Sunday, September 12, 2010

Honourable Mentions: The Vetala – season 1

You know something; I love obscure vampire references and adore them even more when they are free. Hence producer, writer, director Damon Vignale scores on two counts with The Vetala. This is a free to view web-series – which has a 7 episode run in its first series – and it is concerned with a creature called the Vetala.

So, what – you might ask – is a Vetala? The Vetala or Baital are an Indian vampire type as featured in the Baital Pachisi, which was reworked and introduced to western audiences in 1870 by Sir Richard Burton as Vikram and the Vampire. Isabel Burton, in her 1893 preface to the work, described them as “a huge Bat, Vampire, or Evil Spirit which inhabited and animated dead bodies”. Unusually the Vetala seems to be more benign than many of its western counterparts.

Paul Mendel as Alex
This series begins with a criminal, Antoin Boykos (James Tyce) in a warehouse checking illegal firearms. He texts a meeting place to Lily (Candace Chase). She is a student journalist and goes to meet him. Meanwhile her journalist partner Alex (Paul Mendel) has been left behind, a voicemail he couldn’t pick up explaining what she is up to.

Candace Chase as Lily
Lily is at the meeting place and Antoin gestures to her from over the street and enters a parking garage. She goes upstairs and gets to the roof but he doesn’t seem to be around. Then the silenced gunfire begins – one hitting her in the arm. She runs but, deep in the garage, he shoots her in the stomach and she falls.

Boykos about to be thrown
She awakens, alive and despite bloodstains on and holes in her clothes she is no worse for wear. A clip, laced into the episode, from Horror Express may give a clue to the initiated as to what is going on. Obviously she is a little wary of the investigation now and when Alex shows her a blog, which suggests that Boykos has been thrown over the side of the parking lot, she is even more concerned.

caught on camera
She starts to dream of his death and it is clear he was attacked and then she is asked to meet another contact. She and Alex meet him but he only speaks to her, giving her his number and a flash drive with the video that was gathered from Boykos’ phone – that shows his death. When we eventually see it we get a brief glimpse of a monster. The Syndicate (the organised crime gang that is running the guns) set a car bomb on their vehicle. Lily has a premonition causing her to get out of the car but Alex suffers critical injuries.

the Vetala
So, what is going on? Lily meets with the contact again and he mentions Vetala. Lily is convinced that she died that day but he says she is neither living nor dead. In a flashback we are given a clear impression that the Vetala has possessed her body but, unlike those possessed in Horror Express for example, Lily remains her own person. It is described by the contact as being chosen and as for what the Vetala wants… we’ll have to wait for season 2.

The show has some impressive photography and I really want a season 2 so that we can find out what Vignale has planned for Lily and to get a richer vein of lore. This first season is clearly a set up into a wider story, and there is nothing wrong with that at all - especially when it is well put together. There is an imdb page here and the episodes can be viewed here.


Zahir Blue said...

Thanks so much for sharing! As you know, I'm developing a web series of my own--yes about vampires--and it is tres cool to see others of the same genre!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

No probs Zahir - I hope one day to be featuring your web serial here too

Amy said...

This sounds really interesting!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Let us know what you think when you've given it a watch, Amy, and many thanks for stopping by