Warning about Spoiler Warnings for this weekly feature: I’m now just going to start putting a spoiler warning in the title of the post. I think that’ll keep me from getting me yelled at. Besides, I know regular readers of Horror Boom 1. are intelligent and 2. have my back. OK, on with the mostly horrifying things we learned – even I let out a shocked “HOAH!” loud enough to wake my husband at that last brutal reveal. Now THAT was I call a goddamned episode of American Horror Story last night! Let’s do this!
Kit: Run, RUN! RUN! Don’t look back, just RUN! Go GO GO! Into the tunnel! GO!
1. The last act of Episode Three, ‘Nor’Easter’ reminded us what genre of show we’re watching, that’s for sure. HORROR, and proud of it. We now know what The Raspers in the woods look like and the show runners were smart to keep behind-the-scenes pics/footage out of the media, since they’re even more horrifying than we pictured. How horrifying are the Raspers? Enough to send three patients more desperate to escape than anything in the world sprinting back full-tilt into what is probably the most wretched, shitty, frightening asylum in the TV universe, one that includes a chief administrator with deep-seated issues who will beat the shit out of you for even a slight infraction if she feels like it, and a head doctor who is a sadistic, soul-less monster who makes the aforementioned chief administrator look like Mother Teresa.
2. Speaking of the above doctor, and things we’ve learned, WE GET IT, RYAN MURPHY AND CO., DR. ARDEN HAS A MADONNA-WHORE COMPLEX! We pretty much figured that out by the end of episode two; having a call girl dress up like a nun and take her make-up off, then turn back into a misogynistic pervert (among other hints). However, shortly after obtaining a tube of lipstick (“Ravish-Me Red”) he really started to unravel, and smeared it onto the cheeks and lips of a pristine, white angelic statue of the Virgin Mary, then grew furious and shoved it off the pedestal it rested on so hard that it smashed to smithereens before he practically screamed “WHORE!”. If any viewers have not been clued in to his issues by that little vignette (I doubt it), they’re not smart enough to watch the show. Please return to exploring the other, really monstrous facets of his character, such as…
3. A man who is very likely a war criminal. I’m guessing of Nazi origin, whose birth name was probably something along the lines of Klaus Von Ardenshvitz, with a sick nickname like “The Mad Butcher of (insert name of concentration camp here)”. When he was jabbing Kit’s neck with some of the longest needles I’ve even seen (how much torture can that poor kid take?) we learned that Dr. Arden assumed the bizarre metal chip that scuttles around like a rectangular robotic beetle–Dr. A even stored it in a jar like a live specimen– was some sort of tracking device. He has apparently decided Kit is some sort of spy; he questioned him about who he was with and who sent him–Russians? East Germans? The CIA? The Jews?
Sister Jude finally starts calling bullshit on Dr. Arden …but is it too late?
4. We also learned a lesson that poor Shelley learned far too late: if Dr. Arden wants to have sex with you, just humor him, no matter how revolting, vile, and unfuckable he is, it’s still better than the alternative. And whatever you do, no matter how tempting it is,and how much he deserves to be made to feel like a pathetic excuse for a man, don’t laugh at or make fun of his penis size (or lack thereof). I was positive she was not going to live to see the end of the episode after that, but instead, he reminded her (and us) that you don’t have to die to go to hell.
Now we know why having Chloë Sevigny pose this way was foreshadowing… look at the legs. EEEEEEEK!
5. The Raspers are apparently named that because of the sounds they make. We probably suspected this before, but after I watched the episode, I re-watched with closed captions, and they read [RASPY BREATHING] when we saw one of them lurking in the woods when Sister Mary Eunice fed them. Their dinner was that poor Hispanic woman who not only got stabbed to death with scissors, but was also only referred to as “That Mexican” by the staff. Speaking of that meal…
6. The demon in Sister Mary Eunice (that kind of has a cool ring to it, doesn’t it? Could be a great 60s-70s movie title: The Demon In Sister Mary Eunice) even seemed to make a choice to keep her/its distance from The Raspers. She didn’t have her usual devilish smile, plus she looked to be keeping an eye out –and I doubt it was because she cared if Sister Jude or another hospital staff member saw her. After she unceremoniously dumped their fresh dinner out of her wheelbarrow and onto the ground for them, we noticed she didn’t turn her back on them – she took several steps backwards before a cutaway.
7. Sister Jude and alcohol do not mix well. Here’s my transcript of the entirety of her amazing monologue which had its hilarious moments but also showed she has a heart, and is a woman capable of feeling sadness and guilt. It started when she walked unsteadily into the makeshift movie theater completely hammered and blowing her whistle, which already sounded a tad off…
Sister Jude: Take your seats. Take your seats! No more dilly-dally. SIT DOWN. SIDDOWN! (brief exchange with guard about ‘missing Mexican’)
Welcome, one and all to Briarcliff Manor’s inaugural movie night! Heh. Whether this evening marks the start of a beloved tra—tradition, or just another bitter disappointment, is entirely up to you! (Pulls out notes). Now! Settle in, relax, and return with me now to Ancient Rome as we present the 1932 Cecile B. DeMille classic, “The Signs of the Cross”, starring Miss Claudette Colbert as the empress Pop-pia or…Pohpia, and as the Emperor Nero, the incomparable Mr. Charles Laughton, who I understand is an enormous whoopsie. (Thunder scares inmates) No no, no! None of that! None of that. Chin up! Chin up high. Hey! (giggles, actually looks happy). Don’t be afraid of the dark. At the end …of the storm… is a golden sky and a bright silver song of a lark… walk on though the wind …walk on through the rain (clasp’s Pepper’s face and beams at her) …though your dreams may be tossed and blown, walk on! Walk on, with hope… in your heart… (voice breaks) and you’ll never walk alone… you’ll never …walk… (Lana and Dr. Thredson exchange concerned looks) ...but she was alone. A tiny little fragile thing out, out in the world …in the gloaming… (continuing to unravel and losing her battle to fight back tears) …and the storm that came was not rain and not wind, it was something… altogether else… (Even louder thunder-clap. Sister Jude gasps and manages to pull herself back together) LIGHTS! I’m off to find the Mexican. (strides out)
Dr. Thredson: What the hell was that?
