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Author Topic: Lovecraft Country  (Read 10022 times)
Cadaverine
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on: July 27, 2020, 07:05:32 AM

New series on HBO coming 8/16.  Based on a novel by Matt Ruff, set in the Jim Crow era 50s.  Jordan Peele is an executive producer, but so is JJ Abrams, so I suppose it could go either way.  Trailer looks alright, but really doesn't shed any light on things.

https://youtu.be/dvamPJp17Ds

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lamaros
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Reply #1 on: July 27, 2020, 06:52:28 PM

I must be the only person on earth who has never been slightly interested in Lovecraft.
Khaldun
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Reply #2 on: July 27, 2020, 07:06:51 PM

This might be the cure, in that it takes a bit of his aesthetic but uses it like Get Out to think about race--that the dreaded things from beyond aren't just motiveless whatevers but something far more intimate and horribly recognizable.
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Reply #3 on: July 27, 2020, 10:24:00 PM

I must be the only person on earth who has never been slightly interested in Lovecraft.

Based on my book sales, no you aren't.  Rimshot why so serious?

Typhon
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Reply #4 on: July 28, 2020, 04:45:58 PM

I must be the only person on earth who has never been slightly interested in Lovecraft.

THANK YOU for coming into this thread about a Lovecraft show to tell us that!  I was on pins and needles wondering what thoughts you, Lamaros of f13, had about Lovecraft and now I know! Well that itch is well and truly scratched! Ahhhhh!
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Reply #5 on: July 28, 2020, 06:27:03 PM

I must be the only person on earth who has never been slightly interested in Lovecraft.

Based on my book sales, no you aren't.  Rimshot why so serious?

Well, if it helps, your books are the only Lovecraftian stuff I've read. 

lamaros
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Reply #6 on: July 28, 2020, 07:29:30 PM

This might be the cure, in that it takes a bit of his aesthetic but uses it like Get Out to think about race--that the dreaded things from beyond aren't just motiveless whatevers but something far more intimate and horribly recognizable.


Yeah, I wondered that, having never read the original stuff if I'm just used to seeing people take the simple bits and not add anything. Hard to read too much from a trailer as to what level/detail of intimacies the series will explore, but more promise than other recent takes.

THANK YOU for coming into this thread about a Lovecraft show to tell us that!  I was on pins and needles wondering what thoughts you, Lamaros of f13, had about Lovecraft and now I know! Well that itch is well and truly scratched! Ahhhhh!

You're most welcome. I imagine it must be really satisfying when someone posts an on topic comment about a subject in a thread specifically set up to discuss it.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 07:32:13 PM by lamaros »
BobtheSomething
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Reply #7 on: July 30, 2020, 12:34:54 AM

I must be the only person on earth who has never been slightly interested in Lovecraft.

Based on my book sales, no you aren't.  Rimshot why so serious?

Perhaps I misunderstood your pitch when I asked you about your books, but they sound like a niche within a niche where Lovecraftian fiction is concerned.
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Reply #8 on: July 31, 2020, 12:05:38 AM

That pretty much describes Lovecraftian fiction period.

Velorath
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Reply #9 on: July 31, 2020, 12:08:23 AM

That pretty much describes Lovecraftian fiction period.

There's probably some fashion you're missing.
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Reply #10 on: July 31, 2020, 08:55:46 AM

I'm still waiting for someone to deliver a cinematic equivalent to his stories, nobody can get the tone right at all. I'd say some found footage-style flicks have come closer in intensity than any actual attempt to make a "lovecraft" film. In particular, I'm talking about the divisive Muirhouse, which absolutely nails the atmosphere of a Lovecraft story (though there is a sort-of chase sequence in the middle that pushes down it to standard FF for a bit). Since it's about a quiet, building intensity as a man loses his mind, most people hate it ("nothing happens" makes me feel like a lot of the reviewers want jump scares or some plot laid out for a simple mind).

