Jonathan Frid, who played vampire Barnabas Collins on the cult classic TV show “Dark Shadows,” has died. He was 87.
Frid died weeks before the release of the feature film adaptation of the show starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton.
Frid and Kathryn Leigh Scott, along with their castmates, traveled to England in July to shoot cameos for the film, which is releasing today! During the filming, Frid met Depp, who is taking on the role of Barnabas.
The new film is an update of a show as beloved for its spooky tone and languid pacing as it was for its sometimes slipshod production values. Fans obsess over mistakes that somehow made it to air. The daytime serial ran on ABC from 1966 to 1971.
OK, enough promoting for the movie. When I was a kid I loved, loved, loved Dark Shadows. Jonathon Frid scared the bejeebers out of me and I loved it. Barnabas Collins lived in my closet at night, and I was terrified. It was cheesy, it was campy but I had to watch. Come on, it was either that or Gidget. I was glued to that set faithfully, laying in the floor on my belly, propped on my elbows until Barnabas took the stage. Then I scooted back and sat up, back arrow straight and practically held my breath.
Flying monkeys weren’t scary. Frankenstein’s monster wasn’t scary. But the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Bela Lugosi, and Jonathon Frid terrified me. I was a officionado of everything vamp before vamps were cool. I knew all the septs, and variations of vamps. Trust me, none of them sparkled, but considering the glitz and glam of the 80’s it’s not surprising that the current vamps sparkle. Stranger things could happen.
I watched every B movie about vampires. Every book about vamps was consumed. When I entered college, you could almost say vamps were an obsession. ( And this new generation thinks they are cutting edge – vampire stories have been around for ages.) I read vamp stories with a critical eye. If the author deviates from historical ideology, I don’t mind as long as they have a good reason.
There’s only two things I’ve asked for this Mother’s Day. (They asked!) A kindle, as my book library is approaching the size of The Library of Congress, and a movie date. OK, technically the movie date consists of three things but it’s a package deal. Dinner out, Dark Shadows, then Ice Cream. Hey I’ve been on a very restricted diet for a while lately, and I want a splurge day. I’m willing to forego the theatre popcorn for a good pizza, and some ice cream. Is it really a date if you’re taking the kids? Hmmmm, maybe I’ll have to modify that. Unconventional, but I never claimed to be amongst the average crowd.
Johnny Depp is a talented actor. I think the only think I didn’t like him in was Cry Baby. That whole movie was just wrong. I am curious as to how he portrays Barnabas, and the trailers look intriguing. I’m thinking that Johnny Depp’s version is going to be a little more similar to Michael Meyer’s Austin Powers than Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, but hey it works for me.
What does this have to do with writing? Not one bloody thing, unless you’re writing a vampire story. There are a few in the future projects file, but when there’s Eric Northman, so what’s the point in writing another? I may pursue them, eventually. Vampires are after all eternal. They never truly go out of vogue.
The Zombie fad will fade, but Nosferatu are immortal.
Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!