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Author Topic: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works  (Read 2609 times)

KyriakosCH

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HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« on: 25 Jul 2020, 20:29 »
The trailer:



Got to say, this doesn't have a Lovecraft vibe at all. I was also surprised by the idea to have black protagonists in the work of a notorious anti-black racist like Lovecraft ^_^

Most likely it will be generic and only tie to HPL in name.


edit: and apparently this is based on some 2016 novel some nameless guy wrote, where Lovecraft's work is juxtaposed to the Jim Crow era. So... Lovecraft's name is just used to sell this, but imo this is a terrible idea :)

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« Last Edit: 25 Jul 2020, 20:51 by KyriakosCH »
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Mandle

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #1 on: 25 Jul 2020, 22:02 »
I believe that once a work becomes so huge it can outgrow the artist's original vision.

Some people may not like this but, the original stories are still there for those people.

As for Lovecraft's name being attached to it, he never really officially named his mythos, so we only have the "Lovecraft mythos" as a name to describe it.

(Some people say the "Cthulhu Mythos" but this is kind of silly because Cthulhu is quite a minor part of the whole thing.)

It's not like "Sherlock Holmes" where we don't have to invoke the writer's name to let people know what it's about.

Maybe Lovecraft himself wouldn't be too happy with the way things have gone with his creations becoming "pop culture" (even though that's what they really were even in his time).

I'm sure movies like Reanimator would offend him deeply, although he may enjoy In The Mouth Of Madness, but it doesn't really matter because he now resides on Yuggoth and he ain't coming back.
« Last Edit: 25 Jul 2020, 22:05 by Mandle »

KyriakosCH

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #2 on: 25 Jul 2020, 22:10 »
I think that falsely advertising this will be a problem, though, in that virtually no one would have heard of the novel "Lovecraft country", while almost all who come to see the trailer (and series?) would come for Lovecraft, expecting something entirely different :)

Also I don't think it is a good idea to place US racism in tautology with the work of a writer - I am sure most racists were less creative than Lovecraft.
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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #3 on: 25 Jul 2020, 23:04 »
I would imagine that one of the main reasons for the existence of this show is the well-known racism of Lovecraft (or rather xenophobia, remember he pretty much feared anyone or anything he had no personal experience with or understanding of.)

I don't know if it's a strike-back against his views, or an attempt to bring "Lovecraftian" cosmic horror to a wider audience who have been turned off up until this point by his views, but it seems deliberate.

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #4 on: 26 Jul 2020, 16:36 »
There's also a certain "minority" quota that they need to fill.
You can't make anything in Hollywood that does not include at least 1 actor that fills the minority quota. Only reason I can see for Nick Fury all of a sudden becoming "African American" in 2008, when he has been white since his creation in 1963...  (roll)
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KyriakosCH

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #5 on: 26 Jul 2020, 16:59 »
I would imagine that one of the main reasons for the existence of this show is the well-known racism of Lovecraft (or rather xenophobia, remember he pretty much feared anyone or anything he had no personal experience with or understanding of.)

I don't know if it's a strike-back against his views, or an attempt to bring "Lovecraftian" cosmic horror to a wider audience who have been turned off up until this point by his views, but it seems deliberate.

Maybe... Although it is still false advertising, which will certainly backfire! I wouldn't like it if, for example, some show was called "Kafka's world", and it ended up being some lame fan-fiction about how someone read Kafka and tried to get through the soviet occupation of Czechoslovakia  :=

There's also a certain "minority" quota that they need to fill.
You can't make anything in Hollywood that does not include at least 1 actor that fills the minority quota. Only reason I can see for Nick Fury all of a sudden becoming "African American" in 2008, when he has been white since his creation in 1963...  (roll)

This isn't about quotas, though, it has most of the cast be black, because it is an adaptation of a 2016 book titled "Lovecraft country". Also, it is by Peele, who makes it a point to have most of his casts be black when possible.
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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #6 on: 26 Jul 2020, 18:45 »
There's also a certain "minority" quota that they need to fill.
You can't make anything in Hollywood that does not include at least 1 actor that fills the minority quota. Only reason I can see for Nick Fury all of a sudden becoming "African American" in 2008, when he has been white since his creation in 1963...  (roll)

This is not true. Nick Fury is/was black in Marvel's alternate "Ultimate Universe" (initially appearing in a 2001 story by Brian Bendis and Mike Allred). In fact, in The Ultimates (2002) by Mark Millar and Brian Hitch, which is the main basis for the MCU Avengers, his appearance is explicitly based on Samuel L. Jackson. (The Ultimate Universe has later been merged into the main Marvel comics continuity.)

