Want Intel On Upcoming ‘American Horror Story: Roanoke’ Events? Lookie Here!

OK, so we don’t exactly know every single little thing (and face it, you wouldn’t want to know everything any more than we would) but this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly* features Ryan Murphy and some of his favorite talent on the cover, with a big chunk devoted to AHS Roanoke. He drops some VERY interesting teasers on the episodes to come, and though he’s not dumb enough to give outright spoilers, there is quite a bit of information on what to expect this season, even some specifics about tie-ins to other seasons (hint: they’re not the seasons you’d expect). Here’s some specific highlights from the Entertainment Weekly cover story,  plus some extra goodies!

 

NOTE: SPOILERS INCLUDED FOR AMERICAN HORROR STORY SEASON SIX : ROANOKE. IF YOU ARE NOT CAUGHT UP ON EPISODES ONE TO THREE, STOP READING AND CATCH UP. What the hell are you waiting for, anyhow?

 

 

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Dandy Mott origin story, anyone? Remember that rotten, murderous, rich little prick from Freak Show? Finn Whitrock’s Dandy turned out to be much more dangerous and horrible than Twisty the Clown. He definitely deserved the horrible death he got while the surviving characters watched while happily chomping popcorn. Ryan Murphy says that we can expect the shows to “explain how the Motts began”.  We hope that means we’ll get to see Frances Conroy this season, because we really missed her during Hotel.

Roanoke might seem more stripped down–RM’s rule going in was “no script longer than 36 pages, no cut longer than 41 minutes”**–but we still will get plenty of gore. For instance, he says, “If you ever want to see how you do a human disembowling, watch episode four and you’ll learn a lot”.

You would think Kathy Bates as “The Butcher” and her gang of long-dead colonists (Lady Gaga plays one), along with the murderous bloodthirsty nurses, would provide enough scares. We also get “Piggy Man”, as another horrifying apparition (or is he?), and the EW story refers to him as “one of the main baddies”. Piggy Man, who we saw in one of Dr. Cunningham’s found-footage VHS tapes, is the same one as the legend discussed in Murder House.

While EW was visiting the set, someone was getting set up with a “crotch harness”, but it isn’t for what you’d think after watching AHS Hotel. A character is killed after a very nasty staircase fall.

Here’s the big surprise:  Halfway through the season, beginning with episode 6, everything you thought you knew about Roanoke gets flipped on its head. BIG TIME. Says Murphy: “The show has a huge turn, and the thing that you think you’re watching is not what you’re watching.”  We are willing to bet that is going to include a departure from the mock reality crime show format.

 

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Here, piggy piggy…

 

Our speculation on the big twist? The scope of the show is going to widen, because the fact that the “real” family (Shelby, Lee, and Matt Miller) who “My Roanoke Nightmare” is based on all are alive and appear to be in one piece kind of ruins any suspense regarding who will survive and who is not.  The story in the reality show might seem to wrap up, but we’ll see the evil continuing on outside the show. Maybe Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Sarah Paulson themselves will be haunted, though that could get a little ‘meta’. Maybe we’ll see a little more a little more of Cheyenne Jackson (it took us a while to pick up on it, but he is the interviewer of the documentary My Roanoke Nightmare).

Your guess is as good as ours… and there are plenty of theories to explore online.  Let’s hope the episodes get longer than the bare minimum, and hey, maybe we’ll even see a fish-eye lens shot or two.

We do have a few more miscellaneous nuggets from the Entertainment Weekly cover story.  The whole “The Mist” misdirect isn’t mentioned (though it was pretty clever), but as far as all those involved in the filming and prep leading up to the surprise premiere date, they–and this is a direct quote– “took a blood oath not to reveal anything”.  Scripts got shredded, actual security was hired, and even Sarah Paulson could only get two scripts in advance. Also, several phony semi-leaked plot descriptions were written under the name American Horror Story: Cul-de-Sac. Everything worked, up until some sleazes who wanted a payday from TMZ snuck onto the set and took a few photos, but fortunately, that was only a few days before the surprise premiere. Oh, and Murphy also knows the concept for next season…  and then some.

 

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Oh, and any rabid Even Peters fans who have been really, really upset he hasn’t shown up yet three episodes in? Take a deep breath and try to be patient, he IS signed on for this season. He isn’t even listed as a special guest star, but as a part of the main cast. They may be saving him (along with Finn Whitrock and Matt Bomer) for after the big mid-season switcheroo!

 

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*Source: Entertainment Weekly, “Unlocking American Horror Story” by Tim Stack @ewtimstack, September 30, 2016/Issue #1433

**Not going to lie, this bums us out. The last few season’s extended episodes (“Hotel” was especially generous with these, even though there were only 12 instead of the usual 13 episodes) spoiled us, we guess. We’re going to pretend really hard that we did not only see ten “chapters” listed for this season on the reliable IMDB episode guide, though…

 

 

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Making INNSMOUTH

Whether you’re a Joshua Hoffine fan or not (though I can think of no good reason why any horror fan would not dig him), and whether you’re a Lovecraft fan or not, you owe it to yourself to check out the artist’s blog post on his latest piece–hell, we can’t think of a reason not to call it a masterpiece– titled INNSMOUTH. The creation boasts the absolutely stellar work of J. Anthony Kosar and his talented team at Kosart Studios; just when I think their effects/prosthetic work cannot get any better, it does. Hoffine was also able to get Doug Jones to star in the piece (no, not as an eerily thin creature of some kind) as the hero. Mr. Hoffine’s talent, paired with the top-tier dedication to putting the most care, concern, and craftsmanship into his creations possible into every detail, is well on display here. He even takes you step-by-step through his entire process (with lots of great behind-the-scenes photos and backstory). The attribute of his art that shines through, however, that puts him on a level with the best horror artists among, say, Bernie Wrightson, is his true love of and devotion to the horror genre. True horror fans can see and feel the heart (no pun intended) and soul of a kindred horror fan as soon as you lay eyes on his art …and that’s not common to find, these days. Enjoy!

Joshua Hoffine Horror Blog

Hi kiddies!

