Friday, November 22, 2013

Honourable Mention: Red Scare

Why IMDb list the Lee Citron directed web series as 2011 is unknown – as it aired from Halloween 2013 over 8 episodes and gets an honourable mention due to the fact that it’s out there free to watch…

And watch it you should because it is great fun.

empty classrooms
We are in Plainview Connecticut in 1956 and the web series starts with a siren as we see the deserted class rooms, basketball court and corridors of Plainview West. It was the match between East and West, schools set either side of the town, when an air raid siren announced the apocalypse.

Judy, Johnny and Audrey
A group of people get to the shelter, which officer Hoover (Dominic Conti) then closes. There is some panic, fear for families left outside and cynicism – believing it is a drill and the folly of mutually assured destruction. The people in the shelter are cheerleader Audrey Stone (Brianne Howey) and her boyfriend and Jock Johnny Clemens (Kevin Joy), East Plainview cheerleader Irene Miller (Chelsea Alden) and her dorky brother Huey (Ellington Ratliff), 1950s atypical mom Vivienne Lee (Heather Howe, Vamps and the City), Romanian foreign exchange student Gert Bumbescu (Nathaniel Weiss), bad boy Dino DiGiulio (Jordan Stavola), good girl Lois Henrickson (Brittany Ross) and Ginsberg reading socialist Judy Graves (Teresa Decher).

The first victim
When they awaken after the first night they find the body of Officer Hoover, two marks on his neck and his corpse rather pale. It is Huey who realises there is a vampire in their midst. Dino grabs Hoover’s gun but Huey points out it will be no use against a vampire and that the legends suggest sunlight and a stake to the heart will be the only way to stop him… or her. He tells them that lack of reflection, and the apotropaic effects of garlic and crosses are unproven. With Hoover’s body placed in the walk in freezer, Huey offers to take first watch and Irene offers to sit up with him. Whilst the others sleep he whittles a stake but she falls asleep and in the morning Huey is dead – a victim of the vampire.

Gert staked
The group’s general opinion starts to turn against Romanian Gert – despite the fact that (as he points out) Transylvania is a different region to where he is from, he is accused of being both a communist and a vampire. There is a vote on whether they should deal with him, which ends up tied. It is down to Johnny to cast the final vote and he is erring towards accusing Gert when Irene stakes the Romanian. That night they are attack free but, as you can imagine, Gert wasn’t the vampire as we are only at episode 3.

there is an underlying wackiness
We are in a version of 10 little Indians but it is great fun mainly due to the brilliant caricature 50s characters, an underlying wackiness and some very believable acting. The fact that they are in a shelter – in the first few minutes they broke the radio and so assume that the world has ended outside – will have helped limit the cost to budget but the series really doesn’t suffer for being set in such a limited stage.

I’m not going to spoil any more of the serial. You can catch it at their homepage. The imdb page is here. Thanks to Everlost who put me on to the series.

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