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

Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys: An Annie Graceland Mystery by Pamela DuMond

Publication Date: November 8, 2010 | Audio Release Date: November 12, 2013

 

Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys: An Annie Graceland Mystery by Pamela DuMondIn Cupcakes, Lies, and Dead Guys: An Annie Graceland Mystery by Pamela DuMond, Annie’s move to Los Angeles from Wisconsin with her up-and-coming actor husband seems perfectly timed. Her life is falling into place as her business succeeds. If only she didn’t feel the emotions of others. Who needs to know about someone’s foot fetish or struggles with weight loss and insecurity? Annie’s perfect life shatters when she discovers that her husband has been cheating and when the paramour dies, Annie is the prime suspect. To add to the problem of her telepathy, Annie now has a super annoying ghost hanging out with her. Can Annie solve the murder and save her sanity?

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Spooky Reads for Halloween 2014

Rabid Reader’s Reviews presents a selection Spooky Reads for Halloween 2014

 

 

IA_BeholderBeholder by Ivan Amberlake

Genre: paranormal, new adult, serial fiction, mystery

Seemingly disconnected deaths and abductions around the world are connected with a symbol branded on them or in their living environment. Jason, an average New Yorker, has been having strange dreams of a beautiful woman warning him of a power lurking within him that is the only thing to stop coming evil. Will Jason embrace his power in time to stop the ultimate destruction? Read more about Beholder.

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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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Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond by Hans Holzer

Publication Date: September 1, 2004

 

Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond by Hans Holzer

Hans Holzer is a best-selling author of works on the subject of ghosts, the afterlife, witchcraft and other paranormal phenomena. In Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond by Hans Holzer, a 761-page, a 3-lb tome the author shares his 50+ years of paranormal research with readers. From helping children to sharing experiences with the famous paranormal Warrens to bringing a young Regis Philbin along on a case — Holzer shows us how he helped countless spirits trapped in the mortal world to eternal peace.

 

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Beyond the Pale by the Authors: Jim Butcher, Saladin Ahmed, Peter S. Beagle, Heather Brewer, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, Gillian Philip, Jane Yolen – Editor: Henry Herz – Cover Design: Abigail Larson

Publication Date: July 7, 2014

 

Beyond_The_PaleAn anthology of 11 fantasy and paranormal short stories by popular authors: “Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela” by Saladin Ahmed (author of Throne of the Crescent Moon), “The Children of the Shark God” by Peter S. Beagle (author of The Last Unicorn) , “Misery” & “Shadow Children” by Heather Brewer (author of Vladimir Tod), “Even Hand” by Jim Butcher (author of The Dresden Files), “Red Run” by Kami Garcia (author of Beautiful Creatures), “Pale Rider” & “The Adventures of Lightning Merriemouse-Jones” by Nancy Holder (author of Wicked), “Frost Child” and “South” by Gillian Philip (author of Rebel Angels) and “A Knot of Toads” by Jane Yolen (author of Owl Moon).

 

 

Continue reading Beyond the Pale by the Authors: Jim Butcher, Saladin Ahmed, Peter S. Beagle, Heather Brewer, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, Gillian Philip, Jane Yolen – Editor: Henry Herz – Cover Design: Abigail Larson

The Beholder by Ivan Amberlake

Publication Date: December 4, 2013

 

Beholder by Ivan AmberlakeSeemingly disconnected deaths and abductions around the world are connected with a symbol branded on them or in their living environment. In The Beholder by Ivan Amberlake, Jason, an average New Yorker, has been having strange dreams of a beautiful woman warning him of a power lurking within him that is the only thing to stop coming evil. Will Jason embrace his power in time to stop the ultimate destruction?

 

 

 

Continue reading The Beholder by Ivan Amberlake

The Deadliners by Rachel Medhurst

Publication Date: May 12, 2014

 

RM_The_Deadliners_01Before a spirit is sent to Earth, it decides if after that life is done, it will help people who have reached their “Deadline” pass to the other side. They may bargain for extra time for those they wish to help, and for their loved ones. Anna has been keeping her mother alive by bargaining with another Deadliner to keep his wife alive. Another Deadliner bargains for a rich man to have more time so that he can give his money to a cause that will do some good. When the Deadliners start to go off-script and doing what their human emotions tell them they should instead of following their directive, things go wrong.

 

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After Life Lessons by Laila Blake and L.C. Spoering

Publication Date: April 5, 2014

 

After Life Lessons by Laila Blake and L.C. Spoering In After Life Lessons by Laila Blake and L.C. Spoering, Emily is an artist who has relocated from England to New York City living with her boyfriend and his young son when the Zombie Virus breaks out. Her boyfriend had a plan to head south and when he’s lost to them, Emily and Song follow his plan with near disastrous results. When Aaron, a former Army medic, finds them huddled and dying in the back room of a gas station, he knows he can’t leave them behind. Together they face an uncertain future knowing that they’re not only at risk from the zombies but the survivors and that for both of them the future is not guaranteed.

 

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Windfall by Colin Dodds

Publication Date: January 29, 2014

 

Windfall by Colin DoddsIn Windfall by Colin Dodds, Seth Tatton is an average guy who practices law by day. By night, Seth is a hit man for a super secret organization made up of the 1%. With each hit, the organization’s plans become clearer to Seth and he’s finding himself more entrenched in their plot. What Seth doesn’t realize that there are forces at work within himself eager to use his unique skills but when he’s called upon for a special task, will everything change?

 

 

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