American Horror Story: Asylum Digs Deep Into Our Fears
With a name lacking all subtly, such as 'American Horror Story', anyone might assume that this American TV show was something of a spoof, or parody of the horror genre. It's not. It's out and out horror and it's scary as hell. The second season began last night (17th Oct. 2012) and is a complete departure from the first series in every way, except for the incessant scares that it dishes up.
People Magazine noted that "where last season quietly crept into your psyche, this one jumps out from your closet and attacks you head on". Indeed, the contemporary setting of the first series required a greater level of subtly, but by harking back to 1964 as season 2 does, it opens all the doors to obvious, though not ineffective homage to the era that inspired the golden age of horror films such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hitchcock's seminal scary movie 'Psycho'. Season 2 is set in an Asylum, hence the title, with an ominous Sister that presides over the establishment, and an utterly terrifying unknown creature that stalks the woods surrounding the institution.
Plus, as the Huffington Post points out, it raises some serious and difficult moral questions: "The messy collision of fear and desire; the conflict between the need to be seen as 'good' and the inevitable tendency to rebel against conformity; the idea that the Devil is an intelligent charmer and ferociously committed opponent whose ways are as mysterious as God's; the idea that the contents of your mind are driving you mad or could be made to drive you crazy: all these things are laid out upon Asylum's grisly examining table."
Although Jessica Lange and Evan Peters, of the previous cast, return, they play completely different characters seamlessly. With such a fantastically creepy setting, this season is set to scare the U.S. Out of their wits until the season's end... though the residual fear may settle for a little while longer.