Television: American Horror Story: Asylum

I'll say up front that I can't stomach gore. However, I am a big fan of psychological thrillers. And I enjoy ghosts, haunted houses, and the like. American Horror Story seems to tread a fine line that runs through the nexus of all these. I had tried the first season but found it less than compelling, giving up after just two or three episodes. But when I heard that the new season would be completely different, I decided to try again.

So far, I've mostly enjoyed the second season of AHS. I think the 60s New England setting gives it a kind of Stephen King feel, and I do love Uncle Stevie (I can read gore, just can't bear to watch it on a screen). The frame story of the honeymooning couple is kind of weird, not sure if it's going anywhere or what, but the meat of the story is the 1964 serial murders committed by one Bloody Face. They believe they've caught the killer and locked him in the asylum known as Briarcliff (run by the Catholic church), but it wouldn't make much of a season if that were true, now would it?

Meanwhile, we've got James Cromwell as Dr. Arden doing some kind of Victor Frankenstein experiments with the mental patients. We've got Sarah Paulson (who, incidentally, shares the same birthday as me, though I'm a bit younger) as the snooping reporter who lands herself in the asylum after crossing Sister Jude (Jessica Lange). We've got Kit Walker (Evan Peters), whose only real crime seems to have been that he married a black woman and was promptly abducted by aliens—but now he's been pinned as Bloody Face. And Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe) . . . Who the hell knows what's going on with her. She may very well be Bloody Face for all we know.

With all this setup, AHS is like a freight train moving under its own weight and momentum. Which is a good thing. It keeps the story going, keeps things interesting. And AHS also has a win on use of flashbacks, with a technique far better than anything Revolution is doing. Maybe it's the editing. This show is visually edited all to hell, but it works. The overall tone is consistent without being monotonous.

While there's still more gore than I'd personally like, I'll keep watching. Even though I know this train is bound for glory headed for a wreck, I'm along for the ride.

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