What’s more disturbing? A killer with a mommy issues, demons or aliens? Honestly all three are awful and they have all joined together to form the second season of American Horror Story: Asylum. Just a warning, some of the stuff I write may be a little disturbing so turn away now.
Firstly this season takes place in a completely different setting to the first season as this season focuses on American mental institutions in the 60s and 70s. The show travels back and forth from 1964 to 2010 and Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk nailed getting the 60s and 70s right. This had some of the same actors return with new roles and identities. Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson and Evan Peters come back with somewhat new actors Zachary Quinto, Frances Conroy and Lily Rabe. Watching the show, I had no idea what asylums were like and this season painted a vivid image, with nuns caning people and using electroshock therapy which is somewhat used today. The show played with my sanity which is the entire focus of this season. A great way to engage with the audience by completely destroying their sanity.
Secondly, the characters were easy to choose this time. There were some characters you loved to death like Kit Walker (Evan Peters) who is an all around cinnamon roll and Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) who was a badass queen. There were characters you could love and hate at the same time like queen B*tch Sister Jude Martin (Jessica Lange) and psychiatrist Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto). Other characters which would make your insides churn with disgust like Nazi misogynist Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) and possessed Sister Mary Eunice (Lily Rabe). This show presented these characters to be bad as well as good and honestly it does help to create a interestingly complex story.
Thirdly, the antagonist. I thought to myself: “How distressing, can American Horror Story get?” It gets more stressful. The religious imagery completely changes my perspective on religion and it messes with my brain. I still cannot forget what happens to Lana and Bloodyface being a total creepy sh*t with scary mommy issues. The disturbing imagery kept me locked further and I was constantly interested through the story. The first half of the season was the best part yet when it got to the last few episodes, I couldn’t help but feel that they rushed it slightly. The build up to the revelation of Bloodyface was great but everything after that was a mess.
With the story being creepy, you wouldn’t expect to get a few laughs. This show had me laughing with tears when I came to episode ten: ‘The Name Game’. In the midst of all the creepiness, the show brought lighthearted humour by having the characters sing to Shirley Ellis’ The Name Game. This brought joy as I fell on the floor laughing at the random musical number. All the actors were dancing and singing, for a moment I forgot all the horror I had seen. I danced and sang along to the sequence and just feel complete.
Asylum is a definite recommendation as it causes your skin to crawl while still fascinating you with an awesome story line and an amazing musical number. I still re-watch the musical number sequence because it brings immense joy to my heart.