Like many fans around the world, I was saddened to learn of the death of Jonathon Frid. I was a big fan of his portrayal of the first soap opera vampire, Barnabas Collins and am looking forward to his cameo appearance in the new Dark Shadows movie coming out next month starring Johnny Depp.
My kids have seen the trailer for the new movie and they don't understand why this is such a big deal. I admit to being a little disappointed myself - I didn't expect this to be a parody of the t.v. show and I was looking forward to Depp's serious portrayal of the tragic vampire.
But I'm willing to be open minded. This has "girls' night out" with my sister written all over it!
It's hard to explain to my kids or to anyone who didn't get a chance to experience it, what the big attraction to Dark Shadows was all about. I think there were a lot of elements. It was deliciously dramatic, dark and doleful, teeming with tragedy, romance and a bit of campy overacting thrown in for good measure. Now as an adult, I can see it might have been a predecessor for the Jerry Springer show; the Collins Family was very dysfunctional! There was brother and sister, Roger Collins and his sister Elizabeth Stoddard, ( living together in the mysterious old family mansion after each one suffered a failed marriage), their children - the rebellious teenager Carolyn and the mischievous David, a con-man turned family friend , a governess, and unsuspecting villagers, as well as all of their various love interests and distant relatives. And who could be more distant than a relative that died 150 years ago showing up at the front door!
It was the return of Barnabas Collins as a self-loathing vampire that really kept the show going. My favorite part of the series was the return to 1795, chronicling the story of Barnabas Collins, from rich heir apparent to tortured creature of the night entombed in a mausoleum secured with chain by a father who could not bear to destroy what was left of his only son. Along the way there is true love, the wrath of a woman scorned, betrayal and terror.
In the middle of it all was Jonathan Frid's Barnabas, the unlikely anti-hero, who desired nothing more than to overcome his thirst for blood and to find happiness with the true love that can never be, while never seeing the love that is right in front of him (isn't that just like a guy?) in the form of the good Dr. Julia Hoffman. All good clean heart-rendering fun.
while there were many scary parts that I remember to this day!
It was the romance and humanity that made us love Jonathon Frid's Barnabas.
May he rest in peace.