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Lovecraft Country

Posted on September 14, 2020

Horror Homeroom Special Issue #3 – Lovecraft Country CFP

Call for Papers

Horror Homeroom, Special Issue #3: LOVECRAFT COUNTRY (Winter 2021)

****EXTENDED DEADLINE – Abstracts due Sunday November 8, 2020 ****

Lovecraft Country is a radical new intervention in the horror world. Based on the 2016 novel of the same name by Matt Ruff, the 10-episode HBO series is produced and written by Misha Green, who serves as the series showrunner. Jordan Peele and J. J. Abrams are also involved as producers, and the series showcases a diverse array of directors (including Cheryl Dunye). 

The series premiered on August 16, 2020 and will end on October 18–and it’s already generating a lot of discussion around its use of horror tropes to tell the story of racism in the US. As Misha Green has said of living in the US as a Black woman, “It’s literally, you’re in a horror movie [with] monsters at every turn” (Stidhum). At least one commentator (in The Atlantic) has argued that Lovecraft Country is not well-served by “its white characters’ near-comic monstrousness” (Giorgis)–and there are already syllabi! Erica Buddington and the Langston League are putting together a syllabus for each episode. (Here’s the syllabus for episode 1.) 

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Posted on June 23, 2020

Horror Fans, Don’t Call the Cops!

Sara McCartney

What do you think of when you think of the police? Do you think of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many more Black people who should be alive today? Do you think of the brutal police responses that have interrupted peaceful protests around the nation?[1] Do you think of your favorite television show? Entertainment, from buddy cop movies to gritty thrillers to police procedurals to detective dramas, have shaped our perception of law enforcement, sometimes under the direction of actual precincts.[2] And if you’re following the news, the incongruency between the real-life police and their fictional equivalents is impossible to ignore.

One of the reasons I love horror is because it’s very good at not taking the status quo for granted. The best horror unmoors us from our assumptions about the world. As calls to abolish the police enter the American mainstream, it’s time for us to rethink our familiar narratives about cops, and that’s where horror comes in, because the cops you’ll find in horror movies aren’t quite what you’ll see in Law and Order.

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Posted on June 29, 2017

Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country: On Horror and Racism

Guest Post

There is much to recommend about Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country, published in 2016. It is a book where the premise (monsters are real, but racism is the real monster!), setting (1954 Chicago and environs), form (a series of connected short stories, each taking up a different horror trope), and characters (each of which stars in their own story and crosses over into the others as side-characters) are all reasons to pick up the paperback. Recently, the book became even more enticing following the announcement of an HBO series adaptation produced by Jordan Peele (Get Out) with Misha Green (Underground) writing and showrunning. (You can check out Matt Ruff’s announcement here.) The show has the potential to be the next big thing given the talent involved and the source material, so if you want to be one of those people who invariably claim that the book was better, now’s your chance to get ahead of the pack. Except that might not be the best idea in this case because everything that works here could easily end up working better as a TV show since it only reaches its full potential on the page occasionally.

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