clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

First trailer for HBO’s Lovecraft Country is full of monsters

The trailer’s already got plenty of other-worldly weirdness

If you buy something from a Polygon link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

H.P. Lovecraft’s stories are full of strange and otherworldly creatures bumping into parts of everyday life. Based on the first trailer, that’s exactly what we can expect from the new HBO series Lovecraft Country, too.

The series, based on the 2016 Matt Ruff novel of the same name, follows Atticus Turner (Jonathan Majors), a black World War II veteran and devoted sci-fi nerd, whose father is kidnapped by a mysterious cult called the Order of the Ancient Dawn. The cult’s headquarters, and where they’re keeping Turner’s father, is in deep in the woods of rural New England, in place known as Lovecraft Country.

The books itself puts this story along with several other vignettes following various friends and family of Atticus. All of these stories stand on their own in as a sort of anthology, while also tying together into the larger mystery of the Order of the Ancient Dawn and what they want with Atticus and his family. The trailer cuts together moments of several of the book’s vignettes and teases some of the supernatural horror that makes Ruff’s novel thrilling.

But there’s more than otherworldly evil in Lovecraft Country. Though the book deals in the same strangeness and extra-dimensional monsters that Lovecraft’s original work did, it also turns the difficult and unsettling legacy of the author on its head.

Lovecraft himself was an outspoken racist and anti-Semite in his personal life, and those feeling bled through into much of his writing. Ruff’s novel pulls that legacy into the story and parallels it directly with America’s own racist history specifically around the Jim Crow-era south. This kind of layering falls right into the wheelhouse one of the show’s executive producers, Us and Get Out director Jordan Peele.

Joining Peele is J.J. Abrams, who will also serve as executive producer, and series creator Misha Greene (Underground). Lovecraft Country will debut on HBO sometime this August.

Vox Media has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence editorial content, though Vox Media may earn commissions for products purchased via affiliate links. For more information, see our ethics policy.