Exception is this one" https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1756479/ The single good Lovecraft adaptation.

I have zero point zero interest in anything Jordan Peele has done since the show ended. Horrible.

Velorath
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Reply #11 on: July 31, 2020, 10:38:00 AM

I have zero point zero interest in anything Jordan Peele has done since the show ended. Horrible.

Seems an odd thing to make a blanket statement on, but your loss I guess.
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Reply #12 on: July 31, 2020, 11:13:18 AM

Lovecraft I think is interesting to a lot of later writers because he pulls together a whole host of pulp tropes and makes something moody, that is a kind of feeling rather than a memorable plot or character. I often compare him in my own head to the way it feels to read Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast, which is both indelibly memorable and completely forgettable in the same moment. (e.g., nothing especially happens; the characters are weird 'flat' grotesques, really just scenery within the house; but the mood of it is so distinctive).

But it's why Lovecraft is really nothing you want to adapt straight up. I've always found it a bit besides the point when a writer like August Derleth works to expand, extend and specify a "Lovecraft Mythos" and to flesh out (sometimes literally) what those various monsters and names refer to. Lovecraft works while it's all about dread and the unseen, when it's about knowledge that exists but that no one should have, when it's a book or a name that no one should open. His stuff works while it's on the edge and fails when something actually happens or becomes concrete. It works when you really *don't* have an image in mind of what he's describing (in fact so often he is trying to tell you that you can't or must not!). But you can't do that in a film or in visuality--you can't just say "look, this is non-Euclidean geometry! It's impossible!", because you have to show it.

Lovecraft himself was also a grubby, unpleasant ickily overt racist. Which is why Lovecraft Country was a such a smart book--it takes the dread and the mood, puts it into something seemingly concrete, AND acknowledges Lovecraft's own grossness.
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Reply #13 on: July 31, 2020, 11:34:03 AM

Lovecraft I think is interesting to a lot of later writers because he pulls together a whole host of pulp tropes and makes something moody, that is a kind of feeling rather than a memorable plot or character. I often compare him in my own head to the way it feels to read Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast, which is both indelibly memorable and completely forgettable in the same moment. (e.g., nothing especially happens; the characters are weird 'flat' grotesques, really just scenery within the house; but the mood of it is so distinctive).

But it's why Lovecraft is really nothing you want to adapt straight up. I've always found it a bit besides the point when a writer like August Derleth works to expand, extend and specify a "Lovecraft Mythos" and to flesh out (sometimes literally) what those various monsters and names refer to. Lovecraft works while it's all about dread and the unseen, when it's about knowledge that exists but that no one should have, when it's a book or a name that no one should open. His stuff works while it's on the edge and fails when something actually happens or becomes concrete. It works when you really *don't* have an image in mind of what he's describing (in fact so often he is trying to tell you that you can't or must not!). But you can't do that in a film or in visuality--you can't just say "look, this is non-Euclidean geometry! It's impossible!", because you have to show it.

Lovecraft himself was also a grubby, unpleasant ickily overt racist. Which is why Lovecraft Country was a such a smart book--it takes the dread and the mood, puts it into something seemingly concrete, AND acknowledges Lovecraft's own grossness.

I agree with most of this. I'd prefer that if changes are made, to just remove the race shit entirely and just focus on a good creepy tale and leave the hollywood wokeness to the oscar bait.

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Reply #14 on: July 31, 2020, 12:14:09 PM

 rolleyes

-Rasix
Velorath
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Reply #15 on: July 31, 2020, 12:15:53 PM

If you think Peele's work is Hollywood wokeness (even using that phrase unironically is a bit of a red flag) I don't know what to tell you, especially without dragging a thread about a cable series down into politics. Horror at it's best has things to say about humanity, society, culture, etc..., and Peele is one of the very few people approaching it (very successfully) from a racial angle. I haven't watched his Twilight Show series because I don't think I had whatever service it was streaming on at the time, but overall I've been liking his work and wouldn't want to see him remove "the race shit".
TheWalrus
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Reply #16 on: July 31, 2020, 05:37:17 PM

Cuck sounds more your speed, Sky.

