‘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!

 

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Vote In Our New American Horror Story Coven Poll! If You Could Have A Witchy Power…

How many times have you been watching a witch on American Horror Story Coven doing something an ordinary person can’t and thought, You know, that’d come in pretty handy a few times. I know I have. Being able to do something you’d normally get in trouble for (nothing too horrible) and then telling whoever saw it or helped you, “I’d thank you, but of course you won’t remember any of this” like Fiona can? Or just wave someone inconvenient out of the room? Yeah, that’d be pretty cool. Looking like I was thirty or so for decades after that would be pretty sweet, too. However, that’s when the longtime horror fan in me kicks in. I’ve been reading 50s EC Comics since the 80s, which would be enough to scare me off magical anti-aging cures as it is. Combine that with seeing even more mainstream movies like Death Becomes Her, and my brain will remind me of way too many ways that could go horribly, horribly wrong. Plus, there’s usually a huge price to pay for it (selling your soul being the most common).  Many of Stephen King’s best books –take Carrie, The Dead Zone, Firestarter, and The Shining (all of which I’ve also been re-reading since the 80s), for example– teach readers that mind-reading, pyrokinesis, and telekinesis have a serious dark side.  Let’s not over-think it, though, and go with the American Horror Story Coven rules for these powers  (some of which Coven has already showed us the ways these powers can backfire, especially if you need intensive training on how to control them).   Whose power/s are you REALLY envious of?  Tell Horror Boom in this poll, then see the results so far, and don’t worry, your anonymity is perfectly safe; even the person in charge of everything (that’d be Mrs. Horror Boom here) couldn’t ID you. Have fun!

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‘American Horror Story’: Watch Cordelia and the ‘Coven’ plot Fiona’s murder — EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Oh, you do NOT wanna miss this clip from American Horror Story Coven #8, “The Scared Talking”, AKA tonight’s episode! No spoilers, but it’s nice and juicy. “Kill her once. Kill her good. Kill her dead,” was Cordelia’s line in the previous episode, “The Dead,” but boy, everyone wants a piece of Fiona!  We’re counting the hours… enjoy!

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.**

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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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This Week’s Cover: Behind the scenes at ‘American Horror Story: Coven’ — it’s magically delicious!

I do recommend the issue for lots of fun content and interviews with the three cover models here, but HEADS UP! The piece plays kind of fast and loose when it comes to spoilers (the cover itself is one big hint that they go into detail over; kind of late for a warning there).. Worse yet, we find out that there are only twelve episodes this season! Seven down, five to go. If you can’t stand not to read the cover story (we don’t blame you, too many goodies) but are wary of spoilers, skip the page on “The Horrors Ahead” – which lists ten upcoming story points. I suggest just folding the page over on itself and reading around it for a good compromise. Apparently, the season also won’t be a wrap until January, which means we’ve got something to ease any post-holiday depression!

 

‘American Horror Story: Coven’: Marie Laveau’s Zombie Army in ‘Burn, Witch, Burn,’ -Check It Out! (Spoilers)

How’s the above for a Before-And-After shot?  Zap2it has a great piece featuring an interview with the actor —Brian Oerly –who played the horrible racist lynch mob leader in “Feature Pranks Ensue” (AKA American Horror Story Coven Halloween Episode Part One) and “Burn, Witch, Burn!” (AKA… you get the idea). Stop reading now if you haven’t seen either of the above episodes yet as fearful spoilers ensue…

Remember that last fat heavy-set zombie who came after Zoe after her chainsaw finally sputtered out? She held up a bloody hand and called out something that upon first viewing I thought was Latin, but that the Closed Captions later pointed out was “Be as you were!” The interview is with that actor, who spilled some spoilers (for the Halloween episodes) and revealed some alternate versions that were shot, but not used (cross your fingers they’ll be on the DVD/Blu-ray). Click below for the Zap2it piece to read more…

‘American Horror Story: Coven’: Marie Laveau’s zombie army in ‘Burn, Witch, Burn,’ teases actor Brian Oerly – Zap2it.

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Take The First American Horror Story Coven Poll, We Wanna Know What You Think!

UPDATE: Welp, most of you guys were right on the money! It was  indeed Ms. Snow. On American Horror Story Coven, though, being burned at the stake doesn’t always equal dead… not if Misty Day is around! Good call, everyone.

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This one should have gone up a couple of days ago due to the fact the episode we’re asking your opinion/prediction on will have aired 24 hours from now. So, now’s your chance to make a call on this one. You stay anonymous. Hell, you can not only vote more than once (not that we’re asking you to), you can pick two answers if you’ve got it narrowed down to either/or. Oh, and you can choose ‘other’ and write in your own vote/theory …we encourage you making your own case!

