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PLEASE NOTE: This is a series review only.
After watching "American Horror Story" Season 1, I was a little unsure about how manageable Season 2 would be. I mean, a whole new story, new characters.. Can it really work? Yes. Yes it can. You got to give the creators and producers a massive high five on this one. Not all shows can get away with coming back with a new season that's a whole other story, like "The Killing" which unfortunately got cancelled (boooo!).
"Asylum" is one edge-of-your-seat, head turning series, with some of our favorite cast members from Season 1 coming back for another amazing performance, like Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto and Frances Conroy. The whole season is based in a Church ran insane Mental Institution during 1964, dealing with mental illness patients, but obviously with this being a horror series, we have to have some supernatural, some unexplained and of course some murder. Each episode starts off in the modern day, giving us 2 stories which are both relevant to the story. Every episode opens up to new twist and shows us some truly creepy characters.
This show has to be one of my favorites. I'm always one for a good horror flick, but a whole series of horror is even better!
I have NOTHING bad to say about American Horror Story. Nothing. I have watched it from day one, since I was a big fan of Ryan Murphys shows, and after watching Glee I didn't have very high hopes. But then I watched the first episode, and I've never looked back. The show is filled with an amazingly talented cast, such as Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, and Lily Rabe. They make the show absolutely perfect.
In my opinion, season 2 (Asylum), has been the best season by far. The twists and turns throughout the season were absolutely wonderful, and the acting from Ms Sarah Paulson was just beyond amazing. I loved that her character was gay and living with her female partner in the sixties. Zachary Quinto made me shiver every time I seen his face in the second half of the season. Pure brilliance from Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, as per usual. I wouldn't expect anything different from them.
And if you enjoy this season, start watching Coven, too!!
After watching the first season of American Horror Story (AHS), I couldn't wait for the second season to come on TV. However, unlike in the first season, where it was set in a house, this one is actually called American Horror Story: Asylum. This season has a whole new setting and new characters.
Starting off in the present day, newlyweds Leo and Teresa love anything scary. Taking a trip to the most haunted places around, the come across Briarcliff Manor, a former insane asylum which was run by the church. Over 46,000 people died at Briarcliff and rumour has it that it is haunted by a sadistic killer called Bloody Face. Not believing anything they have read, Leo and Teresa get off on the scary situation they have put themselves in... but only until they meet Bloody Face themselves.
In 1964, a young man named Kit Walker is accused of being the infamous Bloody Face and is committed to Briarcliff. Here, he pleads his innocence, claiming that he is innocent and most definitely did not kill his new wife Alma. However, no one cares what he has to stay and he finds himself stuck in a place run by Sister Jude, a nun with a no nonsense policy. Lana Winters, a reporter watches Kit being committed and wanting a step up in her career, is determined to find out about the truth... only she finds out much more than she ever bargained for.
Zachary Quinto as Dr. Oliver Thredson
Joseph Fiennes as Monsignor Timothy Howard
Sarah Paulson as Lana Winters
Evan Peters as Kit Walker
Lily Rabe as Sister Mary Eunice
Lizzie Brocheré as Grace
James Cromwell as Dr. Arthur Arden/Hans Grüper
Jessica Lange as Sister Jude/Judy Martin
What I thought
So how does a series with different settings each series work? Actually, really well. I wasn't sure if I was going to like the change of setting and characters because I liked everything about the first season of AHS. However, what Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy do is bring in some of the cast members of season one, give them new identities and mix them with a whole range of new and exciting characters and story lines. This makes it possible for the audience to watch whichever season they like without feeling behind or that they're missing something. Also, it means that for those who have seen season one, they get something new and exciting with season two.
Being set in an insane asylum gives this show a chance to have a large range of characters, all with very different problems. Also, as it is run by the church and set in the 1960s, it also shows how mental illness was dealt with in some situations. Briarcliff is an insane asylum which obviously doesn't get much funding due to the state of some areas of the building. The setting of AHS: Asylum is dark, dingy and downright disgusting at times but it really does help to add to the ambience of the show. An insane asylum was never going to be a setting covered with hearts and flowers and this show is far from afraid to show the bad sides of things.
Religion plays a very large part in this season, with Briarcliff being run by Sister Jude, a nun who likes discipline and order. She likes things to go her way and hates for things to get out of hand. Sister Jude has her own ways of dealing with the patients, even if they aren't what we would class as ok nowadays. Playing Sister Jude is Jessica Lange who definitely deserves awards for this role. While Lange had a much smaller role in season one, she takes the lead here and does the show proud. Not only does Sister Jude have to run Briarcliff and keep everything in order but she has her own secrets and a past which creeps up on her. I absolutely loved Jessica Lange as Sister Jude. This is a role which really shows the range of an actor and what they can do and Lange sinks her teeth right into it.
Then we have the science aspects of mental illness. James Cromwell plays Briarcliff's Dr. Arthur Arden while Zachary Quinto plays psychologist Dr. Oliver Thredson. Both the mental and surgical aspects of mental illness are covered here in AHS and I have to say, the outcomes of each are shocking as hell. The 1960s was a time where electro shock therapy was used, a time when lobotomies were ok and a time when perversion therapy was used to 'cure' people of homosexuality. I thought that the mix of the two treatments for mental illness was exceptionally used in this season and it also provided a way of explaining what was 'wrong' with some of the patients in Briarcliff. Arden and Thredson were also fantastic characters, each creepy and strange in their own way but with backstories which were so interesting and different.
What I really liked the most about AHS: Asylum though was the patients. Kit Walker is played by Evan Peters, who was also in season one. As a Caucasian male, he has just married a girl of colour and becomes the subject of bullying and hate crimes. However, he is also accused of murdering his wife as well as a list of other women. As a character, Kit is so different from Peters' character in season one and much like Sister Jude, this is a character that shows an actor's range extremely well. Kit's story runs through the whole of season two, and he has a hell of a lot to deal with. Peters gives his character conviction while having emotions at the same time. You are able to relate to him because of what he is feeling and he is also very likeable too.
As this is a show with so many characters, some who are only in it for a few episodes and some who are there the whole time, it is hard to comment on everyone. However, I will say that there are some very surprising additions to this season and ones which I loved completely. There are also characters who were created to be hated. There is also a little something for everyone here I feel, and someone who everyone will be able to relate to in some way or another.
With such a dramatic and gripping setting, AHS: Ayslum is a feast on the eyes. Even the opening credits gave me the creeps. There are distorted scenes of patients in an insane asylum and strange music which made me shiver. The opening sequence sets the scene perfectly and if you didn't know what you were about to watch before this, you would do afterwards! When it comes to the plot for the whole season, Asylum really tries to have a diverse range of things going on. As previously mentioned, we have religion and the treatments of mental illness but there are also aliens, racism, sexuality, relationships and friendships of all kinds. However, I do feel as though some of the smaller plot lines were a little over done at times which made them seem sillier than they could have been.
Even though I had obviously watched the first season of AHS, I still find it strange that the creators of Glee made a show like this. Ok, they did also do Nip/ Tuck which is for adults but the difference in each show they make is just remarkable. Either they have the most messed up heads ever of the best imagination possible. Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy are by far two of my favourites and after liking everything I have seen on theirs so far, I would happily watch anything they make in the future.