Trailer for Lovecraft Country – Short Lived SF/Fantasy Hero Tackling Racism and the Monsters of Cthulhu Mythos

Lovecraft Country was a short-lived SF/Fantasy series on H.B.O. last year. Set in the era of Jim Crow, its Black hero travelled across the American south, faced with White institutional racism on one hand and creatures like H.P. Lovecraft’s Great Cthulhu on the other. I found the trailer for it on Kinocheck International’s channel on YouTube. According to their blurb for the show

Based on Matt Ruff ‘s novel of the same name, Lovecraft Country follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors) as he meets up with his friend Letitia (Jurnee Smollett) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) to embark on a road trip across 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father (Michael Kenneth Williams). This begins a struggle to survive and overcome both the racist terrors of white America and the terrifying monsters that could be ripped from a Lovecraft paperback. Lovecraft Country (2020) is the new mystery movie starring Jonathan Majors, Jurnee Smollett and Wunmi Mosaku.

I admit, I had my doubts about this show. Mr H in his review of the show said that it looked interesting, but that it wasn’t actually based on anything Lovecraft had written, although there were references to him and his monsters. I was also afraid that the series would take the opportunity for some very heavy-handed anti-racist preaching, of the type where all the White characters would be racists and all the Blacks good, decent, innocent victims. Andy Ruff, who wrote the source novel, is White, but Quinn, the Black YouTuber of the Science Fiction channel, Quinn’s Ideas, praised it and said that Ruff was exactly right in his depiction of the time. This is praise indeed, as some of the literature by White authors exploring anti-Black racism has been criticised as patronising, sometimes with good reason. Looking at the trailer, however, it seems that the series was actually quite good.

Unfortunately, we may never know. It’s been cancelled. The show’s writers and creators have said that there will not be a second series, which could be a real pity. I hope one of the other channels will repeat the series and if it’s out on DVD I’ll buy it, although that may be something of a forlorn hope given the way everything is being channelled from DVD onto the streaming channels.

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One Response to “Trailer for Lovecraft Country – Short Lived SF/Fantasy Hero Tackling Racism and the Monsters of Cthulhu Mythos”

  1. Brian Burden Says:

    Lovecraft himself, of course, was an unreconstructed white racist, though fortunately his prejudices rarely intrude on his fiction. I first discovered Lovecraft in Collected Supernatural Fiction of H.P.Lovecraft (I think that was the title) in Banbury Public Library when I was a young teenager. I was thrilled by stories like The Outsider, Cool Air, The Colour Out Of Space, The Whisperer In Darkness and The Thing On The Doorstep. They really got inside my head. Alas, over the years, the glamour has faded and they now leave me cold. The same applies with other, more “respectable” supernatural writers like M.R.James. Nonetheless, I recognise Lovecraft’s skill as a writer (on good days – since most of his work was for pulps) and his imaginative depth.

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