Vampires. Werewolves. Changelings. Lobotomization. Demonic possession. Deranged dolls. This is the nightmare fuel that is Lore.
Spawned from the brain of Aaron Mahnke as an essay about freaky phenomena, Lore was supposed to remain an essay about the terrors that have haunted history, until he was possessed to turn it into a podcast. Now the podcast that has brought you blasphemous and unspeakable things—like a father exhuming the corpse of his own daughter to cut her heart out and burn it so she doesn't become a vampire—is shapeshifting into an Amazon Studios horror anthology series, which will surely keep you wide awake.
Mankhe is fascinated by the primal fears and grim realities that plague our nightmares. But at today's NYCC panel, even the mastermind behind these scary stories admitted that Lore “takes bravery” to create. There are reasons to leave the lights on beyond typical horror-genre jump scares and special effects. While the six-episode series pushes the archetypes that trigger people (think bloodsuckers and man-beasts), what gets beneath Mankhe’s skin the most are the monsters lurking in humans.
Even executive producer Gale Anne Hurd, whose name you may recognize from The Walking Dead, confessed that all the zombies in an apocalypse can’t give her chills nearly as much as the unthinkable things depicted on Lore.
In case you haven’t read or seen Sucker Punch, lobotomies were once a looming threat to anyone thought to exhibit psychological problems. Patients—more like victims of what we now consider medical malpractice—actually had ice picks hammered through their eye sockets and into their cranial cavities. There was one pseudo-psychiatrist who drove around and performed the barbaric procedure roadside, pushing it as some sort of mental panacea.
Scars in our past like these lobotomy doctors inspired Mankhe to bring an episode to the screen that is ghastly enough to have scared the blood even out of unfiltered panel moderator Kevin Smith. Once you hear the ring of that hammer, it will echo forever in your skull.
Creepy dolls also go beyond the realm of Chucky. Mankhe’s research unearthed Robert, a doll that already looked possessed enough with its soulless black button eyes, but actually was inhabited by a demon, as one boy’s unfortunate parents found out. This wasn’t an isolated incident. Ventriloquists were once thought to channel the voices of the dead. Whether or not they actually did, and Candice Bergen’s ventriloquist father leaving a massive inheritance to his dummy, is more than a little unnerving.
Then we have the infamous vampires and werewolves. While these creatures really are the stuff of lore, Mankhe intends some episodes to explore the shadows of the human psyche and shine a flashlight on how our own worst fears manifested into Count Dracula and the Wolfman. Black Stockings also hovers just at the fringe of reality, when a wife more successful than her husband in a highly superstitious 19th-century Ireland is whispered about as a witch or a changeling. But is she?
Though not every story connected to a paranormal phenomenon can have its own episode, Mankhe has decided to start with the monsters that go bump in the night and the human subconscious most often. He intends to delve even deeper into the tombs of history in future seasons.
For all the bravest souls at NYCC, dare to visit the Museum of Lore, an immersive haunted house in the North Concourse of the Javits Center. Live through some of the most unnerving myths and memories of our fractured human past as you let the terrors of "Gene's Bedroom", "The Unveiled," and "The Beast Inside" consume you. You will be lured into Instagramming the entire experience—if you survive.
Lore will emerge October 13 (yes, that’s Friday the 13th) on Amazon Prime.