American Horror Story: Asylum Review

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.

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American Horror Story: Murder House Review

Halloween is coming soon and I was in the mood to get scared. I saw images for the latest season of American Horror Story (AHS): Cult and it looked fantastic! I thought why not watch AHS and so I decided to watch the first series known as Murder House. I have many interesting thoughts regarding this series.

Firstly, the production value was impressive. The fact that the entire story takes place in such a intricately designed horror house is astounding. All the stories were within one setting which allows me to follow an easy yet slightly complicated narrative. In addition this season does not use the stereotypical horror cliches which makes it all the more frightening. After watching the last episode of this season, I was completely frightened, lost and confused. My reality was warped and messed up because of Murder House. There were so many twists and turns that completely messed with me and my mind that I had a difficulty grasping which was real and which was not. The fact that a TV show can make me feel paranoid is a TV show well made. It sticks with the audience and makes it iconic.

Secondly I appreciated the way the characters were so descriptive and realistic. It gave me a reason to love and hate them, which is what I think is missing in some fictional characters. There are moments when I feel sorry for character and the next I feel so angry and disgusted at them. An example would be Tate Langdon (Evan Peters) who is a boy that falls in love with the daughter of the main family: Violet Harmon (Taissa Farmiga). All I can say is there will be a point where you fall in love with him and feel the utmost pity for him. The next second, your heart will shatter and turn. Providing a character with flaws allows for a story to be properly told rather than having an all good or all evil character who you root for or you hate.

Thirdly, the morality of the show was explicitly told well. The show presents a truth to life and gives a blunt truth to the many things of life like self harming, infidelity, pregnancy and trauma. It makes the show more enjoyable and relatable to people which is important in order to gain and audience. Although it addressed issues very clearly, the show messed up my moral compass. There were times when I was excusing the mutilation and murder and I thought to myself “Why am I okay with the fact that that poor girl was horribly mutilated?” Once again proving that the show messed with my mind, soul and morality. The ending of the season was heart-wrenching in a positive and negative way giving a great finish to one story.

So would I recommend AHS: Murder House? I think it depends if you do not mind twisted plots that mess with your head. The show makes you uncomfortable with what it presents and I think you need to have a strong heart and mentality to watch the show. It’s not so much scary but it definitely sends chills down your spines and thus I would only recommend Murder House if you can handle … odd themes.

Hemlock Grove, Season 1 ‘Jellyfish in the Sky’ Review

As I finished watching Supernatural, Netflix recommended me this show: ‘Hemlock Grove’. It looked interesting for the poster included three faces wrapped in some malevolent dark smoke. I took a closer look at the poster and noted that it had Famke Janssen (X-Men) and Bill Skarsgard (It: Chapter One). So I decided to go ahead and watch the first episode and there were some interesting thoughts in my head when I was watching this.

First, I need to address the special effects, for they were amazing throughout, especially towards the end where the lanterns faded to be jellyfish. Hence the title of the episode. It was an entrancing visual and wish it could last longer. It enticed me into the colour scheme, which consisted of purely yellow. It made me feel uneasy which is a good thing. The yellow contrasts with the genre, causing a complex feeling.

Now the beginning of the episode settled you immediately into the construct of the show because it starts off with Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgard) having sex with a prostitute. Great(!) This indicated that I would have to settle for extreme sexual content, for future episodes which I don’t think I’m comfortable with but I’ll do it because the story interests me. Straight after that I witnessed the grizzly murder of a teenage girl who’s insides were scooped out. It was definitely gruesome as my stomach churned. I would have vomited if I hadn’t been exposed to gore like I had in Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. Especially at the moment when the girl’s nail comes off and I felt like hurling. It now addressed that the show had extreme gore and I was ready to get settled in.

The episode was unique because it focused you on the characters more than the plot. You meet Peter Rumancek, a hairy teenager (adult) who moves into his uncle’s trailer with his mother. He is suspected of being a werewolf by a creepy stalker writer who generated the rumour because his index and middle fingers were the same length? Already I was creeped out and had uncomfortable chills running down my spine. Then came Roman Godfrey , a rich kid with an intense stare. It was difficult to tell whether I was scared or crushing on him. Anyhow we hear Peter talk to his mother about Roman being an Upir.

What’s an upir? I honestly have no clue but I think it could possibly be a vampire because the beginning showed Roman cutting his thumb and consuming a little bit more blood than any person would. Roman’s sister Shelley was a surprising terrifying sight for being a seven foot tall zombie. Yet when you see her take her wig off, you instantly regret the negative thoughts you have of her and feel sorry for her. The character development was exceptionally done. The plot was simplified in an adequate way that you don’t miss a whole lot out.

