NOTE: This is copied from my Fandom Friday post on WhatANerdGirlSays
Hemlock Grove was published in 2012 by Brian McGreevy. Eli Roth also recently made it into a 13-episode Netflix Original series, and you can read the graphic novel prequel here. It’s classified as horror, and, in my opinion, exceeds that classification.
Hemlock Grove is a psychological rollercoaster, taking you from one elated extreme to its depraved counterpart, twisting the plot on a dime. Set in the old Pennsylvania steel mill town the series is named after, Hemlock Grove follows a pair of delinquent youths – Peter Rumancek, the vagrant Romani gypsy, and Roman Godfrey, the obscene prodigal son – in their mildly altruistic quest to find and stop the “vargulf”, the term for a deranged werewolf, who has been killing off young women and leaving their remains all over town.
They’re met at almost every turn by Dr. Chasseur, the “Fish and Wildlife agent” who is clearly more than she claims to be, or Dr. Pryce, the scientist running the top-secret Project Ouroboros. Everyone in Hemlock Grove seems to have a secret, whether they know it or not. Roman’s mother, Olivia, who inherited her short-term husband’s conveniently lucrative steel mill and turned it into a biomedical research center after he more conveniently splattered his brilliant mind all over the wall, has an insatiable appetite for raw meat that rivals her own son’s fascination with blood. They share an uncanny talent for persuasion, as well.
Roman, the walking anachronism, wants to find the vargulf and save the day like a knight, and Peter, not wanting his only friend to meet a gory demise, reluctantly lends his claws to Roman’s self-righteous cause. Can the find the vargulf? Who IS the vargulf? What, exactly, is so strange about Roman, his mother, and his Frankstein’s monster-esque sister Shelley? You’ll have to read and/or watch to find out!
I first discovered Hemlock Grove on a commercial on some obscure horror movie channel. The short preview didn’t do the show any justice at all, and I disregarded it. I came across it on Netflix a few weeks later and decided to give it a chance. The first time I watched it, I wasn’t really a fan. It didn’t make much sense, but I had to see it through. I definitely don’t regret it. I’ve watched the series four more times since then, and it just keeps getting better.
If you’re a fan of the macabre, and enjoy a good brain bender, I definitely suggest giving Hemlock Grove a chance, but make sure you watch it all the way through!