Skip to main content

American Horror Story, Season Two, Episode Three: Nor'Easter

I'll give this to Brad Falchuk -- he has a keen sense of timing. The absorbing third episode of the American Horror Story, "Nor'Easter" is all the more effective owing to coming right on the heels of Sandy. Nature's fury seizes my imagination more tightly when the debris from an actual Superstorm still clutter my street.

I could have used for even more of the storm actually. The radio mentions it, and the central conceit of the story, that Sister Jude (the operatic Jessica Lange) wants to calm the patients at the Briarcliff Mental Institution, depends upon it. But when it actually arrived, the sound studio torrents reminded me more of the final scene of Shawshank Redemption than some actual apocalyptic storm. American Horror Story doesn't seem to be shy about 'more is better,' elsewhere. The first episode introduced the asylum, it's inmates, a creepy sadistic Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell), a nymphomaniac (Chloe Svegniy), a wife-killing psychopath (Kit Walker, played by Evan Peters) who insists he was abducted by aliens (played by unwholesome grey prosthesis), an undead serial killer, and a crusading journalist wrongly detained. Since the first episode, Satan has made his appearance, zombies have appeared and Dr. Arden has gone off the deep-end.

 Strangely, I still think this works. Partly this has to do with fine acting from the ensemble and partly this has to do with tone. I have no idea what American Horror Story is playing at but it seems to be having a lot of malicious fun getting to its point.

 I wouldn't say American Horror Story is scary precisely, but it does provide a lot of ghoulish television fun in one hour. I'm not sure. If the plot wasn't so tightly entwined I'd almost be tempted to say American Horror Story tells anthologies of stories, like Creep Show. But I don't think that's what they are trying. The monsters of one character keep intruding on other characters' stories: Kit Walker's aliens make an appearance (and possibly abduct?) during Sister Jude's boozy fall from grace. The zombies that Sister Mary tends for Dr. Arden thwart Kit, Shelly, Lana and Grace's escape attempt. Everything is connected at the same time everything's falling apart.

It's almost as if the show itself was insane and the 'stories' are the various delusions bubbling to the surface during therapy. Alternately, maybe only one of the monsters is real and the others are masks it wears. I just can't believe the show actually wants us to believe that this one asylum is beset by an entire menagerie of evil. That wouldn't be a story, that would be a scare house.

 By bet is on the aliens.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Solemn Treasures

In Gilead, the transcendent novel by Marilynn Robinson, a 76 year old man confronts his impending mortality and the sense he cannot provide for his young son after he is gone. He had not expected to meet his son's mother in the twilight of his life, not expected to have a son. If he had, he tells his son in a lengthy letter forming the substance of Robinson's novel, he might have set something by for him. Some sort of savings or investment. It pains him to think that when he is gone, all that he can leave are a few words.

What words.

As mentioned in a previous post, I set myself on the task (is that really the right word here? maybe endeavor would be better) to read as many of the 'great novels' of this young century as I could. After reading Hillary Mantel's "Wolf Hall-" which was also fantastic by the way - I made my way to Gilead. One of the many quietly strange things about this novel is that it's actually the second novel from Robinson. Her first…

New Story Acceptance!

As mentioned last week, I do have a bit of happy news to share. I am excited to announce that my story, "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," will appear in the next issue of the Electric Spec Magazine at the end of the month. I am tremendously excited about this for a few reasons:
Electric Spec is simply awesome. I've been reading this magazine for awhile and never been disappointed by a single story. To have one of my stories selected is beyond humbling. I can only give an earnest thank you to Lesley L. Smith for choosing the story.I love this story dearly. It has one of my favorite protagonists and shows in the clearest way I've managed where I'd like to go with my fiction. Electric Spec also gave me the chance to reflect on this story and its meaning in a guest blog which I am sharing below. Without being spoilery, this blog expresses some of what resonates about "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," with me. Guest Blog at Electric SpecAt the moment, I think the…

"The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY" is now available!

My new story, "The Yuru-chara of Hector, NY," is now available in the current issue of the Electric Spec magazine. I'm very proud that this story is getting published at Electic Spec for the simple reason I've been reading the magazine for years, dreaming of the day I might get a story published there. Well, it's finally happened.

The story of "Yuru-chara" is pretty simple: a young girl wakes up to discover that her old virtual friend, a seven-foot-tall yellow monster named Tama Bell, has come to life. While navigating through waves of other virtual creatures released through a world-wide hack, the young heroine tries to come to grips with her responsibility to her forgotten friend and the losses inherent to growing up.

I hope that you enjoy my story and that you give the other stories a try. They're awesome!

Thank you for your continued support.