Ghost stories exist for a reason. They serve as a warning of the unknown, but also to be vigilant of our surroundings lest something should want to harm us. That’s why when we hear tales of ghosts bumping around in the attic, our insides twist and turn as both fantasy and reality collide. Surely it isn’t actually a ghost in the attic. What if the ghost is something else entirely? What if that ghost is made out of flesh and bone and seeks to destroy everyone you know and love and then yourself? This was the unfortunate case with Hinterkaifeck as Amazon’s LORE points out to us.
The episode titled Hinterkaifeck: Ghosts in the Attic focuses on the Hinterkaifeck murders that took place in Germany in 1922. The tale of what happened at Hinterkaifeck has been what interwoven in mystery for over ninety years and the murders still remain unsolved to this very day. The six inhabitants of the farmstead were murdered with a mattock (kind of like the equivalent of a pick axe) with no one quite knowing what the possible motivation the murderer could have. What detectives did know was that the murderer lived on the farm after they committed the murders. This could be seen by the livestock that were fed, by the food that was eaten, and by the smoke that many residents of the village saw coming from the farmstead.
This episode is similar to the season’s first episode Burke and Hare: In the Name of Science in that it is entirely a dramatic reenactment of the events that took place. However, unlike Burke and Hare, the tone is entrenched in mystery and creates a suspenseful experience as viewers try to solve the mystery alongside the detectives. Along the way, viewers will learn more about the details that were unveiled after the murders were committed. Tales of incest, the aftermath of war, and revenge swept the German village by storm as the lives of the murder victims were picked apart.
I can see why the decision was made to take the dramatic reenactment route for this particular murder case. The viewer needs to understand what was so mysterious about these murders and why they hadn’t been solved yet. The added touch with the detectives trying to solve the crime I think was a much needed addition to keep the viewer from tuning out just another crime reenactment. It also provided the audience with a way to get the sense of what kind of overwhelming burden existed for the investigators involved in a time period without the technology we have today to better solve mysteries.
Then there was the gore. This season has not shielded away from being bluntly gory in its embrace of the macabre. And we got to experience it in full from the very start of the episode when we think the murderer is going to bash in the skull of a mail delivery person to watching each one of the murder victims get picked off one by one. In that regard, I can say it greatly enhanced the growing suspense and horror as the episode carried on.
I felt that Hinterkaifeck: Ghosts in the Attic was a stronger episode compared to Burke and Hare: In the Name of Science, but a weaker one compared to Elizabeth Bathory: Mirror Mirror. The episode being just another dramatic reenactment with a detective style spin on it did little to help me personally connect with the episode attached to LORE. However, the growing suspense and horror that the episode contained and the growing mystery with each minute kept me hooked onto the screen. And that is what makes it stand out.
All six episodes of Amazon’s LORE will be released on October 19th.