AUG 3rd UPDATE: Holy shit! We actually called it! Back in March! During FX’s presentation at the Television Critics Association today, Tim Minear announced some major casting–including the official news that Kathy Bates WILL indeed play Delphine LaLaurie! Yay
Mr. White Horror Boom. This character will put the Horror into American Horror Story: Coven. Read on for more gory, disturbing details (after the self-congratulatory logo we inserted) in the original piece!
So. Have you heard the very, very, VERY horrifying historical facts about her? Newspapers at the time called her, “a demon in the shape of a woman”. You know, the wealthy New Orléans socialite and notorious part-time torturer and murderess of slaves in her ‘employ’ in the 1830s who went by the name of Madame Delphine LaLaurie? No?
Are you SURE you want to?
Even if this ends up not happening, I doubt I’m alone in imagining it likely that Kathy Bates, now officially signed as a Season 3 lead –who will play the most evil character on American Horror Story “ever” according to Ryan Murphy— could end up portraying the vile, cruel, evil actual
c-word woman (who has even made it to a few “top ten evil humans in history” lists, click this link for one of them). The more tiny bits of info on Season Three of American Horror Story are revealed, the more our theory seems to fit.
Before we present our case, though, let me back up a little.
I’ve heard LaLaurie’s name before, mainly because reading about some of the most haunted places in American also gives you some really horrible and blood-curdling historical facts for the back story. On serious sites written by sane, intelligent people, they inform you (along with documentation, usually in the form of news stories and even photos to reference their knowledge) of whatever tragic atrocity or cruel twist of fate—often in the form of mother nature—occurred. One of these back-stories was on the notorious LaLaurie Mansion, still standing, and officially the most haunted building in New Orléans. Think of all the horrifying, miserable things that have happened in the area that go back centuries …and this mansion still managed to make it to the top of a list.
Supposedly, you can see terrified ghostly figures running around in fear, the most well-known was the ghost of a little girl who this awful bitch kept as a slave. When she was brushing Delphine’s hair, she hit a snag by accident. Delphine beat her with a whip until she ran for her life, with Delphine close behind. The little girl ended up on the roof (there’s plenty of photos of the actual site of the death) and either slipped, was pushed, or just jumped off just on instinct to put some distance between she and her attacker. I’m guessing it’s one of the last two. Stories claim on certain nights you can see the poor thing’s apparaition make an appearance by jumping off the roof and hitting the ground. That was about all I learned about the background of the mansion and all the atrocities that took place there, courtesy of Delphine. I would gladly be a servant to Countess Bathory than LaLaurie. Elizabeth Bathory just bled you do death. Still pretty horrible, but what ‘Ms. Bathory’ did almost seems quaint in comparison to the torture and living hell Delphine subjected her slaves to.
I regretted it when I looked for more online, because I found out more than I want to know. If you really want to know, here’s one of the LESS blood-curdling accounts. It’s still upsetting, though; you have officially been warned. What that crazy bitch did to her ‘servants’ she kept in an attic room is shockingly graphic and brutal; I’m linking to it because I don’t want to describe it. It takes a lot to turn my stomach, but this fucking nightmare of a story did it, and would have even if it was presented as fiction. Speaking of nightmares, you may be in for some really bad dreams tonight. If you decide to rifle around on Google for some of the more detailed descriptions, they’re not too hard to research …but again: we warned you.
Here’s a little more about the mansion itself, focusing less on the murder and torture.*
OK, now we’ve got the actual true-life background. Here’s some reasons why (and a couple why not) Murphy may have cast Bates as LaLaurie, with some hints that Ryan Murphy dropped in January and some recent news…
- A fairly recent article in The Huffington Post revealed Season Three in not only set in New Orléans, but also will in fact film there. This was confirmed by Frances Conroy herself (who will have a bigger role in S3- bring that ON!)
- When dropping hints in January, Murphy said it would be shooting in a specific location in America “where true horror has been” Check and CHECK.
- When the story broke that Bates would be featured in Season Three, it reported she was playing an actual ‘true-life’ evil woman, in a story that ‘really happened’. Check.
- Reasonable physical resemblance -see above and featured image (though Delphine may have been slightly younger when she was run out of New Orléans, it’s close enough), other than this horrifying wax museum depiction (hope they have enough sense to have that exhibit age-restricted)
- As far as Dylan McDermott saying Bates is “perfect” for the part, maybe he’s thinking of Misery, where Bates as Annie Wilkes kept someone against their will and made SURE he didn’t go anywhere (though he was already pretty fucked up below the waist from the car wreck, but she was capable of doing some serious damage… and had planned to kill him after the book was finally finished and she’d read it, at least in the novel …which was much more brutal than the movie).**
- Murphy said (also in January) there was going to be (as referenced above) the most evil, horrible female character he’d even written as the villain of the season. Read the story? Can’t argue with the description.
- Bates has also been revealed to play first Lange’s “best friend”, who would become her “nemesis”. Lange has been repeatedly described as playing a very glamorous character. Delphine was a very wealthy woman who threw plenty of fancy parties entertaining other wealthy socialites, so the guests here everyone dressed to the nines. No-one else except her husband was privy to the “attic chamber of horrors”, or, I’m guessing, the female slaves she kept chained to the stoves in the kitchen to cook. The other residents of the area did not take the news lightly after the horrifying, graphic report hit the papers, and angry mobs gathered, many ready to burn the mansion to the ground. So, I’m guessing she didn’t have a whole lot of friends left.
Here’s some facts against our theory –though we’re still betting on Delphine being a part of the story AND Kathy Bates playing her…
- When E! asked McDermott if he thinks Kathy Bates is “perfect” for the upcoming season, he said, “She really is. All the witches of Salem … there’s plenty of them!” Huh. Well, now we know they’re shooting in N’awlins. Did he maybe confuse magic with voodoo?
- Characters in American Horror Story Asylum unlucky enough to be locked up somewhere and against their will were also mangled by a horrible individual, and one of them begged for death. Also, Delphine LaLaurie was married to a doctor. Too much of the same?
- Murphy has reassured us this season will be much less dark and depressing (since everyone involved needs a change of pace after Asylum). The events surrounding Delphine were pretty goddamned brutal and I have trouble thinking how they could be played off as ‘campy’. However, we don’t know how large a role Bates will be playing- maybe the torture and atrocities that took place in the Delphine mansion are not the center of the story.
We’ll be adding any ammo we can find to back up our theory (or destroy it) as it develops. Watch this space!
*Here’s another about ‘the hauntings’. Most are probably bullshit. That being said, I’m sure as hell not going near that goddamned place at night even in a tour group. Ever.
**in which she chops off his entire foot with an axe, cauterised it with a blowtorch, and later uses an electric carving knife to cut off his thumb (no real reason other than her being in a bad mood that day) then later made a cake for him and stuck his thumb in calling it a special candle, telling him if he was good and finished the cake, he wouldn’t have to eat the candle. Sounds somewhere in the ballpark of Delphine LaLaurie.
Photograph of copper plate found in St. Louis Cemetery #1 by Eugene Backes in the late 1930s. Text reads: “Madame Lalaurie, nee Marie Delphine Maccarthy, decedee a Paris, le’ 7 decembre, 1842, a l’age de 6 –.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)