The disturbing psychosexual TV show “American Horror Story” is returning for an all-new season on Oct. 17th on FX. Fans that followed the show’s first season will be either excited or disappointed to find out that the new season has taken a new direction in every way. “American Horror Story: Asylum” is set in Briarcliff, an institution for the criminally insane during the 1960s.
Characters in the mad house include a mad Nazi doctor, mutants, a serial killer named Bloody face and aliens. Sister Jude, who is being played by last season’s scene stealing actress Jessica Lange, runs the institution. Show creator Ryan Murphy has stated that “Asylum” will be more focused as “a workplace drama,” compared to last season being “a family drama.”
But what’s really contributing to the show’s inflated anticipation is FX’s aggressive marketing campaign by releasing ten short clips to tease the hungry appetites of fans. The upcoming show abandons jump-scares for more surrealistic and nightmarish images that attack the viewer’s subconscious. The twisted and tormented atmosphere of Briarcliff is enhanced by the show’s suburb usage of eerie sounds and editing.
Fans that are worried that they will never see their favorite characters from season one again will be relieved to discover that the actors from season one (Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Lily Rabe, Sarah Paulson and Zachary Quinto) will make appearances as new characters entirely. However, the show has embraced new actors including Adam Levine and James Cromwell.
Taking homage to Kubrick’s “The Shining,” “A Clockwork Orange,” “Eyes Wide Shut” and Hitchcock’s “Psycho,” the show’s roots in horror film have made an impact on the setting, characters and tone of the show. Bloody-Face, the imprisoned serial killer of the institution is molded from the archetypical serial killer Hannibal Lecter, from the famous “Silence of the Lambs.”
The themes of the show are fear, lust and insanity, which are extremely appealing characteristics for the 18 to 49 demographic. The show may have a marketable premise, but it does not necessarily guarantee attention from everyone.
“It looks like a failed attempt for FX to get ratings for their already movie-dominated channel,” criticizes freshman Gracie Peck. However, freshman Ran Johnson argues that the show “Keeps me on the edge of my seat, I love every minute of it.” “American Horror Story: Asylum” is eagerly ready to push the envelope and try new things.
The show’s embrace for risks and erotic-grotesque themes keep it above water and in the spot light. The “publicity through controversy” helps the show’s ratings and gathers attention like their six season-running counterpart “Nip/Tuck.” FX has also released a 5-minute preview for the introduction of the show for fans that couldn’t handle the anticipation any longer.
There are no plot-ruining spoilers, but the preview consisted of Adam Levine’s haunted honeymoon tour of the foreclosed asylum with what appears to be his fiancée played by Jenna Dewan. Sarah Paulson seems to have taken Connie Britton’s leading lady spot as Lana, a reporter who doesn’t quite trust Lange’s Sister Jude—and, by the end of the trailer, proves herself right. Zachary Quinto is back as Dr. Oliver Thredson, but even he doesn’t seem to be on Sister Jude’s side, reprimanding her for conditons at the facility.
Evan Peters is back and in a new role as well as one that looks to pit him against Lange’s operation this time around. Lily Rabe is back, too, this time as Sister Mary Eunice, and she certainly feels the wrath of Sister Jude. Even Joseph Fiennes’ Monsignor Timothy Howard doesn’t seem to be fully in line with Sister Jude’s cause, as he preaches to Thredson about “the nature of evil” one moment but warns an unhappy-looking Jude of what the future could hold next.
Though the plot and characters still remain mysterious, one thing is certain: that “American Horror Story: Asylum” will push the boundaries of the series to new, if not horrifying, heights.