The Horror of Dolores Roach brings a popular podcast to life on screen in a shocking, horrific, and somehow humorous series about an ex-convict turned serial killer. The new series, available exclusively on Prime Video, is reminiscent of Sweeney Todd, but with a well-meaning masseuse in the place of the blood-thirsty barber. Oh, and just a hint of cannibalism.
We talked to the show’s leading lady, Justina Machado, who plays the fierce female protagonist, Dolores Roach to get all the gory details.
“I've never seen a show like this,” said Machado. “Everything about it is incredible, from the authenticity of the characters, to the craziness of the story, and even how oddly relatable it is at times.”
Ready for a wild ride? Here’s everything you need to know about The Horror of Dolores Roach.
What is “The Horror of Dolores Roach” about?
The series begins with Dolores’ release from prison. After serving an unjust sentence for 16 years, she returns to her previous home in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood to find that everything has changed. While most of the neighborhood is completely new to her, she stumbles upon a familiar empanada shop that somehow survived gentrification.
Dolores reunites with her old friend, Luis, who owns the shop and lets her work as a masseuse in the basement. Things are looking up until her newfound stability is threatened, and she’s driven to shocking extremes to survive. A few of her massage sessions get out of hand, and Luis takes the opportunity to test a new, highly questionable source of meat for his empanadas.
Who is in the cast?
Justina Machado plays Dolores Roach (aka “Magic Hands), and her crafty sidekick Luis is played by Alejandro Hernandez. Kita Updike plays Nellie Morris, a young employee of the empanada shop, and K. Todd Freeman plays Jeremiah, a local drug dealer who also works for Luis. The show also features an exciting lineup of guest stars, including Marc Maron, Cyndi Lauper, Jean Yoon, Judy Reyes, and Jeffery Self.
Where was the series filmed?
The show is set in New York City, and while many of the exterior shots were filmed in the actual Washington Heights neighborhood, the majority of the scenes inside were shot in Toronto. “We had to be really diligent about catching that New York City swag,” Machado said. “Nobody has that swag except for New York City. We had a lot of great actors from New York and an amazing art team to help us make sure every scene was undeniably New York.”
Who produced the series?
Machado had high praise for the show’s producer, Gloria Calderón Kellett, who she previously worked with on the hit series, One Day at a Time. Calderón Kellett is also known for her work on shows like Jane the Virgin, How I Met Your Mother, and Prime Video's popular romantic comedy series, With Love. “Gloria is always so thoughtful,” Machado said. “Because this series deals with such heavy topics, she went above and beyond to bring in a team of counselors we could talk to as we worked. Everyone thought it was weird at first, but it ended up being an amazing resource. She’s just always making sure everyone is taken care of.”
What can fans of the podcast expect from the show?
“If you love the podcast, I promise you're gonna love the series,” Machado said. “There will be some differences, but the core of the story and the characters you grew to love are in the show. We worked hard to keep the whole essence and tone the same as the podcast.”