In Lovecraft Country's First Trailer, American Racism Is the Ultimate Eldritch Abomination

Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) realizing that something is very, very wrong.
Letitia (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) realizing that something is very, very wrong.
Image: HBO

Oftentimes when we dive into horrific stories full of otherworldly monsters, we do so in order to escape the all-too-real demons that haunt us here in the real world. But in the first trailer for HBO’s new adaptation of Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country, the racist evils that shaped American culture are realized as quite literal monsters that will get you if you aren’t careful.


Like any teaser trailer worth its salt, our first glimpses of Lovecraft Country purposefully don’t convey the full wildness of what’s in store for its central characters: recently returned Vietnam vet Atticus Black (Johnathan Majors), his uncle George (Courtney B. Vance), and Letitia Dandrige (Jurnee Smollett-Bell). But what it does make clear is that in addition to having to deal with the racist evils of 1950s America and its Jim Crow culture, the trio’s going to face all manners of otherworldly creatures that the majority of the public has only ever known as myths.

Even though they’re being hunted by redneck cops and forest dwelling demons alike, Atticus’ resolve to follow his father Montrose Freeman (Michael K. Williams) is what pushes them all to journey into the depths of the chunk of New England known as Lovecraft Country—where the things lurking in the shadows are that much more nefarious and, from the looks of it, dangerously supernatural.

Lovecraft Country premieres on HBO this August.

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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.



Just FYI, Matt Ruff is a great novelist, and if you’ve never read him, his books aren’t quite like anybody else’s versions of fantasy, SF, or horror, and like Peter S. Beagle and John Crowley, he’s never written the same novel twice. Besides Lovecraft Country, there’s Fool On The Hill (urban fantasy), Sewer, Gas, & Electric (cyberpunk satire), Set This House In Order (psychological suspense), Bad Monkeys (dystopian revenge comedy), The Mirage (alternate history), and 88 Names (gaming industry thriller), which just came out last month. One of my fave authors. Good lockdown reads, all of them.