The first images we saw from Tim Burton‘s Dark Shadows were cause for concern: paparazzi photos of Johnny Depp in extreme whiteface and a more than slightly Michael Jackson-inspired getup. Warner Bros. countered with an official still showing the entire cast, and that mollified fans (somewhat) who had become concerned about the film’s direction.

Now there are two new snaps, and one features Depp in pretty full vampiric effect, with blood all over his clawed hand. He’s even channeling an old-school Nosferatu sort of vibe, which might help convince rubberneckers that this is a movie, not a trainwreck.

Empire debuted the pics; along with one of bloody Barnabas we get a shot of Tim Burton directing Jonny Lee Miller as Roger Collins and Michelle Pfeiffer as Elizabeth Collins Stoddard.

Screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith told Empire why the film is set in 1972:

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.

And producer Richard Zanuck, by way of explaining why the film isn’t in 3D, says, ” 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 opens on May 11, 2012; here’s the long synopsis:

In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet—or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy…until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Brouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive.

Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles.

Also residing in the manor is Elizabeth’s ne’er-do-well brother, Roger Collins (Jonny Lee Miller); her rebellious teenage daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Chloe Moretz); and Roger’s precocious 10-year-old son, David Collins (Gulliver McGrath). The mystery extends beyond the family, to caretaker Willie Loomis, played by Jackie Earle Haley, and David’s new nanny, Victoria Winters, played by Bella Heathcote.

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