Posted on Friday, October 13, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Amazon has entered the horror anthology realm, an arena that goes back to “The Twilight Zone” and “Tales From the Crypt,” using a popular two-year-old podcast “Lore” as its starting point.
Debuted on October 13, the six episodes explore urban myths using podcaster Aaron Mahnke’s narration, oodles of sound effects and visual re-enactments with actors such as Marietta native Robert Patrick (“Scorpion”), Adam Goldberg (“Dazed and Confused,” “Fargo”) and Campbell Scott (“The Amazing Spider-Man”).
Can someone wake up in a coffin six feet under after being deemed dead? Is an ice-pick lobotomy sound science? Is that my wife or an impostor? Can the dead come back and torment the living?
It’s an unusual hybrid. There are documentary elements, some interesting visual animation as well as the scripted scenes shot in metro Atlanta.
Glen Morgan, who developed “The X-Files,” said he was already fan of the podcast and readily said yes to handle the scripted portions when Gale Anne Hurd, who also executive produces “The Walking Dead,” asked.
“It’s a challenge,” Morgan said in April on the set of the pre-Civil War era Phelps Mansion in Oxford, which is supposed to be Stratford, Conn. around 1850 for what ended up being the fourth episode about haunted houses. “Last week, we were in 1906. Next week, we’re in 1885. Then we’re in Germany in 1562. Different cast, different director each week.”
One episode was set in Key West, Fla. in the early 20th century and he planted a few palm trees around Victorian homes in Inman Park to make that work.
“It’s not a continuous story but it’s interesting,” Morgan said. “There are accidental connective threads we didn’t put in there. You start seeing myths and legends have common connections not just with us in America but all around the world.”
Patrick, donning 19th century sideburns, said he knows Hurd from his “Terminator 2” days and Morgan from working on “The X Files.” So he came in to do “Lore” for a few days just after finishing the third season of CBS’s “Scorpion,” playing a grieving Rev. Eliakim Phelps. His wife had died and a few years later, he had remarried but his ex-wife is haunting the home. He holds a seance to communicate with her.
“I’ve never done anything like this and it’s so fantastic,” Patrick said. “I’ve been working on ‘Scorpion’ for 10 months. This is an exciting change of pace.”
He said it was a challenge to live in the body of someone from 170 years ago. “We have done so many ways to control the environment,” he said. “This is the way it was when there was no electricity.”
Patrick on set purposely avoided his smartphone to stay connected emotionally with his 19th century character. “My guy believes in God but is open minded enough that he’s curious about science,” he said.
Critics were more positive than negative about the show, according to Metacritic, which scored “Lore” at 60 out of 100. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Mark Dawidziak said the six episodes “will leave you screaming for more.” Paste Magazine’s Amy Glynn was not one a fan, calling it “a labored, flailing attempt to make 10 minutes of material take 35 minutes.”
Viewers generally liked it. Of 380 reviews on imdb.com as of Sunday, it rated a 7.2 out of 10.