The first episode was an interesting episode as it progressed and it ends at an interesting cliffhanger which persuades you to watch more. I would recommend watching it if you are over eighteen and can handle explicit gore and sexual content. A unique contrast to other pilot episodes of TV series’.

Pretty Little Liars (General Review)

Hello b*tches … she’s bleeped the swear words hasn’t she? Come on! I just want to send a warning to the readers not to bother reading this post because it will disappoint them. – A

Why did someone sign off as ‘A’? Well because I will be talking about one of the most popular teen dramas: Pretty Little Liars.

Pretty Little Liars follows the lives of five girls: Spencer Hasting (Troian Bellisario), Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale), Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell), Hannah Marin (Ashley Benson) and Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pierterse). These girls were the best of friends until Alison goes missing. The four friends all receive messages from ‘A’ who is taunting, bullying and ruining their lives.

The show came to an end after it’s seventh season and 160th episode so I have been on a long journey with this show. I started watching the show in 2014 – 2015 when the show was in its fifth season. All my friends were watching it and insisted that I watch it too. The first episode hooked me in and I was constantly attached.

The first three seasons were the best. As the lead up to who ‘A’ was came to a dramatic ending and it surprised me. The show has great plot twists which really mess with your ability to trust because it is very difficult to tell if you can trust your favourite characters or not.

The rest of the seasons were okay as a second ‘A’ was revealed but it was a little less dramatic than the first one. At the mid season finale of season six you get another ‘A’ who has been controlling the events and ruining the girls lives. I was certainly shocked and pitiful when the girls were stuck in the dolls house. It messed with my psychology as well as the girls. After the revelation of a second ‘A’, came a third ‘A’ and at this point they were milking the show for views and money.

The finale to the entire series is a buzz kill that I’m going to spoil who the third ‘A’: Spencer Hasting’s twin sister Alex Hasting. Seriously the show could not create a dramatic ending, so they HAD to add a twin to tie the entire Pretty Little Liars series together. The show is great for its mystery and thriller atmosphere but everything else just bored me. There was at lot of relationship drama which was unnecessary to the story and took me out of the experience of the show.

The show does build great morally complex characters. It makes you hard to trust then which is crucial in a show like this. I don’t have a particular favourite character because I was more invested in the mystery than the characters.

Watch Pretty Little Liars for the mystery and tension, not for the relationship drama because it takes up too much time. Watch the first three seasons because they rest was just rubbish or avoid it all together so you have more valuable time. It’s not great but it’s not bad either.

Preacher, Season 1 ‘Pilot’ Review

Recently a teaser for Preacher season 2 came out and it looked amazing. I then realised I had not even seen the first season and Preacher was on my To-Watch list so I decided to satisfy that need … only because I had run out other shows to watch as I’d have to wait months for the next season to come.

I watched the ‘Pilot’ episode to get a taste of what the episode is about and I had many interesting thoughts. Firstly the production value was amazing and well used because it really helped me to get settled into what the narrative of the TV show is. It really immersed me within the show. Especially the first opening sequence which was incredibly made and my favourite part was when the priest exploded onto the congregation. It was a perfect moment for me.

The characters are well written and well acted especially Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer. He truly acts like a priest who has seen bad days but the one thing that really bugs me is the accent because I know Dominic Cooper is a British actor. The accent really distracts me but I understand it is part of the narrative. Another great character is Cassidy because he is amazing and hilarious especially his dialect. At first he came across to me as a bad guy but when I got to know him, I realised he was a good guy and a badass especially when he fights the people on the aeroplane before jumping out.

The episode opens many questions for me and keeps me hooked so I continue to watch the season. The plot is rather complex but I think when you watch the rest of the series the storyline becomes much clearer. In addition I like the realism the show brings because it does not paint priesthood and religion in a flowery image and I really appreciate that. It shows me a good and bad side of religion.

Another great thing about the show is the soundtrack. Usually I’m not a fan of country music but the country music in this is well suited and it makes me appreciate it even more. The use of Johnny Cash gives me something new to listen to and really helps to immerse me within the Texas environment the show is trying to tell me.

Finally and what is most important is the comedy the show has. From the posters the show looks like like a serious show but when watching it, I didn’t realise how funny it would be, it made me laugh when I least expected it and I think that is important when it comes to watching TV shows.

Preacher is something I would definitely recommend watching because it is well made. It keeps you interested through out and the plot is something you can sink your teeth into. It truly is great.

