TV Review: American Horror Story Season 2 Episode 1
American Horror Story is kinda the perfect show for me.
It’s total genre trash, so it’s a breeze to watch and its packed with fanservice.
But it’s also full of cliches and genre trappings, so it’s incredibly easy to whinge about.
I am home.
TL;DR The setting is creepy but unimaginative. The characters are varied but shallow. The action is fun but hard to believe. It’s got it all.
Quick preface: I did watch the whole 1st season. Generally I thought it was a good time, but was a bit of a mess. At lesat I know what to expect now.
Oh, and if you didn’t know, this isn’t a sequel to last season. It’s a new, unrelated (at least for now?) story with a lot of returning actors, but in different roles. As far as we know (again, for now?) there is no connection.
So our setting this time is a mental hospital in 1964. It’s a former tuberculosis hospital where thousands of people died, and it is now repurposed as an asylum run by Christian zealots. Their leaders are Jessica Lange as the devout and evil head nun, Joseph Fiennes as the decidedly ordinary monsignor, and James Cromwell (the farmer from Babe! Oh, childhood. What? I had a childhood) as the evil doctor. Evan Peters (the douchey blonde high school shooter from last season) plays a townie who may or may not have been abducted by aliens and may or may not have murdered various women and nicknamed Bloodyface. Sarah Paulson is a closet lesbian reporter hoping to get a Bloodyface exclusive but ends up in trouble. Meanwhile, back in the present, two newlyweds (with WTF casting choice Adam “Maroon 5” Levine) enter the derelict asylum to have weird sex. It doesn’t go well.
To be honest, I think this is actually a decent start to a decent looking horror story. There were a few niggles, but there’s nothing here that really had me clawing my skin off.
If anything, it’d have to be that I don’t like Evan Peters. I think he’s too young for the role, and I didn’t like his character from last season at all, so I don’t really give a shit about him. Which is not good considering he’s being set up as a sympathetic main character. Uh oh.
But yeah, I’m keen to get on with this shit. And that’s a pretty big compliment. You’re welcome.
Why I hate this episode:
The present day plot line is a bit pathetic. I mean, really? 2 newlyweds who purposely seek out IRL horror movie locations to bone in? Have they never watched a movie about an old asylum? Having sex in there is going to lead to your death. Dumbasses.
Also, Adam Levine? Why?
Let’s have a look at a few items in the cliche storm:
- The killer’s name is Bloodyface.
- It’s set in an abandoned/inhabited but evil asylum.
- Psycho nuns.
- Intrepid reporter.
- Mad scientist/doctor.
- Having sex in an obvious horror movie situation.
- Aliens being green and having exaggerated, humanoid features.
I expect most of these will be subverted in some way by the end, but in the context of this episode, they’re extremely noticeable.
Chloe Sevigny evidently isn’t doing anything else with her time to accept a bit part in this as a blowjob specialist.
Bloodyface wears a mask made of human flesh. Sounds familiar.
Lange is terrible at her job as bitch in charge. The doctor doesn’t respect her, the monsignor barely seems to notice her, and despite all her huff and puff, her “authority” seems to be limited only to those who are scared of her. The doctor literally takes a room in the asylum as his own, a room she didn’t even know about, and she can’t do anything to stop him. When she asks why it smells (and deduces that something has been living in there), he pretty much just tells her to fuck off. Boss indeed.
Oh, and after she catches Paulson snooping around (Paulson is also attacked by whatever was living in that room) she imprisons her in the asylum. Paulson’s girlfriend (Clea Duvall) signs the papers to keep her locked up there because she’s scared of the scandal Lange would instigate (about them being lesbians in 1960s, small town America). That’s fucking bullshit. Just go get her and leave town. You don’t sign over the love of your life to a wacked out insane asylum run by an obviously evil nun bitch.
Reasons to watch:
Lange is fabulously cruel.
But she also has a soft side. When one of her lackeys is so upset at herself for failing her, she says that she’s stupid and needs to be punished. Lange puts the cane away and says that if she ever calls herself stupid again that she will really punish her. Aww.
Levine gets his naked butt out and is in a sex scene within 5 minutes. That’s how you do it.
There is actually quite a bit of skin. Evan Peters has a sex scene and a nude hose-down scene. No titties yet, though.
Levine gets his arm ripped off. I lol’d.
Peters’ alien abduction was pretty hectic. Not sure if he’s been mind controlled/pod person’d into doing the murders he’s accused of.
Cromwell seems to be killing and dismembering patients to feed to an unseen monster in the woods. Not sure if related to monster that was in asylum.
Not surprised a Ryan Murphy show is playing the gay card again (with Paulson and Duvall). But their relationship is certainly more stable than the Zachary Quinto/Alexander Skarsgaard one from last season.
Lange has sex fantasies about the monsignor. Girl looks pretty good for her age. Tasteful underwear, but still.
One of the male inmates throws shit onto the skittish nun’s face. Nice twist on the Silence of the Lambs variant.
Chloe does get to contribute to the show by giving one of the male staff a blowjob. That’s the spirit.
Oh, and Bloodyface does make an appearance (mask and all), in the present day plot. Intrigue!