Team Edward or Team Jacob? Pffft! Team Barnabas!

I know a lot of older women have succumbed to the lure (lair?) of werewolf Jacob and vampire Edward in the Twilight books and novels, along with their teenage daughters who lead the charge. I too love the whole vampire genre, though I’m not swooning over the current vamps/wolfs characters. I love all of the Anne Rice Vampire chronicles and Mayfair Witches books. (Though a blonde Tom Cruise in the character of Lestat left me cold. Ha!). No, I was first exposed to vampires via that great Gothic soap opera of the 60s, Dark Shadows!

Oh Barnabas Collins, you rocked my young world. You were scary, clever, yet on the surface suave and debonair. I recently turned my husband on to the camp classic series thanks to Netflix “Instant Watch”. While he was more indulgent than impressed, and while even I had to admit to the cheesiness of the series, I was secretly thrilled to be watching it again. We probably watched 8 episodes or so before he really lost interest, but knowing I have a way to view what I haven’t seen in almost 40 years makes me very happy. The best setting for watching the episodes is in a darkened room, only a candle or two lit for flickering effect. If you can watch it on a stormy night, all the better. Barnabas was the reason I slept for a long time with the covers pulled up tightly around my neck, and was the reason I eventually stole some garlic from the kitchen to help ward him off – even as I secretly wished for a midnight visit. Really!

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Now just take a look at Barnabas (played by Jonathan Frid originally). Oh, he doesn’t have the six-pack abs of Jacob or the pale-yet-sparkly skin and strong jawline of Edward (well, perhaps Barnabas has six pack abs, but it’s deliciously kept from us so all we can do is imagine…).  By the way, Edward’s last name in the Twilight series is “Cullen”. A coincidence? I think not. I’m onto you, Stephenie Meyer… 

What Barnabas has, though, is the maturity of an older vampire (he’s 175, after all), an incurable thirst for blood and an incurable broken heart as he pines for his beloved Josette. While on the surface he’s a perfect and worldly gentleman, inside we know he’s a cold and calculating monster. The really sexy part about that? He had no regrets about it, though if you’re familiar with the story, as a younger man he did. Barnabas doesn’t sparkle in the sun like Edward; no, he’s a classic vampire who sleeps during the day (in a coffin!) and avoids the sun like the plague. My kind of vamp. The first bad boy character over which I swooned!

I have a lot of catching up to do in watching the episodes. Barnabas will wait for me, though. I mean, he was chained inside a coffin for many years until Willie Loomis inadvertently turned him loose on the fine folks of Collinwood, the family estate. Yes, he’ll wait for me to indulge.

The thing I’m REALLY excited about? One of my two favorite actors, Johnny Depp, is slated to play Barnabas in a Tim Burton remake of Dark Shadows, due out in 2011! Oh, you teeny-bopper Twilight fans  (and their Moms, who should know better…)  just you wait. You’ll see what a REAL vampire is all about!

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