If screaming children and wardrobe-haunting monsters aren’t your jam, how about a web series that could be summed up as “Night Vale Silas University’s Queer Student Union Meets a Vampire, Fights Cthulhu”?
Dear student, your roommate no longer attends Silas University. He or she (A) lost his or her scholarship and decided to go home (B) has elected to attend another school due to your extreme incompatibility (C) experienced a psychological event that left him or her unfit for student life or (D) cited personal reasons, and really, why does anybody do anything? Exit procedures have commenced; no action on your part is required.
Carmilla (2014-) is a web series by Vervegirl, based on the J. Sheridan LeFanu novel, available for free on YouTube. Silas-University freshman and intrepid journalism major Laura Hollis has a bizarre start to her school year when her party-loving roommate Betty goes missing, leaving behind some weird mushroom growths and a note (see above). Betty is suddenly replaced by snarky, black-clad Carmilla, who likes loud music, sleeping aggressively, and takes blood in her Count Chokua cereal. Aided by floor don Perry, her best friend LaFontaine, English TA/Summer Society President Danny, and frat bro Kirsch, Laura works to get to the bottom of all the strange happenings at Silas.
Creampuffs, I love, love, love this show. Nearly all of the characters are queer and women. Queerness (here, attraction to other women) is completely normal in this world; the only really “coming out”-ish narrative is about actual cinnamon roll LaFontaine, a biology major who is nonbinary and uses they/them/their pronouns. (LaF is depicted by Kaitlyn Alexander, who also is non-binary and uses the same pronouns!) They’ve known Perry since childhood, and Perry is struggling a bit with learning LaF’s recent name preference (LaFontaine is their surname) and pronouns. It’s a very organic part of the plot and works well within the narrative. (And can I get an Emma-Approved-style “hell yes!” for nonbinary representation?) Although the first season featured a majority of white characters, including all of the main characters, season 2 has more racial/ethnic diversity.
I haven’t read the original yet, but this work is excellent as a stand-alone piece. If you liked the badass scientists of Frankenstein MD and the surreal humor and diverse representation of Welcome to Night Vale, you’ll love Carmilla. Enjoy, Creampuffs!
Unrated (PG – PG13 equivalent). Type: monster (vampires, etc.), Lovecraftian horror.
Content warning: mild gore, blood (also good for drinking!), kidnapping, brainwashing, demonic possession, mild violence, frat bros.