Lana: She’s bats, or haven’t you noticed?
That was a flawless, well-written monologue, and unsurprisingly, Jessica Lange absolutely nailed it. I needed to watch it half a dozen times to get it all down and transcribe it, and I loved watching it every time.
8. Sister Jude took her vows shortly after the hit-and-run, and the date on the newspaper with the girl’s photo and the headline that indicated she had been “Missing Six Days” was June 28, 1949. So now we know the hit-and-run happened on or about June 26th …and that Sister Jude has been a nun for fifteen years.
Sister Jude: Movie night is at an end!
Patient: But the movie ain’t over yet.
Sister Jude: Yeah, everybody dies. Satisfied?
9. When we got a look at the giant thing in the hall that made Sister Jude scream and then pass out, it was obvious that unlike The Raspers, it was never human and that it might be an alien; we catch a glimpse of some long insect-like limb unfolding when we got a brief partial view. I try to write these before I read recaps, reviews, and EW.com’s post-show interviews with Ryan Murphy, but I had to check on this, and Murphy has confirmed yes, that was the alien that Sister Jude ran into. When Demon-Sister Mary wakes her, she says, “Oh my God, they’ve seen it too.”
10. And finally, we learned something most horror fans already knew: Don’t ever try to liven up your honeymoon by having sex in an abandoned mental institution that you know is supposed to be haunted and housed a notorious serial killer. You will end up being killed. Bad idea. Actually, they were screwed when they went in there in the first place, but they were really pushing it. Jesus, what went wrong with your life where the biggest turn-on is having sex on an electroshock table in a “death chute” where you just read 42,000 people have died? There’s kinky, and then there’s just idiotic (not to mention bad karma). Three of the Bloody Faces were guys wearing masks, Bloody Face #1 was knocked over by Leo (still trying to protect his new wife, even with one arm), then stabbed a dozen times by his bride, with that icepick-like, sharp tool used to give trans-orbital lobotomies, no less.
Just when it looked like they might make it out alive, two other “Bloody Faces” named Cooper and Devon showed up, and Devon shot both the honeymooners dead. Cooper was upset at “taking things too far”, but Devon, who appeared to be hopped up on speed, loved it and tried to justify it to Cooper by saying that was what they got “for stabbing Joey”. Then they noticed Leo’s arm had been ripped off. Uh-oh. Now who the hell could have… practically before the sentence is out of Cooper’s mouth, the real Bloody Face (or not, he didn’t attack them yet, but the two guys looked pretty scared) shows up. We don’t know yet if the guys were out of their minds, out of their minds on meth, part of a cult, pulling a really ill-advised prank, if it was some it was some kind of freaky initiation, or some combination of all of the above. Anyway, it probably could have been avoided if the two had just taken a photo or two and left. Or never gone inside at all. Bad idea even if you’re NOT in a horror movie/series.
Sister Mary Eunice: I can’t imagine what you’re so afraid of! Get on your knees and we’ll pray it all away…
- I’d buy a lipstick in a shade called “Ravish-Me Red.” Some cosmetics company should do a tie-in. They did it with True Blood last season( though all the colors were goth and overpriced, so I didn’t pick any up).
- I think if I had to have a choice between Dr. Arden and the Demon, I’d pick the Demon. The Demon is scary as hell, and murderous, but at least the demon has a sense of humor and you’ll probably get a quick death. Also, it hasn’t tried to rape anybody yet.
- I love Sister Jude’s phone greeting: “Briarcliff Manor!”
- My current theory on Dr. Arden and The Raspers (that could be a band name. Hey, Dr. Arden and The Raspers are doing a show at The Crocodile next month. Yeah, the cover charge is 15 bucks, you think they could put us on the guest list? ) is: Dr. Arden was indeed a Nazi and is now a war criminal due to the ungodly experiments, unusually cruel and sick, that he performed on prisoners. He’s been conducting horrible, blood-curdling medical experiments on patients at Briarcliff, probably going back to when it was a tuberculosis hospital, maybe giving them diseases like syphilis or gangrene. I think his goal (“we just have to get them through the winter”, he told Demon-Sister Mary) is to construct some kind of super-human “master race,” impervious to illness, that is very hard to kill (they did look pretty tough and chased Kit, Grace, and Lana at a very high speed). And Shelley is his next victim, she’ll end up one of the raspers, will be way past saving, and she’ll end up killing a main character and eating them, or a main character will kill her because 1. they don’t recognize her or 2. they do recognize her and give her a mercy killing. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they “rasp” because they survived tuberculosis and/or had their tongues or vocal chords cut out. Jesus, how did my brain come up with all of that sick shit as my theory? Guess I’ve been watching too many horror movies…
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