Whether it’s Buffy on network TV, True Blood on HBO or a slew of more offerings on the web (I Heart Vampires and Vampire Killers just off the top of my head), filmmakers continue to feel if you carve out your own blood-sucking niche, fans will come (and, maybe, the money will follow). But with no shortage of mythological, quasi-evil, sanguine-centric plot lines, the question for viewers becomes: how intriguing is your spin on the Dracula story?
For Bleeder, the new vampire series out of Philadelphia, it’s just intriguing enough.
Co-written, produced and directed by Wade Balance and co-written, produced and starring Mark Kochanowicz, Bleeder brings a new twist to the genre. Alex is a hemophiliac – that is, a guy who frequently hemorrhages – who is lucky enough to encounter Charlotte (Brea Bee), a reluctant vampire who take pity on him as he weakens from blood loss in his alley alcove.
Shot in HD on the RED, Bleeder’s pilot debuted earlier this summer, and the creators appear to be in the midst of fundraising before putting out episode two. The series claims to be “Philadelphia’s first Web series shot under AFTRA’s electronic media agreement,” which means they’re attempting to bring union standards to a format most often dominated by labor paid with bagels, pizza, and coffee.
Bleeder is comprised of a solid local cast and well shot by DP Jim McKinney, who gives each scene convincing verisimilitude with lighting quality found in more expensive, and often darker, independent films. This is the web, though, and the creators keep things moving through the nine-and-a-half-minute pilot.
The opening title credits artfully clue us in on the coming alignment between the loser of blood (hemophiliac) and the harvesters of it (vampires) before bringing us into the precinct that is Detective Gardner’s (Brian Anthony Wilson of The Wire) domain. Mookie (Omar Wilder) has been busted for dealing again, a count that’s potentially his third strike, but in his desperation to get out of doing “20 long” he offers up some dirt about a prostitute dumping a particularly large body into the river.
And that’s where the vampire girls and the the most clichéd element of Bleeder’s premise fits in. But the dynamic between Alex and Charlotte is sweet and light enough to buoy interest, piquing our curiosity as to how these unlikely allies will carve out their black market blood bank of a niche.
Check it out on at BleederSeries.com.