This is my new photograph called INNSMOUTH.  This image is based on the story Shadow Over Innsmouth by legendary Horror author H.P. Lovecraft. This photograph stars actor Doug Jones (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) as the victim and features Special FX from frequent collaborator and Face/Off champion J. Anthony Kosar and his talented team at Kosart Studios.

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In the 1931 story Shadow Over Innsmouth, the human victim is chased through the streets of the seaside town of Innsmouth by a teeming mob of monstrous fish people called the Deep Ones. The imagery of a sole individual being pursued by a city full of monsters is similar to Invasion of The Body Snatchers, I Am Legend, or any modern zombie movie, but exists first in Shadow Over Innsmouth.  As with my previous zombie photograph LAST STAND, INNSMOUTH is populated by a horde of monsters…

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Ten Disturbing Things We Learned From American Horror Story Freak Show Episode Five, “Pink Cupcakes” (Spoilers)

For some reason, we found “Pink Cupcakes” (which have never before sounded so unappetizing) to be the first real episode this season that really ...bothered us. Not that we found vicious killer clowns (who friends of ours understandably referred to as “Stabby the Clown”) with no lower jaw (due to a tragic backstory) cheerful or anything, and Twisty’s whole storyline had a perfect payoff. We don’t have a pathological fear of clowns, but he was pretty threatening.  So I could have started writing these “Ten Things” pieces as usual,  right after the premiere, but there weren’t any big plot or character reveals (okay, Elsa’s legs were a surprise) that Ryan Murphy hadn’t already either hinted at or flat-out told us about in the media, or that we hadn’t more or less figured out.  We hated Dandy by the time the second episode he appeared in ended, and it was kind of obvious he wasn’t going to be a benevolent character.  Last Wednesday, though, we got some good reveals, and for the first time, we exclaimed out loud in surprise, and really, really were disturbed by a murder enough to also curse loudly. So let’s get on with the show. One, two …three.

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1.  Del is a closeted gay. Well, of course he would have to be closeted even if he wasn’t a manly circus strongman for a living; as a gay man outed in a small town in 1952 you would almost certainly end up on the receiving end of a vicious blanket party, set on fire, or be the victim of another hate crime (or have your life ruined in some other way) if you were not closeted. That’s why we were genuinely surprised to see him at a gay bar, and more than that, desperately, hopelessly infatuated (and even professing his love) with guest star Matt Bomer, playing a smoking hot young man named Andy who turns tricks and hustles for a living. He basically referred to the bar as his office. It was hinted at before that Del was not 100% heterosexual, though you had to pay attention to pick up on it. Well, being married to a woman with a male member next to the female one was kind of a red flag, but it could be argued that if a man had an opportunity to be with a hot, gorgeous woman with three perfect breasts, he might be willing to overlook the male member.

2. …or what appears to be a male member. Turns out Désirée is all woman. Well, maybe even more than all woman, since she has three breasts and a clitoris large enough to be mistaken for a penis. When she’s hammered and lonely and turns to Jimmy to “make her feel something”, they both panic when his hand comes away from between her legs covered in blood and Ethel takes her to see the kindly, compassionate Dr. Bonham from “Edward Mordrake Part One”.  He’s got some news for her: what she (and a doctor in her past) thought was a penis turned out to be a (very) oversized clitoris. It’s (figuratively) connected to her extra breast. He gives some medical explanation about her body producing a really, really high amount of estrogen because it was trying to compensate–it didn’t sound completely medically legit to us, but we will suspend our disbelief.  He tells her surgery can give her normal-sized lady parts (we liked how removing the “accessory” breast wasn’t even alluded to as an option when doing surgery–hey, let’s not get crazy here!).

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3. Désirée was also pregnant, and was bleeding so badly because she was having a miscarriage. The doctor tells her that she can even try again and having a child is a distinct possibility for her (though she should probably hurry because her biological clock is ticking). We see surprise, then wonder, then hope in her eyes as this sinks in. “I can have a baby with Del,” she murmurs. But, she damn sure has a change of heart before long, because…

 

 Why are you still moving? You’re supposed to be dead!

 

 

4.  By the time Del finds her, she’s packed a suitcase to movie into Ethel’s trailer.  Del is desperate to get her to stay, and we half expected him to hit her or shake her or some other form of domestic abuse, but guess he knew better.  She tells him she was pregnant, he says, “A baby… great!” half-heartedly, and then it escalates very quickly.  Turns out she knows Jimmy is his son.  She keeps telling him that he is the one with freak blood in him, not her, but all their years together he made her feel like she was such a freak of nature that she didn’t deserve anyone better than him …or a better life.  She wants to have a kid, but not his. To add to Del’s despair, remember that this is taking place after Andy pretty much broke his heart, telling him Del he was delusional if he thought they would ever have any kind of relationship, or even contact, without having to pay like ever other trick. After telling him she was leaving him for a real man who deserved to be with her (and she tells Del what he calls her “big dick” is going to be surgically corrected by Dr. Bonham), Désirée leaves him standing there,  with Del clearly about to have some kind of meltdown. Towards the end of the episode, Del pays a personal visit to Dr. Bonham and breaks his fingers, possibly his hands too. Then, just in case the doctor didn’t get the message, Del threatens to snap his grandchildren’s fingers “like twigs.”  Soooooo, that surgery won’t be happening.

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5.  Stanley has an extremely creepy fantasy life. All of his lovely daydreams we saw underscored how vile a man he really is. His grandiose dream of Paul’s body floating in a tank before an awed crowd of horrible rich people was unsettling. The horrifying shot of the Tatler Twins torso floating in the glass display tank–and especially the fact that Bette’s head was dead and rotting probably days before he finally smothered Dot, who was begging him for help (and begging Bette to wake up) –was disturbing as hell. So was Stanley’s casual explanation to the museum owner he sold the body to when she asked how they “expired”: “The droopy one caught a cold and died first.”

Please …kill me. Please, kill me?