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Khaldun
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Reply #17 on: July 31, 2020, 05:52:45 PM

Get Out made me exquisitely uncomfortable but there is no way in which I would say it was superficially 'woke'--it seemed like a pretty brilliant thing.
HaemishM
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Reply #18 on: July 31, 2020, 11:09:08 PM

That pretty much describes Lovecraftian fiction period.

There's probably some fashion you're missing.

Is this Praxis?

EDIT: Also, Sky... Hollywood WOKENESS? What the actual fuck are you talking about? Your posts have started to veer like one step away from using idiot terms like "virtue signaling."
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 11:12:16 PM by HaemishM »

Surlyboi
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Reply #19 on: August 02, 2020, 09:47:26 PM

P R A X I S.....

That said Haem, I've not picked up your books but I will rectify that post haste.

As a person of color in America, I've always had a deeply conflicted appreciation of Lovecaraft and I've reveled in updated, less racist takes on his works, like stuff in Cthulhu 2000. I'm pretty sure Peele's sensibilities are close to mine and I'm looking forward to the series.

Tuned in, immediately get to watch cringey Ubisoft talking head offering her deepest sympathies to the families impacted by the Orlando shooting while flanked by a man in a giraffe suit and some sort of "horrifically garish neon costumes through the ages" exhibit or something.  We need to stop this fucking planet right now and sort some shit out. -Kail
HaemishM
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Reply #20 on: August 02, 2020, 10:54:53 PM

Not to derail too much into my own books, but there's some discussion of racism and situations in many of the Cthulhu books. One of the main supporting characters, FBI Agent Bill West, is African-American and he and the main character discuss it a few times. The 5th book in the series is actually set in the NYC Mayoral Race of 1886 and much of the anti-immigrant sentiment of the time. And when I talk about that book in my video podcast, I intend on delving a little into Lovecraft's overt racism.

I probably need to pick up the book this is based on, as setting a Lovecraftian story in Jim Crow is really just about perfect.

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Reply #21 on: August 03, 2020, 09:13:13 AM


EDIT: Also, Sky... Hollywood WOKENESS? What the actual fuck are you talking about? Your posts have started to veer like one step away from using idiot terms like "virtue signaling."
I'm getting a bit run down from the extreme nonsense from both ends of the spectrum lately. Remember I live in a redneck region and deal with a lot of really naive artists. Half the people I know want to watch the world burn and the other half want to watch the world burn.

I'm not big into the world burning thing. Sorry to bring it into the thread.

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Reply #22 on: August 03, 2020, 10:00:59 AM

We can't just blame Cthulhu, guys. Both sides.
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Reply #23 on: August 03, 2020, 05:18:02 PM

I must be the only person on earth who has never been slightly interested in Lovecraft.

Don't worry this has literally nothing to do with that lore or the themes of cosmic horror.

If Jordan Peele sticks to the source material 1to1. Personally I found the book pretty meh, like a white guy who wanted to right a book about jim crow but knew no one would buy it so he sprinkled in a setting that people may actually be interested in. The jim crow was hollow and the cosmic horror/weird scfy was non-existent. So you have a book that really doesn't do much, say much, or inspire much. Less strange eons and more extremely familiar ones eons.

So I'm tempted to let this show ride and see if reviews gush about any actual horror elements. 

« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 05:28:10 PM by MediumHigh »

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BobtheSomething
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Reply #24 on: August 03, 2020, 10:18:19 PM

We can't just blame Cthulhu, guys. Both sides.

Enough geometrical correctness.  It’s time to blame both sides.
Surlyboi
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Reply #25 on: August 03, 2020, 10:58:10 PM

That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange ćons, we must see both sides. 

