In 1965, legendary playwright Neil Simon brought Broadway audiences the hilarious story of two roommates who tried to share an apartment, as well as their own lives, without managing to drive themselves crazy in the process. After its successful transition to the big screen three years later, as well as the equally popular 1970s TV series, THE ODD COUPLE became one of the most popular comedies ever produced for any medium, and has enjoyed countless revivals, adaptations and derivations throughout the past few decades. One new web series that premiered this Halloween puts an edgy, yet refreshing new spin on the concept of mismatched roommates; in this case the comic misadventures of two people who just happen to be serial killers.

With 6 episodes set to air for its first season, the new comedy 14 GRIMM STREET portrays the lives of two men who while completely different in mannerisms, share both the same house – and the same deadly pursuits. Co-created by Neil Evans and Chris Armstrong of U.K. based Mind Tank Productions, 14 GRIMM STREET stars Jordan Moore as the level-headed, cultured and proper Julian, while Tom Kilby plays his boisterous, outspoken punk artist roommate and childhood friend Sid.

Complicating both of their lives is the gorgeous new next door neighbor, Nancy (played by Ellie Stephenson), and a mysterious, obnoxious houseguest named Klaus (played by Mark Townley).

14 GRIMM STREET grew out of both Armstrong and Evans’ shared love of horror, as well as of popular sitcoms. As first time creators of an original web series, they set out to create a comedy that combined the two genres in a unique way. “Neil and myself are huge fans of both sitcoms and horror. One day we were kicking around the idea of combining the two somehow. After some discussions we came up with the idea of the classic odd couple sitcom with a horror twist. We both felt if done right the horror element could add a lot of humor to the already comically fertile ground of the odd couple sitcom. We came up with certain rules for the show, such as laughs before scares, and a ban on graphic violence to ensure the tone of the show stayed light. Then we wrote a short sample script that was about ten pages long and introduced the main characters. Then we started coming up with episode ideas and found we had plenty to work with, we decided to turn the idea into a web series and started pre-production shortly afterwards,” Armstrong says.

Even though the series operated on an extremely limited budget, both Armstrong and Evans had no difficulty finding their cast, including the two actors who would bring the deadly duo of Julian and Sid to life. “Our three male actors (Moore, Kilby and Townley) were all students at the university of central Lancashire (as were Neil and myself) and also friends. We cast them because we knew they were talented/reliable and they had great chemistry together on screen. We found our female actor (Stephenson) through Casting Call Pro (an online casting database used by film and TV directors, plus casting agencies and agents). She was very talented and enthusiastic about the project, so she was an easy choice. All our actors were brilliant and hugely helpful throughout filming. Neil and myself are extremely happy with their work on 14 GRIMM STREET,” Armstrong recalls.

The series was shot over a week long period, with Armstrong and Evans working alongside a very small production crew consisting of sound designer Chris Wemyss, plus assistant directors Alan Livesey and Bridie Farrell, both of whom the show’s co-creators met in college. For their part, Armstrong and Evans not only co-wrote and co-directed the series, but also worked extensively to create its distinctive on-screen atmosphere. As Armstrong remembers, “…(W)e spent about a week making props and discussing ideas for set design. It was almost like an arts and craft week for us, making odd paintings and creepy props. At one point in this week Neil walked into the kitchen and found me sawing the legs off a child’s doll with a hacksaw, (but) this didn’t phase Neil though, who just went back to painting the severed eyes ping pong balls he was working on. It was a fun week!”

Even though the process of filming the show’s six episodes was hard work, the most exciting part of production took place in the editing room. “The shooting week was very busy and pressured but enjoyable nonetheless. We shot for about twelve hours a day, then normally collapsed on a sofa to watch the day’s footage. Then we moved onto editing, which we always approach as a team. We cut rough episodes, then spend hours bickering about fine editing until one of us gives up. This is always one of the most exciting stages, (and) seeing the project come together is always worth the effort of production,” Armstrong says.

Despite its dark subject matter, 14 GRIMM STREET is a web series that is big on comedy, and both Armstrong and Evans hope that its success will be measured not only in viewers, but in laughs. “I think our hopes for 14 GRIMM STREET in artistic terms is very simply to entertain and make people laugh. It’s not a show that plunges the depths of the human condition or takes itself too seriously. We just hope people enjoy it and find it funny. We don’t have any real financial hopes for 14 GRIMM STREET, but if somehow we could get some funding for a second series would be great. Also, if helps get our talents seen and leads to possible jobs, that would be amazing too,” Armstrong says.

(While it’s not currently closed captioned for the deaf and hard of hearing, Armstrong says that he hopes that it will be in the near future.)





TWITTER: @Mind_Tank