Thursday, August 4, 2022

[Review] - 'The Demon of Barnabas Collins' by Marilyn Ross

If you perchance to buy a Dark Shadows novel at a thrift store or used book store with only the bare minimum knowledge of the series, you'll be confused or disappointed after reading the book. Whether you have seen a few episodes of the original ABC daytime soap, the short-lived NBC series, or Tim Burton's spoofy remake, you know the vampire Barnabas Collins is imprisoned in a coffin and is released 100+ years later. Barnabas didn't make his way into the book series by Marilyn Ross (the pen name of William Edward Daniel Ross) until the sixth novel, and his backstory was different. Instead of being chained in a coffin, Barnabas lived among the living. Every once in a while, he would change his identity to a made-up son, grandson, great-grandson, etc., so nobody would find out about his vampire secret.

The 8th installment, The Demon of Barnabas Collins, has the entire Collins family leaving Collinwood and traveling to Vermont for the summer. Well, all except for cousin Barnabas Collins. A film company leased Collinwood to shoot a movie there. He tries to keep his distance by staying at the "old house," but things are easier said than done. Barnabas is a romantic at heart, despite it not beating. He quickly falls in love after meeting the beautiful actress Rita Glenn.

Then the creepy Dr. Moreno arrives, claiming to know how to cure Barnabas's vampire curse. Will Barnabas become a mortal being again? Of course not, there are more books in the series, and Barnabas is the star.  

Final Thoughts

Why do vampires attract beautiful women? Barnabas still mourns for his lost-love Josette, but he has no trouble falling head over heels for every woman he crosses paths with in these novels (more like novellas).

The Demon of Barnabas Collins is an oddball story from start to finish. I take it that Daniel Ross couldn't find anything for the Collins family to do, so he shipped them off to Vermont for the summer. That's one way to sideline everyone so the new protagonist can take over the series. I can't blame the author or the publisher for putting Barnabas front and center - he's the star of Dark Shadows for a reason.  

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