|Location:||Old House, Collinsport, Maine|
|Known relatives:||Naomi (mother)|
Elizabeth (descendant, deceased) 
|1st appearance:||House of Dark Shadows (1970)|
Barnabas Collins is a fictional vampire and the central antagonist in the 1970 American horror film House of Dark Shadows. He is based on the character of Barnabas Collins seen in the original 1960s daytime Gothic soap opera, Dark Shadows. The character is played by actor Jonathan Frid. The character was re-imagined for the 2012 Dark Shadows feature film where he was played by actor Johnny Depp.
Overview[edit | edit source]
Barnabas Collins was a distinguished member of the Collins family raised during the latter half of the 18th century. The son of Joshua and Naomi Collins, Barnabas lived at the original family mansion, commonly referred to as the Old House.
Biography[edit | edit source]
In 1797, Barnabas met and fell in love with a woman named Josette DuPres. Barnabas gave her an ornate music box and asked her to marry him. However, before the marriage could take place, Barnabas found himself the victim of a terrible curse – a curse that transformed him into a vampire. Despite this hellish existence, he still loved Josette, and wanted her to be his bride. Josette was horrified by Barnabas and rather than become his vampire lover, she instead chose to take her own life by leaping off of the cliffs of Widows' Hill. Her body crashed down onto the rocks below. Barnabas was devastated. He revealed himself to his father, Joshua, and begged him to end his life. Joshua could not bring himself to murder his only son; so instead, he bound him within a chained coffin inside of a secret antechamber within the bowels of the Collins family mausoleum, where he remained for many years.
Resurrection[edit | edit source]
In June of 1970, Willie Loomis, a handyman working at the modern Collinwood estate discovered an aged riddle, alluding to the location of the missing jewels of Naomi Collins. Willie deciphered the riddle and discovered the secret crypt beneath the Collins family mausoleum. However, upon opening it, he did not find the missing jewels. Instead, he found the vampire, Barnabas Collins. Barnabas attacked Willie and drank his blood. Rather than kill Willie, he made him his slave and forced him to assist in acclimating himself to the modern era.
That same evening, Barnabas took his next victim. Daphne Budd, a secretary working for the Collins family, who had been leaving the old mansion on her way home from work. Barnabas assaulted her and drank her blood.
Barnabas acquired a modern business suit and introduced himself to the family members of Collinwood. He claimed to be a descendent of the Barnabas Collins that lived on the estate in 1797. In order to engender trust in his distant relatives, he proffered forth, the missing necklace of Naomi Collins. He presented it as a gift to Elizabeth Collins Stoddard – the head of the Collinwood household. At this time he also met Dr. Julia Hoffman, and Professor Timothy Eliot Stokes, both of whom were close friends of the family. Barnabas was leery to answer too many questions about his past, stating only that he lived on Cadogan Square in London, and changing the subject when Professor Stokes mentioned people he knew in that area. As the Collins began to welcome him into their lives, Barnabas expressed an interest in moving into the Old House. Elizabeth was concerned about the idea due to the state of disrepair that the ancestral home had fallen prey to. Barnabas assured her that he would be very content living there, and was prepared to restore the mansion to its original condition. Roger gave Barnabas a tour of the Old House ruins, and within a fortnight, he had moved in. He had his coffin brought over from the mausoleum and placed inside the basement of the Old House. Barnabas "hired" Willie Loomis to work as his personal handyman in helping to restore the house. He also contracted a crew of workmen to assist Willie during the daylight hours while Barnabas slept.
Elizabeth's daughter, Carolyn Stoddard went to the Old House and discussed the life of the "original" Barnabas Collins with Barnabas. She asked if his ancestor had lived in Barnabas' house on Cadogan Square, but Barnabas explained that he had settled in Coventry because the family home had been destroyed during the war.
A few nights later, the Collins family hosted a large costume ball in honor of Barnabas' arrival. The theme of the party required all of the guests to dress in costumes indicative of the styles worn in the 18th century. Barnabas attended it wearing the formal clothes that he had been buried in for almost two hundred years. At this time, he met the Collins family governess, Maggie Evans and her boyfriend, Jeff Clark. Barnabas became instantly infatuated with Maggie and convinced her to remain at Collinwood when he discovered that she was in the process of quitting her job.
Shortly after the party, Barnabas returned to the Old House with thoughts of Maggie in his mind. He believed Maggie to be the reincarnation of his lost love, Josette, and he began developing a plan to make Maggie his vampire bride. During his rumination, Carolyn entered the room. She overheard everything. Carolyn wanted Barnabas for herself and did not want to share him with Maggie Evans. She threatened to expose Barnabas unless he devoted himself only to her. Fearing betrayal, Barnabas leapt upon Carolyn and drank her blood to the point of death. Willie tried to stop him, but was unable to save Carolyn's life. Barnabas ordered Willie to get rid of her body. Willie dragged Carolyn's corpse back to Collinwood and left it in the foyer. The housekeeper, Mrs. Johnson, discovered the young girl's corpse.
