American Horror Story: Asylum

Aired: October 17, 2012 – January 23, 2013

Set mostly in 1964, Kit Walker (Evan Peters) is accused of killing his wife (Britne Oldford) and locked up in Briarcliff Manor, an asylum that houses the criminally insane. Court appointed psychiatrist, Dr. Oliver Threadson (Zachary Quinto) is assigned to asses Walker’s ability to stand trial. Reporter Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) requests access to the asylum as she sees exposing the mistreatment of the patients as the making of her career. Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) denies her access so Lana sneaks in and is injured. Jude initially uses the injury and then Lana’s homosexuality to keep her locked away. Dr. Arthur Arden (James Cromwell) is using the patients to make the ultimate human beings. Dark forces are at work. In modern day in the ruins of Briarcliff will history repeat itself?

Asylum is the second show in the American Horror Story series.

 

There is a lot going on in Asylum. There are serial killers, alien abduction, demon possession, war criminals, the list goes on. The show tackles homosexuality, interracial marriage, unchecked medical practices and the abuses that occurred unchecked in asylums of the era. People treated as sub-human and disappeared easily. Each character is deeply complex and unique in their own right and few are truly evil, simply misguided in their approach to what they think is best for the world.

As would be expected from the calibre of performer to appear in a Ryan Murphy production, the acting is beyond reproach. I read a tweet not long ago that lauded Evan Peters as the Meryl Streep of the modern age and I can’t say that I disagree. He is an absolutely phenomenal artist. In Kit he is traumatized, confused and desperate. Kit is a man fighting for his life and the audience believes the urgency of his dilemma. Lily Rabe appears in this second outing as Sister Mary Eunice, a nun imbued with childlike innocence who turns evil. Frances Conroy appears briefly as an angel of death of sorts and her brief appearances are simply breathtaking. Though there are sex scenes in Asylum, they are less pronounced than in Murder House though, I must warn viewers that might be triggered, there is a pretty brutal rape scene that is in no way gratuitous.

Because of the many directions in which the stories go, some of them simply aren’t done very well. I know that there are lines throughout that will connect in the final season, perhaps the very poorly executed alien story-line that seems like an afterthought will re-emerge in Apocalypse. The backstories of the varied inmates (woman accused of killing her family, sex addicts, Anne Frank,  Pepper – a nonverbal patient who appears as a main character in the later installment Freak Show, etc…). Each character is explained and their motivations explored. Innocent and guilty melted together and forced to survive. Sister Jude rules the roost but she’s at odds with Doctor Arden believing that the experiments Briarcliff’s founder, Monsignor Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes), has given Arden the space to perform is against nature but she soon finds herself with a greater adversary…her past.

I expected to be deeply uncomfortable with the cruelty of the Asylum and was but was intrigued with where the story would go and was not disappointed. The tie in of the past storyline with it’s present counterpart was expected but really well done. Adam Levine and Jenna Tatum are perhaps not the strongest actors in the piece but their brief appearance certainly makes its mark. Sarah Paulson especially was a standout as a later life Lana Winters. 

To say much more would be giving away the story so if you are one of the few people who haven’t seen this series and enjoy well acted drama, check it out. Let me know what you think.

 

American Horror Story Asylum is available as a DVD, Blu-ray and on Amazon Instant Video.

Amazon U.S.   Amazon U.K.   Amazon CA

Title American Horror Story Murder House
Director Ryan Murphy (and others)
Actors Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy, Sarah Paulson, Zachary Quinto (and others)
Length 13 episodes
Rating NR
DVD Release October 8, 2013

The Uninvited (1944)

Movie Released: 1944 in b/w | DVD Release Date: October 22, 2013

 

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Composer Rick Fitzgerald (Ray Milland) and his sister, Pamela (Ruth Hussey) fall in love with Windward Mansion while on a seaside vacation. They soon discover that they are not the only occupants of the stately mansion as they hear a woman sobbing in the night and feel inexplicable chills in empty rooms. Will they discover the identity of the uninvited guest before it’s too late?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Screaming Skull

Movie Released: 1958 in b/w | DVD Release Date: January 21,2003

 

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Newlyweds Jenni (Peggy Webber) and Eric (John Hudson) move to Eric’s country home where Jenni learns of the tragic demise of her new husband’s first wife. Jenni starts hearing screaming and sees a skull around her home and property. She comes to the conclusion that her husband’s late wife is keeping an eye on the estate and wishes his new wife harm. Is Jenni going crazy or is there more going on than she could have ever imagined?

 

 

[easyazon_link identifier=”B000087F1Z” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]Screaming Skull[/easyazon_link] released in 1958, was directed by Alex Nichol. The movie starred John Hudson, Peggy Webber, Russ Conway and Alex Nichol.

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Spooky Halloween Reads and More for 2014

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Books

For this year’s Halloween we put together some spooky reads. All of these books have been reviewed on this page and the links are included. Check out our selection for you.

Spooky Reads for Halloween 2014

In addition two books were reviewed for this occasion:

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Best Halloween Binge Viewing – Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures

Ghost Hunters: The Complete First Season

 

RRR_Ghost_HuntersIn 2004 the [easyazon_link asin=”B001KEGTX2″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”rabidreaders-20″]Ghost Hunters: The Complete First Season[/easyazon_link] show premiered that would change the way I, as a viewer, looked at paranormal research. The TAPS crew featured on Ghost Hunters and led by investigators Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson sought to disprove haunting. Jay and Grant were average guys.

 

 

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Stephen King’s: Sometimes They Come Back (1991)

Halloween Movie Review – Rabid Reader’s Halloween Special 2014

DVD Release Date: March 26, 2002

 

Stephen King's: Sometimes They Come BackIn the movie Stephen King’s: Sometimes They Come Back, Jim Norman’s brother died in 1957 after being stabbed by a gang of greasers. In 1974, Jim returns to his hometown to teach at the local school. After the death of one of Jim’s students, a new student arrives in town. The new student looks like one of the greasers that killed Jim’s brother but he couldn’t possibly be the same boy, as he looks the same age as the young gang member did in 1957. Weird coincidence or do they sometimes come back?

 

 

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