“Blood and Bone China” an enjoyable indie release from the UK

What do vampires, Victorian era England and a country veterinarian have in common? They are the three main components of an award-winning television web series.

“Blood Bone and China,” which has won “Best Web Series in 2011,” “Best Directing in a Drama” and “Best Horror Web Series” (among others) in the U.K., is also a feature length movie that released in 2012 (it has only been shown at a handful of film festivals so far) that was co-written by Chris Stone and Stephanie Cooper and directed by Chris Stone. The web series itself was first released in 2011.

The basic plot of the story is that vampires are infesting the town of Stoke-on-Trent in Stafforshire, England. Veterinarian Newlyn Howell (played by Anthony Miles) receives news that his brother Richard (Simon Hooson) has been killed in the town, and that his last wish was for Newlyn to continue his work in the town investigating the bloody disappearances of the townsfolk. He quickly finds that he is knee-deep in death and conspiracy, and must rally the remaining townsfolk behind him to destroy the evil menace.

The beauty of “Blood and Bone China” is that it is a low budget production, but doesn’t always look it. The entire movie is estimated to have cost £3,000, which converts to about $4,614. There is minimal CGI effects for fang extension sequences and glowing eyes, and it is done surprisingly well. The costumes are also very consistent with the period, and are rich and cohesive rather than something sloppily thrown together. This does wonders for keeping the story streamlined and viewers focused. The costumes alone could easily eat up the entirety of the budget, so the crew wins extra points for being thrifty.

The writing is also enjoyable. Stone and Cooper work well to tell Newlyn Howell’s story of reserved gentleman turned vampire-hunter, creating a believable character arch that reaches an intense climax when Newlyn finally loses all trace of fear and hesitation and goes out to what he has resigned himself to do. The only real concern in the writing is that there are places where it is obvious that the story is written in a distinctly episodic format, which doesn’t always translate well into a feature length one. There are several recaps, both vocal and visual, that can bog down a feature length release, but are completely necessary for stories being told a little bit at a time. As a movie, this could potentially end up hurting the overall story.

The acting is predictably over-the-top, but still acceptable. You can tell that these actors aren’t very seasoned, but they all show a commendable level of skill. The core vampires even sport the iconic Dracula-esque accent, which makes them easily identifiable as key players in the series. When the actors aren’t making it a point to stick out, they are appropriately refined and the series as a whole tends to flow better.

Check out this unique series for free online, you can find it either on their official YouTube channel or their website, www.bloodandbonechina.com.