 

6.  Elsa is getting desperate. She practically spits on the floor when Stanley tries to entice her with the idea of her own television show, but then when the entire crowd (not into anachronistic performances of songs, no matter how good they are) turns on her, we see her hopes burning to the ground. When Stanley comes by after the disastrous show, and she says to him wearily, “Tell me about zis… television,” we can see her fighting back tears. Once again, Jessica Lange’s performance on AHS breaks our hearts. She doesn’t get really scary until she sees Stanley driving away without her, Bette and Dot in the back seat. Her next move is to talk to the twins and tell them she wants to help their and look after them since they’re new to the business and Elsa is not. We didn’t expect, though, that she would drive them straight to the Mott residence in the guise of taking them in for a wardrobe fitting. “I have brought you something I believe you want,” she starts out to Gloria right before the episode ends. To be fair, I don’t think she would have taken them there if Elsa knew Gloria’s son was a blood-thirsty, homicidal sociopath. She probably just wanted them out of the way, maybe even only temporarily. How could THAT go wrong?

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7. Maggie is having second thoughts. First she tells Stanley she did not agree to be involved with murder. Later, when she surprises Jimmy rehearsing, she pretends to read his palm and gives him a not-too-subtle fortune: something bad is coming for him, and he needs to get the hell out of there fast. She seems to be attracted to him, but still won’t let him kiss her. Hopefully she will end up ratting Stanley out more directly, and the freaks will end up cutting his throat and stabbing him (all together) about 70 times and then burning the body, the way they did with the police detective.

 

Jack the Ripper was a Windsor, for God’s sake.

 

8. Dandy’s mother Gloria is more batshit crazy–and darker–than we thought. At the very least, a sociopath. She’s mad at Dandy for killing Dora (“She was a mother!” is her first horrified reaction),but is pretty casual (and clever) about the way they dispose of the body. “These are special bulbs from Holland. Please do not question me!” she shrills at the men hired to dig a twelve-foot hole ( actually for Dora’s body). Oh, and we find out that Dandy’s father also had homicidal “urges”,  due to inbreeding (according to Gloria). One day he ended up “swinging lifeless from a Japanese Maple” because he couldn’t stand struggling with his urges any more and “suppressed them the only way he could” (also according to Gloria).  She tells Dandy he has to be careful who he kills, since it’s 1952 and they might have relatives who come looking for their missing family member; instead it needs to be people no-one will miss. The scene of them finishing up the bulbs planted over Dora’s corpse ends with on a disturbing note, with Gloria quietly telling her son, “we’ll figure something out.”

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9.  Jimmy is a local hero, though when Maggie points this out to him, he says, “Right now, I want to throw up.” Turns out Jimmy still feels terrible about poor Meep (though I bet the local chicken population is feeling better) being beaten to death in prison and then dumped in a sack on their doorstep.  In the scene where Jimmy and Désirée are drowning their sorrows in her trailer, he loses it and weeps, “it shoulda been me.” Interesting trivia: Ben Woolf, the actor who played Meep, also portrayed the Infantata, arguably the most frightening character from AHS Season One, AKA Murder House.

There’s nothing worse than the hurt of loving someone you can’t have.

 

10.  Dandy, unsurprisingly the new big bad (well, next to Stanley, who is also deadly but mainly just a greedy, scheming piece of shit looking for a big payday) is clearly just getting started. Either he or his mother decided a gay bar would be a good place to find a victim (we also loved the very serious MAN WANTED poster with an ‘artist’s sketch’ of a clown mask that Dandy passes). When Del leaves, crushed, Dandy zeroes in on Andy, and pays him a hundred dollars to come back to the Abandoned School Bus of Murder with him, and of course, things get really disturbing.  The fact that Andy turned out not to be dead even after Dandy stabbed him brutally over a dozen times in the torso AND sawed one of his arms off was the first thing this season that really caused us to feel deep horror.

 

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Stray Thoughts:

 

  • Gabourey Sidibe will be back as Regina Ross, Dora’s daughter in New York.  We loved the “Mrs. Mott, I’m feeling really uncomfortable, so I’m going to go now” line of hers when she was on the phone with Gloria, who was starting to ramble about raising Dandy. We doubt she’s going to stick around more than a couple of episodes, though it would be nice if she ended up beating Dandy to death. That was also a great reveal when Gloria hung up the phone and the split-screen disappeared to show Dandy, standing in his underwear, covered with Andy’s blood.
Motion pictures are the expression of our souls, our inner dreams, our fantasies.

 

  • We knew the Bette and Dot torso in the giant fish tank was a fantasy, but did anyone else worry at first that poor Paul the Illustrated Seal was really floating in the formaldehyde and that the rest of the episode might be the flashbacks to how he ended up in there? We were unsure, but did let out a big sigh of relief when we realized what the writers had done. Everyone should probably worry about his place in the new knife throwing act, though…
  • I had a good laugh at the way Dandy at first tried to act innocent when his mother screamed because she found Dora dead with her throat cut. “Somebody’s broke into our home and murdered Dora!”  he proclaims unconvincingly. Meanwhile, his mother, who immediately figured out that he did it , starts yelling at him about having to clean up his messes almost the second he rushes into the room. That smirk he got after he turned his back and walked away from Gloria to go to his room was chilling, as was his practicing ‘acting faces’ in the mirror.
  • That was an amazing monologue written for Del talking about the pain he goes through and how he is only strong on the outside, and Michael Chiklis knocked it out of the fucking park. It was obvious Del knew how desperate he sounded, begging Andy to let him get him a nice apartment with a record player and good light so he could sketch, to only be with him because he loves him so much, but the words kept flooding out as if he was trying to purge himself of something he’d wanted to tell another human being all his life. Give him a couple more scenes like that and Chiklis might just earn himself an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actor. For the record, a month has passed since Del and Désirée arrived in Jupiter.
  • Look around that ‘Morbid Museum’ in the scenes where Stanley is talking to the owner about the twins. There is some seriously disturbing stuff in there (and once again, we are 99.9% sure it was inspired by the real-life Mutter museum*). There are at least two Elephant Man-like skulls, and some really horrible things in jars.
  • I got a huge grin on my face when Jimmy referred to the pinhead duo as Salty and Pepper to the crowd after their act, which seemed to include a drum kit, a large mallet, and slapstick humor. “Salty and Pepper, Ladies and Gents!” We love it.
  • Boy, that crowd REALLY turned on Elsa fast. Guess they are not Bowie fans. Speaking of Bowie– great song choice to use of “Fame” in the montage of her getting ready to go have “publicity photos” taken (that ends with her hope being crushed).  The self-satisfied smirk on Stanley’s face when he saw Elsa unravelling onstage made me want to break his neck …and I’m a huge fan of Denis O’Hare, so I have always taken his side before no matter how much of a rotten prick his character is –until that moment. Hopefully Stanley and Dandy will both get an even more horrible variation of the notorious Todd Browning “chicken lady”  treatment.

