Lore S1 👻 TV Recap

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Written by Thelonia

Lore began as a podcast in 2015, each episode describing a particular historical creature or event, usually relating to folklore in some manner. This year's adaptation has seen the show picked up by Amazon for a six-episode season. The show incoporates the show's trademark narration by creator Aaron Mahnke (whose voice can be a no-starter on the podcast), some beautiful animation, and reenacted fictionalized versions based off of the historical cases investigated. There are also several comparisons between these historical cases and more modern killings, all in the general goal of saying something about human nature. Whether or not that's your cup of tea is sort of up to you, but let's look at what we got out of these six episodes below.

The first episode concerns legends from 19th century New England started because of wherein a tuberculosis epidemic and early origins of some monster lore. Not the most interesting episode, but a good starter, and also, an interestingly scripted one, considering the literary allusions being done that become more apparent when the subject matter of the episode is fully revealed.

The second episode is all about the real-life and very horrifying story of Dr. Walter Freeman, inventor of the lobotomy. If you think lobotomies had any science behind them instead of "shove a metal rod through someone's eye and just hammer into the brain" you're sort of right, but also in a larger sense, very wrong.

Do you like watching people's brains get messed up real bad? This is the episode for you!

Episode 3 starts off with a murder in Ithaca, NY, the place where Tia and I went to college and also were we met! And also, funnily enough, were, in 2009, a man slit his wife's throat because he suspected she was not, in fact, his wife, but someone pretending to be her. This leads to a recounting of the story of Brigid Cleary, an Irish woman living in County Tipperary in the second half of the 19th century, suspected of being a changeling and murdered by her husband. Brigid is played by Holland Rolland, whom I did not recognize, firstly because I never watched Teen Wolf, but also because she plays her part really well.

Sweaty whispering is a big chunk of this episode.

This episode is really the only one that made me feel a deep deep dread, and that's because it's all about the power men hold over women in society, particularly at that time. This one is the most horrifying because it is the episode that is the most ambiguous about the supernatural aspects, meaning the horror is almost entirely down to the horrors of mankind.

The fourth episode concerns the Spiritualist Movement, which mostly involves fake ghosts and fraud mediums, but also maybe, actual ghosts (but probably not). Notable for a fun poltergeist-y home rearrangement, including the old "chairs on tables" gambit and also a fun reassembly of a dead mother with carrots for hands.

Just had a very vivid salad-fingers flashback. Excuse me for a couple of hours.

And here we are, the Werewolf episode. Now, for reasons that are long and complicated, I know too much about Werewolves, in particular historical Werewolf trials in Medieval Europe. This is all to say that I knew about the case this episode is about before watching it, which lead to a kind of dread you get while watching an adaptation of a book you're read and liked.

Do you think they dressed the female lead in red the entire wolf themed episode? You bet they did!
It's a pretty fun story, with sort of a whodunit premise which is entirely unfulfilled because you have two adult male characters who could be a Werewolf/regular old serial killer, or it's a wolf. It's not so much a surprise when you find out who it is, and also disappointing if you know the original story, because the real-life story of the Werewolf of Bedburg was well documented and also real, real messed up (in that it involved two counts of incest and lots and lots of fetus-eating).

This leads us to the last story, that of Robert the Doll, a Floridian horror story amongst many the state has offered up over the years. I'm not as familiar with this one as I am with the Werewolf tale in Ep. 5, but from what I do know, it's not quite as horrifying as it is portrayed in this episode (although still pretty weird).

Ah Florida, always outdoing yourself in horrors.
It's all to do with a doll named Robert, gifted to a 8 year old Key West Robert Eugene Otto in 1906. The three foot tall doll quickly became a huge fixture in Otto's life, the young boy talking to it at all hours and blaming the doll for wanton destruction about the house. There were also reports of the doll moving about in the attic of the house after Gene's death, when another family moved in.

Robert is currently at the Fort East Martello Museum, which I visited when I was 11, and am very pleased to report I did not take a picture of him, so I can safely say I was not haunted by him! Always good to know, although there's some stuff that happened between then and now that would be handy to blame a haunted doll on, I guess.

There is something to this show, and I do think it has value to someone. It made great background watching while I was working on other things. But for me personally, and I’m trying to not sound like a prime asshole here, i might know too much about these subjects to truly enjoy this show. The few episodes I saw where I went in blind I truly enjoyed, although I think the "based on a true story" aspect of the show should be taken as if it was showing at the beginning of a horror movie: to be suspected at first and anything else should be taken with a grain of salt.

Lore is available through Amazon Prime.

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