As you’ve probably already seen, Johnny Depp portrays the vampire Barnabas in Tim Burton’s movie rendition of the 1960’s gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows.

(Image from


     Don’t get me wrong.  I love Johnny.  I’ve been a huge fan or his work since Edward Scissorhands and the original Fox TV series,21 Jumpstreet.   When I saw the trailer for the new Dark Shadows, my first thought was:  “I don’t think so.”
I hold a very different view of the one and only Barnabas Collins.  For as a little girl in the 70’s, I stood in front of the TV with wide eyes, skin slightly crawling, and cringing away from the vampire when he graced the small screen.

Jonathan Frid as the OG Barnabas Collins.

     Perhaps it was because I was so young and thus, easily frightened when watching reruns of the soap opera.  Perhaps it is because I am not a huge fan or re-making everything.  Or perhaps it is because my memory is failing, and therefore I don’t remember the original Barnabas being so, so….boyish, looking like a porcelain doll.  So when discovering that the library could get me some DVD’s of the 1960’s Dark Shadows, I made a date to re-acquaint myself with Mr. Collins.
Although being a creature of the night, he was kind enough to join me in the day time through the Best of Barnabas DVD. And he mesmerized me all over again. Memories flooded me of the creepy intro music calling me away from my play time to stand in awe in front of the TV, awaiting what dark secrets would be revealed in the silhouette of Collins Estate.  Of Mama telling me that my older siblings raced home after school to also watch the soap opera when it first aired.  Decades later, Barnabas’ eyes still burn into the soul.  The lines around his high cheekbones accentuate his chiseled features.  The right corner of his lips curve slightly higher in that unforgettable grin.  Barnabas still watches us from afar, then creeps up on us from the dark corners of our imaginations.  He has once again captivated me so much, that I will be requesting the full seasons to watch the original Dark Shadows in order, from Barnabas’ first entrance into the new Collins home, through his yearning for Maggie because she resembles his love, Josette, and David’s persistence that the house is haunted, and the endless battle between Barnabas and the witch, Angelique.  Let the younger generation enjoy Burton’s movie.