Next episode, “Bullseye,” the freaks–including Ethel– seem to be turning on Elsa too. Check out the preview (again) below!

 

*Which I hope to visit some day, then sometimes during dark, sleepless nights question the decision of putting a visit to that house of horrors on my bucket list.

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Possibly the most breathtaking still of the set yet.

“As Above, So Below” – Gallery of Screencaps From Latest Red Band Trailer

Okay, some of these are a little blurry, but the way parts are shown, they purposely make the image look bad. Plenty of the red stuff, though! Click on any image to enlarge. Horror Boom does not own the rights in any ay, shape, or form of these images from As Above, So Below.

Haven’t seen the red band, extended trailer yet? Here’s the piece where we posted it.

 

Paleyfest 2014: Ryan Murphy Lauds ‘American Horror Story Coven’ Cast as “Most Amazing Group of Women Ever on TV”

Featured photo above: Ryan Murphy (left) laughing in our faces when we asked him how any suspense or dramatic stakes can be maintained if any character killed off can be brought back to life and/or patched back together whimsically,* including a decapitated main character with one hand being put back together offscreen, which is barely mentioned other than a throwaway line.  Meanwhile, Kathy Bates (middle)  and a woman who appears to be a young, strangely friendly Naomi Campbell Angela Bassett (right) are good sports and laugh at how much fun they had playing fictional versions of Delphine LaLaurie and Marie Laveau while wiping the floor with certain younger cast members –without even trying –no matter how goofy or nonsensical their plot-lines got.

Okay, uh, moving on a bit, to the Paleyfest 2014 panel that actually took place…

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It is our firm hope that whoever she is cast as (in American Horror Story -Freak Show), Frances Conroy still has as much of a blast playing as she clearly did when she played Myrtle Snow.

 

Well, Coven started OUT feminist, anyway… the women in American Horror Story Asylum went through way more pain, suffering, and heartbreak–mostly at the hands of men–but we thought that all in all (other than poor, wretched Chloë Sevigne’s character Shelly, whose fate was so horrible that several fellow female friends of mine said was the reason they decided not to watch the rest of Asylum as it was “too disturbing” for them, and actually gave me a rare nightmare or two) the women in the show prevailed. However, that’s another article.  Plus, the Coven cast really did kick ass. Click “View original” in the lower left to read the entire Paleyfest article… and check out the beautiful Ms. Angela Bassett (and friend), looking thirty-five tops, not fifty-five, below (and not looking too bad in the featured image, either)! Let’s hope she gets to have just as much fun on “Freak Show”, which will premiere in October 2014.

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*including a decapitated main character with one hand being put back together offscreen, which is barely fucking mentioned other than a throwaway line because, you know, witches …then telling us “Don’t be a hater, dear,” when we express valid disappointment in the last 1/3 of the season or ask for clarification on plot holes we could drive a frat party bus through, and then laughing heartily while patting himself on the back at his own clever reference to a line of dialogue on the show.  Later, Murphy howled with laughter when asked to define the term feminism, then  soon after composed himself and changed the subject when another audience member pointed out that feminism is comprised of more than women characters deciding to use the majority of their time and supernatural powers by hurling physical abuse, bitchiness, and actual intentional slaughter at other women on the show, rather than having man-on-woman violence.  Wow, I would have no problem writing a fictional version of the entire panel like this, but hopefully I got it out of my system for now.

Also, in the interest of honesty and full disclosure, I freely admit that I would have KILLED to be an audience member at that panel, no matter how much of a let-down the back half of “Coven” was (I’d only kill if the seats were really good, though).

Read the EW.com Exclusive on American Horror Story: Freak Show: Cast, Premise, All NEW Season 4 Info!

The ‘featured image’ above is of Ryan Murphy’s tweet announcing the title. Ooooo, this could be REALLY good. Cross your fingers that Lily Rabe is back – and that the wheels don’t start to come off halfway through the season. More as it comes in!  Sadly, nothing about Naomi Grossman returning as Pepper the pinhead (hey, the 1950 time frame could be right)- we still think they’re missing out big time by not including her! We’d actually start an online petition if we thought it would do any good …would it?

Why 1950s America was *Not* Magical!!

How does this relate to American Horror Story Season Four, you ask? Well, a few days ago Ryan Murphy announced this “period piece” that Jessica Lange was “already working on her German accent for”, would definitely be set in 1950. He’s currently refusing to, well, spoil the fun and give any more than that other than some very vague hints about the “theme” for season 4 of AHS… so we’re speculating until then. On the basis of a sort of out-of-context line in the January 15th episode which Ryan Murphy said contained an “Easter Egg” as a clue, our money is on McCarthyism as a theme (wheeee! We hope we’re wrong) with a title like American Horror Story – Red Scare. This excellent piece by Indiana Jen will give you some more food for thought…

‘American Horror Story’: Ryan Murphy on the latest ‘Coven’ and whether [SPOILER] is dead — EXCLUSIVE

The bad news? We have to wait another month (well, 28 days) to find out if Queenie will be back or not, and to see Fiona and Marie Laveau working together (among other things). The good news? The title of the January 8th episode is “The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks“! Click “Read More” above for the EW.com exclusive interview with Ryan Murphy on “Head” and what’s to come. Keep checking back with Horror Boom, since we’ll be doing our best to give you plenty of content to keep you from American Horror Story Coven withdrawal while you wait for the mid-season break to end!

