Entertainment Weekly calls it “seriously not safe for work,” and it’s got a red band trailer for “Mild Fornication, Fellatio, Heavy Cocaine Use, Lesbian Necrophilia, and Violent Hemorrhaging.” Alright, sounds like my kind of show! What is this upcoming show with all this and more? Eli Roth’s ‘Hemlock Grove’.
It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from Eli Roth. Like Tarantino, he was smarting against the eventual backlash against his movies, which the press dubbed “torture porn,” and he also did some acting as well. Now he’s back with ‘Hemlock Grove’, his series for Netflix, as well as the upcoming ‘The Green Inferno’, which is clearly his tribute to the grindhouse cannibal films.
So once you see this red band trailer for the series, it does indeed deliver all the depravity it promises you and then some. Based on a novel by Brian McGreevy, the basic story is a young girl is killed, and two local residents, one who is also a werewolf, try to find out who the murderer is.
You can also spot bits and pieces from horrors of the past that we love, especially ‘American Werewolf in London’. The show is also clearly going for a ‘Dark Shadows’ vibe, albeit with lesbian necrophilia with a maggot infested corpse. Another wink-wink, nudge-nudge is the famous line from ‘The Thing’ that closes the trailer, “You’ve gotta be f**king kidding.”
But is all this really enough to make a great horror series? (I know, any show that has lesbian necrophilia, we really shouldn’t be complaining, but still…) We know Roth can deliver the gore, but for a horror show to say on the air it’s got to deliver much more than just shock value for the sake of it, which is what his projects feel like to me. So far the reviews for ‘Hemlock Grove’ have been uniformly negative, even from horror sites, but even if the reviewers don’t dig it, what does it matter if the fans like it and make it a hit? Horror has always been critic proof, and especially with a show that promises to be this sick, the court of public opinion will be the ultimate judge.
Whether you love Roth or hate him, it’s good to see that horror and genre shows are back stronger than ever. It’s not easy to make a horror TV show work. Even the acclaimed ‘Kolchak the Night Stalker’ never took off in its time, and maybe ‘Hemlock Grove’, along with ‘Hannibal’ and ‘Bates Motel’, will bring terror back to TV stronger than ever. Netflix is also encouraging binge watching with ‘Hemlock Grove’, like their other show ‘House of Cards’, and the whole series will be released at once if you want to take it all in one sitting.
Look for ‘Hemlock Grove’s’ Netflix debut on Friday, April 19, if you dare.