The Cure[edit | edit source]
Following Carolyn's funeral, Dr. Hoffman began analyzing samples of Carolyn's blood and comparing it to those taken from Daphne Budd. She detected an unidentifiable cell that had been acting as a virus in their respective bloodstreams. Professor Stokes suggested the idea that the creature responsible for killing Daphne and Carolyn was a vampire. Julia disbelieved him at first, but learned the truth for herself one evening when Barnabas failed to cast a reflection in her compact mirror. Julia felt that she could successfully cure Barnabas of his vampiric affliction.
She went to the Old House at dusk and told Barnabas that she knew he was a vampire. Barnabas was prepared to kill her, but she further spoke of the chance of a possible cure. Barnabas had little faith in Julia's ability to actually cure him, but he was not prepared to let such an opportunity slip away without at least giving her the benefit of the doubt. Julia prepared a series of antiviral injections that she administered to Barnabas once every evening. Within a few weeks time, the process began to yield positive results, and Barnabas was able to walk about in the daylight. He still suffered from his vampiric blood cravings, but the desire to drink human blood significantly decreased.
With a renewed sense of hope, Barnabas found the inner strength to pursue Maggie Evans with even greater ardor. He arranged for Jeff Clark to be out of town for a few days, thereby allowing himself the ability to win Maggie over. They went on frequent walks in the sunshine on the grounds of the estate. Maggie was slowly beginning to fall in love with him. He gave her the music box that once belonged to Josette DuPres.
Julia meanwhile, had likewise found herself falling in love with the vampire. She was devastated to discover that Barnabas only had eyes for Maggie Evans. In a jealous rage, she deliberately sabotaged one of Barnabas' antiviral injections. This resulted in Barnabas’ body aging at an extremely accelerated rate. Barnabas learned that Julia had betrayed him and he attacked her at the Old House, strangling her until she died.
Wedding Plans[edit | edit source]
He then raced back to Collinwood to collect Maggie Evans. He bit into her throat and drank her blood until she was practically insensate. With the infusion of fresh blood, the effects of the advanced aging began to subside, and Barnabas recovered his natural appearance. He brought her limp body to an old chapel monastery on St. Eustace Island to prepare for a wedding ceremony. He dressed Maggie in the wedding gown that once belonged to Josette.
By this point, the remainder of the Collinwood household was aware that Barnabas was a vampire. Roger Collins, Jeff Clark and Professor Stokes conspired to track Barnabas down and put an end to him. Stokes and Roger went directly to the chapel while Jeff went about searching for Maggie. Barnabas attacked them, turning them both into vampires.
Professor Stokes attacked Jeff Clark on the marshes surrounding St. Eustace Island. Jeff shot him in the chest using a bullet made of silver. He then went to the ruins of an old castle where he found Roger. He destroyed Roger by impaling him with a sharpened piece of wood left upon the floor.
Jeff then learned that Barnabas had taken Maggie Evans to an old chapel monastery located somewhere in the castle. He tracked them down and hid in the second floor balcony while Barnabas laid Maggie Evans upon an altar. Jeff used a crossbow and fired a bolt into the back of Willie Loomis. Barnabas spun around and used his vampiric hypnotism to force Jeff to stop. He summoned him down into the nave of the church and declared that Jeff was to act as a witness for the wedding of Barnabas and Josette. Willie, bleeding to death, attacked Barnabas, but Barnabas finished him off by strangling him. Miraculously, Jeff found the inner strength to resist Barnabas' mind-control. He picked up the crossbow bolt that had felled Willie Loomis and drove it into the vampire's back, piercing his heart. Barnabas fell backwards upon the floor of the church, dead. After the film's credits, Barnabas' body turned into a bat and flew out of frame.
Notes & Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The character of Barnabas Collins was created by director Dan Curtis and writers Sam Hall and Gordon Russell.
- Barnabas Collins maintained all of the trademark apparel that he utilized in the original Dark Shadows including: His black signet ring, his wolf's-head cane, his Inverness coat and his portrait, which hung in the gallery room at Collinwood.
- The biography of Barnabas Collins, as described here, is adapted from a plotline in the original Dark Shadows series, which ran from episode 210 to episode 265 – the long-term repercussions of which, extended even beyond that.
- In the House of Dark Shadows movie, Jeff Clark killed Willie Loomis single-handedly. In the novelization of the film, Willie survived long enough to attack Barnabas, but Barnabas grabbed Willie by the throat and finished him off.
- The Johnny Depp version of Barnabas from Dark Shadows maintained many of the same characteristics of his television fore-bearer, but was radically different in other aspects. He looked more otherworldly than previous iterations of the character, with ghastly pale skin, elongated fingers and large ears. The Depp version could never pass for a normal human, while the Frid version looked entirely human. The Johnny Depp version also had a more comedic demeanor, using old-world verbiage in an anachronistic sense.
Barnabas' victims[edit | edit source]
In chronological order'
- Daphne Budd
- Nancy Hodiak
- Carolyn Stoddard
- Julia Hoffman
- Collinsport deputy
- Professor Timothy Eliot Stokes
- Roger Collins
- Willie Loomis (see notes)