 

Ten Horrible Things We Learned From American Horror Story Coven Episode Five, “Burn, Witch, Burn!” (Episode Spoilers)

She had a monster for a mother.

 

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Well, hot damn! This may have been the best episode yet this season. I read that Taissa Farmiga said it was the most fun she’d ever had filming anything – who can blame her? These “Ten Things We Learned on American Horror Story Coven” updates are still behind a couple of episodes (partially my fault, but this season is moving so goddamned fast that new information and events are zipping by as fast as Fiona goes through pills and packs of cigarettes), so let’s light that match fast…

None of us are innocent. No-one.

 

1.  We found out right off the bat, in another amazing cold open (this one taking place in the LaLaurie Mansion during an elaborate All Hallow’s Eve masquerade party), that Delphine LaLaurie’s relationship with her three daughters was not quite as pure as the wholesome, loving picture she painted to Fiona in her monologue at the end of “Boy Parts” back in the day.  After she scared off Borquita’s potential suitor in her Halloween “Chamber of Horrors” with authentic human eyeballs and intestines instead of the usual substitute peeled grapes and sausages, they’d gotten so pissed off they started scheming to kill their mother (“She’s horrible!”). Whether or not they would have gone through with it, we’ll never know, because very unfortunately for Borquita (the eldest, who was the one that brought up the idea of murder) and her sisters,  Delphine happened to be listening outside their door at the time. She ordered them dragged up to Delphine’s slice of Hell on earth, the attic (and true chamber of horrors),  had them chained up and tossed in her horribly small cages, and told Borquita as the ringleader she’d give her a special Christmas gift-a mouthful of shit (and her mouth sewed up after-I can think of worse Christmas presents, but not too many).  They all beg and wail apologies; Marie tells them they’d be dead if they weren’t her daughters, but not to worry–they’ll only be up there for a year!

“Begin.”

 

2. It turns out that it was sulphuric acid tossed in poor Cordelia’s eyes by that hooded figure (more on that later), as the doctor tells a near-hysterical Fiona. According to the closed captions, the first coherent thing that Cordelia wailed in the bar after being blinded with acid was “I want my mother!” They were able to save her actual eyes (even though, as Fiona says, they look like marbles) but not her eyesight. That’s bad enough, but she’s gained a new kind of sight-when someone makes physical contact with her (as far as we know, hands need to be involved) she can see their horrible secrets. Now, imagine you’ve had the worst night of your life, getting attacked out of the blue while you were minding your own business, resulting in horrifying, agonizing chemical burns that blinded you for life. THEN as you lay in your hospital bed (in what looked like a pretty shitty, ill-equipped hospital), and your husband puts his hand on you to comfort you, you get a vision of certain knowledge that he’s recently and enthusiastically banged another young woman (and done it before). Ryan Murphy wasn’t kidding when he said Cordelia would have the roughest Halloween night of any of the characters.Screen shot 2013-11-30 at 4.45.35 AM

3.  Fiona had (and probably still has) the power to bring a mother’s stillborn daughter back to life. In an episode that had more than one scene that tugged our heart-strings, this one made me the most emotional. Fiona–barely holding it together– hears the mother’s weeping and enters the hospital room. tells the young woman to pick up her dead, swaddled infant up and look at her (which takes, understandably, a lot of urging for the poor mother) and hold her close (“they’ll feel safer that way”).  Tell her ‘I love you more than the world’. Tell her how beautiful she is. Say ‘I’ll never leave you’. Tell her ‘I’ll be your mother until the day you die’. Tell her again. Then Fiona runs a hand over the infant’s head, who then turns from Wisconsin Death Trip-blue to a healthy pink, and the baby comes back to life. The woman weeps in shock and relief as she hugs her crying infant close. Loving, grateful words spill out of her between sobs, and Fiona silently makes her way out of the room and back into the hall.

 

OK, here’s a side note that can’t wait for ‘Stray Thoughts’. How shitty is your shitty, shitty, very shitty hospital care when you have the tragedy of your baby being stillborn, and they not only leave you alone in the corner of a dank, depressing, dimly lit David Fincher-esque hospital delivery room without a visible IV line in you or even a damn sheet to cover you, but also just almost casually leave the dead, swaddled, stillborn infant– whose face is a blueish purple– on top of a steel table several yards away from you (next to all the steel tools they used for the unsuccessful delivery)?  There was a “code blue” announcement over the hospital PA that sent staff rushing down the hall shortly before Fiona found the deserted room, but still. How did that work? Whoop! plop the dead baby on the table here within sight of the mother, we gotta go! “You’ll be fine on your own for a while lady, and it’s not like your blue, dead baby is going anywhere!”*  Well, on the bright side, the poor woman got her baby’s life back thanks to Fiona’s intervention.

 

This is how it ends–in flames and decay.

 

4. Hank and Fiona really, really hate each other. The insults they hurled when Hank showed up in the hospital room got so loud, ugly, and profane that the nurse stepped in from the hall to tell them one of them needed to leave or get tossed out by security. Fiona (who definitely got in the best verbal jabs) finally told Hank, with no small amount of venom, he had 15 minutes with Cordelia, and then he was going to disappear.  He could either leave on his own… or her way. “I don’t care which –although I prefer the latter,” is Fiona’s great exit line.

