Deathly Spirits is a horror-themed web series with a fun, old-timey aesthetic staring Ted Raimi. Each episode ties in with a cocktail, the recipe being narrated by Ted at the end. The narrator is a throwback to the lovably creepy staples from the days of black and white film.
Its greatest strength is that it’s completely unselfconcious; Raimi clearly made this series as an homage to horror from an era that might be considered silly by modern audiences. More often than not, creators fall into the trap of trying too hard to be “ironic” and poking fun at their childhood inspirations instead of embracing all the things they loved about them. Raimi chose sincerity instead of irony and the series is much more memorable for it.
Each episode is a little over 4 minutes long, including the drink recipes and credits. The stories are simple and rely on narration with a few key sound effects. It’s far more reminiscent of old radio broadcasts than a web series, but the setting and acting add enough atmospheric charm to justify releasing it in a visual medium rather than as a podcast.
The episodes are all completely self-contained and can be watched in any order. My personal favorite is episode four, The Greyhound:
This excerpt from Raimi’s blog gives the viewer (listener?) an idea about his inspiration for this series:
I love old time radio dramas.
I really do.
I love how the writing there is king and acting is the prince and the sound effects and music are the royal court. There’s really nothing else that is half as entertaining when it’s good.
I love movies, too. Love, love, love them. But they are a pale shadow compared to the drama of radio.
Which is to say, nothing is more sensational to the mind when words are spoken and your brain has to piece the images together. Can you guess which images it picks? Yours, naturally – not the filmmaker’s. Now there’s nothing inherently bad about images. They are powerful and meaningful when presented correctly. It’s just that they don’t have the same meaning as the ones you are familiar with.