Black horror narratives that encompass the supernatural and the paranormal haven’t yet found solid footing on television. With his new series Superstition, celebrated filmmaker Mario Van Peebles is changing the landscape. In the show, Van Peebles turns his lens on the Hastings family. Residents of the fictional town of La Rochelle, Georgia, they live amongst graveyards, strange townsfolk, and rich history of odd phenomena. Van Peebles’ Issac and Robinne Lee’s Bea run a funeral home during the day, but their nighttime activities involve battling the evil the constantly infiltrates the town.
With the New Jack City auteur at the helm as the writer/director and House M.D’s Joel Anderson Thompson as showrunner, Superstition’s impressive cast also includes Brad James, Demetria McKinney and the legendary Jasmine Guy as Aunt Nancy. Recently, I sat down to speak with Van Peebles, Anderson and Guy about the series, why they were inspired to dive into the genre, and why it was so important to tell these types of stories.
“Some of the folks at Syfy had identified that there was big unserved demographic of folks that were interested in seeing more multicultural reflections of Americana in these horrors/thriller spaces,” Van Peebles explained about the series conception. “They talked to Barry and myself and brother Joel, and it just continued to grow and evolve. Early on, while I was still filming Roots, I started going over to explore funeral homes. One of the funeral homes that I was looking at in New Orleans was a little mom and pop funeral home owned by folks of color, and they were doing specialty services. There was a couple of cases where they actually buried people — if you could call it burying them — standing up. So some of those stories made their way into what became our show. This is a family run business and are still trying to make it work as a business. Then Joel kept bringing in all the dope folklore and gothic Americana that is so rich.”
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