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5. While this is going on, “all Hell has opened up upon the doorstep” of the Academy (as a terrified Delphine puts it).  Marie Laveau did the necessary rites and then, after calmly and gracefully lying on her back on the floor, began to levitate. The genuinely horrifying voodoo-summoned zombie pack (referred to by at least one character as an “army”, though there appeared to be closer to a couple dozen of them at most, including the three LaLaurie daughters… not that it wouldn’t seem like an army to me if I’d been in the house they were converging on) stood at what seemed to be deliberate spots, scaring the shit out of everyone but Luke, who went out to tell them to get moving, they’d had their fun. A couple teenage boys picked this unfortunate time to enter the yard and check out the killer “prosthetics”, then one of the best moments of the episode arrived: floating Marie opened her eyes–that awesome white-with-no-pupils look she got in the cold open of the last episode– and intoned “Begin”.  Luke finally got the hint when the zombies started moving (maybe he caught the stench, too) and definitely when a couple of them ripped one of the kid’s guts out. Meanwhile, all the students were doing their best to prepare for the unholy assault to come.**

chainsaw_coolvector_stock.jpg

 

6. Zoe has a new power! When her chainsaw stops working just as the heavy-set main hate-crime racist from the early 60s flashback (now in the zombie army of Marie’s) has her cornered, she holds up a hand and blurts out, “Be in your nature.” He promptly collapses, finally dead as a doornail. My speculation is that somehow, this is how Zoe will put Kyle (and maybe even Delphine) out of their misery when we’re closer to the season finale.

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7. …and Marie Laveau (who appeared just as surprised as Zoe was at the result of her words) knows it now; when the big racist zombie dropped, her levitation screeched to a halt as gravity kicked in and brought her body abruptly down to hit the floor.  When she catches her breath, Marie tells Chantal,  “I don’t know what that was, but they got some real power in that witch house now.”

The decision of this council is unanimous and final.

 

8. Delphine might have some traces of humanity left, at least to know she was a horrible mother. She voluntarily opens the door and lets in undead Boquita, murmuring,  “What has she done to you?” then realizes aloud, “No… what have I done to you?”  I’m not sure if she wanted to be close to her daughter, tell her how sorry she was, hoped that maybe Boquita could actually kill her, or some combination of the above. “Boquita… you do know me,” Delphine said with something like hope in her voice when her daughter finally met her gaze… and promptly grabbed her mother’s throat with one hand and lifted her several feet above the floor. When she finally was able to put an end to her daughter by driving a poker through Boquita’s torso before she could hurt Queenie, the way all the life (so to speak) went out of her was a little sad –though I’m not sure if anyone that didn’t have Kathy Bates acting chops could make me feel sorry for (a fictional version of) Delphine LaLaurie. “She had a monster for a mother This last act… was the only kindness I ever did for her,” she told Queenie, then collapsed onto the bigger woman’s chest,  sobbing hopelessly, and Queenie even put an arm around her.

You don’t mess with the Supreme.

 

9.  Myrtle Snow may or may not have been the one to blind Cordelia, but the Council believed it, and that along with her hidden agenda and hidden identity (which Fiona had proof of) and verbal attack on Fiona that only made her look worse, got her sentenced to be burned at the stake. Myrtle finally realizes she’s outnumbered and outgunned, and defiantly and proudly announces she accepts her sentence to be burned at the stake (good for you, Myrt, for refusing to beg like Fiona predicted you would).  She walks to her death with the dignity that only Frances Conroy can project when inhabiting a character (though she’s dressed in a plain white robe, without her  trademark cats-eye glasses and tartan/red ensemble, even losing the crimps in her red mane of hair when they’re dampened by the gasoline). Myrt burned mercifully fast before her screams abruptly came to a halt …but not fast enough for her, I’m guessing.

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10. Queenie felt very guilty about her role in the above. She went to see Fiona, who was in a reasonably good mood (for her, anyway) and told her that she helped Fiona when she asked because she owed her one (a pretty big one), but she thought Myrtle was just going to be exiled or something, not burned at the freaking stake.  Queenie’s ‘role’ in revealed after the burning; Myrtle Snow needed to have sulphuric acid burns on her hand (under her gloves, so Fiona could point it out for maximum dramatic effect at the crucial moment), so Queenie did her Human Voodoo Doll thing and burned her own hand when Fiona cued her. But hey, Queenie, don’t feel too guilty. Misty Day made a surprise appearance in the final minute of the episode, put her healing hands on Myrtle’s charred black (and red) head, and the older woman’s eyes FLEW open. She’ll be back, probably with a vengeance!

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Stray Thoughts:

  • In the opening flashback, when Delphine asked Borquita’s suitor (who was the Governor’s son–is anyone good enough for her daughters?)  if he was man enough brave a visit to her chamber of horrors, I thought she was going to take him to the SERIOUS chamber of horrors in the attic for a second. Also, one of the slaves –in fact, the one who smashed  Borquita’s leg in the door or the cage when Delphine ordered him to was Bastien (who later became Marie Laveau‘s Minotaur).
  • I love that Luke (brave and so far, a good kid) went out to scare off what he assumed were trick-or-treaters playing a prank (one that would have involved days of preparation) before it dawned on him, when he saw them rip a guy to pieces, they were blood-thirsty voodoo zombies… and ended up being rescued by the girls.
  • You didn’t throw that acid, but you might as well have, a lumpy, half-naked creepy male patient (more echoes of Asylum) tells Fiona after he grabs her while she wanders the hospital halls in a pilled-out state.  There are theories out there that Fiona was the real culprit, but that makes no sense for her character–she was clearly still sitting at the bar, and her genuinely heart-broken reaction to Cordelia’s tragedy was the real thing. Also, she had absolutely no motivation. There’s a chance it wasn’t Myrtle, but not a chance in HELL it was Fiona’s doing.
  • Zoe has some serious balls. If a horde of zombies were swarming towards your house, would YOU be brave enough to run outside banging pots and pans together yelling, “HEY! OVER HERE, YOU DEAD PIECES OF SHIT!” repeatedly at the top of your lungs to distract them? Unless it were my immediate family in danger,  I’d be hiding under a bed or something. Since she didn’t have an exit plan in place when her gambit worked, she lucked out and found a chainsaw… and kicked some serious ass; especially impressive when one considers she probably only weighed about twenty pounds more than the large chainsaw.
  • Question: why is it the tradition of the witches and The Council (even though they’ve made clear this is a rare occurrence among themselves) that convicted witches are put to death via the same method that their hate-mongering enemies have always–and continued to–use to kill them (especially when the many of them were innocent, and especially in Salem)? It’s more dramatic to watch, I guess, but it still strikes a slightly discordant note. If it’s been explained why and I missed it, feel free to fill me in, because something about it seems off.
  • I guess Madison really was the first ‘real doll’ that Spalding kept, since about the only things he knows how to do to not get caught with a dead body are to A. hide the body and B. spray Lysol all over to cover the stench of rot.  He sure doesn’t understand rigor mortis; though he was able to put her in the wholesome vintage lace dress he had picked out for her at the reveal towards the end of ‘Fearful Pranks Ensue’, he was clueless enough to jam her in a trunk before she got really stiff, then put all his weight behind pulling her out for his latest little tea-party*** by yanking on her arm (which was skinny and already looked slightly fragile before she was dead). Crunch. Riiiiiiip, OOPS! Murphy said after The Replacements episode aired that this scene (he didn’t reveal the specific scene at the time, but gave so many hints he may as well have) this was the most shocking thing they’ve shot for American Horror Story ever, and even equated it with Grand Guignol (if you’re not familiar with the term, start Googling, and you’ll have some very interesting and entertaining reading to do).  It was a good– and grotesque– moment, but sorry Murphy, I disagree on both claims from the interview.
  • Of all the hilarious lines everyone got in during the whole zombie attack on the Academy, I liked this one best:
    Zoe: (frantically running around to make sure all the windows/blinds are closed) Hey! Turn off all the lights!
    Queenie: Um, I think they already know we’re home.

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*One of my favorite all-time authors lives in New Orléans, and in an article, stated that New Orléans had one of the worst health-care systems in America and ranked lowest on patient care. I don’t know if that’s an actual statistic that’s been verified, but good LORD, that scene (though it was fiction) didn’t do much to sway my opinion in a positive way. That place looked about one or two steps away from Briarcliff Manor in American Horror Story Asylum, for Chrissakes!

**Nan was the one who insisted on carrying the wounded Luke out of the car and to safety when the zombies –remember,  these old-school Voodoo zombies can use tools, which Dr. Herbert West could tell you means “fuck it all and get the hell out of Dodge”–made it through the windshield. “I’ll just wait it out here,” he muttered when Nan told him they needed to hastily exit the car and run.  Go, Nan!

***For the record, I don’t believe that Spalding performed any necrophilia-related activities on Madison’s corpse – the nasty stuff he said in the most recent episode was just to try to sell his story to the girls.

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Ten–No, Fifteen Spooky Things We Learned From American Horror Story Coven Episode Four, “Fearful Pranks Ensue”

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Better late than never. The reveals and new characters have been coming so quickly, we picked a really bad season of American Horror Story to slip behind in our episode coverage! So, without further ado, let’s dive into the list, which we tried to pare down to ten but would have left out too much information, so the hell with it… fifteen it is.

Who doesn’t love a surprise?

 

1.  Well, so much for The Minotaur being “this season’s Bloody Face”* At the very least, the Minotaur–or Bastien, as Marie Laveau called him–is out of commission for a while. Fiona dispatched him in the greenhouse …off camera. Took care of him pretty goddamned fast, too; in the scene where she’s asking for Cordelia’s help with the badly injured Queenie, Fiona wasn’t any more rumpled than she’d been when she discovered Queenie. His head –still living– got delivered to Cornrow City in a cardboard box by Spalding (“Some freak dropped it off and didn’t say a word”). This did not have a beneficial effect on Marie Laveau‘s already-serious resentment towards Fiona.

2. Kyle’s not home. No Kyle. Zoe realized, sadly, that he’s just a collection of sewed-together frat guy parts, with Kyle’s head on top. With a heavy heart, Violet Zoe makes him a snack with rat poison in it… but in the time she took to put his last meal together, he vanished. On Halloween night, where he’s going to blend in.

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3. Fiona was able to somehow breathe life into Queenie when Cordelia told her that Queenie’s heart had stopped. If this is one of “The Seven Wonders” that a Supreme must demonstrate before it becomes official, Zoe and Misty are definitely in contention.

Me? I was a monster.

 

4. We saw in the heartbreaking cold open that Marie Laveau can summon and command the dead, if some serious revenge is called for. These aren’t your mainstream zombies that want to eat you and then you wake up wanted to eat people. They want to rip their master’s enemies apart limb from limb when summoned. They can also use tools, unlike mainstream standard zombies. This season, the cold opens just keep topping each other; the scene where Laveau gave those evil, racist assholes the fate they deserved was not only satisfying, but perfectly executed. I especially like the confederate soldier voodoo zombie with the bayonet – and the shot of Laveau in the featured image for this piece.

I must confess, I’ve always enjoyed our little talks together… particularly since you lost your tongue.

 

5. According to Cordelia, Madison couldn’t have been the next Supreme; one of the hallmarks of a rising Supreme is excellent health, and Madison had a heart murmur. If you didn’t catch Jessica Lange’s oh shit! facial expression the first time you watched, it’s priceless enough to re-watch for that alone.

6. Hank is not only a cheater, he’s a cold-blooded killer. In an extremely upfront way.

Yeah, their blood. I used it to paint my day room brick-red.

 

7. The Council is in town! The council is composed of Myrtle Snow (you remember her- she didn’t have much screen time, but definitely made an impression in the season premiere), Quentin (who Fiona greets, not unkindly, as a “vicious old queen”), and the plain, monotone Pembroke. Nan summoned them because she couldn’t hear Madison anymore and was afraid she was dead.

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8. The first rule of Witches Council is never talk about the Wi– whoop, sorry, wrong secretive group!  We find out that the Council on Witchcraft assembles “only under the gravest of circumstances”.

9. We learned another very important law of The Counsel: the penalty for inflicting grievous bodily harm on a fellow descendant of Salem is …death. By fire!

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10. Spalding’s batshit rituals (ar the start of act one. he was hosting an elaborate tea party in the attic, with just him and what looked like 100  at last china dolls dressed to the nines).** just seemed eccentric (and hilarious) at the start of the episode. It started being not even mildly amusing when they gave us the reveal that Spalding had NOT in fact buried Madison as Fiona instructed him to, but had added her body to his doll collection. Forget the fact that he’s wearing a baby bonnet; creepier yet was the fact that though he’d obviously dressed her up (with a strategically-placed, pretty scarf to hide her slashed throat), she was just wearing her bra and panties.

