Got to Tell You... The New American Horror Story Sounds Terrible

Categories: Film and TV

Two years ago our editor here at Art Attack said to me, "Hey, you're weird. Watch American Horror Story and do a review. So I did, and I really fell in love with the show, both seasons. The first had its ups and downs, and ended on a very weak note, but all in all it was tremendous television experience.

Then Asylum rolled around and my God did they up the ante. We had Nazis doing body horror, aliens, serial killers, zombies, and to top it all off demonic possession. To this day I don't know how they got away with half of last season, and I was all set to resume my duties getting paid to be frightened.

To be honest, though... Coven sounds freakin' terrible. Really, really terrible.

At first I was elated. In addition to Jessica Lange returning, Kathy Bates and Angela Bassett are rounding out an A-List class of powerful women who can definitely deliver the goods. Bates is famously creepy whenever she wants to be, and Bassett is capable of that understated but undeniable force that lends itself to any role.

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So you've got big guns going on, and the subject is witches. OK, it's a place to start. Personally I have never seen a single witch movie that ever delivered on scares unless you counted maybe Dead Silence, and that's more of an evil puppet movie than anything else. On the other hand, it's a brave choice, and we've already done ghosts and slashers and evil doctors.

What we have not done before is Evil Hogwarts, which is apparently what we're going for in the new run.

The center of the show is Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, a school for girls with witch bloodlines that is both haven from persecution and training ground for, I dunno, witch stuff. The Academy is under attack from several sides, including remnants of voodoo enclaves that once clashed with the Salem witches that fled from hunts up north and encroached on their territory.

That does sound like it has potential, actually, even if the historical hyperboles are making my teeth grind (I have an entire shelf dedicated to witch hunt texts at home... you see why the editor tapped me for this gig.) Bates is promising us torture, using slaves' blood as wrinkle-cream in segments set in the past, and other gleeful demonic wickedness. I like that there is a racial dynamic at play, which always ups the tension in horror.

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2 comments
del.martinis
del.martinis topcommenter

If that looks terrible to you, I want to know what looks good! 

conatonc
conatonc

I thought you said you watched the first two seasons of American Horror Story, Jef. You should know that this is not a show that you can figure out if it's going to be good or bad based on plot synopses. Hell, you often don't know if it's good or bad when you're watching it. Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk just throw in whatever the hell horror elements they liked from 70's horror movies (and elsewhere, occasionally) and count on Tim Minear and James Wong to make their fevered ramblings into some sort of story.

But what do I know? I thought the first season of the show was incredibly bad yet entertaining until the final 3-4 episodes when they actually managed to pull all of the story elements together into something resembling coherence and you thought it ended weakly. Season 2 was a delirious roller coaster ride of everything and the kitchen sink hilarity. 

Also, I've never found anything on the show to actually be scary. Unsettling, sure, but whether or not it's gonna be scary doesn't usually enter into my enjoyment of the show.

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