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 Monitor by Cathy Vasas-Brown

Publication Date: March 17, 2014

 

The Monitor by Cathy Vasas-Brown

In The Monitor by Cathy Vasas-Brown, Lt. Carolyn Latham investigates the suicide of four teens that came from varied parts of the country to Cypress Village, Oregon in order to die together. Following their trail, Carolyn discovers a world she’d never imagined. An organized support group for those waiting to “take the bus” orchestrated by a mysterious Monitor. When a Japanese teen that has withdrawn from the world and is living with his uncle in the United States disappears, Carolyn knows that she doesn’t have much time to save this teenager’s life. The Monitor is the second book to feature Lt. Carolyn Latham by Cathy Vasas-Brown.

 

Continue reading The Monitor by Cathy Vasas-Brown

To Catch a Creeper by Ellie Campbell

Publication Date: March 24, 2014

 

To Catch a Creeper by Ellie CampbellIn To Catch a Creeper by Ellie Campbell, Cathy and crew are back with a new mystery. Cathy is settling well into her job at a prestigious London ad agency when she takes on a new mystery — The Crouch End Creeper. Cathy’s group of moms, the Wednesday Once Weeklies, are ready and eager to assist track down the culprit but with Cathy how can things not go spiraling out of control?

 

 

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Magic of the Nile: Gods of Egypt by Veronica Scott

Publication Date: March 8, 2014

 

VS_Magic_of_the_NileTyema is the Head Priestess for the god Sobek in a rural Nome of Egypt. When Sahure comes from Thebes seeking advice on a mission from the Pharoah, he’s enchanted by the young priestess and falls in love. Sadly, their union is not meant to be, but what will happen when Egypt is threatened by dark magic and the god Sobek sends Tyema to Thebes to deliver a sacred crocodile and determine the source? Will she be able to reconcile that the evil seems to be coming from her beloved yet distant Sahure?

 

Continue reading Magic of the Nile: Gods of Egypt by Veronica Scott

The Devil’s Playground by Laura Oliva

Publication Date: January 22, 2014

 

The Devil’s Playground by Laura OlivaIn The Devil’s Playground by Laura Oliva, burlesque dancer, Frankie Strong, has been through a lot in her life that she has let go, but when her best friend is attacked there is no way she is letting the attack be swept under the rug. Johnny Marsdon is a cop on the outs working undercover in the show as a knife thrower and he knows there is more to Cookie’s attack than there might be instantly evident. Can Frankie and Johnny work together or is this it for both of them? The Devil’s Playground is the first in a planned series of novels.

 

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Eddy’s Current by Reed Sprague

Publication Date: December 21, 2013

 

Eddy's Current by Reed SpragueIn the near future, the United States has slipped from its world power position. A man named Tyler Lee Peterson is poised to achieve the dream he’s been chasing his entire life, to be of consequence on the world stage. Eddy’s Current by Reed Sprague is a tale of political corruption and intrigue. Eddy’s Current is the first in a planned quartet of novels.

 

 

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Brainwashed: Killer Thriller Series – Part 1 by Ruth Harris and Michael Harris

Release Date: November 18, 2013

 

RH_BrainwashedJai Jai Leland has tracked Zeb Marlowe to ask for his help is finding the reason that veterans of the Lullaby Room, a top secret CIA brainwashing experiment, are dying. The official cause of death for Jai Jai’s husband is suicide, but she knows that can’t be the case. What they discover is bigger than could have ever been expected. Will they risk their lives to save the world?  

Continue reading Brainwashed: Killer Thriller Series – Part 1 by Ruth Harris and Michael Harris

Just Beneath the Surface 2: Landon’s Story by R.H. Ramsey

Publication Date: November 26, 2013

 

rr_just_beneath_the_surfaceLandon and Seven have had troubled backgrounds. Landon seems to have life figured out, but his traumatic early life has left a mark as did his mother’s inability or unwillingness to protect him. Seven has problems with anger management and involves herself with people who exploit her weaknesses.When they meet at the beauty shop that belongs to Landon’s cousin, there is an instant connection. Landon is everything Seven has never had. Suave, wealthy and in control … or so it seems. Can their relationship develop and love bloom despite the odds or will their past catch up with them?

 

Continue reading Just Beneath the Surface 2: Landon’s Story by R.H. Ramsey

Tomato Stakes by Melanie Jo Moore

Publication Date: August 17, 2013

 

Tomato Stakes (Pour Me Another Drink Book 2) by Melanie Jo MooreIn Tomato Stakes by Melanie Jo Moore, Melanie is in love with Julio, the foreman of a tomato-picking crew and a man she’s only seen from afar. They’ll get married; she’ll stop working and write full time and life will be happily ever after. Does it come as any surprise when Julio doesn’t quite live up to Melanie’s expectations? Join Melanie in the most ridiculous relationship of her life in Tomato Stakes.

 

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Warrior of the Nile: Gods of Egypt by Veronica Scott

Publication Date: September 16, 2013

 

VS_Warrior_of_the_NileKhenet, the Pharaoh’s adopted brother, has been chosen to escort Tiya to marry the evil ruler of Viper Nome. They know that their mission will lead to death. Tiya has the mark of the goddess Nephthys and her value to the ruler lies within the power she doesn’t realize she has. Nephthys professes that her plan is to save Egypt, but is the tricky goddess to be trusted? With their lives on the line will Khenet and Tiya go quietly or will they fight?
Continue reading Warrior of the Nile: Gods of Egypt by Veronica Scott