Now! So, in the preview for “Burn Witch Burn,” we see that a witch (or at least we assume it is one) is indeed burned at the stake. We know it can’t be Fiona, since she apparently starts the fire with flair by tossing her cig at it. Later in the preview we see her turn and stalk away. So if it’s not Jessica Lange, as Fiona, who do you think it’ll be?

We’ll know in less than 24 hours who does get burned, but no reason not to vote up until you see the episode. Also, you’ll be able to yell out “CALLED IT!” when you see it on air.

Ten Unsettling Things We Learned From American Horror Story Coven Episode 3, “The Replacements” (SPOILERS)

Note: Yep, I’m aware this is the Episode 3 piece and that Episode 5 will have aired by the time I post ‘Ten Things’ on Episode 4. Better late than never, and I’m hustling to catch up to get things current, even though an avalanche of “Things We Learned’ will be crashing down all around us while I get up to date. I hope you’ll still get a kick out of some part of these slightly tardy pieces, late or not).

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The original adjective I was going to use in the title was ‘disturbing’, then I realized I’d better save it for later when things got really disturbing. Because if you know American Horror Story, then you know Murphy and Falchuck are only getting warmed up.

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The accompanying sound effect for this in a well-done comic book version would be: SSSSHHHUK!

I have a little surprise for you.

1. Fiona killed the Supreme (who also happened to be her mentor)  before her, Anna Leigh, in 1971. “As I get stronger, you …get ...weaker,“* Fiona tells her, before almost casually cutting Anna Leigh’s throat with a flick her wrist …and a very sharp knife. I’m pretty sure her facial expression didn’t even change. It turns out Spalding saw the whole thing, unfortunately (for him).

SIDEBAR:  I think they should have tried a little harder when it came to casting young Fiona. The actress has Lange’s speech patterns and manner nailed down, but doesn’t even resemble Jessica Lange when she was in her early 20s (or at any age).  They’ve got the blonde hair, but the style looks like it’s more from the present day than 1971. Lange was much more beautiful in her 20s (and 30s, and 40s, and 50s) than the actress playing her. Emma Roberts looks more feasible as a young version of Lange, and she doesn’t have much of a resemblance either. I didn’t expect a dead ringer, but they dropped the ball enough on this that it was actually distracting in all her scenes.

2. We’re pretty sure what he saw is directly responsible for him losing his tongue (episode 4 has aired since I organized this list; now we know it – though if Myrtle hadn’t enchanted his vocal chords to tell nothing but the truth, he probably would have kept his tongue).

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3. Misty Day is lonely. Early in the episode she lays on her bed with Kyle (who wears his usual thousand-yard-stare), listening to “Sara” by Fleetwood Mac —click here for the lyrics, some definitely plaintive– and comments that Stevie Nicks didn’t really find her voice until she found her tribe, and looks suddenly wistful. “That’s the thing. Can’t be your best self until you find your tribe. …I’m still looking for mine,”  she finishes sadly. Misty didn’t want Kyle to leave her, and she wanted Zoe to stay, too. Anyone else start to get nervous when it got physical and looked like they might both start pulling him in opposite directions?

What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?

 

4. Taking Kyle back to his mom (who seemed likeable enough at first, smoking a little weed and not stuck up or unfriendly) turned out to be a horrible idea–not that Zoe had any way of knowing, she was trying to be compassionate. It turned out that Kyle’s mom had been molesting him since her husband “left them”. It didn’t appear to be consensual–like, not at all— and was very hard to watch. Which leads us to…

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5. Stay out of Kyle’s “personal space”. Unless he makes the first move–like he’s done more than once with Zoe when he tentatively reached out to touch, then stroke, her hair– just stay the hell away. He got upset and made an angry animal noise when Misty got a little too touchy-feely when she was trying to get him to stay. When his mother started touching him in a very un-motherly way one too many times, he snapped and completely lost his shit; he also spoke his first word since being resurrected: NO!  Kyle ends up caving her head in (literally, her face was pretty much gone when Zoe found her body) with one of the sports trophies in his bedroom. No means no, Mrs. Spencer.

Too late for tears, damage is done.

 

 

6. If you piss off Marie Laveau, she’ll not only fuck you up, but extend it to your entire immediate family. Cordelia and Fiona (more on her later) both got very, very bad news from their fertility specialist and plastic surgeon, respectively. Fiona’s was worse, but Cordelia became desperate when she got the news that she would never, ever be able to bear children.  She called up Cornrow City and made an appointment to see Marie Laveau about a voodoo fertility rite/spell they both call the “Pochaut Medicine”. Marie, lounging casually but regally on her really bad-ass throne with her iPad, interrupts her game of solitaire to tell Cordelia that she knows who she is AND knows her mother.  She explains the steps of the spell to a very eager Cordelia. The spell (“Ain’t no picnic for anyone involved”) involves the following steps, according to Marie:

