Archie is torn between Betty and Veronica, Jughead downs burgers, Moose plays football. These storylines are familiar to generations of fans who grew up on Archie comics, but a trailer parody produced by a Vancouver company that has gone viral suggests darker issues lurking down the hallways of Riverdale High. Drug use, abortion, suicide and maybe murder figure in the Riverdale trailer, which had more than 185,000 views by late Wednesday - less than a week after it went online.
"We thought it was time after 70 years for a new take on the Archie brand and on the characters themselves," says Nathan Lusignan, a partner with Point Blank Creative, which produced the trailer. "It's a very American apple-pie storyline and we definitely twisted that a little bit."
The idea, Lusignan says, was not to make money or promote his company, but to allow the young producers, writers and director - all of whom are 26 - feature film-calibre experience on a shoestring budget.
Shot over three days in Vancouver last June, the trailer cost between $1,000 and $1,500 to produce (they shot eight videos that weekend, with a total budget of $3,500), employing nearly 100 volunteer actors and crew.
In the video, directed by Andrew de Villiers, Jughead lusts for Archie, Reggie snorts coke and Dilton Doiley cocks a handgun.
"In an ideal world the Archie folks would call us up and say this isn't exactly how we envisioned it, but given the response, we'd like to work with you folks on a feature. But that wasn't our goal and I don't think that will be the response," says Lusignan, whose company does not own the rights to the Archie franchise. "We're just hoping they don't pull it down off YouTube or [initiate]some sort of legal action."