“Everything you are about to see is based on real people and events…”
Although I haven’t caught Aaron Mahnke’s original Lore podcast yet, its strong following deemed worthy enough for Amazon Studios to create this new series, with the creator on board as narrator. The three episodes I’ve seen offers Lore to its audience as a mix of documentary-style fact and figures, and as a re-telling of a main story with TV drama-type re-enactment with snippets of Mahnke’s narration over a 6-episode run from Friday 13 October on Amazon Video.
While the acting-base is strong, featuring the likes of Campbell Scott and Colm Feore here, it’s not excessively gripping throughout and this might be due to it trying to complete with the best modern mystery-dramas. It’s interesting to learn that The X-Files’ exec producer Glen Morgan has backed this because it has that late 90s style, whether that’ll work with the audience though will remain to be seen after it airs. But Lore does have an odd a compelling edge and that’s mainly found as stories are summarised and unknown, or unexpected events, are exposed.
Episode one places us in Exeter, Rhode Island and tells the story of George Brown (Scott), whose family are dying of consumption and he’s struggling to understand why. Despite the progression of time and medicine at this time, some diseases and sicknesses just hadn’t been fully solved and, the shocking truth is, many Doctor’s didn’t even know if a patient was ‘fully’ dead because even though they appeared to be, they may have still been alive.
The story behind episode one is the belief of the soul that people had, because many believed that if the soul hadn’t left the body after it had died, then the spirit was kept within the dead body buried deep in the ground. The trouble with this sort of belief is that it led to superstition, and theories beyond comprehension. The problematic thing with all this, of course, is doubt leads to conclusion without fact. But fact is irrelevant in an age of superstition and a lack of medical proof.
These types of stories find their way weaving through episodes 2 and 3 as well, from the lack of medical conclusion, or from a deep-seated view within superstition and a fear of the unknown. There are also some really curious themes about how history remembers things, and what people believed in times that might only be 100 years ago. In a somewhat morbid-discovery-sense, the fun part of Lore is learning the history of macabre moments but, again, whether it’s a strong enough series to really embrace a wider audience is questionable due to its unusual nature.
Despite this, I still found these episodes very watchable even if I wasn’t hooked all the time. If you’re a fan of this type of story, and the ghoulish, you’re going to find something fun here. From these episodes, I wouldn’t really place it in the ‘horror’ bracket despite that being the nature of the anthology; it’s more a dark discovery of the unusual – like The Outer Limits or early The X-Files but lacking a little focus time-to-time.
It’d be easy to see Lore finding a cult audience like it has with its podcast and for newcomers to this kind of affair, I think they’ll find something different. With Halloween around the corner, it’s perfect for turning the lights off and getting in the mood of ‘tales around the campfire’ with its equally disturbing and captivating nature.