Tuned in, immediately get to watch cringey Ubisoft talking head offering her deepest sympathies to the families impacted by the Orlando shooting while flanked by a man in a giraffe suit and some sort of "horrifically garish neon costumes through the ages" exhibit or something.  We need to stop this fucking planet right now and sort some shit out. -Kail
Bokonon
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Reply #26 on: August 04, 2020, 12:50:02 PM

Not to derail too much into my own books, but there's some discussion of racism and situations in many of the Cthulhu books. One of the main supporting characters, FBI Agent Bill West, is African-American and he and the main character discuss it a few times. The 5th book in the series is actually set in the NYC Mayoral Race of 1886 and much of the anti-immigrant sentiment of the time. And when I talk about that book in my video podcast, I intend on delving a little into Lovecraft's overt racism.

I probably need to pick up the book this is based on, as setting a Lovecraftian story in Jim Crow is really just about perfect.

It's a fun book (and sadly where I first remember hearing about the Tulsa Massacre). It's basically written episodically, like the original intent was for a series/miniseries.
TheWalrus
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Reply #27 on: August 04, 2020, 02:25:07 PM

That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange ćons, we must see both sides. 

Goddamn. Art.

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Threash
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Reply #28 on: August 08, 2020, 03:39:43 PM

That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange ćons, we must see both sides. 

Bravo good sir.

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Khaldun
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Reply #29 on: August 09, 2020, 07:55:19 PM

Well, damn, MediumHigh thinks something doesn't meet his standards for meticulously accurate historical invocation of Jim Crow, game over man.
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Reply #30 on: August 10, 2020, 07:48:44 PM

Well, damn, MediumHigh thinks something doesn't meet his standards for meticulously accurate historical invocation of Jim Crow, game over man.


Hmmm no. Id rather the writer say im writing a jim crow story rather than write a poorly syfy story that really just wants to be about the 1950.

Compared this to say umbrella academy which does the setting more justice in season 2 and manages to deliver exceptional syfy

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Reply #31 on: August 16, 2020, 11:44:21 PM

First episode was a bit of a slow build to set the stage but that slow build also included a James Baldwin speech as the protagonists drove across Jim Crow America so big bonus points for the montage.

The final act was fuckin’ bonkers and the close with a cover of Sinnerman was chefskiss.gif.

Tuned in, immediately get to watch cringey Ubisoft talking head offering her deepest sympathies to the families impacted by the Orlando shooting while flanked by a man in a giraffe suit and some sort of "horrifically garish neon costumes through the ages" exhibit or something.  We need to stop this fucking planet right now and sort some shit out. -Kail
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Reply #32 on: August 16, 2020, 11:56:46 PM

At some point, someone please describe how "horror/gory" it is.  I like the concept but don't really like that sort of thing so am holding back on watching it.  I can take blood splatter or general bloody violence, but can't abide body horror/excessively viscera-based stuff.   Analogies to other stuff would be helpful.

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Khaldun
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Reply #33 on: August 17, 2020, 07:11:30 AM

The writer who wrote the original set of stories this is based on started with the Negro Motorist Green Book as the basic underlying idea--of a character who was one of the travellers helping to write the Green Book entries. Can't get much more "about Jim Crow" than that.
Surlyboi
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Reply #34 on: August 17, 2020, 09:11:11 AM

At some point, someone please describe how "horror/gory" it is.  I like the concept but don't really like that sort of thing so am holding back on watching it.  I can take blood splatter or general bloody violence, but can't abide body horror/excessively viscera-based stuff.   Analogies to other stuff would be helpful.

From the first episode there was a dismemberment, a guy lost an arm but it was relatively quick. No horrible body horror stuff so far.

Tuned in, immediately get to watch cringey Ubisoft talking head offering her deepest sympathies to the families impacted by the Orlando shooting while flanked by a man in a giraffe suit and some sort of "horrifically garish neon costumes through the ages" exhibit or something.  We need to stop this fucking planet right now and sort some shit out. -Kail
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