Hollywood Screenwriting Directory

American Horror Story: Asylum: Series Premiere

Why when you put a horror movie through the television medium do some people say it becomes brilliant? The first season of American Horror Story found success and once again reaffirmed show creator Ryan Murphy as a mastermind. Honestly, I stopped watching after episode three. I wasn’t hooked.

Although I see why people were hooked; it’s the concept of the show in general. No one watches scary movies alone. And if they do, they’re not part of the greater American majority. People gather in theaters and on their couches and under their bedroom blankets to be scared together. And to tune in weekly to that kind of terror is even more appealing. It’s an excuse to pop on the couch with your roommate, friend, family (if the kids are older) and enjoy some good ol’ horror fun.

And this season, there appears to be plenty.

American Horror Story: Asylum is a totally different story, totally different setting from the first season. Cover your ears and keep your wits close because they’re taking you to Briarcliff Manor. The Asylum is home to some of the most insane and deranged people in the area, staff and patients included, it seems. The most dangerous of them all? Bloody Face. He supposedly slayed and decapitated three women and is now awaiting trial.

You may recognize Bloody Face from season one: the blonde baby-faced Evan Peters is back to play Kit Walker, the accused murderer. But, according to him, he’s innocent. This should be a fun mind game for the audience. Is he crazy or are they? Classic.

And then, in her manipulative, maniacal, strangely enchanting glory is Jessica Lange. She’s vicious as Sister Jude and runs the asylum. Holding strong to her beliefs, she’s sure God is the only cure for insanity. To her, insanity is purely sin. A feisty Chloe Sevigny plays Shelley, a nymphomaniac. Aside from grabbing at any piece of fresh flesh, she seems an unfit patient. Next to the deformed, disturbing characters that surround her, she’s almost normal. Kit Walker appears the same. It’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest all over again.

Which isn’t a bad thing, because the show has fantastical elements to keep it afloat. Did I mention the….??

Never mind. I’ll leave that a surprise.

Of course, in classic asylum film fashion there must be an outsider. Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson) fits the role perfectly. Reporter? Check! Curious? Check! A secret of her own? Muahahah, check! She’s in for a ride.

And so are we, even though it may be somewhat predictable. The format is ridiculously familiar. We have the tight ass nun to run the joint, plenty of questionably crazy patients and even a twisted doctor to top it all off. Let’s hope they have some tricks up their sleeves.

If things don’t become more intriguing in episode two, I’ll tune out. But that doesn’t mean others won’t. The same horror movie is made over and over and over again. If people are going to be scared, they want to know at least when to brace themselves. That’s why there are four Paranormal Activities, five Screams and a kabillion Saw movies (who’s counting?)

But let’s hope Asylum is braver than that and knows its audience is counting as well.