Depp explained that he very much drew from Frid's version of Barnabas from the Dark Shadows soap opera for Tim Burton's big-screen adaptation.
"Every angle I tried, I kept coming back to Jonathan Frid's iconic performance," he recalled, reports Flicks and Bits.
Depp went on to describe why he felt Frid's portrayal of Barnabas became a landmark of television.
"Approaching Barnabas, even in the early days of trying to explore the possibilities of the character, no matter where you went in your head, if you tried to veer away from the original Jonathan Frid character, it was apparent to both Tim and myself that it had to be rooted in Jonathan Frid's character of Barnabas," he explained. "It just had to be."
Depp continued: "It was so classic and this sort of classic monster, like Fangoria magazine or that kind of thing. So, in terms of that, Jonathan did have, when he was playing Barnabas, there was a kind of rigidity to him, that pole up the back, this elegance that was always there.
"And yeah, I did believe, Tim and I talked early on, a vampire should look like a vampire and it was a kind of rebellion against vampires that look like underwear models."
Depp previously paid tribute to Frid following the actor's death at age 87 in April.
Filmmaker Burton recently revealed that Dark Shadows is more of an exploration of "twisted" family dynamic than a pure horror film.
Watch a trailer for Dark Shadows below: