This week, the tweens are going crazy for the vampires (again) but for a different kind of vampire narrative, there’s the independently produced Vampire Mob. Created by Joe Wilson, the series invokes The Sopranos, both with its logo and its focus on hitman Don (John Colella), who finds himself struggling to find a balance between family and work — with the additional complication of now being a bloodsucking fiend.
The first episode introduces Don’s new situation largely through narration to the camera, while Don goes about his nightly routine (a combination of mob hits and “grocery shopping,” which is one of the show’s more clever twists). Sound design is decent (though there are a few points where a little additional music would go a long way) but production overall is a little low-fi — perhaps deliberately. The show’s tagline — “We are all famous to a few people” — is meant as apparent justification for why Don is having his nephew Mikey follow him around with a camera.
Which means, yep, that Vampire Mob does fall into the overplayed fauxumentary format. And it’s not even the first fauxumentary about vampires to come out this year — that’d be Kevin Pollak’s Vamped Out, which premiered on Babelgum in April.
But while Vamped Out was well-executed, it never really popped for me, in large part because the way in which it aimed to parody and explode vampire mythology in these sparkly Twilight days failed to feel fresh in the wake of other vampire series that have come before it. (I’ve watched seven seasons of Buffy and five seasons of Angel, after all. That’s about 250 episodes of vampire dramedy.)
To Vampire Mob‘s credit, though, it’s less interested in vampire tropes and more interested in how suddenly becoming a vampire might affect someone’s livelihood and relationships. There’s some good interpersonal drama in the two episodes made available for screening, and Colella does a nice job of having fun with the more stereotypical aspects of his character without actually crossing the line into full-on parody. In addition, Annie, as portrayed by Reamy Hall, has nice chemistry with him — I’m intrigued enough by the slightly combative nature of Don and Annie’s marriage to want to see how that develops.
The catch, though, is this: Wilson is implementing a “view ransom” system, meaning that while the show premiered yesterday, he won’t post the second episode until the first receives 5,000 views. It’s a novel approach to self-distribution, albeit one that works a lot better if you’re Stephen King — the key will be building an audience around the show.
As of today, according to an email from Wilson, he’s not close to hitting the 5,000 views mark yet, but that just means it’s “time to put back on my publicist hat and get to work!”
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