As for Lovecraft Country, it's not a book that "virtually no one" has heard of. It was widely (and fairly positively) reviewed on release. And of course the choice to use Lovecraft as a central reference in a horror story about racism is deliberate, precisely because he was so famously a racist.

KyriakosCH

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #7 on: 26 Jul 2020, 19:03 »
I think it's safe to say that, in context, virtually no one has heard of it, that is when juxtaposed to how many would try to learn about the series due to the actual Lovecraft.
Furthermore, I think it is a very bad idea to try simultaneously to leech Lovecraft for his name, and make the focus be his racism. The first would just be false advertising, but now it can be seen as a problematic cheapening of any merit Lovecraft's work may have.
And if one tried to combat current racism, to tie racism to a creative and famous person is not the best of avenues for this either.
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Cassiebsg

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #8 on: 26 Jul 2020, 21:11 »
OT: Oh, I stopped reading Marvel comics around the 2000 year (I was only reading Spider-man and Wolverine by this time and a few years forward) and I avoided the alternate universe like the plague...  (roll)
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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #9 on: 27 Jul 2020, 09:46 »
So have you got a source for this 'one ethnic minority performer' quota, apart from a misunderstanding about one bit of casting?

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #10 on: 27 Jul 2020, 16:11 »
Here's an article talking about it: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2015/mar/25/deadlines-race-casting-article-tvs-diversity-wrong

And here's a simple google search about the problem (the above link is/was the top link): https://www.google.com/search?q=hollywood+casting+quota

I have nothing against colored or minorities being included, but when they're just there to meet "the quota" and are "shoed in", it gets annoying.  :-\
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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #11 on: 27 Jul 2020, 16:15 »
That Guardian article is debunking claims from a Deadspin article about a quota. There is no such quota.

KyriakosCH

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #12 on: 27 Jul 2020, 21:50 »
This wouldn't be about quota anyway, even if possible, given that the 2016 book is centered on black people :)

But it will oldonenate ( :=) Lovecraft fans, so who exactly is the show supposed to be targeting as an audience? Not very intelligent to piss off the group you are inevitably marketing this to.
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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #13 on: 28 Jul 2020, 02:51 »
The book is explicitly about the relationship with an author who, well, was a god awful human being despite writing some decent books. It's only alienating to fans if your head is so far in the sand you refuse to acknowledge he was kind of a shady guy who occasionally wrote short short stories about how terrible *ahem* 'nice men of african descent' are, while imbuing multiple elements of his story with those same undertones (I don't believe for a half second that the imbred violent weird-featured residents of Innsmouth weren't intended as a stand in for his mental image of a majority black town). You cannot always just ignore who the author was as a person, doubly so when it affects their work. Ain't no sane person gonna argue that it's fine to be a fan of Mein Kampf because you just love that Adolf guy's writing and why is everyone bringing up his personal views? No, for better or worse, there's a judgement call that needs to be made. In part the novel is about that. As well as parallelling elements of cosmic 'hostile universe' horror with racism as well as more plot specifics like getting run out of towns for looking different than the residents.

KyriakosCH

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #14 on: 28 Jul 2020, 03:23 »
The book is explicitly about the relationship with an author who, well, was a god awful human being despite writing some decent books. It's only alienating to fans if your head is so far in the sand you refuse to acknowledge he was kind of a shady guy who occasionally wrote short short stories about how terrible *ahem* 'nice men of african descent' are, while imbuing multiple elements of his story with those same undertones (I don't believe for a half second that the imbred violent weird-featured residents of Innsmouth weren't intended as a stand in for his mental image of a majority black town). You cannot always just ignore who the author was as a person, doubly so when it affects their work. Ain't no sane person gonna argue that it's fine to be a fan of Mein Kampf because you just love that Adolf guy's writing and why is everyone bringing up his personal views? No, for better or worse, there's a judgement call that needs to be made. In part the novel is about that. As well as parallelling elements of cosmic 'hostile universe' horror with racism as well as more plot specifics like getting run out of towns for looking different than the residents.

Hey, I never claimed Lovecraft wasn't a racist - that much is rather obvious. The point is that, surely, he isn't read due to being a racist. So I am not sure how one can sell a series on Lovecraft on that element.

