The Horror of Dolores Roach is coming to television under the banner of Blumhouse Television, but its journey began four years ago Off-Broadway as a monologue play called Empanada Loca written by Adam Mark.
The show starred Daphne Rubin-Vega (Rent) as Dolores Roach, a woman just released from a 16 year stint in prison marijuana possession, who returns to Washington Heights to discover that nothing is as it was.
The neighborhood has succumbed to gentrification. T-Mobile, Chase bank, and Planet Fitness have taken over the storefronts she once knew, and a young white hipster couple is living in her old apartment.
As panic sets in, Dolores spies a port in the storm: Empanada Loca, the only place she recognizes that seems to have survived the new colonialism. Her friend, Luis, has taken over running the shop since his father died, and recognizing her, invites her inside and gives her a place to stay in the little underground apartment in the shop’s basement.
Dolores starts up her old massage therapy business, and things are looking up until a run-in with a nasty landlord results in his death, and the inventive Luis comes up with a clever, yet stomach-turning, way to dispose of the body.
Soon, the hipsters are literally eating up the Luis’s empanadas like crazy. They simply can’t get enough of his “special secret ingredient,” and Dolores becomes his willing supplier.
What stuck out in that original play and the subsequent podcast adaptation titled The Horror of Dolores Roach, is the matter-of-fact manner in which Rubin-Vega portrayed Dolores. She would describe the most ruthless, disgusting crimes as if they were something that simply had to be done.
In the play, specifically, Dolores recounts her story from a subway tunnel where she has come to live after all of her ordeals.
The New York Times wrote of Rubin-Vega’s performance that “while she sometimes burrows into her hoodie and seems to become some slithery nocturnal animal, there remains a glimmer of humanity in her performance that makes ‘Empanada Loca’ less Grand Guignol than a creepy urban-myth drama that doesn’t seem all that mythical.”
The play’s story captured and horrified audiences, and Mark, who admits to being a gentrifier himself, decided to expand upon the story, once again working with Rubin-Vega to create the podcast which debuted just in time for Halloween last year.
Enter Jason Blum.
The head man at Blumhouse was knocked out by the podcast and set a plan in motion to adapt the story for a television series which will be produced by Blumhouse Television and Gimlet Pictures. The series, at this time, is slated to air later this year, though no network or dates have been released yet.
Mark will pen the series and Daphne Rubin-Vega will serve as a consulting producer, as well according to Playbill.
With themes of gentrification and cannibalism and its dark sense of humor, The Horror of Dolores Roach is not just timely, but it has all the markers of a horror television hit, and iHorror will keep you posted on all the details as they become available!
In the meantime, you can listen to the original podcast on multiple platforms including iTunes and GooglePlay.