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October 18, 2012 - April Diodato
The second season of “American Horror Story” may be even more demented than the last. If the first episode is any indication, I don't think any of us are going to make it out of “Asylum” unscathed.
I had a love/hate relationship with the series' freshman year. Countless times, I asked myself why I was still watching – but I just couldn't STOP. It was a schizophrenic send-up of the classic horror narrative, with ghosts, gruesome experiments, murder, a mysterious masked man, psychosis, teenage angst and doomed romance, with some “Rosemary's Baby” thrown in for good measure. Heck, even Elizabeth Short of the infamous “Black Dahlia” murder drops by. It was too much, but what made the show so entertaining was that it didn't take itself too seriously; it was campy, and that was the point. Just when I thought I had it all figured out and dismissed it as too silly to truly scare me, there was one episode (episode 10) – and one scene in particular – that will continue to haunt me for the rest of my days. It was then that I decided I would be tuning in for the next season. “But where could the story possibly go from here?” I wondered.
During the interim, it was announced that season two would start from scratch: a completely different story in a different setting, with only a handful of the actors from the first season to return as different characters. After watching the season premiere last night, I've now decided that the show could be genius.
“American Horror Story: Asylum” is set in — you guessed it — an insane asylum in 1964, run by deranged nuns. As in season one, there's a hodgepodge of horrific elements, borrowed from movies, novels and urban legends. Just in the first episode, we have a serial killer being admitted to the asylum, a doctor with a penchant for experiments and secrets, a possible alien abduction, and plenty of maniacal patients.
Some assorted thoughts on episode one:
- Is there anything Jessica Lange can't do? She shifts seamlessly from the insane Southern matriarch of season one to devout, diabolical Sister Jude in “Asylum,” with a Boston accent this time. Will she nab another Emmy to add to her already-crowded trophy room?
- How did Adam Levine get so lucky? Between “The Voice” and “American Horror Story,” American audiences spent four hours this week watching shows that Levine is on — and they are two of the most popular shows on television. His band, Maroon 5, also has a song on the top of the Billboard Hot 100 right now. Live it up, Levine — this is your year.
- What the heck is Sister Mary Eunice feeding out in the woods at the doctor's behest? Is this related to the aliens? Will we see some before the season ends?
- A honeymoon that involves visiting the most haunted places in the United States is extremely ill-advised. Just watch any horror movie in existence.
- Even if I'm not particularly frightened by something that happens on an episode of “American Horror Story,” I always feel too disturbed to go to sleep right away. I always need a palate-cleanser after viewing, like 90 minutes of “Project Runway” for example. I guess that's a sign that they're doing it right.
What did you think of “Asylum?”
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