THE HORROR OF DOLORES ROACH on Prime Video is a new horror comedy series. Justina Machado stars in the title role and is amazing. There are eight 30-minute episodes and it’s very binge-worthy. Read our full The Horror of Dolores Roach season 1 review here!

THE HORROR OF DOLORES ROACH is a new Prime Video horror comedy series. It’s based on a podcast series and is a contemporary take on the Sweeney Todd plot. Justina Machado is starring in the all-important title role and is all kinds of brilliant.

Over the course of the eight half-hour episodes, you’ll come across plenty of familiar faces. Including a few from Orange Is the New Black which is a nice detail as Dolores Roach has spent 16 years in prison. Something that becomes important to everything else we learn. Or rather, we see Dolores use all that she has learned there.

Season 1 has eight episodes that are all around 30 minutes long, so it’s easy to binge-watch this series. It certainly was for me, because I did for this review. Now I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that we’ll get a season 2.

Continue reading our The Horror of Dolores Roach season 1 review below. Find it on Prime Video from July 7, 2023.

From Sweeney Todd-inspired podcast to Prime Video series

The Horror of Dolores Roach is based on the hit Spotify podcast series of the same name. A podcast series that was originally written as a one-woman show. It’s most simply described as a contemporary Sweeney Todd-inspired story.

As the official press material states, it’s based on an “urban legend of love, betrayal, weed, cannibalism and survival of the fittest”. A complex yet surprisingly accurate description of the series.

When the series begins, we see Dolores Roach (Justina Machado) getting arrested. Jump 16 years into the future, and she is released from prison and returns to a now-gentrified Washington Heights.

There, she is very much down on her luck when she’s reunited with an old friend, Luis (Alejandro Hernandez). He is the “last man standing” in the otherwise gentrified area and is happy to see a familiar face. He lets her live and work as a masseuse in the basement apartment under his empanada shop.

Unfortunately, the newfound stability is very quickly threatened, and “Magic Hands Dolores” utilizes some of the other skills she learned while in prison. Massage was one skill, staying safe at any cost was another.

The Horror of Dolores Roach: Season 1 – Review | Prime Video Series

Justina Machado is Dolores Roach

Obviously, the entire cast of this horror comedy is important and I would never claim otherwise. However, it also goes without saying, that the title character at the heart of everything has to work. Supporting characters can always rub you the wrong way and you can live with it.

If the main character doesn’t work for you, then you probably won’t finish watching a series. I know I certainly wouldn’t.

Fortunately, I absolutely loved Justina Machado as Dolores Roach.

Sure, Dolores makes mistakes. Many mistakes. Silly mistakes. Terrible mistakes. Dumb mistakes!

However, that’s why she ended up in prison in the first place. She follows her heart and her desires and doesn’t always look out for herself in the ways she should. Well, until she starts killing people who get in her way, obviously. That’s when things get very out of hand.


She was in the franchises Final Destination (Final Destination 2) and The Purge (The Purge: Anarchy)

The title of the final episode in season 1 is “Stop Me” and she is honestly asking for help because she is out of control at this point. Side remark: I loved the episode titles and the fact that the title is always a line of dialogue from the episode.

For me, the power of this series lies with Justina Machado. She’s an actor I have adored since Six Feet Under and then in One Day at a Time and now, she delivers exactly the complexity that this story and her character require. Delivering on both horror and comedy while getting important messages across.

How about that The Horror of Dolores Roach ending – maybe season 2 is coming?

The very final scene in The Horror of Dolores Roach season 1 will make anyone wish for a season 2. Not only is it a very open ending, but it’s also one that could easily be built on. Or simply stand as an eternal mystery.

The ending of The Horror of Dolores Roach on Prime Video is brilliant actually. However, as someone who had just gotten really invested in Dolores’ life and story, I really need more. That’s why I began this review by stating that I am keeping my fingers crossed for The Horror of Dolores Roach season 2.

Then again, I can also see that some will be irritated with this ending as it is a damn fine cliffhanger.

Watch The Horror of Dolores Roach on Prime Video!

The story was originally created by Aaron Mark as a one-woman play titled “Empanada Loca”. Aaron Mark created, wrote, and directed the original podcast and went on to write the pilot script for The Horror of Dolores Roach as well. Aaron Mark is now the co-showrunner and executive producer with Dara Resnik.

Also behind this Prime Video series are executive producers from Blumhouse Television. Yes, including Jason Blum, obviously. With additional producers onboard from Spotify where the podcast it was based on can be found. Yet another executive producer is Roxann Dawson (Bates Motel, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels), who also directed the pilot.

While I absolutely enjoyed this series overall, there are some vibes and tones that might confuse people. Funny, but also brutal and deadly serious, dealing with heavy subjects about crime and punishment as well as gentrification.

I just really hope everyone – viewers and critics alike – remember that this is a camp genre series with important messages (not unlike Orange Is the New Black which was a dramedy hybrid) and not a straight-faced drama.

The Horror of Dolores Roach season 1 is on Prime Video from July 7, 2023.


Creator: Aaron Mark
Roxann Dawson, Hiromi Kamata, Eduardo Sánchez, America Young, Edward Ornelas
Cast: Justina Machado, Alejandro Hernandez, Kita Updike, K. Todd Freeman


Dolores Roach (Justina Machado) is released from prison after 16 years and returns to a gentrified Washington Heights. She reunites with an old stoner friend, Luis (Alejandro Hernandez), who lets her live and work as a masseuse in the basement under his empanada shop. When the promise of her newfound stability is quickly threatened, “Magic Hands” Dolores is driven to shocking extremes to survive.

I write reviews and recaps on Heaven of Horror. And yes, it does happen that I find myself screaming, when watching a good horror movie. I love psychological horror, survival horror and kick-ass women. Also, I have a huge soft spot for a good horror-comedy. Oh yeah, and I absolutely HATE when animals are harmed in movies, so I will immediately think less of any movie, where animals are harmed for entertainment (even if the animals are just really good actors). Fortunately, horror doesn't use this nearly as much as comedy. And people assume horror lovers are the messed up ones. Go figure!
Karina "ScreamQueen" Adelgaard
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