Is The Horror of Dolores Roach based on a true story? Explained

By Adam Lock
Published: July 8, 2023 (Last updated: July 19, 2023)
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Is The Horror of Dolores Roach based on a true story

Is The Horror of Dolores Roach based on a true story? We discuss the 2023 Prime Video series and the horror comedy’s origins. 

If you are looking for a twisted horror comedy series to get stuck into this summer, then The Horror of Dolores Roach may be the quick binge-watch that you are after. This Prime Video original series features eight bite-sized installments for your viewing pleasure.

This Sweeney Todd-inspired tale of modern-day cannibalism has already gotten viewers talking. But the big question on everyone’s lips is whether this sinister serial killer narrative is based on a true story or if it is an entirely original tale after all.

What is The Horror of Dolores Roach about?

The Horror of Dolores Roach tells the story of ex-convict Dolores Roach (Justina Machado), who is released from prison after sixteen years on the inside. She hopes to start a new life on the outside as a masseuse in her old neighborhood of Washington Heights, but she soon finds herself inadvertently back living her old life of crime instead.

Dolores begins working as a masseuse underneath Luis Batista’s Empanada Loca store. Stoner Luis (Alejandro Hernandez) struggles to keep up with his rent though and upsets creepy landlord Gideon Pearlman (Marc Maron).

One unfortunate encounter with Gideon sends Dolores on a journey to becoming the most unlikely of serial killers.

To cover up these mounting murders, Luis decides to cook the corpses and place them as a special ingredient inside his empanadas. Dolores is horrified by Luis’ plan, but she is out of options and goes along with his harebrained scheme anyway. Can she stop the killing spree and appease her psychotic roommate, or is Dolores destined to return to jail once more?

Is The Horror of Dolores Roach based on a true story?

The Horror of Dolores Roach is not based on a true story. It is an entirely original narrative. The series is based on creator Aaron Mark’s fictional podcast of the same name, which debuted in 2018, with Daphne Rubin-Vega (In the Heights) in the titular role.

The Gimlet podcast is, in turn, based on the one-woman off-Broadway play Empanada Loca, which Aaron Mark wrote and directed in 2015. The original run starred Daphne Rubin-Vega as Dolores and was heavily inspired by the story of Sweeney Todd.

There are presumed to be multiple accounts of masseuses killing their customers throughout history, but no major stories have caught the headlines really.

There was a masseuse in Pakistan, who killed at least five victims, yet he was arrested in 2020, years after the original play had already been released. The play is not based on any of these news stories.

Who wrote The Horror of Dolores Roach?

Creator Aaron Mark wrote The Horror of Dolores Roach, as mentioned above. He was the sole writer behind the play and the podcast. For the Prime Video series, Aaron Mark wrote the majority of the episodes, working with a small team of writers, including long-time collaborator Daphne Rubin-Vega.

The series also gives writing credits to Dara Resnik (Home Before Dark), Joe Hortua (Better Things), Michelle Badillo, Mariah Wilson, and Brian Otano.

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