The Best Part of Lovecraft Country's Premiere? What Happens to the Racist-est Racists

Illustration for article titled The Best Part of Lovecraft Country's Premiere? What Happens to the Racist-est Racists
Screenshot: HBO

Of the several nits I have to pick with Watchmen—a show I am still infatuated with—the most prominent (and also the pettiest) is that the murderous racists didn’t die violent and painful enough deaths.


One (Senator Keene) was literally liquified because of his own ego, and the other racists were zapped to oblivion by Lady Trieu. Sure, they were dead and shit, but they didn’t suffer or even have much space to experience fear and dread. Basically, their deaths weren’t proportionate to the harm they caused.

It also subverted the cinematic expectation of the biggest bads dying the worst deaths, which I find myself looking forward to. In The Matrix, Neo kills Agent Smith by literally jumping into him. Beatrix kills Bill in Kill Bill with the five-point palm exploding heart technique. My favorite example of this is the end of The Equalizer 2 when Denzel kills dude like eight different ways in 30 seconds. He murdered the fuck out of that guy.

Anyway, while whether the rest of the season meets this expectation is yet to be determined, Lovecraft Country’s premiere met every hope I had for it—and even some hopes I didn’t realize I had. (When was the last time—on TV or in a movie—that you saw an older Black couple making love onscreen...and it wasn’t comic relief?)

One of these hopes was that if murderous racists are killed on screen, they would be killed as fuck. Lovecraft Country’s premiere didn’t disappoint. The racist-est racists die in the most terrifying and gruesome way imaginable. It’s so terrifying and gruesome that it literally had to be imagined for it to happen because it couldn’t happen that way in the world we exist in.

Anyway, if you’re into watching murderous racists be killed as fuck, this is the show for you!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



I love this show and I love the reclamation of art. Lovecraft died in 1937 at the young age of 46, he was mentally ill, impoverished and alone. His stories have a lot of racist nonsense in them and this should always be pointed out. Racism did not power his themes. His racism wasn’t even particularly extraordinary during his lifetime. Depressingly so. The overriding theme of cosmic horror in Lovecraft’s work is that puny humans are too fragile to comprehend the true unfeeling evil of forces beyond our limited view on our tiny planet.

Lovecraft got little fame and almost no money during his lifetime. His art is ours now, to do with what we like. Don’t feel guilty enjoying his stories. He’s not seeing any money from it.