Btw, the Innsmouth folk are corruptions of white people, while in the story the original sufferers were melanesian. Plenty of not that positive epithets used for melanesians in the story. The protagonist becomes a monster too in the end.

I'd say I only like a few of his stories. The Outsider, Rats in the Walls, the first half of Call of Cthulhu and bits and pieces from others.
« Last Edit: 28 Jul 2020, 03:31 by KyriakosCH »
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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #15 on: 28 Jul 2020, 08:45 »
Thanks Galen for injecting some fact into the discussion.

Hey, I never claimed Lovecraft wasn't a racist - that much is rather obvious. The point is that, surely, he isn't read due to being a racist. So I am not sure how one can sell a series on Lovecraft on that element.

Your evident concern for the HBO marketing department is touching. (roll)
But if he's not read due to being racist, we're back to the question of why Lovecraft fans would be offended ("pissed off" as you say) by the series raising it as an issue.

You keep circling around it being some kind of problem that the series uses Lovecraft's name in the title. But it's clearly a story that is in dialogue with the themes of H.P. Lovecraft's writings—both as inspiration and to push back against them—so invoking his name seems perfectly apt. And famous writers do become part of pop culture, and are routinely referenced, name-checked and even recruited as characters in later fiction. (See also: Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Lewis Carroll, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf and Hunter S. Thompson, just to name a few examples. And you haven't really made it as a mystery writer until someone writes a a story with you as the detective.) Only yesterday, I came across the horror novel The Broken Hours: A Novel of H.P. Lovecraft.

In any case, Lovecraft Country will almost certainly be more Lovecraftian than Grimm was reminiscent of the tales of the Brothers Grimm.

KyriakosCH

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #16 on: 28 Jul 2020, 09:04 »
Snarky,the series is adapted from non-Lovecraft fiction, set in the Jim Crow era US. I think one would need to be pretty thick to not be capable of guessing why Lovecraft fans will find this insulting and/or a gimmick.
Hint: racism isn't about what makes Lovecraft worth one's time, nor is false advertising an improvement.
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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #17 on: 28 Jul 2020, 09:17 »
Snarky,the series is adapted from non-Lovecraft fiction, set in the Jim Crow era US. I think one would need to be pretty thick to not be capable of guessing why Lovecraft fans will find this insulting and/or a gimmick.
Hint: racism isn't about what makes Lovecraft worth one's time, nor is false advertising an improvement.

lol please. Most Lovecraft fans nowadays have come into contact with his works not through his books but via role playing games, video games or awesome metal bands and are used to all kinds of "bastardizations" of his material, from musicals to Chtulhu plushies, but yeah, sure this is the one thing that's going to get trve fanbois indignantly grabbing their quills to write angry letters to HBO.

Stop pretending that you're concerned about these hypothetical "offended fans" strawmen when what's happening here is that you have an obvious case of Kids These Days.

KyriakosCH

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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #18 on: 28 Jul 2020, 09:21 »
Ok, though I am hardly the reaction nor the target audience of the series. So even if my view was turned for 180 degrees, reality of how this looks to the audience it tried to lure doesn't look good.
Next time, if a producer doesn't want to attract fans of x, maybe consider not putting x in the title of the show :P

As for me, I'd feel let down if the show was called Kafka's world (like I said), and then revealed to be fan fiction about some random reader of Kafka in cold war era Czechoslovakia. Just cause I like reading Kafka doesn't mean at all I'd want to see that piece of onanism.
« Last Edit: 28 Jul 2020, 09:23 by KyriakosCH »
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Re: HBO series supposedly about Lovecraft's works
« Reply #19 on: 28 Jul 2020, 09:23 »
I take it you're very much a purist, Kyriakos; a work by an author should be adapted as true to the original as possible? That's the point you're trying to make, isn't it?

But what is your point specifically with Lovecraft? He was racist, so fans of his work would want a racist adaptation? I'm honestly not sure that's what you mean, but that's certainly how it comes across right now. How else am I supposed to understand your opinion that such an adaptation would be insulting to fans?

On a side note, I wonder how much Lovecraft is actually read nowadays, and therefore how many purist fans might actually exist. I, personally, never read any of his works, but I certainly can't say that what's true for me is what's true for everybody. But I do get the impression, that Lovecraft is more known through pop culture osmosis than people who actually read his work and are intimately familiar with it.