hands and turns her so she is lying down, he begins to climb on top of her and the scene ends (they are both clothed). A man and a woman kiss, she asks him to say that he loves her and he replies that he cannot; later, the man kisses another woman and tells her that he loves her as the first woman watches from behind a curtain and cries. A man and a woman kiss each other briefly.
 A witch removes her panties from under a long gown and throws them on a vampire's face in a coffin. A woman pulls off her blouse to reveal a knee-length slip (we see bare shoulders, arms and cleavage); a man stares at her chest and says, "Those have not aged a day." Go-Go girls wear micro-miniskirts that reveal full legs and they dance in dim light at a party. Several women wear low-cut dresses that reveal significant cleavage. A 15-year-old girl wears a series of miniskirts that reveal full legs. Several twenty-something women walk down a street wearing miniskirts that reveal most of their thighs and lower legs. A poster in a teen girl's room shows a bare-chested man. A wooden carved statue of a standing woman or mermaid (the lower half is indistinct) on a wall appears draped with a carved length of cloth that leaves the breasts uncovered, yet not greatly detailed. A statue of Neptune is shown bare-chested. A man's shirt is shown open and a small portion of his bare chest and abdomen are visible.
 A boy implies that a teenage girl masturbates and makes erotic sounds while doing so. A man refers to a woman using several terms that describe a prostitute. A man tells a woman to "keep your panties on" and she says, "I'll try." A vampire asks a 15-year-old girl why she is 15 and yet has no husband, because she has good birthing hips. A woman intimates that she and a man had sex in a number of places in a room (on a piano, on a sofa, etc.). Men and women talk about love in a few scenes. A woman talks about being "partners and lovers" with a man. A man talks about throwing a ball and the use of the word "balls" becomes suggestive. A man says "place your lips on my posterior and kiss it repeatedly." A man makes a comment about a demon suckling from a woman's "diseased teat."

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A vampire tells a group of hippies around a nighttime campfire that he must kill them; the camera pans out to a long shot and we hear several screams, suggesting that he does so. A work crew digs up a coffin, a vampire bursts out and we see close-ups of his bloody hand strangling several men. We see a vampire bite several men and women in the neck and drink their blood.
 A gargoyle on an old mansion falls off and kills a man and a woman beneath it (we see no blood). A vampire accuses a woman of stealing his blood during a transfusion, kills her by biting her neck and strangling her, wraps her body in cloth and a bag and dumps her into the ocean.
 A witch enchants a woman causing her to die. We hear that a young boy's dead mother visits him regularly and we see her ghost as she floats into a foyer, screeches loudly and sends a witch smashing into a wall; we see cracks appear in the witches face as if it were ceramic. A witch casts a spell on a man changing him into a vampire and he bleeds from his eyes.
 A witch gathers the sheriff and a mob of torchbearers, they capture a vampire and bury him alive in a coffin secured with chains. A witch tries to bury a vampire, but a boy finds the coffin and opens it to free the vampire. Gargoyles, stone and wooden statues and carved stairway banisters come to life and grab people (no one is injured). Several oil portraits of people in the mansion laugh and then all bleed in one scene. Ghosts follow a woman, a little girl and a little boy. A ghost in a chandelier falls out of it and disappears into the floor as if it were water.
 Two women fall off a cliff and land on rocks beside the ocean; we see one fall in a long shot and land on rocks at the bottom, unmoving and presumably dead. One woman dies and another survives as a vampire with sunken eyes and fangs. A vampire jumps off a cliff after a woman that fell, he bites her neck and lands on top of her on rocks by the ocean (they both survive).
 A witch attacks a vampire and his human family, punching them, throwing them into walls and setting fire to their house: the police gather and fire shots that do not harm the witch or the vampire, and a woman shoots a shotgun that also does not affect the witch; the walls and staircase of the house crack and crumble, a teen girl becomes a werewolf and fights the witch but is knocked unconscious, the vampire throws the witch into a chandelier, her face begins to crack, the fixture crashes to the floor, she reaches into her own chest and brings out a glowing blob that is her beating heart, and it goes black and she dies.
 A little girl is put into a straightjacket and institutionalized; a ghost sits with her in a padded cell and we see her undergo an electroshock session and she screams.
 A mirror ball falls from a ceiling and a man grabs a boy standing underneath it away and to safety. A vampire begins to burn in sunlight several times, with smoke rising from his fingers and back; once, he catches fire and a man douses him with water. A woman, who we think is dead, opens her eyes.
 A fight scene shows a man and a woman flying across a room, twirling in the air together, slamming into walls, breaking furniture and accessories and ending with both seated on a couch and looking at the disarray.
 A vampire receives transfusions from a transparent blood-pumping machine into both arms and we see blood circulating in the machinery. A vampire is shown drinking a glass of blood. We hear of a number of magic spells and curses and we see a witch using dried animals crumbled into a smoking cauldron. Throughout the film, a male vampire appears with a very pale complexion, dark sunken eyes, fangs and blood around his mouth and streaking down his shirt.
 A witch vomits green slime at a man as if from a fire hose, misses and then vomits again into his face.
 A witch sets fire to a canning company with loud explosions, smoke and flames.
 A vampire states several times that he has killed people or is going to kill people. We hear that a witch killed a boy's mother by driving her off a cliff and into the sea.

PROFANITY 4 - 5 scatological terms, 4 anatomical terms, 15 mild obscenities, name-calling (nuts, crazy, liar, murderer, thieving, stupid, selfish, monster, orphan, succubus of Satan, harlot of the devil, whore of Lucifer, snake), stereotypical references to men, women, dysfunctional families, vampires, werewolves, witches, ghosts, the 1970s, 6 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A woman smokes a marijuana cigarette at a party, several hippies pass around a marijuana cigarette in a park and each takes a puff, and a teen girl asks a man, "Are you stoned?" and he replies, "They tried stoning me once. It did not work." A man drinks wine at dinner and smokes three cigarettes in different places, the music room in a mansion contains a beverage cart with bottles of liquor and wine, a woman pours herself a drink and drinks it twice, a man drinks from a flask several times in a mansion and while sitting in his car at night, a doctor in residence is described as always being drunk or hung over and we see her drink several times, a bar scene shows a long bar full of men drinking beer and whiskey from glasses and bottles, men sit at tables in a bar and drink beer from tankards and glasses, a man drinks blood from a wine glass, and a family plans a party and the 15-year-old daughter says that there must be a lot of booze. A portrait of a woman smokes a cigarette and a woman smokes a cigarette in her office.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Relationships, love, family, wealth, responsibility, magic, power, mental health issues, vampires, witches, monsters, curses, teenagers, confrontation, resolution.

MESSAGE - Family is the most important thing in life.

Special Keywords: S4 - V6 - P4 - MPAAPG-13

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