Almost Human (General Review)

I was looking around for a new TV show to watch and stumbled upon this show: Almost Human. So I watched it and looked around to find that they cancelled this TV show three to four years ago. Firstly I am very late to this show and secondly WHAT THE HELL!?

Almost Human sells itself with the following opening:

The year is 2048, evolving technologies can no longer be regulated. Dangerous advancements forever alter the criminal landscape. Police are not prepared. Law enforcement combats this corruption with a new line of defence, but not all are created equal. Now all cops, human and man-made together, take on the battle to watch over us all.

The opening is pretty self-explanatory but the plot follows a police officer by the name of John Kennex (Karl Urban) who wakes up from his seventeen month coma and arrives at his police precinct to find that it is mandatory for human police officers to have android partners called an MX. After having ‘destroyed’ his MX, Kennex is given an older android model called the DRN or Dorian (Michael Ealy). The two work together on various cases as Kennex tries to remember the betrayal of his girlfriend, Anna and the terrorist organisation inSyndicate.

I thoroughly enjoyed the series because it brought a new twist to the generic cop buddy shows for they place completely polar opposite characters with one another to really show a change in rapport. Kennex and Dorian have a great shifting relationship because it changes from one of hostility to that of admiration and support. The characters are exceptionally written and defying to typical cliches: Kennex is cold-hearted and unsympathetic to androids and humans alike whereas as Dorian is a warm-hearted loving android with a lot of sympathy. It was fascinating to have characters play polar opposites to one another and that is what sold the show to me.

There is one thing that could be improved as some of the dialogue was awkward and out of sync. Some of the jokes were off putting and stale but other than that everything else was great. The effects were great and the plot had me continously hooked. The technology was amazing created and it aided me to delve into the futuristic atmosphere the series tries to get across. My favourite episode was the third episode and the eighth episode. I enjoyed the third one because I like heist-like plots. The eighth however was a key episode because it showed a pivotal change in Kennex’s attitude to Dorian as he shoots an MX that badmouths Dorian.

All in all this was a great season and honestly wished they could have developed this further because they created so many questions that a second season is needed to help answer those questions. I wish they could have done a special episode in which they answered all the questions but alas that won’t happen. So I would definitely recommend watching Almost Human … provided you can be satisfied with just one season because this was a show that undeservedly got cancelled.

Riverdale, Season 1 ‘Chapter One: The River’s Edge’ Review

Four days (Or three if in the UK), Riverdale arrived on everyone’s screen with promises of an edgy teenage drama for everyone to enjoy. My friends thoroughly enjoyed this episode and urged me to watch it. I, being the universal writer I am, decided to delve into the story of the town of Riverdale.

When watching the episode, the narration immediately settled you into the narrative of the series by introducing you to the characters and the town of Riverdale. It was definitely a relief as it helped to tie me into the story without having to work hard to figure everything out. Right from the beginning, the drama hits you without even preparing you, as you witness the drowning of Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines). It took me a while to figure out that the narrator of the story was Cole Sprouse! I remember him being my favourite Disney star from The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. He had not changed one bit.

The series introduces you to a range of actors who DEFINITELY look too old to be starting their sophomore year. I don’t understand why is it a compulsion to hire 25 year olds to play 15 year olds? No one looks good when they are teenager and this sets unrealistic beauty standards. Anyways, as I watched on, it was getting boring. The love story was becoming a typical cliche: ‘Perfect girl has harboured her crush on the boy next door’. Things get interesting when a New York girl, Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes) moves in and forges a love triangle. They do surprise the audience by having Betty and Veronica be best friends. Towards the end I empathised with Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart) and wished well for her.

The teen drama was typical but the ending does promise better as Jason’s ‘drowned’ body arises only for it to have a bullet shot in the head. The show gave me a range of characters and I was liking the side characters more than the main. I was a big fan of Betty Cooper and Kevin Keller (Casey Cott). I wasn’t a big fan of the main character Archie Andrews (KJ Apa). The show lacked Cody Sprouse who plays Jughead Jones. All the names were so familiar, that it was on the tip of my tongue so after watching the episode, I did some research and discovered that the show is based on the comic book series Archie Comics. I remembered the characters, more prominently from watching The Archie Show and this is where the song ‘Sugar, Honey, Honey’ came from.

The show definitely promises great mystery and I just hope that it improves my opinion of it. I enjoyed it but felt that it was lacking in certain aspects. Other than that it was interesting first episode for a series based on a comic book series.