  • Pay her $50,000.00 and wait till the next full moon
  • Bring two ounces of her man’s ‘baby gravy’ in a Mason jar (eccch)
  • Add about ten of Marie’s acolytes dressed in full voodoo garb, including a few with painted skull faces)  to provide various percussion instruments, dance, and help with the goat
  • Toss jar onto fire so it appears to boil, no matter how nasty it looks
  • Take a guinea pepper “hotter than Hades” that has been roasting over hot coals for Marie to eat and swallow whole, the suffering of which will get the god’s attention
  • Two guys will pick up Cordelia and ceremonially lay her down, then pull up her red gown to show her lace underwear
  • Sacrifice some poor goat with a sharp blade–as the jar in the fire cracks open- and let the blood drain over her, specifically below the waist, as the aforementioned goat bleeds out
  • When it’s over Marie will sleep for four days and nights.

There is a 100% success rate, and wh–PSYCH! Marie laughs heartily in Cordelia’s face and tells her she will not do the spell for any amount of money, because “you the daughter of my sworn enemy!” Marie stops laughing long enough to look Cordelia right in the eye to tell her, “She done messed with the wrong witch… and she knows it. And now you know it.

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7.  Queenie is either really lonely, or even braver than we thought, or both.  When Queenie’s new maid, one Delphine LaLaurie, recognizes the monster that Marie Laveau (she calls the Minotaur “Bastian”) has sent her way and actually drops to her knees and beseeches Queenie to save her, Queenie doesn’t toss LaLaurie out the door, yell “SHE’S OVER HERE!” and then slam the door behind the evil bitch and lock all the bolts on the doors and windows.** She cuts Delphine’s hand (rather enthusiastically) to soak up some of her blood on a piece of cloth, then relatively calmly–and a little bit coyly–leads the bull away. She talks softly to the Minotaur. “She told me what you did to her daughter. You just wanted love.”  The more seductive she is, the more the bull seems to calm down, seeming thrown off at first by Queenie’s actions.*** You know, suddenly I’m not that comfortable describing what starts to happen, you saw it, but the scene ends with the Minotaur abruptly lunging at her in a blur (it was probably all FX would let the show get away with, content-wise) and Queenie’s muffled scream of pain. I’m sure that and the scenes with Kyle’s monster mom were kind of awkward to film, and hopefully they didn’t need repeated takes.

Self-preservation: it’s the most primal instinct in the human psyche. So what would it take to make a person disregard their will to survive?

 

8. The new neighbors (moving in next door to the Academy) aren’t any fun–well, the teenage son with his shirt off seemed okay (especially when he blew off Madison and was much more friendly to Nan), but his mother, Joan? Not so much.  “Hell is naked before him and destruction hath no covering,” she quotes to her son when she sees he’s taken his sweat-soaked shirt off while moving boxes. We see her causing serious problems for Fiona ahead. I’m pretty sure she’s down with burning every witch in existence at the stake, even if some of the witches are completely benign.

I wish I was as sweet as you think.

 

9. Joan pisses Madison off so much that we learn she has developed pyrokinesis to go with her telekinesis. After Fiona discovers this, she speedily develops a keen interest in Madison …and what else Madison might be able to do, and takes her out to lunch… and later, for drinks.

It’s a dance, a dance no-one ever had to teach me. A dance I’ve known since I first saw my reflection in my father’s eyes. My partners have been princes and starving artists,  Greek gods and clowns. And every one of them certain they lead. But it’s always my dance. I make the first move, which is no move it all. I’ve always just understood they would eventually find themselves in front of me. Beautiful, primitive animals, their bodies responding to the inevitability of it all. It’s my dance, and I have performed it with finesse and abandon with countless partners. Only the faces change. And all this time …I never suspected the night would come when the dance would end.

-Fiona’s ultimately heartbreaking monologue to her surgeon that kicks off Act One of “The Replacements”

10. Along with learning how desperate both Cordelia and Fiona are when they find out that their bodies have turned on them, we learn Fiona is not only desperate, but deadly.  Almost as soon as they return to the Academy, drunk and laughing, Fiona starts spilling her guts. Madison gets really giddy when Fiona tells her she will be the next Supreme, but not so thrilled when Fiona tells her that she learned recently that she has cancer. All through her. She’ll be dead in a year; Fiona’s life force is pouring out of her and into Madison (who has now stopped smiling).  Madison seems to sober up pretty quick when Fiona blurts out her murder confession (along with other regrets about her past decisions). She learns the hard way what we horror fans already know: when someone –who also appears mentally unstable, including violent mood swings–  confesses to a murder and then points out the murder took place in that very room, right where she’s standing now, right with this same weapon here that they’ve kept all these years? Now would be a good time to get the fuck out of there. Instead Madison starts to freak out (but not run–perhaps making the same mistake as Anna Leigh did in 1971: thinking Fiona wasn’t powerful enough at the time to really hurt her) when Fiona turns panicky as well, her eyes wild, beseeching Madison to kill her for the good of the coven, trying to give her the knife while Madison pushes it away. In the confusion, Madison’s throat is neatly sliced and it’s hard to say who looks more shocked (and suddenly sober) for the silent moment before Madison crumples to the floor.  Dead (and still dead, as of this writing).

