Wednesday, 6 February 2013

American Horror Story: Asylum

American Horror Story wrapped up for another year last week, leaving a satisfying end to a bloody, twisted and psychopathic story. AHS, created by Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck & Glee) was an entire departure from the first season. Opting to take various actors from the 2011 edition including Lily Rabe, Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Jessica Lange, the show was moved from its contemporary sunny suburban setting into the cold, sinister and clinical surroundings of a mental asylum in the 1960s.

The show centred on the staff and inmates of the fictional Briarcliff Asylum for the criminally insane. Most notably the power-mad HBIC, Sister Jude & seemingly meek Sister Mary Eunice (Lange and Rabe), the Monsignor, Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes) Dr. Oliver Thredson (Zachary Qunito) and the wrongly imprisoned Lana Winters (Paulson), Grace Bertrand (Lizzie Brochere) and Kit Walker (Peters), the latter of which is strongly believed to have murdered his wife in a blind rage. 

Yes, most of the inmates that you see are obviously seriously disturbed, such as a homicidal Santa, a woman claiming to be Anne Frank, as well as a chronic masturbator that quite literally creeps up every now and then, but what seemed to be more disturbing were those that were running the place...I'll try not to ruin it for those who haven't seen the show through to the end yet but as you can probably guess, the inmates are barely half of the real issue.

Evan Peters as Kit Evans
Looking deeper into the characters as the series progressed only saw things going from slightly freakish to demonic, not to mention chronically messed up. The show had it all, from possession and exorcisms, excruciatingly violent deaths and eerily calm serial killers. What’s not to love?

Both Asylum, and the first season of Ryan Murphy’s anthology series shared the same issue; powerful and enigmatic episodes early on in the season that later felt discombobulated and lost a lot of steam as they reached their conclusion. I’m not saying that the show was in any way mediocre, but I am pointing out that some plot points carried out towards the end felt out of place with the original story, almost like it was made up as Murphy and co. went along.

While the show still makes me wonder how someone who created Glee could reach inside their soul and pull out some of the most depraved and shocking stories seen on TV today, there’s no denying that this 13 part series was something I fail to find very often in American culture.
Something that’s genuinely scary.


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