Two things I’ve said before:

1. The relative affordability of professional-quality equipment has put filmmaking within reach of more people than ever before.

And …

2. Maine is a spooky place.

And sure, while that means there are lots of Internet clips of poorly lit movies of amateurs thrashing about in the Hollis woods with hockey masks on, there are also those (like the recent “Damnationland” filmmakers) who took advantage of those two facts to make original, ambitious Maine horror films.

Which brings us to “Ragged Isle.”


The long-gestating brainchild of Mainers Barry and Karen Dodd, “Ragged Isle” is a Web series about a young woman who accepts a job as photographer for the titular island’s lone newspaper and finds, amongst Ragged Isle’s small and secretive population and isolated yet beautiful scenery, that things are not what they seem.

While decidedly not an amateur (he’s been working in local broadcast TV for 17 years) Barry Dodd has certainly embodied the DIY spirit in bringing “Ragged Isle” to life. Originally conceived as a “Dark Shadows”-style soap opera for a contest for Soap Net, some years ago, “Ragged Isle” lay fallow for years. But, you might say, it continued to haunt Dodd, until last year, when he gathered everyone together again, brought in new talent and added elements of series like “Twin Peaks” and “The X Files.” He also set up the website that is to be the show’s home,, where you can watch the show’s evocative, crisply-shot trailer.

Dodd promises that the first season, consisting of 10 five- to 10-minute episodes, will deliver the blend of suspense, humor and genuine shocks that those series are renowned for. “‘Ragged Isle’ is not your basic murder mystery. On the surface, you’re watching a slightly soapy New England story, but then, without being able to put your finger on it, and without giving too much away, a supernatural element seems to creep in,” he says.

And while the series is almost entirely financed out-of-pocket (people looking to donate to the production, and receive neat “Ragged Isle” merchandise, should check the website), Dodd explains that “Ragged Isle” is quite ambitious, with more than 20 speaking roles, more than 30 locations and an original music score. While there is a real Ragged Island (it’s next to Matinicus Isle), Dodd’s fictional island is a patchwork of locations from Maine points as diverse as Rockland, Peaks and Great Diamond islands, Gorham, Two Lights State Park, and elsewhere, all wedded together to form a uniquely spooky topography.

Dodd teases that the first episode should be up at the site next month (he’s still editing) and the rest will follow, once per week. And after that?

“The second season is all planned out,” Dodd says. “We had the end in mind all along; with a Web series, you can’t fool around. There’s a definite story to tell in a short period of time.”


For that second season to come about, however, Dodd concedes that the first will have to drum up some outside support. “We’re living paycheck to paycheck (trying to complete the project),” Dodd explains, “Without some outside support, well, I don’t think we’ll be able to weather another ‘Ragged Isle’ storm like we did this year.”

Check out the first episodes at — coming soon.

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.


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