A Podcast Come to Life
Amazon brings Aaron Mahnke’s frightening podcast series to life with a chilling 6-part anthology series showcasing the hidden truths behind our most iconic nightmares. If you’re itching to watch something that’s both shocking and educational, then you won’t want to miss all the spooky goodness Lore has to offer.
In order to better illustrate these tales usually saved for audio listeners only, Lore uses a combination of animation, live action and voice-over narration provided by Mahnke himself. Mahnke’s monotone voice, along with graphic images from old press clippings heighten the already tense atmosphere as each story unfolds. The true terror is not what the legends evolve into, but how they began. It is a subject Mahnke is keen to explore.
What makes the horror genre so appealing for many is that feeling of intense fright without any consequences. Well, except for the possibility of bad dreams and a general lack of sleep. Barring those unfortunate side effects, watching something that scares you involves little risk. Lore gets to the root of where these terrors originated from. In a sense, Mahnke takes these monstrous creations and humanizes them. His technique is effective due to his understanding that the horrors of our dreams are nothing compared to the evils done by other humans. You can awake from your dream, but you can’t escape the world.
The Beast Within (episode 5) explores the legend of the werewolf. Lore journeys from 5th century Europe, all the way to the bustling streets of 1970s New York City. Mahnke is brilliant at pointing out how much, and how little we’ve changed over the centuries. While science versus superstition has evolved, we are all prey to our baser instincts.
The animation used in this tale is stellar, as we learn about an ancient group of villagers that worshiped a wolf. Saint Patrick is the legendary historical figure in this tale and the scenes of violence even when done in black and white, are no less gruesome. It’s easy to feel Patrick’s pain and terror as the villagers rebel against his beliefs. When the wolves come to life, that’s when the fright fest begins.
Mahnke also uses old stock footage on the infamous Son of Sam killer who terrorized New York City in the 1970s. Even without paid live action talent, or fancy animatics, Mahnke proves himself a worthy documentarian as he shows clips of the serial killer after his capture and explains how a dog told him to kill all of those people. As always, our narrator is determined to show that the dark side of humanity is the real terror.
Another theme Mahnke delves into is the dangerous lines drawn between new world science and old world superstitions. None of these examples are more haunting than the story told in the first episode, entitled They Made a Tonic. If you have topophobia, or a fear of being buried alive, then you may want to avert your gaze. There was a very real fear that you could be put 6 feet underground and still be alive. If you want to discover where the term “saved by the bell” came from, then this is an episode you won’t want to miss… If you’re still wondering, the phrase has nothing to do with high school.
The episode dives into the powers spirits possess beyond the grave. Basically, if something horrible happens to the living, it must be the fault of the dead. The live action portrayal of the family in peril is one of the best in the series and the opening animation depicting a pair of friends in the worst situation imaginable is something you won’t soon forget. There is real terror in these stories, most of which has nothing to do with the supernatural.
Veteran Robert Patrick (Terminator 2) is one of the more esteemed actors in Lore. He gives a moving performance in episode 4 (Passing Notes), which tells the story of a church leader who wants to connect with his deceased wife, even if that means talking to her from beyond the grave. You will gain some valuable insight on the spiritualist movement as well. By the end you’ll have to decide if the summoning of spirits is purely a hoax, or is there a shred of truth?
There are many other stories to explore in this sprawling series like witches, cursed dolls and even faeries. Mahnke expertly breaks down your worst fears to their roots by exposing them for what they truly are. It takes a deft touch to be both frightening and educational at the same time, but Mahnke finds a way to do it. This is a series perfect for horror fanatics and casuals alike. Whether you’re a fan of ghost stories, or just someone who considers themselves a history connoisseur, then Lore will be a great addition to your Halloween season.