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11. Myrtle really, REALLY hates Fiona. Fiona’s not too fond of her either, but Myrtle has hated her for roughly 40 years – mainly because she figured out Fiona did something terrible to Anna Leigh (murder, specifically), back in 1971, followed shortly by Spalding being discovered with his tongue laying on the bathroom floor a couple of feet away from him as he lay yelling in horrible pain (and a spray of blood on the mirror …after Myrtle enchanted it to speak only the truth. Also, Fiona was a mean-spirited little bitch to Myrtle. Fiona also sort of took off (all over the world; I think the word Myrtle used was “jet-setting”) after being officially named the Supreme, and didn’t do any of the paperwork (three unsigned ‘Winter Petitions’) or participation in official witch duties and meetings that a Supreme is supposed to.  The last forty years she’s thought that Fiona didn’t deserve to be the Supreme, and now she want to get her convicted by the council and burned at the stake ASAP.

Tonight I’m gonna let the whole world in, get a good look at me.

 

12. We also learned via flashback (1971) that  Spalding voluntarily cut out his own tongue to protect Fiona. The night before he was to testify officially, he sent young Fiona note to meet him in some upstairs bathroom. He thanks he politely for coming, then told her, “These are my last words, Miss Fiona. I have always loved you.” Then he used a straight razor to slice his tongue out. Maybe Myrtle should have looked around at dinner earlier that night to make sure that Spalding wasn’t, oh, standing directly the fuck behind her before confiding to a friend that she put a spell on his tongue so he could speaking nothing but the truth.

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13. Unfortunately for Cordelia, she has a low alcohol tolerance (though more than three shots of Maker’s Mark and I’d start feeling like I might need to run to the nearest ladies room to puke, too).  She was enjoyed a nice Halloween night out for cocktails with Fiona, and they were even getting along fine. After she was done being violently sick she went to splash some water on her face, and got taken off guard by a hooded, robed figure in black who tossed sulphuric acid at her face… right in her eyes. She shrieks in horror and pain at the top of her lungs, as loud as… well, probably as loudly as any of us would if we were minding our own business in what we thought was a safe restroom and had blinding acid tossed directly in our eyes. Eeeeek.

14. In yet another stunningly-lensed flashback, we learn that after over a decade of bloodshed and heartbreak, Marie Laveau  (Angela Basset ROCKING a Pam Grier-style early 70s ‘fro) sat down across from Anna Leigh Leighton and an actual peace treaty was brokered between the Salem Witches and the Voodoo Witches in 170, 1971 at the latest. “They had their territory, we had ours,” says Chantal, Marie’s closest (human) friend. Neither side crossed into the others. “No more bloodshed at one another’s hands. The rest of the world was cruel enough.” (Hear hear).

Is your seatbelt fastened?

 

15. Chantal was telling Marie Laveau this because Laveau was going to do something that shattered the decades-long truce (apparently sending them the Minotaur’s/her former lover’s head in a box, probably no good to her without his corresponding body –which I assume the witches burned, dismembered, or otherwise destroyed–was the last straw). This plan involved elaborate chalk drawings on the floor,  baskets of extremely substantial snakes,* what looked like an old noose or series of knots, and the sacrifice of one unfortunate snake (we saw a blood-soaked rooster head in the next episode in a continuation of the same scene).  Yup, she’s summoning what looks to be at least twenty her zombie slaves to attack her enemies again. This time they include the fat racist from the prologue, a decayed bride, and in my favorite reveal of the night–actually, maybe the most frightening sight so far of the season– Delphine LaLaurie’s three (un)dead daughters. Marie opens the door to what she assumes to be trick-or-treaters and is greeted by the sight of their swaying, absolutely ghastly corpses standing on her doorstep.

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Stray thoughts:

  • The Academy sure had a lot more students back in 1971.
  • If you were in charge of handling the trick-or-treaters on Halloween night… well, I don’t know about you, but I’d damn sure check the peephole after an ominous, measured pounding on the door like that.
  • The last official witch-burning decreed by The Council was in 1926.
  • The final shot of the episode where the camera tracked back and back to reveal the veritable army of Laveau’s shambling zombie slaves just took my breath away, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect Halloween cliff-hanger.
  • Ryan Murphy has very recently teased that the season finale will include the “Test of the Seven Wonders” that a Supreme must demonstrate to the Council in order to officially be declared. In this episode, we heard during a dinner conversation that two of the seven wonders were pyrokinesis and transmutation (Fiona “aced” them both).  You’re probably already well aware the first is the ability to start fires with your mind; the second is defined by Google as “the action of changing or the state of being changed into another form”. That sounds like it’s going to be quite interesting to see…Screen shot 2013-11-12 at 3.07.47 AM

*In several interviews to promote the season, Ryan Murphy said that Season 3 would feature two “Big Bads” – The Minotaur and The Axeman. The jury’s still out on The Axeman – we do have a theory that connects The Axeman to something shocking Fiona did, but that’s for later.

**There was something about that first scene that just made me giggle; maybe the matter-of-fact way Denis O’Hare played it, like it was a completely normal way to relax after he was off duty and in his quarters. Put on antique, quaint record of innocent little music? Check. Pour tea carefully for dolls at table? Check.  Get out fancy lace napkin and prepare to–hey, is that someone arguing downstairs? Guess I should get dressed and go see what’s up.

***Wonder who in the cast has a phobia of snakes (if anyone)? For Angela Bassett’s sake, I sure hope she’s not scared of them (since she seems to have all the snake-handling scenes). If she is scared of them (say, the way I’m scared of spiders; unless the job paid well enough for me to retire very comfortably on, and involved a large supply of Xanax, I’m not even sure I could pick them up, let alone let them crawl on any part of me) then my respect for her acting ability just hit a new high, because she remains regal and composed in all her scenes with live snakes.

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