If you ever wondered what it would be like if Sam Raimi had directed The Exorcist, then made it a Choose Your Own Adventure tale and put it on the internet, you might have a vague understanding about what you were about to get yourself into with Spade. Created by John Johnson, CEO of Darkstone Entertainment, an independent film company based out of Charlottesville, VA, Spade opens with a stark opening credits sequence overlaid with the original 1980’s theme from V, which whoever runs the company’s YouTube account assures a concerned commenter is “actually a YouTube friendly song. And since we are not selling this in any way or making a dime, we be safe.”
What follows is three parts of introduction to the world of Spade: eye-patched Jack Spade himself, who apparently saved the world fifteen years ago and has nothing to show for it but a penchant for drinking himself into a coma, his younger, hotter, ass-kicking wife Lena, a Masonic assassin, a preacher who can hurt with the power of his mind and enjoys cursing, and an innocent fast-food waitress who apparently is the new key to saving the world…again. Follow this up with horrific visions of possessed girls who make you bleed green when they get inside you and a spectacled, well-dressed host named Mr. Lobo who greets you at the end of part 3 to give you the options for where the show can go next based on what you decide.
The series is shot very lo-fi and while the actors may not be seasoned professionals, they clearly know their roles well and have chemistry with each other. And while I’ve seen other series that have attempted to take use of the YouTube annotations as a way to do a Choose Your Own Adventure storyline, this is the first time I’ve come across the narrator used having his own distinct character with an interesting presence and personality. He almost makes you hesitate to click a choice just to see how he will chastise you (and let me assure you…he will).
New episodes of Spade will air every other Thursday for the rest of 2010. After each new episode, the audience has 72 hours to let Mr. Lobo know of where they’d like to see the series go next.