Jonathan Frid, the iconic vampire Barnabas Collins of the cult-classic gothic soap opera Dark Shadows, has passed away at age 87.
After numerous suggestions, I finally began watching Dark Shadows not two weeks ago. Instead of starting with the fist episode, I jumped to the part in the series when the infamous Barnabas Collins made his first appearance. I did this because I had heard that he was the main draw to the series… and that he was.
Not since Bela Lugosi dawned a cape (and fangs) on the silver screen has a anyone been able to pull off an aristocratic vampire that seems both menacing and tragic at the level seen in Universal’s Dracula. While I mean not to cause debate, I view Frid’s Barnabas as being at least on par with Lugosi’s Dracula. By today’s standards, Dark Shadows may be considered campy and tame, but in its day it was gothic suspense at its best (on television at least). Barnabas Collins was the brooding vampire that all the girls wanted, and he didn’t even have to sparkle once! Indeed, today’s vampire boom may have never happened if its wasn’t for Jonathan Frid. Never mind Twilight, without Frid, there may have never been Fright Night, The Lost Boys or Buffy the Vampire Slayer! He brought vampires out of coffin and into the homes of millions.
After watching just two episode of Dark Shadows, I wrote a note to myself. It read, “try to get the guy that plays Barnabas on Spookshow.” I’ve interviewed many horror celebrities on Midnight Spookshow, but I will always regret not getting to know Jonathan Frid. Rest in peace sir. You will be missed, but never forgotten.
Editor-In-Chief of Spookshow.tv