This coven doesn’t need a new Supreme.  It needs a new rug.

 

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Stray thoughts:

  • I liked the way the 1971 flashback started with Fiona getting up for a midnight snack of alcohol and pills, regarding the painting of Supreme Anna Leigh, and then flashing to the real thing (in the same hair and dress). Also, that the young Fiona wore a black choker.
  • Dephine’s tearful reaction to seeing on “that magic box” that we have a “Negro” President was priceless.  So was her hiss of “LIIIEEESSSS!” to Fiona when she confirmed it. Kathy Bates is really having fun being on the show.
  • A certain popular recap of “The Replacements” referred to the episode (I think it may have even been the headline of the piece) as “Kink-tastic!” That immediately made me lose respect for the writer and their reviews. No. Not “kink-tastic” (which I assume was their cutesy, lazy way of calling it fantastically kinky). There have been scenes in the history of the series where the characters had kinky fun, but not in this episode. Really? Was it kinky fun when Kyle’s mom sexually abused her son? Do you think that in the preview for the next episode, where we saw Queenie with blood soaking the lower half of her dress, that indicated she had kinky fun? I’m definitely no prude, but that casual attitude made me sick. Still does.
  • I have no idea whether Fiona cutting Madison’s throat was planned, an accident, or a spur-of-the moment thing. For the ‘planned’ argument: We saw a shot of Fiona coldly and deliberately pouring her drink on the floor after she’d watched all the men’s eyes glued to Madison in her white bandage dress as she laughed and got noticeably hammered and played pool. Also, she didn’t exactly shed a tear for Madison; instead she sighed, took the fancy napkin Spalding handed to her (we find out in Episode 4 that he heard the shouting and came down to the Great Room to see what was going on) to wipe the blood from her hands, and calmly told him, “Bury her deep. God knows what all that shit in her body will do to the lawn when it comes up in the spring”, and casually sits down and lights a cigarette before delivering the final line.
    For the “unplanned” argument, Fiona was pretty convincing and insistent that Madison cut her throat like she cut Anna Leigh’s, and seemed shocked when the younger girl suddenly had a cut throat. She also put her hands over it for a moment, maybe to try to stop the bleeding, but that didn’t last long after she saw Spalding standing at the base of the staircase again (and after “Fearful Pranks Ensue,” we know why he helped her–both times.  I finally have come to the conclusion as of this writing –I mean literally, as I was typing this up– that Fiona had good temporary intentions of mentoring Madison as the new Supreme, but things speed up quite a bit unexpectedly after she watched Madison in the bar/pool hall and decided she was being replaced… but after watching the struggle with the knife and Madison refusing to take it, I noticed towards the end Fiona looked more furious than desperate and yelled, “Take it, you stupid girl!” into her face as Madison refused to take it. I think her temper (Fiona did have a really shitty day, worse that Cordelia’s) flared at the last second and got the better of her, then Fiona quickly added together what it would mean and decided it was for the best. “She would have made a lousy Supreme,” Fiona tells Spalding at the start of the following episode (but we’ll cover that next time).
  • Nice touch that when Fiona and Madison were out drinking and Jerry Lee Lewis singing “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going on,” was on the jukebox, the editors decided to leave in that line about “We got the bull by the horns.”  Speaking of which, the half-hand, half-hooves were a clever and creative contribution from whoever did the Creature Design for the Minotaur.
  • Jessica Lange looked more amazing during the final scene in that chic little red dress than she has so far in any scene in the series.

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*Anna Leigh’s response to this is to call young Fiona a “vicious little gash” (damn!) and a “selfish, craven child little child” who will bring the Coven to ruin if she’s allowed to take power.

**Which is probably what I would have done once she told me who she really was Sorry, but I’m not risking my life to try to save the hide of one of the most evil bitches in history. Especially after that comment about how she’d “padlock the icebox and throw away the key” if I was her daughter.

Shit!

Shit!

***Doubt the Minotaur ever had a victim begin to act that way before. “What the hell?  Why isn’t she screaming her head off and flailing around like the other ones do when they see me approach?”

Coming up next, THIS happens in the cold open of “Fearful Pranks Ensue”:

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‘American Horror Story’: Ryan Murphy on the latest ‘Coven’ and ‘the most shocking thing we’ve ever done’ — EXCLUSIVE

MAN, the American Horror Story team really steps up their game for Halloween! Plus, next week is part two… and I’ve got a pretty good idea of who gets burned at the stake!