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Lovecraft Country (HBO) - Official Trailer (16 August 2020), update: first reviews posted


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41 minutes ago, SimpleG said:

This looks fantastic

If you haven't read the book you are doing yourself a disservice.

 

The author  just released a new novel called 88 Names

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John Chu is a “sherpa”—a paid guide to online role-playing games like the popular Call to Wizardry. For a fee, he and his crew will provide you with a top-flight character equipped with the best weapons and armor, and take you dragon-slaying in the Realms of Asgarth, hunting rogue starships in the Alpha Sector, or battling hordes of undead in the zombie apocalypse.

 

Chu’s new client, the pseudonymous Mr. Jones, claims to be a “wealthy, famous person” with powerful enemies, and he’s offering a ridiculous amount of money for a comprehensive tour of the world of virtual-reality gaming. For Chu, this is a dream assignment, but as the tour gets underway, he begins to suspect that Mr. Jones is really North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, whose interest in VR gaming has more to do with power than entertainment. As if that weren’t enough to deal with, Chu also has to worry about “Ms. Pang,” who may or may not be an agent of the People’s Republic of China, and his angry ex-girlfriend, Darla Jean Covington, who isn’t the type to let an international intrigue get in the way of her own plans for revenge.

 

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14 hours ago, Bjomesphat said:

Could this be the first decent budget Cthulhu depiction?

 

Go watch last years Color out of Space starring Nicolas Cage (based on the short story of the same name). It is an excellent Lovecraft adaptation.

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1 hour ago, Greatoneshere said:

 

Go watch last years Color out of Space starring Nicolas Cage (based on the short story of the same name). It is an excellent Lovecraft adaptation.

 

Yeah that was really good.

 

And I don't want to say much about it, but the movie Underwater has some Lovecraftian vibes.

 

Spoiler

Didn't want to spoil anything, but the monsters are very much Lovecraft. The movie wasn't written as a Lovecraft film, but in post they designed the creatures as such. The behemoth at the end isn't the traditional looking Cthulhu, but the director said it's basically supposed to be. Decent film.

 

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2 minutes ago, Bjomesphat said:

 

Yeah that was really good.

 

And I don't want to say much about it, but the movie Underwater has some Lovecraftian vibes.

 

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I've heard the same about Underwater, I should check it out! Going to the top of the list. 

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Just now, Greatoneshere said:

 

I've heard the same about Underwater, I should check it out! Going to the top of the list. 

 

Yeah don't read the spoiler, just watch it.

 

Not amazing by any means, but certainly worth watching. I enjoyed it.

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Lovecraft Country review: HBO scores again with its history horror show (Digital Trends)

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HBO found a brilliant way to reexamine the United States’ terrifying history of racial injustice and politics through the lens of a superhero story with Watchmen, the 2019 series that was one of the network’s most-watched (and most-discussed) projects of the year and earned 26 Primetime Emmy Award nominations to certify its success.

 

It was an impressive feat of genre-bending storytelling, and less than a year later, HBO could very well repeat that success with Lovecraft Country, which swaps superheroes for the supernatural in its exploration of how racial violence and injustice inform both the nation’s history and Americans’ daily existence to this day.

 

How Lovecraft Country Reappropriates H.P. Lovecraft’s Notoriously Racist Creations (Slate)

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The aficionado will scour HBO’s version of Lovecraft Country in vain for knowing and clever references to Lovecraft’s mythos, but the series does preserve something of the novel’s original notion: that for Atticus and those close to him, people simply trying to survive in a highly imperfect world and who are treated as pawns by the powerful white characters, there’s no need to look to the far reaches of the universe or the depths of the ocean to find unfathomable, senseless, gibbering evil. It’s all around them, and it flourished in H.P Lovecraft’s heart. Ruff’s novel ends with the collected Black characters responding to a magician who warns that if they cross him, “No matter where you go, you’ll never be safe!” They laugh, right in his face.

 

Lovecraft Country is a stunning, horrific look at a grotesque legacy (The A.V. Club)

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To summarize Lovecraft Country as a whole is especially difficult. Yes, there is a through line that involves a secret cabal that underscores the entire series. But what makes this narrative work is its anthological approach to the Black experience. Multiple stories and hypothetical scenarios create a mosaic of horror that keeps the premise fresh and newly terrifying. It’s a fitting format: It’s never just one issue that plagues the Black community’s ability to exist peacefully, because racism doesn’t solely present itself in the form of Klan hoods and burning crosses (though there are instances of the latter, as well). It also comes in the form of job discrimination, basic access to decent housing, police overreach, and small country towns that convert into literal death traps for anyone with brown skin. While that reality is certainly heavy, the audience benefits with imagery that is easy enough for everyone to process—that is, grisly monsters (a visual joy, if you manage to not frightfully look away), thrilling car chases, and soul-arresting ghosts. Lovecraft Country is an utterly imaginative, wild ride, but it isn’t nearly as wild as the nonsensical bigotry that makes the series necessary.

 

An audacious and provocative blending of high- and low-brow. (The Hollywood Reporter)

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A celebration of and corrective to the legacy of the pulpiest of pulp fiction, Lovecraft Country is proudly comfort-resistant, zagging abruptly any time you think you're sure where it's zigging and forcing viewers to interrupt their entertainment for regular confrontations with a past that's never too far in the past and nightmares that are hard to relegate to the realm of fiction. Lovecraft Country is bananas.

 

HBO's Lovecraft Country review: Racial commentary meets witches and vampires (CNet)

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Lovecraft Country may be a case of intellectual challenge and racial criticism with a generous serving of gothic and fantasy, but It's also just a very entertaining drama. And it's entertaining without feeling like it's trying to juggle too many pieces. There are vampires and witches, haunted houses and treasure hunts. Atticus reads novels starring Confederate soldiers like John Carter, just because there are no fantasy novels starring Black heroes. He ends up becoming the hero of his own story. 

 

‘Lovecraft Country’ Review: HBO’s Sci-Fi/Horror Mash-up Is a Mysterious Yet Essential Journey (Collider)

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Not every episode is perfect — there are some pacing issues and oftentimes you have to wait until the episode’s end to find out what puzzle piece it provides — but there are so many rich layers to Lovecraft Country. Green’s smoldering vision gives way to powerful multi-layered and dimensional performances, and she does not shy away from uncomfortable topics, leading a show in an authentic fashion that also allows a safe space for this ensemble of actors to bring the weird, petrifying, loving, cruel, unusual, and painful stories of Lovecraft Country to life in uniquely distinct and subtle ways. From the use of gospel music to exude a Black woman taking back her power from the racists who attempted to steal it, to tackling peace and ancestral freedoms, to alternate realities that provide otherworldly opportunities to the oppressed, Lovecraft Country is must-see television — television that digs deeper to ask tough questions but still knows that biggest threat we will always have to combat is racism and our fight for equity.

 

Grade: A-


Review: HBO’s Lovecraft Country Confronts the Evil Lurking Beneath American Life (Slant Magazine)

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Early in the first episode, a woman riding next to Tic on a bus to Chicago sees that he’s reading one of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s John Carter novels and expresses her disapproval of such a work with an ex-Confederate for a hero. “Stories are like people,” he says. “Loving them doesn’t make them perfect. You just try to cherish them and overlook their flaws.” The old woman responds: “Yeah, but the flaws are still there.” That exchange could be the thesis of Lovecraft Country, which eclipses even its source material in capturing the all-encompassing dread of Lovecraft’s fiction while at the same time confronting head-on the most problematic aspects of his writing. The author feared America becoming infected with evil that would sink it asunder, while Green’s series operates from the opposite point of view: that evil was integral to the nation’s creation and that it must be fought, however futilely, to be overcome.

 

3/4 stars

 

‘Lovecraft Country’: A Nightmare on Main Street (Rolling Stone)

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HBO’s pulp-inflected new drama is a no-punches-pulled treatise on race in America

 

As long as there have been men, there have been monsters. Lovecraft Country lands in a specific time and place for both, but in a way that feels universal as much as it feels scary. It’s one of the best shows HBO has made in a long, long time.

 

4.5/5 stars

 

Review: ‘Lovecraft Country’ is a middle finger to a century of racist sci-fi (L.A. Times)

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There is much of interest in “Lovecraft.” The set pieces are well done: Some money and care has been expended on staging, not just as regards the spookier special effects, but on some very nice period work, creating a corner of mid-1950s Chicago that feels inhabited and inhabitable; party and bar scenes are well-populated and choreographed. The monster attacks, crazy dream sequences, scenes that borrow with no embarrassment from “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and the places “Raiders” borrowed from, all work as they’re meant to.

 

“We need to follow the logic of adventure novels,” Montrose declares at a critical junction, and they do.

 

‘Lovecraft Country’ Uses Horror Traditions to Tell a Story of American Racism (Variety)

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What works best is the immense symbolic power, drawn from Lovecraft as well as from Green’s imagination. Previously the creator of WGN America’s “Underground,” Green has shown a gift for making the worst of our nation’s history into the staging ground for a conversation about the totality of its present. That’s on offer here, as well, but will become clearer as and if “Lovecraft Country” figures out the kind of show it wants to be. Surreality is a way to arrive at a deeper meaning, perhaps, but it requires crisply drawn characters to bring us through.

 

In HBO's horror series, America's racism is the real monster (USA Today)

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"Lovecraft Country" is a perfect TV series for 2020. Too perfect. 

 

The new 10-episode HBO series, based on the 2016 novel by Matt Ruff, is set in 1950s Jim Crow America. But its allegorical and literal approach to the horrors of racism feels aptly suited to a cultural moment in which America is once again reckoning with its racist past and present. "Lovecraft" brings the shadow of institutional racism, which many like to pretend is behind us, into sharp relief, reminding viewers that the past is never really gone. 

 

Also, there are monsters. 

 

3.5/4 stars

 

The wild side of ‘Green Book,’ pulled from the guts of American racism (Chicago Tribune)

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Adapted from Matt Ruff’s 2016 novel, it’s full of historically grounded sociological drama pushed through a portal to another dimension. The series features terrific actors, led by Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, going for broke but full of subtlety when the emotional terrain demands it. They’re hardly the only ones worth watching, but they’re the first and best reasons to invest in this wild enterprises. The five episodes made available for early review may be uneven, but Smollett, Majors and company keep you with it.

 

Lovecraft Country Blends Pulpy Horror and Family Drama Into a Story About America's Demons (io9)

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For those who signed up for monsters, the series’ first episode is subtle in the way it introduces them because it wants you to understand that the things slinking around in the dark aren’t all there is to be afraid of. The jeering racists, threatening signs, and armed gangs of white people they encounter are every bit the menace as the things waiting for them in Lovecraft Country proper. But the former, at least, are demons Lovecraft Country’s heroes know and have experience with. When the literal fanged monstrosities start slithering their way out of the woods and making their presence known, Lovecraft Country becomes a wholly different kind of high-stress horror. At that point, there’s no way for Atticus, Leti, and George to really run, and it’ll be too late for you to turn the channel.

 

Lovecraft Country’s Pulpy Call Is One Even Cthulhu Couldn't Resist (Paste Magazine)

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While Lovecraft Country’s plot moves fast, fast, fast—with head-spinningly quick consequences seemingly abandoned, only to manifest as high concept plots themselves—there’s so much good to hold onto that its pages turn themselves. Thanks to its perspective, the exploration of wild dreams and strange justifications of an unjust society, as well as the magical bounties residing in its oppressed corners, shines. Turns out lots of genre tropes become more interesting when the lead looks like someone other than Logan Lerman. Lovecraft Country does the work, whether through its in-universe interrogation of patriarchal systems inside of inherently racist structures, confrontation of closeted shame and the drag scene, or through utterly bomb needledrops. Each episode’s conceit is fascinating enough to deserve its own thinkpiece; each episode’s twist a shocking and gruesome delight. All I’m waiting on is whether its season-long storytelling coalesces in its back half. I’m not quite a gibbering convert to this show’s Cthulhu, but it’s certainly hard resisting its call.

 

A Powerful & Terrifying Genre Odyssey Led By An Incredible Cast (The Playlist)

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Lovecraft Country” deals with generational trauma, female independence — the nature of racial, sexual, and gender identity — fate and faith: the occult, and redemption. Past “Sundown,” the series never quite captures the same magic as the first expansive episode. Instead, the pacing of the near-hour long installments feature spasms of crawling. Nevertheless, the flirting beauty of the most powerful scenes, the fleeting profoundness of when poetic prose are strewn across lyrical montages, and the authentic, psychological performances by the cast, make Green’s “Lovecraft Country” a woozy, intoxicating genre odyssey.

 

[B+]   

 

HBO’s ‘Lovecraft Country’ Thrives on Fear and Comments on Power (Observer)

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Lovecraft Country looks to reclaim the genre space for creators and performers not typically invited to the party. In that way, it has echoes of Get Out, the feature directorial debut of Jordan Peele, who also happens to serve as an executive producer alongside J.J. Abrams. In doing so, it becomes a melting pot of creative influences, inspirations, and homages. A serialized pseudo-anthology playing the greatest genre hits of the last century.

 

HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled (Pop Matters)

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In some ways, Lovecraft Country is a victim of its own ambitions. Emptying out a library's worth of pulp references and using them to spelunk the darkness of postwar American white supremacy just before the dawn of the civil rights era makes for a heady brew. But the ideas don't always play out successfully. Characters are put in the spotlight and then dropped, stories regularly run aground or fail to thread back into the central narrative. A subplot involving a Black character who discovers that drinking a potion will turn her White is rife with potential. But the moral complexities of her transformation (quickly discovering her power, she abuses it) are somewhat muddled by the show's repetitive obsession with the physical terms of her bloody, bone-crunching transformation. There is something poetic happening here but it's mangled rather than illuminated by the body horror.

 

Horrors Both Human and Otherworldly Haunt Misha Green’s Spellbinding Series (/Film)

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Loaded with fantastic, genuinely creepy creature effects, and a shocking amount of gore, Lovecraft Country is a horror-lover’s dream come true. And, like the best works of horror, it has something on its mind. It’s never preachy about its content because it doesn’t need to be. Green and her team have crafted a lived-in world that feels real, even as unreal creatures come flying out of the darkness. Part of that realness comes from the fact that the racial hardships the characters are constantly butting up against are, sadly, still fresh. The Lovecraftian monsters of Lovecraft Country may not be real, but the very human monsters, so Lovecraft-like in their racist beliefs, still haunt this country.

 

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What Lovecraft Country Gets Wrong About Racial Horror (The Atlantic)

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The HBO series, which was written and developed by Misha Green, has received heaps of early praise from critics, many of whom cite its usage of horror to dramatize the ugliness of racism. But Lovecraft Country stops short of deploying horror to convey new insights about the perils of white supremacy. Across the five episodes made available to critics, the show spends so much time focusing on its white characters’ near-comic monstrousness that it undercuts the development of its Black leads. It’s clear that the series thinks racism is evil, more so than even Lovecraft’s shoggoths. Through a convoluted subplot about a cult-like family of bigots known as the Braithwaites, the show also makes clear how intimately racism can figure into Black people’s lives. But halfway through the series, I’m still left wondering who Atticus, George, and especially Letitia (a classic “Strong Female Character” archetype) really are. What animates Lovecraft Country’s Black characters when they’re not fighting racists, whether man or beast?

 

‘Lovecraft Country’ Review: Nightmare on Jim Crow Street (New York Times)

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“Lovecraft” fully integrates a noxious real-life history into its fantastical narrative — and reminds us how little some things have changed in the six decades since the story’s setting. But its goal appears to be to scare us into having fun, something it achieves about half the time in the five episodes made available in advance.

 

Jordan Peele Has Mastered His Brand of Horror. But It Hasn’t Trickled Down to His Productions (The Ringer)

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Lovecraft Country’s scattered quality is best expressed in its soundtrack, which cartwheels from era-appropriate pop songs to jarring contemporary hits: Cardi B, Rihanna, even a Frank Ocean sync in a gay sex scene, a choice that would’ve been on-the-nose in 2012. Twists are based on information the audience doesn’t have; threads are suspended for hours at a time or seemingly dropped altogether.  Lovecraft Country is within its rights to use people as a vehicle for a story, rather than vice versa—but the story has to be considered and focused enough to be worth the trade-off. The show’s most prominent backer has a knack for channeling anxieties and trauma through horror, articulating them in ways mere naturalism never could. In this case, the skill hasn’t trickled down.

 

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The “next week on...” from The first episode did not show what episode 2 would be about 🙄.

 

 

Spoiler

I’m a little disappointed the cult didn’t get past episode 2...

 

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That episode was pretty wild. You get to that mansion and meet all these new characters and I thought “so this is where most of the season will gradually unfold”. LOLNOPE

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11 minutes ago, Mercury33 said:

I liked episode 4. This story is really starting to open up. And good lord was the entire search For the vault some 80’s Spielberg adventure movie goodness. God that was fun. 

Made me want to watch Last Crusade, National Treasure, and Goonies. 

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