Last August 22nd was the one year anniversary of the North American premiere of the first season of ‘chapelwaite’through the channel epix. Vampiric horror series of ten chapters, led by Adrian Brodywhich adapted a short story from Stephen King. A season that, later, we would see in Spain through hbo max.
There is no doubt that the catalog of any self-respecting streaming platform is the closest thing we are going to find, today, to a deep abyssal pit. An unfathomable abyss, filled to the brim with content, but in which very few dare to fish beyond what the blessed algorithm places you on the comfortable surface. For this reason, from time to time, it is highly advisable, and even beneficial, to put the brakes on for a moment and rest your eyes on something that is more than a weekend old. Yes, that which has already ceased to appear on their respective covers.
Therefore from Rock and Filmsand as if to reinforce this belief, we have decided to rescue from the bottom of the pit ‘chapelwaite’. Series, whose first season passed without pain or glory, and to which we have wanted to serve as an unexpected speaker so that his trickster voice is better heard. The one that incites us, in a lewd way, to taste his blood.
And let this also serve as a warm-up for a second round of episodes that is getting closer.
‘Chapelwaite’: the series that is worth rescuing
in 1975 Stephen King published “Salem’s Lot Mystery”. The second of his, and one of the most iconic stories, to date, of the author from Maine. A novel directly indebted to that spirit of «dracula» of bram stoker which, by the way, laid many of the foundations that they would command the prose and style of the writer in the future. A book that later would have two adaptations in tv movie format: one in 1979 and another in 2004. Plus a third for the big screen that will arrive in 2023.
But let’s go back to the beginning of everything. Three years later, in 1978, “The threshold of the night” saw the light. A compilation, the first by the author, which brought together stories that King had published in magazines like Cavalier, Ubris either Penthouse long before his literary debut in 1974 with “Carries”. Although inside there was also room for texts that, until then, had remained collecting dust in a drawer. What we would call: unpublished.
One of them, with which the book was curiously opened, was “The Mysteries of the Worm”. Kind of a prequel “Salem’s Lot Mystery” in epistolary format, through which the one from Maine appropriated the unmistakable style of another master of fantastic and horror literature: H. P. Lovecraft.
Now this story, or rather an expanded version of it, jumps to the small screen in the hands of Jason & Peter Filardi in ‘chapelwaite’.
blood calls blood
We are in 1850. Charles Boone, whaler captain, above in the small town of Preacher’s Corners. The reason is none other than having inherited Chapelwaite. An imposing mansion bequeathed to him by his cousin Stephen, who recently died there under mysterious circumstances along with his daughter Marcella.
Charles decides to settle there with his three children: Honor, Loa and Tane, still grieving over the recent death of their mother. Something that this one, although from doors to the outside shows a stoic attitude, has not recovered either. But life always gives second chances, and who knows if yours is hiding in Chapelwaite.
In Preacher’s Corners they don’t seem to keep too much affection for the Boone lineage. The villagers blame Charles’s ancestors for the dark fate of a town plunged into the darkness of a mysterious disease that corrupts everything it touches. An attitude that Charles and his children have to face from the minute they set foot in the place, as if having Indian blood in his veins was not already enough of a handicap for the boys. The only person who seems to show the least bit of interest in them is Rebecca Morgan, an aspiring writer who agrees to become a governess to the withdrawn kids.
Once the pieces are placed on the board, Charles Boone will begin to delve into Chapelwaite’s stormy past, and therefore into his flawed family branch. Discovering quite a few secrets that perhaps would have been better left buried.
The haunting of Chapelwaite
Yes ‘chapelwaite’ be signed by mike flanaganand under the band ‘The haunting of…’, I already guarantee that the season would have generated infinite more media noise than it has generated. Something that could have happened. Going under that seal. There is a lot here of that scent of haunted house stories that intoxicated that duology of Flanagan. Yes. I already know that the advertising machinery that drives Netflix leaves in smaller cloths the one you can control epix. Or any other than your own Netflix, Already put. But the quality and the level that exudes this series created by Jason & Peter Filardi deserved more attention and recognition than I think it has gotten.
Although unlike the aforementioned diptych, ‘The haunting of Hill House’ (2018) and ‘The haunting of Bly Manor’ (2020), ‘chapelwaite’ it does place on a pedestal the author from whom he takes the material. While Shirley Jackson Y Henry James were mere base on which later Flanagan I would do and undo as I please, here Stephen King is blindly revered by the Filardi without the need to subordinate letter by letter to the original story. A healthy balance that many would like.
the legacy of madness
As a prequel to “Salem’s Lot Mystery”, “The Mysteries of the Worm” it worked very poorly. In its little more than thirty pages long, certain mentions of the town of Jerusalem’s Lot were the only link that the reader could establish with respect to the 1975 novel. Not to mention citing vampires, the Marsten house or any other direct element. that had relevance in the second novel of Stephen King. Something that invited us to think that the reader’s desire to label said text as a prequel was more than that of a King that never, throughout his career, has he mortgaged himself excessively to prequels, sequels and the like.
In ‘chapelwaite’ Jason & Peter Filardi expand “The Mysteries of the Worm”, as was logical and to be expected, but always keeping their passwords. And while they look at themselves at all times in the mirror of “Salem’s Lot Mystery”. Here the vampires are an indispensable piece of history. Parking, for the moment, or leaving in the background, that bad Lovecraftian from the original story that may take shape in the second season. Although of course we have that grimoire there called By Vermis Mysteriis remaining as the central element of the story.
All the characters of ‘chapelwaite’a high percentage of originals in the series, have a twin in “Salem’s Lot Mystery”. Making this first season seem, therefore, an adaptation of said novel. We have a writer eager to achieve that text that settles her, a priest with a clear tendency to lose faith, and an official who acquires fortuitous knowledge about vampires by force. Three fundamental archetypes of the entourage of Ben Mears that are replicated here with great skill.
In the visual and technical section ‘chapelwaite’ exudes a delicious and careful production design. And on an acting level, we can say the same thing, with a very successful secondary cast supporting a great Adrian Brody. All this divided into ten episodes that fly by. A batch that, especially in its first half, lives a lot of mystery and intrigue, until that moment when the curtain is drawn and we see the real evil that radiates from the lot. Psychological terror also plays a key role in the opening part of the season.
That which every constant reader would call king towns acquires true entity in ‘chapelwaite’ with a Preacher’s Corners that has nothing to envy to famous locations such as Derry or Castle Rock. Peoples with entrails already putrid that, it is not that they attract evil, but that they are directly evil. Although later, and leaving the subtlety at the door of the bar, the enemy has to be embodied, whether in the form of a clown, a serial killer or a vampire, as is the case here.
And now we can only return to our coffin and anxiously await the second season of ‘chapelwaite’: a series that, if it had reached my hands in time, would have entered our top with the best of 2021 in terms of fantasy and horror.