Stephen Moyer as vampire Bill Compton in "True Blood."
Photo courtesy HBO
Vampires don't usually do too much for me, but I have to admit that I've gotten a bit hooked on HBO's new series, "True Blood." It's funny, creepy and unsettling and it's set in the South, so it pretty much hits the grand slam of oddball horror and cracked behavior.
The show (by "Six Feet Under" creator Alan Ball) is based on a series of Southern vampire novels by Charlaine Harris. The premise: A Japanese company has developed synthetic blood that provides all the vampires' basic nutritional needs, allowing them to make themselves known and to ask for the same rights that humans have.
Ball said in a radio interview that he sold this to HBO as "popcorn TV," which it mostly is. There's some subtle comment on anti-vampire discrimination and religious intolerance that has parallels to anti-gay sentiment, but mostly it's just weird and fascinating and bloody.
The best part of the show is the opening credits (below). Newsweek notes that opening credits are sort of a dying art, but Ball uses them to great effect to open "True Blood" with a sense of doom. Shot on film at various speeds and printed with some colors overly saturated and others muted, the credits are like a Southern Gothic fever dream brought to life, gators and religious hysterics included. And on the soundtrack, Jace Everett growls, "I wanna do bad things to you." Oh, yeah!
Too bad they didn't borrow this look for the series itself: