Instead of recommending a movie, I’m going to recommend a TV show:
This week’s going to be a Lovecraft week, as both my articles have to do with the granddaddy of modern horror. It’s difficult to put into words just how influential H.P. Lovecraft is. His presence in modern horror cannot be overstated. Let’s get the obvious out of the way, H.P. Lovecraft was a racist xenophobe. Even for his time, he was racist xenophobe. So, what better way than to get back at him than by making a Lovecraft story with a majority Black cast.
HBO’s Lovecraft Country, based on the book by Matt Ruff and developed into a show by Misha Green, explores racism in the United States while also exploring the worlds and ideas of Lovecraft. I have not read the book, so I’ll only be talking about the show.
The show follows a young Black man, Atticus Freeman, a Korean War veteran, who travels across the Jim Crow-era United States, in search for his missing father with help from his friend Letitia and Uncle George. Along the way, they struggle to survive both the racism of White America and the mystifying monsters of Lovecraft lore.
For those unfamiliar with Lovecraft’s style, his writing is very analytical and methodical. His stories are more focused on the mystery and the events rather than characters and their emotions. Lovecraft Country is the opposite, and that’s what makes it stand out. The show is more focused on how the characters react to the mystery rather than the mystery itself. It’s more intimate and emotional than any of Lovecraft’s work. It’s basically the antithesis of everything Lovecraft wrote about, yet, it still pays homage to the author’s themes of existentialism and cosmic horror.
I highly recommend the show, even if you know nothing about Lovecraft. The show is carried by great writing and wonderful acting. Jurnee Smollett as Letitia Lewis and Jonathan Majors as Atticus Freeman are the powerhouses of the show, they steal scenes constantly. Aunjanue Ellis is wonderful as Hippolyta Freeman. Abbey Lee as Christine Braithwaite and Jordan Patrick Smith as her brother, William, bring some uneasy tension to every scene they appear in.
I don’t want to say too much, as every twist and turn the series makes is excitingly unexpected, and I wouldn’t want to spoil it for everybody. As of now, the show’s current season is about to air its finale. I strongly encourage you to binge the whole show over the weekend and watch the finale on Sunday. I guarantee you won’t regret it.