With the date of September 14th looming all the closer, it is about time to start thinking about Ryan Murphy’s house of horrors, American Horror Story. We just recently got what could be a hint about the theme for season 6, American Horror Story: The Mist. How this may or may not tie in to the Stephen King novella of the same name is yet to be seen (although Spike TV has given a 10-episode order for a TV show based on that King novella.)
This makes me wonder about the previous five seasons and where I might rank them. So…
#5. Hotel. This one was my least favorite of the shows, as I lost interest about midway through the season. I did enjoy the serial killer ghosts meeting episode entitled “Devil’s Night.” This episode showed that creativity that had been sprinkled throughout each season. I don’t know if the absence of Jessica Lange hurt the show, but I never could get into Lady Gaga that much.
#4. Coven. The group of witches was fun at times, especially with the addition of Kathy Bates as Madame Delphine LaLaurie and Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe as Queenie. The use of the racist Madame LaLaurie and the large black woman in Queenie really helped the season find a voice. Bates was just amazing, not just playing the straight up racist. Their relationship was even touching at times, despite the dark way in which it ended.
#3. Freak Show. This one is one of my favorites and, for me, re-energized the show after the weaker Coven. There were just so much to enjoy here…from the evil killer clown Twisty to the real monster of the season, Dandy Mott (Finn Wittrock). Jessica Lange’s Elsa Mars was full of contradictions and selfishness, but she really loved the freaks. Add to it the great performance of David Bowie’s Life on Mars and Freak Show had something for everyone.
#2. Murder House. This was very nearly number one. We had never seen anything like Murder House before. The use of real life past murders (such as the Black Dahlia victim) as well as one of the most compelling villains we have ever seen (Evan Peters’s Tate) created an air of suspense and uncertainty. With the Rubber Man running around the Murder House, and with people dying and not leaving the house, the first season set up for one of the most shocking set of events we have seen in a long time. Dyla McDermott and Connie Britton added a gravitas to the cast. And there was a rooting section for Tate and Violet (Taissa Farmiga). I don’t think I have ever seen as disturbing of a sequence as the school shooting during season one. Unless it is “Piggy Piggy”, one of the series standout episodes.
#1. Asylum. This was my own personal favorite. I will never forget the ride into the oven by Dr. Arden (James Cromwell). There were so many disturbing images of the way mental patients were treated in the 1960s that a horror show is perfectly set in an asylum. And that does not even take into account the weirdness that was being done to these poor victims by the cruel nuns or the former Nazi scientists. And aliens? Add to it the most unlikely and entertaining moment of all season… The Name Game performed by Jessica Lange herself. That showed us that truly anything could happen in the asylum and on American Horror Story.
Both Jessica Lange, Zachary Quinto and Sarah Paulson were brilliant this season, but we also had a horrendous serial killer, Bloody Face.
Asylum was a creative high for the anthology series that it has been striving to find since.
Between Bloody Face and Rubber Man, what will the signature villain be in The Mist? I can’t wait to find out.