Friday, March 6, 2015

American Horror Story

A few weeks ago I got a call from a couple of friends who live way out in the next county east of here. I don't get to see them very often, so I was excited to learn that they were coming to town the next day. 

"Have you seen American Horror Story yet?" One of them asked me. 

I told him that I'd heard of it but hadn't seen any episodes as of yet. 

"We'll bring a full season in for you when we come in tomorrow. It's called Asylum and you're gonna love it!" 

After making plans to have lunch together at a local Mexican restaurant, I put my phone down with a sense of anticipation. After all, not only was I going to get together with a couple I really enjoy and don't see very often, but a much talked about horror series would be in my hands by the following afternoon. 

By the time I got half-way through Asylum's opening episode I had already come to the realization that the program was one twisted piece of horror fiction. Still, I was hooked. 

The story takes place in 1964 at the Briarcliff Mental Institution, a Massachusetts facility designed to house the criminally insane. The facility is run by the very strict Sister Jude, played by Jessica Lange and her assistant, Sister Mary Eunice, portrayed by the talented Lily Rabe.  Monsignor Timothy Howard, the founder of the facility is played by Joseph Fiennes. It seems that Monsignor Howard is quite an ambitious whose aspirations lead to Rome.

Then there is Doctor  Dr. Oliver Thredson, portrayed by Zachery Quinto, who I might mention, plays Mr. Spock in the 2009 version of Star Trek and its sequel, Star Trek: Into Darkness. I might add here that any of you who decide to venture into this series might want to keep an eye on Dr. Thredson. While we're speaking of darkness, Briarcliff apparently has a resident mad scientist in a certain Dr Arthur Arden (James Cromwell). Of course, everybody knows that mad scientists perform certain types of experiments and our Dr. Arden is no exception. And what better place for such a man to perform his work than at an institution for the criminally insane! Does Dr. Arden harbor secrets of his own? Hmm...I guess you'll just have to watch the series to find out.

Of course, some of the inmates/patients claim to be perfectly sane. Take for example a journalist named Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) who suddenly finds herself a prisoner in the institution who needs to be purged of her lesbianism.

I could go on and on about the many twists and turns that American Horror Story: Asylum takes. Instead, I'll just say that the story (Season 2) has it all, including psychopaths, demonic possession, supernatural occurrences, etc. And could there be aliens afoot?

The interesting thing about this program is that each season involves an entirely different storyline; this, even though some of the same actors are featured in each. So far, American Horror Story consists of a first season entitled Murder House, followed by Asylum, a third season called Coven (yes, it's about a coven of witches) and finally, a fourth entitled Freak Show. My understanding is that a fifth season is in the works and Lady Ga Ga is slated to play a leading role.

Needless to say, after watching one full season I highly recommend this program. Warning: This program is not for the faint of heart and can quite intense in places. So, proceed carefully.

As for me, I've already added Coven to my Netflix Queue. I can hardly wait to delve into it.