Suave Vampire is Back in Depp’s “Dark Shadows”

By Karen

Rumors to the contrary, Johhny Depp is starring in a new Dark Shadows movie and Barnabas Collins will rise again.

The original Barnabas, Jonathan Frid

The original Barnabas, Jonathan Frid

Years ago, I was a minor vampire expert, starting with Dark Shadows every day after school. That led to insatiable reading: Dracula by Bram Stoker, 40+ DS novels by Marilyn Ross (I still own the complete set), ‘Salem’s Lot by Stephen King, a children’s book called Bunnicula, Anne Rice’s books, beginning with Interview with the Vampire, and dozens more, fiction and “non-fiction.”

I finally burned out on Lestat and stopped doing research, so this new crop of vamps snuck up on me. But they’re so popular, I feel compelled to check them out.

So far, I’m unimpressed. They’re so ordinary.

Edward Cullen is a kid in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series.

Bill Compton is a redneck who seems covered with dirt more often than not in HBO’s True Blood, based on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels.

I can’t wait for Barnabas to come back and show them how it’s done.

In an interview with, producer Richard Zanuck confirmed that Depp is teaming up with Tim Burton in summer 2009 to film Dark Shadows in London.

Depp will be about the same age (46) actor Jonathan Frid was as Barnabas, but that’s probably where the similarity ends, except for superficial trappings like the onyx ring, the Inverness cape, the wolf’s head cane.

Depp will undoubtedly make Barnabas suave, sexy, and irresistible. A mysterious, mature Don Juan DeMarco – with fangs.

I haven’t been this excited since Sex and the City: The Movie.

Here’s a great picture of Depp as Barnabas in the portrait that hung in Collinwood’s foyer.

And I found some interesting speculation on casting for the movie. I could see Paul Giammatti as Willie Loomis, even though he might think it’s a come-down from John Adams.

Vampire purists should be thrilled by the return of Barnabas Collins.


6 Responses to Suave Vampire is Back in Depp’s “Dark Shadows”

  1. Bob says:

    Hey Think you may be clawing the wrong tree..
    Did a Search on IMDB and there is nothing on there about this new vamp film.

    I hope I am wrong however, I did watch the remake series..

    Maybe I just like Fangs…. HMMMMM

    Merry Christmas

  2. Bob says:


    He’s been listing to Depesh mode and Tears for Fears…

    Ok he was under armed guard at the time but WTF.

    Give your self a look,,, not as bad as I Thought lol

    Merry Christmas

  3. catsworking says:

    Richard Zanuck is supposed to be the producer of this new movie, and since the news came right from his own lips, I’m clinging to hope that it’s true.

    If you’re talking about the Dark Shadows with Ben Cross as Barnabas, you missed out on A LOT. You need to get your hands on DVDs of the original. By today’s technical standards, the special effects were downright schlocky (especially Barnabas as bat) but for sheer entertainment with occasional genuine creepiness, it can’t be beat. (Note: Barnabas didn’t join the show and give it some life until about 6 months into its run, so feel free to skip all the early “Victoria Winters” episodes. They’re pretty lame.)

  4. catsworking says:

    I read this post the other day, and must admit I have no idea what Bourdain’s talking about when it comes to music. My sister tells me I’m the only person she knows who is totally clueless about popular music. My tastes have always been firmly rooted in show tunes (I know, gag me!) and the old standards.

  5. Letty says:

    Jonathan Frid was 42 years old when he began the role of Barnabas and was 46 years old when the series ended. His Shakespearean stage training gave Barnabas an added depth. Frid played suave and menacing all in the same breath and was elegant, sharply dressed, and immaculately groomed–necessary traits for a classic vampire. With his well-modulated baritone voice that could be at once commanding and sinister, then tragic and hushed, and his ruggedly handsome, yet care-worn features, he projected onto Barnabas a world-weariness: a doomed sadness, not unlike that of the character of Sydney Carton, as portrayed by Ronald Colman in “A Tale of Two Cities”, a role that Frid should have made his own. Indeed, with his loss of love and a past life full of promise, his striving for personal redemption, and his devotion to a family that should be, but is not quite his own–a family for which he would go to any sacrifice for–Barnabas Collins, as played by the superb Jonathan Frid, is the Sydney Carton of vampires–and, a hard act to follow.

  6. catsworking says:

    Letty, spoken like a true fan of Frid. You really have delved into all his angles. I agree with you that any other actor trying to portray Barnabas has an uphill, perhaps impossible, battle.

    I didn’t particularly care for Ben Cross in the short-lived revival series. And I feel like Johnny Depp is too slightly built to have the right masculine Oomph that Frid had. But Depp is an amazing actor and he may somehow pull it off.

    I’m just glad that Jonathan Frid has stopped running away from Barnabas (as he was when I met him in 1988), and has started attending the DS festivals. I’ve never been to one, mainly because what would be the point without him, and I spent a week chasing him around him a cruise ship because he tried his best to duck the people who were sailing specifically to be part of his group. But I’m sure he’s the highlight of the weekend.

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