“Lore” – Amazon’s New, Chilling, Docudrama Uncovering the History of Urban Legends
By now everyone knows stories about Dracula, werewolves, and demonically possessed dolls. They’re pillars of pop culture; characters which have cemented themselves in the landscape of storytelling for the rest of time. But where do such iconic characters find their origin? Amazon Prime’s new original series, “Lore” aims to answer that question.
A hybrid docudrama series, “Lore” takes advantage of a number of mediums to uncover the histories of such famous and prevalent urban legends. Utilizing animation, live action dramatization, and actual footage of the subjects (when available), “Lore” is one of the most varied and comprehensive docu-series currently available. Juxtaposed across all of these different styles of storytelling is its narrator (and researcher/creator), Aaron Mahnke. His focused and fact driven style of narrating helps to break down the reality from the imaginary; this is not a series meant to scare its audience, rather, it is focused on education through entertainment.
Episodes are all structured the same way: an opening recount of a smaller, related urban legend, before the leaping into an in depth analysis of a much larger concept. The content of any single episode is very focused on one idea, but each episode varies wildly across history as to what that subject might be. For example, some episodes are about ancient legends, like vampires or werewolves, but other episodes tackle more modern “unknowns” like the legends surrounding insane asylums or the (supposedly) possessed doll, Robert. This variety means that even if someone isn’t interested in one particular episode’s subject matter, there is still an accessibility to the series, as there are likely still episodes which could spark interest.
“Lore” is based in the reality of legend, but that doesn’t mean it shies away from the horror elements naturally associated with its content. Nothing so shocking it will keep you up at night, but this isn’t a series devoid of excitement. That’s what makes this show so addicting. It masterfully blends horror and education in such a way that every episode is tense and action packed, but that one will come away from with a newfound appreciation of the history of myth. There’s a reason each episode opens with, “Everything you are about to see is based on actual people and events.”
As of right now there are only 6 episodes available which is disappointing given how binge-able the series is, but the creator, Mahnke, also runs an independent podcast (also named “Lore”) meaning that if you finish the 6 vid-cast episodes, there is still more content online (without the images unfortunately). It’s easy to see why Amazon, in association with Gale Ann Hurd (producer of “Walking Dead”) picked this series up. Lore is currently available on Amazon Prime Video, running at 35 minutes an episode.