Update: Vote Barnabas for Best Vampire in the World Series of Monsters

VoteLast updated 10/27/14 . Updated info at end 

Dark Shadows fans, I summon thee!

Barnabas Collins, the anti-heroic bloodsucker from ABC’s undyingly popular supernatural soap opera of the 1960s, has been selected as one of eight candidates for Best Vampire in the World Series of Monsters, an 11-category competition going on now on the HitFix website. But, with voting set to close today (October 26), TV’s “cool ghoul” is currently in last place.

This is an outrage of the first order. And one that must not stand.

As portrayed by Canadian actor Jonathan Frid, Barnabas became an international sensation when he was introduced to the viewers of the ratings-starved daytime soap in April of 1967. What was intended to be a 13-week ratings stunt turned into four years of witches, werewolves and zombies, with some of the most outlandish plotlines ever to grace TV screens at any hour of the day. And Barnabas was at the center of the madness, sometimes saving people, and sometimes killing them. Depending upon his mood.

DarkShadows02-00cvrFrid went on to become a teen magazine heartthrob, a Billboard-charting recording artist (whilst reciting verse on the TV show’s soundtrack) and, eventually, a movie star, with a lead role in HOUSE OF DARK SHADOWS (1970), series creator Dan Curtis’ hugely successful feature film adaptation.

Dark Shadows and its bloodsucking headliner broke content boundaries for television, and established an archetype – The Reluctant Vampire – that’s more popular today than ever before. Frid’s portrayal captivated millions of teens and tweens who “ran home from school” each day to watch his exploits, and the series inspired a generation of storytellers who continue to inject the show’s DNA into their work, nearly half  a century later

Without Dark Shadows, there is no Twilight, no Sleepy Hollow, no Penny Dreadful. The extent to which Barnabas Collins and his exploits impacted contemporary genre storytelling is incalculable, and it needs to be acknowledged. Right now.

But at last tally, Barnabas had scored only a measly 3.57% in the competition, putting him at number 8 out of 8 candidates. Here’s the tally (as it stands of this writing):

1. 22.41% – Dracula (Gary Oldman) from Francis Ford Coppola’s BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992)
2. 20.81% – David (Keifer Sutherland) from Joel Schumacher’s THE LOST BOYS (1987)
3. 15.74% – Count Orlock (Max Schrek) from F.W. Murnau’s NOSFERATU (1922)
4. 15.03% – Santanico Pandemonium (Salma Hayek) from Robert Rodriguez’s FROM DUSK TILL DAWN (1996)
5. 9.86% – Dracula (Christopher Lee) from the Hammer Films series (1958-73)
6. 7.4% – Dracula (Bela Lugosi) from Tod Browning’s DRACULA (1931)
7. 5.19% – Kurt Barlow (Reggie Nalder) from Tobe Hooper’s SALEM’S LOT (1979)
8. 3.57% – Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid) from Dark Shadows (1966-71, ABC)

There’s a lot wrong with this list, but that’s not the point of this post. (But seriously, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA is number one?) While I love Lugosi, Max Schrek and Christopher Lee, each of them has been duly acknowledged throughout the decades for their longstanding contributions to celluloid bloodsucking. Their films are readily available and frequently seen.

FridBut, in terms of time served, Frid’s Barnabas blows the field away with more than 500 half-hour TV episodes shot live-on-tape in a tiny, New York City TV studio over four years. And while the entire series is available on DVD, and 240 episodes are streaming at Hulu, Dark Shadows has not been widely seen since it left the Sci-Fi Channel’s daytime schedule more than a decade ago. The only reference many contemporary viewers have to the show is Tim Burton’s creatively bankrupt 2012 reboot. And that is another tragedy.

But one tragedy at a time. Barnabas Collins must not lose this fight. As the vampire himself might say, I implore you to vote here and to share this post on your Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Friendster, CB Radio and whatever other form of social media you may employ. It takes just one click!

Barnabas Collins has summoned you to do his bidding. And you will obey!

Update 10/27/14 – Voting has closed, but Barnabas made a very respectable rise from the dead, jumping from 3.57% to 4.2%. If you voted, thanks. If you didn’t, may the curse of eternal darkness fall upon you, and all those you love.

Here is the final tally. (Gary Oldman? Really?):

1. 22.24% – Dracula (Gary Oldman)
2. 20.65% – David
3. 15.64% – Count Orlock
4. 14.89% – Santanico Pandemonium
5. 9.78% – Dracula (Christopher Lee)
6. 7.41% – Dracula (Bela Lugosi)
7. 5.16% – Kurt Barlow
8. 4.24% – Barnabas

Thanks to Wallace McBride from the Collinsport Historical Society for the the VOTE BARNABAS image. 


About willmckinley

I'm a New York City-based writer, video producer, print journalist, radio/podcast host, and social media influencer. I've been a guest on Turner Classic Movies (interviewed by Robert Osborne), NPR, Sirius Satellite Radio, and the official TCM podcast. My byline has appeared in Slate.com and more than 100 times in the pages of NYC alt weeklies like The Villager and Gay City News. I'm also a social media copywriter for Sony's getTV and a contributor to four film-and-TV-related books: "Monster Serial," "Bride of Monster Serial," "Taste the Blood of Monster Serial," and "Remembering Jonathan Frid."
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14 Responses to Update: Vote Barnabas for Best Vampire in the World Series of Monsters

  1. Vicki Davis says:

    Jonathan Frid was absolutely the best Vampire!

  2. le0pard13 says:

    Barnabas Collins (and actor Jonathan Frid) was the best non-Dracula vampire there ever was. He’d hand Keifer Sutherland’s David his head. But you know I remain a Christopher Lee man when it comes to Dracula, Will 😉

  3. Johnathan Frid !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Barnabas…best vampire ever! Christopher Lee #2.

  5. Brian says:

    I vote for Barnabas Collins!

  6. jeffbaker307 says:

    Barnabas was ahead of the curve for the romantically star-crossed vampire by about four decades.

  7. Sharon Olson says:

    Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid)…. most awesome vampire! Vote for Barnabas!!!

  8. Dude, Gary Oldman was fantastic as The Count! Bram Stoker’s Dracula may not have been the best vampire movie ever made – and it’s not – but Oldman’s portrayal of Dracula was superb.

  9. BillyShake says:

    Reblogged this on stewartstaffordblog and commented:
    Who is the baddest-ass vampire of them all?

  10. Barnabas Collins, was, is the man! I give him my vote.

  11. Josh says:

    Also, Santanico Pandemonium!? Really!? She’s in the movie for a total of ten minutes. I always found Oldman’s younger Dracula to be too much of a sniffling emo baby, especially when he’s crying in beast-face makeup. Yawn. I didn’t mind his elder version, but he definitely is NOT the best portrayal!

  12. Beverly says:

    I would like to be Able to watch dark shadow every day it was the best vampire show the blood was not shown

  13. I realize that you never mentioned Louis Jourdan’s portrayal of Count Dracula in a 1977 made for British TV special. I have yet to see it, but I heard it’s divine!

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